Posts Tagged ‘Writer’

11022013 193Yes, today is release day for my collaborative book with Troy Lambert.  I am excited to realize my dream of becoming an author.

I know we all say that if we write, we are writers, and this is true.  I know that’s what helped me keep moving forward, exactly what Kristen Lamb keeps saying.  We Are Not Alone.  We are writers.

But…

There is something about seeing your name on a cover.

There is something magical about going to Amazon, searching for your name, and seeing this:

This Is What It Looks Like

This Is What It Looks Like

It’s amazing.  It’s Magical.  It’s scary as hell.  Because now the responsibility kicks in.  I’m an author.  I have published a book and I plan on publishing a lot more!  And that’s scary.  All the what if’s come to play.

That’s why I posted that picture of my mother and my brother above.  My mother died of lung cancer a couple of years ago.  It took my life into a tailspin that only in the last year, I’ve been able to recover from.  But that’s another story.

I posted the picture of my brother and mother to remind me that life is short.  Happiness is fleeting.  But Joy, deep and lasting, soul filling joy can be found.  You just have to believe.  And trust me, sometimes it’s damned hard to do.

I dedicated this book to my brother, because, well, he deserved it.  He has been my best friend since I can remember.  He and I shared secrets and tears and everything I would imagine a best friend does.  He is my “Bud”.  And for the record, again, I really did NOT try to kill him while we were growing up.  It may have seemed that way, but, most of the time, I was right there with him, cheering on his courage (or naivete) to try the stories and adventures I came up with.  He is the strongest, most amazing man I’ve ever met.  We raised each other right.

 

SO, here are the links to my first book.  I look forward to hearing from you and I’m glad you’re coming with me on this journey.  We Are Not Alone.

And where we are going… that’s a VERY good thing.

Welcome to Ridge Falls.

It’s already too late.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MPWXXGO

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467228

Please feel free to comment and share this post.  I would actually love to hear from you and gain new friends.

You all take care now,

M.

 

Advertisements

Herspirit2014

Create

Create

So we’ve talked about the fears of a business plan.  Today’s post is about starting to create one.  If you go on the World Wide Web, you can search for “Business Plan Template” and come up with a nice long list of helpful templates.  Next Post will include the links to those templates I’ve found helpful.  But first, take some time and search for them.  Use your favorite search engine.

As an introvert, I want to be able to cut through the hype and understand what each sections mean to me.  So I’ve come up with a list of key ingredients for a workable Business Plan for a small business.  I will focus on a writing career, but I will also throw in a few suggestions from other small businesses I’ve encountered. Here it is:

  • It must have the following sections – Vision, Mission, Objectives, and Goals.  If it has more than that, well, you decide if you want to spend the time understanding them.  If you get lost, feel free to contact me, I will try to help.
  • You must have a SWOT template.  Remember yesterday?  Strength’s, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats?  I have to tell you that I have a hard time remembering that last “T”.  Because, when you start to understand the SWOT, you realize that the “T”, Threat, is actually an “R”, Risk.  Because, threat’s are outside risks to your business and risks can be managed.  Threats make it sound as if you are in a castle besieged by bandits.  You’re not.  Those bandits outside your business are risks that can actually help you and you can help them.  I’ll talk about that a little later.  As an author, other authors are not a threat to me, they are an asset and aligning myself with them makes us both better!  Trust me on this one.
  • Finally, you need a good friend or business partner to help you get through the tough parts.   This last one is important.  None of us live in a vaccum, although, I’m sure there are times when I’ve wished with all my heart this were so.  Everything and everyone around us can help us.  We don’t have to find more than one person to bounce our ideas off of, but you need at least one.

As an introvert, that last bullet is really difficult.  Because it is easy to look up an extroverted business partner who doesn’t understand your way of thinking and you will be discouraged before you’re five minutes into the conversation. Not that anything like that has ever happened to me… Okay, maybe once or thrice. Take your time finding the right person/people to help you..  This isn’t a 2K sprint, this

Marlie Sprinting.

Marlie Sprinting.

is a 1,000,000 mile marathon.  Your business will be with you for the rest of your life, hopefully.  You don’t want to burn yourself out before you’ve even caught your second wind. Please understand, I am NOT saying you can take a very long time.  Services and products need to be offered in a timely manner.  What I AM saying is take the time YOU need to do it right.  Trust yourself to know and trust those you surround yourself with to know. Later I am going to post D.  I want to catch up to the monthly challenge.  I don’t think I can safely say that I’ve succeeded at this, however, I’m not giving up just because there was a minor setback.  This isn’t do or die, this is helping you.  At least I hope to help you. Let me know in the comments.  They are in the upper right hand corner of this blog.  The speech bubble.  Click on the red number. M.

 

A

A to Z Challenge

There is a myth about Icarus and flying too close to the sun. This story is about hubris. But I look at this story from an introvert’s point of view and I see something else there, too. I see Daedalus, the father, worked hard to fashion the wings and actually tested them himself. Then as he was flying off to freedom, he told his son, don’t do these things because I know they will be disastrous. Daedalus was an introvert. A person who wasn’t looking for glory, he just wanted success.  He wanted to be free.daedalus 2

I, personally, am getting pretty tired of being told I can make a million dollars in two days without any work. I am getting tired of someone telling me if I work twenty hours out of twenty-four each day, I will succeed and be free. If I push myself beyond my limits I will grow and learn freedom.

For awhile, I actually believed in what people were telling me. I worked long hours, consistently, and fervently. I was driven to succeed. Did the business I worked for succeed? Yes. Did I succeed? No. I made myself sick. I lost everything and I had to start over again and again and again. Every time I pushed beyond my limits, I fell.  That’s when I realized I was attempting to be Icarus, when in fact, I was actually more like Daedalus.

How many times does a person have to ram their head against a wall before they realize than can turn? Well, the answer for me was over twenty.Hit your head here awhile Over twenty times I rammed my head against the ceiling of extroversion. Over twenty times, I fell flat.

Why am I starting this series off by telling you about my failures? Because each of those failures brought me closer to accepting who I am. I am an introvert and it took me too long to realize it and use it. I don’t want you to be like that. Ramming your head against the wall of sales pitches that tell you if you don’t do it their way, you will fail. Tell you, if you don’t push yourself beyond your limits you won’t succeed. Don’t make yourself sick like I did.

We are exploring introversion in small business. We will start to understand that nothing is perfect. No extrovert method is exactly right for you. We will begin to understand as an introvert, you have the freedom and confidence to take time to be alone, recharge yourself, and still make a successful business.

For me, writing is turning into the lifetime dream I’ve always yearned for. For you, it might be crafting widgets for woogles. Whatever it is, the skills to make it happen lie inside you. In all your wonderful, amazing, thoughtful, alone but not lonely, introverted self. Tomorrow, we explore B – Business Plan for introverts. I hope you join me.

M.

A to Z ChallangeWhen I first made my blog II titled my blog “Don’t Open That Door….” with a sub line “See now you did it.” At the time, I thought it was a great way to convey the horror/mystery genre of writing that I am doing. Then I realized something, It also had to do with exploring my own inner self, too. I’ve been on this journey for about six months seriously and a lifetime, truthfully. The journey to accept my introversion in a world that didn’t celebrate it. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins, the idea of extroversion is great and the only way to be has been around for a very long time. I never fit into it. But I was taught that there was something wrong with me if I didn’t fit in, so I better make myself fit in. Sort of like coming out, in a way, the process has been long and, at times, tortuous.

I am an introvert, but I love change. I thrive on new challenges and if I can’t get new challenges in my life, then I get bored. When I get bored, bad things happen. In the past, boredom caused me to drink and do drugs, almost to excess, but then I was given a challenge that totally consumed my time and I didn’t need those crutches anymore. More challenges came, I overcame them, excelled at them, mastered them as far as I wanted, then got bored…and well, you get the picture.

Some people called it looking for greener grass. I called it keeping me sane. Monotony drives me completely, utterly, and destructively insane.

Then came the chance to write. To explore new territories and challenge my resources and abilities every single time. Every. Single. Time.

After over 40 years of searching for that one thing that would keep me occupied and not bored, and therefore not self destructive. I’d found it and at the same time, I realized something. Being an author, just like every other thing I tried, is a business. It’s a small business.

That’s what I’m going to blog about (mostly) in April. Introverts guide to small business according to Marlie Harris. There might be some other posts sprinkled in, but that’s my main focus. So wish me luck!

Living on a ranch when you are a preteen can be exciting some days, but most days are boring. There is plenty to do, however, most of it seems like work for a kid. Such as raking leaves from the lawn, doing dishes, playing in a corral for the millionth time. Yes, things that seem exciting at first, can take on a patina of boredom pretty quickly. Take for example, the day my brother and I were in the loft of the main barn.7630265-cartoon-red-barn It was a huge, red barn with white trim just like those pictures you see in magazines. The lower part was filled with riding tack, hay, and various currently used ranch equipment and tools. But the loft, now the loft was enormous and while it was built to hold bales of straw and alfalfa, it was actually full of antique wagons and buggies. These were all located around the outside walls of the loft, while it’s middle was clear and clutter-free. It smelled of musty leather and rusty metal.

And on this Saturday, the main doors were thrown wide so the sun streamed in with a brilliant glowing radiance. Dust particles danced in the light like fairies at a summer solstice. The peak of the interior roof was probably fifteen feet above us. Along the main central framework was a rail that ran the length of the barn and out from the open doors about six feet. On this rail was a block and tackle rig that held a thick rope. The rope and rig were used to lift the bales of hay from the ground up into the loft area for stacking, although we estimated it hadn’t been used that way in a very long time.

BnT pulleyMy brother and I were exploring the wagons when I came up with a very brilliant idea. If we tied the ends of the rope together we could create a sort of swing. And, if we took turns sitting in it, we could push each other the length of the barn and pretend we were Tarzan, swinging from vines.

“What a grand idea!” We both exclaimed.

“Let us do this thing right now!” We chattered gleefully.

The first hurdle we came upon was the rope itself. It was so thick and stiff it was difficult to tie into a knot.

The second hurdle was when we finally got the knot tied to our satisfaction, its curved swing was too high off the ground to be able to sit.

I was an industrious child, however, and wouldn’t let something like these small details deter us from having an adventure. The knot was big enough and hung just low enough you could link your fingers together over it, lift your legs and be pushed through the barn. I felt like a genius and a grand adventurer as we took turns swinging on the rope, back and forth, back and forth … back and forth.

It took no more than twenty minutes of swinging before my brother was complaining that his arms hurt, this was boring, why did he have to push me when I was so much older… blah, blah, blah.

We took a break, I looked up at the back wall of the barn, and inspiration captured me once more. Halfway up that wall was a ledge, probably no more than two feet by two feet square. A wooden ladder was bolted to the wall and it reached up to the ledge. I had no clue why it was there, but an idea had formed. An adventure awaited and I would show my brother a wonderful, thrilling experience.

I turned to him as he squatted down, picking wooden splinters from a furry piece of wood he’d found.

“Bradley P., how would you like to be the first person to fly in a barn?” I looked at him intently, gauging his excitement. So far, he wasn’t very excited. His mussy blond hair partially covered his eyes and he absently brushed it out of the way as he looked up at me.

“I guess so, Belly.” His enthusiasm was so lacking, I almost felt the air suck away and out the barn door.Tarzan-Filmation

“Bud, honest, I think we can make you fly. Just listen to me, okay?”

I proceeded to explain in detail, using my hands, voice, and lots of gestures. I pointed to the rope, to the ledge, to the open barn doors on the opposite side of the wall. Recognition and understanding began to dawn in his eyes and on his face. He stood and walked to the rope, reaching above himself and clasping his hands together. He looked at me, disappointment shadowing his face.

“I don’t think there is enough clearance for my feet. I don’t think I can hold them up for that long.”

He was probably right. I gazed back and forth between the rope and the ledge for a moment. Then the answer came like a freight train screaming along a track.

“I have an idea!”

I grabbed the rope from him and pulled it with me as I walked to the ladder and climbed up three steps. I stopped and crooked my arm through the rung and began re-tying the rope farther up itself. This was easier because there was more rope to use, but it was also harder because I had to hold myself up there and tie at the same time.

It’s amazing what a person can do when they are determined, especially a young person.

I tied it as tightly as I could and held it while my brother climbed up beside me, then past me, took the rope and continued to the ledge. I climbed down and stood at the bottom, trying to calculate in my head where my brother would most likely reach the bottom of the arc he would be making as he swung down from the ledge.

“I will run with you to the end of the barn and catch you before you go out the door, okay, Bud?”

I faintly heard a small voice say, “Okay.”

I put my hands on my hips and yelled, “Go for it, Bud!”

I waited.

And I waited.

It seemed as if my brother was going to chicken out. I started to walk toward the ladder, to help him down and that’s when it happened.

He fell off the ledge.

My heart seemed to stop and climb into my throat as I watched his tiny body hurtle down from the ledge. Here was my brother free falling through the air toward the floor of the barn.

Then I realized he hadn’t fallen, he had jumped and he was holding onto the rope.

He was doing it. He was actually flying in the barn.

I was ecstatic. My idea had worked!

My envy was overwhelming. I wished I had been brave enough to go first. Well, by gosh, I was gonna go next, that was for sure.

My brother reached the bottom of his arc and swung out and I realized a couple of things in that instant.

One, he was going a heck of a lot faster than I had figured.

Two, his feet were about two feet from the floor of the loft.

And then he swung past me. My clothes and hair fluttered at his passing.

Oh crap, I knew I would have to catch up to him and get him before he got to the door.

Oh.

Crap.

I started sprinting after him. I realized two more things as we passed the halfway mark on the barn.

One, he was going too fast for me to catch him and therefore…

Two, he was going to fly outside the barn doors.

Now, my heart raced, my lungs filled with air as I put on a burst of speed and closed the gap between us, reaching frantically for his feet.

I didn’t make it.

I slid to a stop just as he swung out into the sunshine, the block and tackle rig following it’s rail the full six feet to the end. There it stopped. It stopped quickly and completely.

My brother, however, did not stop swinging. He continued to swing out, out, and finally up and up, until he was past the horizontal mark of the rail by about three feet. Then he hung there for what seemed like eternity.

I stood helpless and gasping. My little brother had turned during the swing across the barn and was facing me now. I could see his eyes so big and huge and hazel. His mouth open in a rictus of silent scream. His knuckles white as they clenched the rope in a death grip. His pleading face saying everything he couldn’t actually say. Help me.

My stomach clenched and time seemed to stand still. I tried to think of anything and everything to save him. My mind was numb and churning. I was going to kill my brother. I had killed my brother. I was in so much trouble.

Then time started again and he started his swing back.

He was coming back!

I wasn’t going to lose my brother. I could save him.

I opened my arms and took a wide stance. I was ready to grab him as he swung inside and toward me. His legs and feet hit my belly and chest with a solid thump. The wind whooshed out of me, but I wrapped my arms tightly around him. I grimaced at the pain, however, I was determined to hold on, bracing my feet against the floor.

I slid.

And I slid and I slid. I imagined Superman braced against a runaway train, sliding against the momentum.Supermantrain

Yes, I do imagine like that.

We finally came to rest in the middle of the barn. My brother hanging from a thickly tied rope and me, hanging from his legs, both our eyes squinted shut.

I opened mine first and looked up at him. His face was squinted shut and so were his eyes. If you can ever describe a face as squinting shut, it was my brother’s. The silence was only broken by an occasional bug buzzing lazily.

I stood up and gently took hold of his pant leg.

“Hey, Bud, you can let go now. We stopped.” I shook his leg lightly to let him know it was okay. He didn’t move.

As a matter of fact, it took me at least ten minutes to get him to open his eyes. Then it took another ten to convince him to unclench his hands, drop into my arms and then slide to the ground.

We sat there on the floor of the loft, not speaking, watching the dust motes dance in the sunlight. He was massaging his hands to get the circulation back into them and I was thinking. I was thinking of all the “what ifs” that could have happened and I could have lost my brother.

But they didn’t happen.

I stood up and took out my pocket watch to look at the time. It was almost time for dinner.

“Hey, Bud, we gotta go back home. I don’t think we should tell mom about this.” I put my watch back in front pocket of my jeans and reached down to help my brother up.

“Yeah,” He said softly, “I don’t think she would understand anyway.”

We walked to the stairs and started down to the ground level. My brother was in front and he suddenly stopped and looked up at me, a question in his eyes. I raised my eyebrows.

“Do you think we could slide off the roof of this barn? I saw a stack of hay on the side when I was out at the end of the rope.” His hazel eyes looked at me with a different kind of pleading now.

“Sure, Bud, let’s take a look tomorrow. I think there’s a story about that.”

DonotenterThe one thing you should never say to a child, “Don’t do (whatever you don’t want them to do).” The first time my mother said those words, we were living in Fallon, Nevada on Mesquite Lane.

On this sunny, summer day in mid June, my mom said to my brother and I, “Don’t go out into the desert at the end of the lane. There are mines out there you could fall into and we would never find you.”

What we heard was, “There are mines out there.” Mines with gold in them. Mines with amazing jewels. Mines with Pirate’s treasure like on TV. That’s all we heard.

“There are mines out there.”

The call of adventure was just too much to turn away. My brother, Brad, and I decided…

— okay, let me pause here and say, to be honest, my brother never really decided anything. He would agree with pretty much any hair-brained idea I could come up with. —

…that a fast jaunt out into the desert with our bikes wouldn’t be a bad thing. And, I reasoned, we could be back in plenty of time so that no one would know we were gone. The story we told Grandma was we were going down to the twins’ house to play for awhile.

The first problem was, we neglected to tell the twins we were pretending to be at their house.  The second problems was we also neglected to tell them where we were headed.

THE ADVENTURE

Because of this, no one knew we had gone to the end of Mesquite Lane and out into the desert, with its grease wood, sagebrush, scorpions, and lizards. Where the mystery of the mines waited for two industrious kids to find the millions in gold doubloons hidden out there.

I was a very imaginative child. I lived in the stories of my mind. The bubbles that floated inside my mind were half formed and not as rich in texture as they would later be. However, they were still just as vibrant as a nine year old girl could imagine. I was an avid reader since the age of three. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Dr. Seuss started me out, then the Berenstain Bears, but it was the Hardy Boys who captured my adventurous spirit.

We rode our bikes to the end of the gravel road and then past it. The line was crossed between the real world and my imagination. There was no going back now. The late morning sun beat down and warmed the sand to a temperature that would blister a bare foot. Summers were easily in the high nineties by June and mid one hundreds by July and into August. It was normal to have a day that the temperature would reach one hundred and fifteen degrees by two in the afternoon. The heat waves were stifling and the sand was scalding. Living in the desert, we learned not to go outside without a light colored long sleeved shirt on. The shirt would protect us from the suns rays. Water was scarce. It was a desert after all. But we learned to live in it. We always carried water.

My grandfather had given us an old, metal, boy scout canteen encased in a canvas BS Canteencover. If you got the canvas wet, put it in the refrigerator overnight, the next day, it would keep your water cool as long as you left it in your pack away from the direct sunlight. It was a faded army green color and I imagined that we were army soldiers. We were trudging toward the battlefield, with sticks of grease wood for rifles. I said as much to my brother. He looked at me with big, wide, hazel eyes, “What kind of battle are we going into, Belly?” Yes, he called me Belly. That’s another blog post in itself.

“We are in World War Two in the desert in France. The Nazi’s have invaded. Our unit is under attack and we have to save them. The battle is just over that little rise. Can you hear the gun fire?” I pointed toward the little bump that seemed far away in the desert, hoping it wasn’t a mirage. He nodded, his small seven year old hands gripped his rifle tighter.

“Our soldiers we are pinned down over there. We have to find them and help them. But first, we have to look for the mine where we hid guns and ammo out here last year.” I squinted my eyes, feeling the sweat trickle down my cheek, and scanned the horizon. There was no way I was going to tell my little tattle tale brother about the bags of Spanish gold doubloons I imagined lay out there in a mine. He would go tell every kid and adult he could find. No, I would keep it secret and be the great adventurer who found it. My name would be in the Stillwater Gazette.

“Lets go, soldier.”

We started out again, walking with our bikes because the sand was too deep to ride them. Within minutes, Brad started complaining, “I’m tired. Why is it so far out there?” His tanned face was squinted up in an ugly whining mask. “I’m thirsty. Can’t we stop for a drink?”

I sighed and kept walking, not bothering to answer. He wouldn’t be satisfied with what I said anyway. The grit settled into the creases of my face. It felt grainy, but also made me feel like I was a real soldier. Just like one of the Magnificent Seven.

It seemed like hours, but, finally, we reached the small hill and trudged to the top. There we stopped in wonder. Both of us put our hands above our eyes to shade them from any mirages. This was better than any mine, or battle, or anything I could come up with. I grinned and looked at my brother.

“Do you believe this?” I asked in excitement.

“No way!” His smile crinkled his face and the muddy sand cracked around his mouth.

Before us in a small bowl-like structure. It was the biggest, best, motorcycle track we had ever seen. It had hills and bumps and hard pan. We could play for hours on this. It was a bicycle rider’s heaven. This was so much more fun than a mine. We had found a playground in the desert.

We raced each other down the hill with our bikes. This was a kids nirvana and we played for hours, although it only seemed like minutes to us.  Not only did we save battalions of Army Soldiers, we won Grand Pris motorcycle races against impossible odds.  We jumped the Grand Canyon like Evil Knievel.  We were heroes for that gorgeously hot day.

THE AFTERMATH

The sudden chill in the air alerted me that evening was upon us. I looked up and it seemed as if the sun was setting much faster than I realized. The pink, orange, and deepening blue of the sun set was beautiful, but ominous. We were out in the desert, needed to get home and get home fast. I barked out, “Bud, we have to leave, now!” He looked up at the sky and without another word we both started running with our bikes toward home.

I didn’t know exactly what time it was, but it was probably close to ten p.m. That meant, we had missed dinner. Oh this was bad. My stomach growled and cramped, not in hunger, but in fear. There was no getting around the fact that we would be in trouble. We were much later than we should have been.

The trek home seemed to take a long It was full dark by the time we walked our bikes into the dirt parking lot outside my grandparents’ house.

My heart started beating faster when I saw that there was a police cruiser sitting there. Every light in the house was blazing. The porch screen door was open. This was definitely not good at all. I looked at my brother standing next to me, his bike leaned against him, his arms down, resting his hands on the banana seat of his bike. He face was ghost white in the pale illumination from the house. He looked so small and fragile in his fear. I felt guilty. The kind of guilt that you have as the oldest child. The one who always gets us in trouble and has to find a way to get us out. Only this time we both knew there wasn’t any way to get us out of this one. We were late, the cops had been called. We were in it deep.

I took a deep breath, walked my bike over and leaned it against the chain link fence. My brother did the same. I went first up the steps. I was the oldest after all.

What happened was a blur of adult activity. Questions were lobbed at us like hand grenades. So fast, direct, and explosive that we couldn’t answer them. So I just stood there, nodding occasionally, looking as scared as I felt.

Mom said quietly controlled, “Where the hell have you been?”

“We were out in the desert at this track…”

“Don’t you lie to me, young lady. You were out looking for those stupid mines I told you not to go after.”

I hung my head, “No, we found a motorcycle track…”

“Stop it! You know what happens when you lie. Dad, please talk to her. I’m so mad I can’t think.”

Grandpa – “Punkin’, you know you scared the hell out of all of us, don’t you?”

I nodded.

“You could have killed your brother. Do you want that?”

“No, sir.”

“I used to make your mother go get her own switch when I had to spank her, but we don’t have switches out here. I am going to have to use a belt.”

I cringe inside. “Yes, sir.”

My brother starts to cry softly.

Mom interjects, “See what you’ve made your brother do? He’s crying because of you.”

I look at him and then look up at my grandfather, feeling the responsibility completely. “Don’t whip him, Grandpa. I was the one who made us go out there. I wanted to see the mines and find the gold.”

Grandpa sighed, shaking his head, “There ain’t no gold out there, Punkin’. They would’ve found it by now. There’s just holes in the ground. You can’t even see ‘em until you walk right into ‘em. And they’re so deep that no one would ever find you or your brother. I don’t want to do this, but I have to teach you a lesson. You’ll get a spankin’ in the morning, before breakfast.”

My back end started hurting as I imagined what was going to happen. I wouldn’t cry though. I never cried. Hot tears burned in my eyes. I blinked rapidly, still looking at the linoleum floor. “Yes, sir.”

“Now take yourself and your brother to bed. I have to talk to Gary.” The officer took a step closer and stood straighter.

“Mr. Blakney, it looks like it’s all okay. I don’t have to make a report if you don’t want me to.” Officer Gary was mom’s friend. He was a boy friend. She sometimes spent the night with him. He owned a police dog so we couldn’t go see him, because his dog was mean. In 1979 he was shot in the face by a bank robber he had pulled over for speeding in Carson City. He didn’t know the guy had just robbed a bank. I heard they had to put down his dog because no one could control it. Mom went to his funeral. I never saw her cry though.

That night was sleepless and scary. I had heard stories of my grandfather whipping my mom. He wasn’t exactly easy on the task.

THE SPANKING

When morning came, I got dressed. My brother came in with a stack of his underwear, “If you put on a bunch of mine, maybe it won’t hurt so bad.”

I seriously considered it, until I realized that number one, his wouldn’t fit me and number two, grandpa would know. Parents always knew. “Thanks, Bud. But I will just get it over with.”

His hazel eyes filled with tears. “I don’t want you to get a whippin’. We were just playin’. Nothing bad happened!”

I awkwardly patted his shoulder, “It’s okay, Bud. It’ll be okay. When I’m done, we’ll go play in the wood pile. Does that sound good? I think we should go to Mars, what do you think?”

He straightened up, smiling brightly and innocently. He was such a good kid. So trusting and loyal for a little tattle tale brother. “Yeah, that would be great! I’ll wait for you outside!” He ran out, slamming open doors as he went.

I stood from tying my shoes and smoothed down my shirt. I was ready. Walking quietly into the kitchen was easy. Grandma was at the stove, frying bacon. It’s sizzling and popping sound so familiar. The smell was overwhelmingly delicious. I wondered if I would ever enjoy the smell of cooking bacon again. I walked past the kitchen bar and out to the side porch where grandpa sat, a brown leather belt draped over his knees, smoking a cigarette.

“Morning, Grandpa.” I said, as I walked up and turned to face him. I set my shoulders squarely. I might as well stand tall. It was gonna hurt like hell either way.

He looked at me with eyes so blue the sky was jealous of the color. “Mornin’, Punkin’. You ready for this?”

I didn’t look at him, but I didn’t look down either. I looked over his left shoulder at the mountain lion skin hanging there. “Yes, sir, I am.”

He nodded and stood up creakily. “Then turn around and bend over. Put your hands on your ankles. This is gonna hurt me more than it’ll hurt you.”

I did as I was told. The spanking hurt like hell and I never understood how it hurt him more. It stung, bled, and I grunted a few times as the slap of leather burned over a previously hit section. His aim wasn’t the best because he hit my back half the time.  I think I got twenty lashes. That’s what Mom told me when I was older. I don’t remember, I took my mind to a thought story bubble, of a girl running in a field of dandelions in the sun. No pain, no fear, just running and playing.

When I came back, it was over. I straightened up, hurting everywhere.

“Go have your Grandma look at that back and butt. Have her put some Mercurochrome on the cuts.”

I did as he told me. The cure was almost as bad as the cut.  I was stiff and sore for a few days and I also learned a very valuable lesson.

THE LESSON

Was it a lesson on how to listen to your parents when they tell you not to do something?

Short answer – No. Long answer – Oh hell, no!

I learned that if I was going do something I wasn’t supposed to do, I better pay damned good attention to the time. I asked, begged, pleaded for and was finally given an old windup pocket watch my grandfather had.

I cherished that watch and we were never late for dinner again. Our adventures took just enough time to fill the day and then we were done. It was a child’s version of the short story.

I think I learned it pretty well!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for reading and follow me for more interesting tales.  The links are below.

Until next time…

M.

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

I usually don’t toot my own horn, but this month has been an amazing journey for me.  As you know, I started a novel with the intention of forming 50,000 words in 30 days.  That meant writing 1,666 words, at least, for 30 days.  Every day.  No breaks.  1,666 words.

It’s a lot harder than you would think.  And over the course of this last month, I’ve learned a lot about myself personally and as a writer.  See, I can honestly say that now because I feel it.  In the end, on November 27, 2013, I clocked in at 53,441 words.  So, I am a writer.  I realized that I had won, but I still was. or rather am, in awe of it.  I’ve still got the ending to finish, also.  Which means… I am not done.

Yes, That’s right.  I. Am. Not. Done.

But here is the real interesting part.  At the beginning of the month, I was naively proud and cocky that I would succeed.

It’s not that hard to write 1,666 words in a day.  I’ve read blogs where professional writers are clocking in at 3,000 even 5,000 words in a day.  I can puke up a mere 1,666.  I laughed heartily…. HaHA!

Yeah…

Well….

It’s a pretty humbling experience to sit in front of a screen and stare at that blank page.  It’s like standing up to give a speech.  You shake.  You try to picture it in it’s underwear.

You get up and get a drink of water and come back.  Stare some more.

You poise your fingers over the key board the way it was taught in typing class (back when they had typing class).  You take a deep breath.  You close your eyes.  You picture the scene in your head.

And you type.

You keep typing, until typing is the only thing you can do.  Your mind breaks open like a watermelon hitting the pavement from a ten foot drop.  It bursts into a million tiny pieces of imagination.  and you type.  Furiously, until you feel as if your hands won’t ever move again.

Finally in exhaustion, you stop.  Your fingers are cramped and crooked.  You are so very proud of yourself.  You say, “I have written a novel!”

Then you look at the word count.  You stare at it in disbelief.

1,642

Your parched throat constricts.  If you weren’t so dehydrated, you would feel tears drip down from your lashes onto your pallid cheeks.  Your chapped lips form each of the numbers, cracking and bleeding as they do.  One thousand, six hundred forty-two words.

You hang your head, your greasy hair falling around your face.  You look like a girl from those Asian horror movies.  You feel even creepier.  Your mind can’t seem to get around the fact that you haven’t written enough.

“Maybe I should quit.  Just give up.  There is no way I can do this for 30 days.”  You shake your head slowly, defeated.

But your mind has already been opened.  You realize that, while it seems that you’ve just poured your soul out into a bottomless pit.  There is more.   There is more where that came from.  The story has just begun.  You aren’t done.  Your mind has already started thinking and processing what comes next and then after that.

You raise your head and look at that number again.  1,642.    When you had started this day, it was zero.  Now it was much more than that.   So, it wasn’t the exact amount needed.  So what?

Did word count really matter?

To quote an author I admire, Scott Sigler, “It’s all shite anyway.”  Just put it down and worry about the rest later.

So I squared my shoulders, shook the hair out of my eyes, took a long drink of water, and I started again.  Every day.

Halfway through the month, I realized I could type more and faster.  So I prepared for the holiday, ‘cause we all know they ain’t gonna be no typing when your belly is full o’ turkey!

And here I am.  53,441 and still going.  I’m okay with that.  I’m more humble.  But also, much more determined.  If this were easy, there would be a million of us doing it.

Oh wait, have you looked on Amazon lately?  Let me rephrase that.  If it were easy to write well, there would be million of us doing it.

I aim to write and I aim to write well.  Or at least tell the stories that are in my head well.  But that’s for another post.

Now that my first goal has been reached, saying, “I am a writer.”  My next goal will be to say, “I am a published writer.”

By the way, I’ve started a couple of short stories, too.  One is a horror story called “Emil’s Boat.”  I hope to have it published in an anthology I am submitting to.  But, again, that’s for another post.

Hope you join me.  See ya soon, right here.

M.

Sometimes we need motivation to write.

It’s not that the ideas are not in my head.  No, they are floating around in there, taking up valuable space. Space that could be used for something productive, like deciding to do the dishes, or how to start a novel.

The story idea bubbles in my head bump into and absorb all regular thought bubbles that normal people have bouncing to and fro.  Instead of popping and disappearing, my story idea bubbles incorporate regular thought bubbles into themselves.  Yesterday, when we first started NaNoWriMo, I had no clue how to start my novel.  I’d read that you should start out with a question to answer.  I can’t remember where I’d read it.  There have been so many blogs, articles, and books I’ve read lately to prepare to start my writing career that I can honestly say, I would have to go back and re-read everything to be able to quote anyone.  So I’m not going to quote.  I am just going to say that I’d read it.  Because I did and it stuck in a thought bubble in my head.

So this thought bubble Nano story that I’ve been outlining and researching had no real start.  Where was I gonna get the first sentence?  How the hell do you start a novel?

Yes, I did think those things.  Even though I’d read a lot about how to prepare, get through writer’s block, and sell a novel, I didn’t really read anything about how to start the damned thing.  Except that one time, when I’d read that you should start with a question.

That’s the thought bubble I woke up to yesterday.  What question should I start my novel with?

When I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, my eye’s were puffy, because I’d tossed and turned all night.  I’d thought, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

And that was it!  That’s the bubble that got sucked into this soapy story idea  My main character, looking into the mirror, puffy eyed, and asking, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Easy, right?  I guess, but up until that second, I was panicked that I wouldn’t have anything to write.  Now I’ve started and I’m still panicked.  But today, it wasn’t so bad.  I just asked myself, “So, what happens next?”

I’d looked at my outline, and away we went.  But there was one more thing that motivated me today.

choco picture1

Yup, Chocolate.  The other motivator.

If I could at least type the minimum of 1,666 words, I’d get that piece of chocolate.  Not just any chocolate, either.  Hershey’s Dark Chocolate.

I typed 2,035 words.

Yay, me!

Let’s see what tomorrow’s motivation will be…

M.

I woke up to the alarm at four thirty this morning.  I deliberately set the alarm sound to be something soothing last night, so I would be gently awakened.  Well, let me just say that last nights soothing sound is this mornings niggling warble.  And I think I’ve said it before.  I hate niggling.

My bleary eyed self tried to get dressed in the dark.  It’s not very easy.  So I turned on the flashlight of my phone.  Too bright, I think I burned my retina’s.  I turned off again.  Who was the idiot who thought getting up at four thirty in the morning was a good idea?

Oh yeah, me.  Why?  Because I had to make the word count.  Remember back in the late eighties and early nineties when Dunkin Donuts had the commercial with the surly, pudgy baker waking up early?  He would say, “Gotta make da donuts.”  That was me this morning, surly, pudgy and saying, “Gotta make da word count.”  NaNoWriMo started today and I’d told myself I was going to get up early and attend the first write-in.  That was before I actually had to get up.  That was when I was brightly awake and blithely ignorant of the consequences to my body and mind.

Now I was up, dressed, and on my way, driving six miles to the first write-in at a Starbucks near the mall.  I was late.  The stupid phone navigator took me to some suburb.  I cursed the male voice.  Yes, I had changed the female voice on my I-phone to the male voice.  I thought it would be cooler because the lady just got on my nerves..  I was wrong again.  At five o’clock in the morning, driving through fog, trying to find civilization and maybe a cup of coffee, the male voice pissed me off too.  I can’t win.

I got there late.  I ordered and received my coffee, prepared my laptop on the table, said a sleepy hello to everyone.  They replied in turn, sleepily.  And then I began to write.  Somehow during those first few moments as the caffeine hit my system and my thoughts turned to my characters and their world, I found alertness.  Everything around me sort of fell  into the background and in my mind’s eye I saw my main character brushing her teeth.  Surly, not pudgy, but nonetheless, bleary eyed.  She was wondering why in the hell she got up so early…

And the next thing I knew, I looked up and it was an hour and a half later.  I glanced at my word count.  2,038.  I still had more to say about this world I was in with my characters.  So much more.  I had barely gotten started.  What the heck?

I closed everything down and put it away.  It was time to head home and maybe write there.  As I was walking out, someone mentioned that their hands and arms were sore from typing.  I realized that mine were sore too.  I was just like the other writers.  It hit me.  I was just like them.  I am a writer.  I smiled as I got in my car, started it up and drove home through the lifting fog.

I am a writer.

The adventure begins.caffeine powers..

M.