Friday, February 27, 2015

Depression Hurts

I've been writing a lot, but I haven't been writing a lot on this blog. I've been concentrated my writing on my writing blog, and as a consequence I feel like my baby blogger has been neglected. I've been updating this blog for over three years now.

I came to blogger in a dark time, that I didn't realize was dark. I had people telling me they thought I was depressed. I had people telling me they would be depressed too if they had lost all of their hair. I didn't believe them even as the swirling vortex of depression was sweeping me away.

Looking back on that time, years ago. I realize I came back into writing for cathartic purposes. At first, I didn't have a goal. I had a lot of boredom. I spent much of my time reading, escaping into a book, and pushing family away. I made some great friends, and that was what I needed at that time-- outside influences.  It's funny how we can't see what is happening to us until we take a step back. For me that step back was three years later: NOW. I look back at that time of my life, and I see someone who was suffering and didn't know where to turn. I was having trouble in my marriage, my hair fell out, my kids were all little bitty and depended on me for so much, my oldest son was having emotional problems of his own, and for me the easiest thing to do was escape.

I did escape in a productive way. I started taking Tae Kwon Do. I made friends through Tae Kwon Do, who told me I was beautiful even if I was bald. Some of those friends even encouraged my writing, and I have them to thank for how far I've come since then. I learned discipline, and I realized how much exercise helped me to relax and to find a direction for the hopeless boredom I felt on the inside. Because for me that's what depression does. It makes me feel bored and unsettled. It makes me flit from one thing to another like a toddler. When I'm depressed, satisfaction is elusive, like that vague term happiness.  

Finding direction is hard, and now I see my son suffering the same symptoms, although he suffers in a different way than me. He has this crazy energy, and he has this need to direct it. Unfortunately when you have so much energy, so much drive, and a mind that won't stop turning, the dark cloud sometimes threatens to rain on you. You sometimes feel like nothing works for you and nothing will fill up that empty place inside.

I have felt like that so much. I still feel like that some days. So my heart aches so much for my son, when I see that he has so many of these same symptoms. My heart aches for him when he struggles with his frustration and anger. I hope he finds his purpose, and I hope his friends understand his struggles--at least a little bit. And until then, Hubby and I are going to help him through.

People who are mentally ill, don't always know when they are spiraling downward until they have landed at the bottom or even until they are climbing out.  Our mental health system in the U.S. is broken. Just ask me. I have to shell out tons of money every year, because my insurance (a reputable agency) will only support ONE psychiatrist (and they just went out of business) in my city of 250k people. ONE. So for people who are suffering or who have children suffering, like me, they often have to dole out dollars they can't afford to part with, but must for their own good or for the sake of their children.

We need to break this stigma. We need to get people the help they need. And more than that, we don't need to be afraid to talk about. Because when we're afraid to talk about it the people who are suffering or who have loved ones who are suffering feel more isolated and more alone.  People need to realize there is no normal.  We are all flawed and broken creatures, but there is help out there.

 I've found my purpose, and having goals and pushing myself every day to achieve has given me more of a sense of who I am and it helps to keep the restless boredom from claiming my life.

You can read more about mental illness here and the different types of disorders that affect 1 in 4 Americans :

Friday, February 20, 2015

Science Night

Last night, the kids had science night at their school. They go to an awesome school where science and math are emphasized. In the fall, we had a math night.

I took Number Two and Darling Daughter to their activities. We did fun things like make snow, play with magic sand, learned about magnets, and also about conductors and insulators. Did you know a magnet doesn't pick up a key? Or a coin? Even I learned something last night.

We met up with Hubby and Number One in the hallway on the way out, and Number One couldn't stop talking.

"Guess what, Mom? I got to eat liquid nitrogen. You know in the movies, where they have smoke, that's what they use. Isn't that cool? And we made robots. It was so awesome."

It was exciting to see my normally brooding ten year old tween so excited about learning. Isn't that what we all want? For our kids to have a love of learning? Well, his school succeeds in creating that in kids.

Here's a video of him eating the liquid nitrogen. Too cool!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Information Post

Hey folks! If you've been following my writing journey on blogspot, then first, thank you. Secondly, I'm going to start dedicating this blogspot blog more to just personal things. If you love my kids as much as I do, then stay right where you are.

If you want to mostly follow my writing journey, find out about new releases, listen to me rant and rave and go and on and on about writing, read my flash fiction entries, then head on over to and follow me there! Ideally, I'd like it if you followed both pages, because that'd be cool and all.

Secondly, and the last piece of "writing" related work I'm posting on blogspot is this. I'm judging a flash fiction contest today over on  Go enter so I have someone to judge!

This weekend was full of gymnastics. Number One had his first meet since he injured his shoulder. He did well, but he didn't place in the top three overall (crazy from where we were last year). His best score was on pommels/mushroom with a 10.0, which was 2nd place. I'll leave you with this little video, so you can bask in his success as much as I do.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cold Blood Part 2

Last week, I started a four part story to be finished by another author. This is a Terrible Minds challenge. This week, I was able to pick the first part of a story and add the second.

I chose Cold Blood by Pavowski.  You can read the first part of the story here:

And here is the second part, my contribution:

She shivered, frozen to the spot, and looked around at the stand of trees surrounding the camping site. She couldn’t see who it was, and she thought they must be hiding out there. Lem tiptoed back over to the fire and sat down on the rock, as the figure came out of the woods. Her heart pounded against her ribcage, trying to break free of its confines. She could see the outline of the backpack, and a wave of relief washed over her when she saw the dreads on his head—just a backpacker.

“You scared me,” she said.

“I was separated from my group about an hour ago.”

Lem looked up to the sky and realized the sun hadn’t even been up for an hour. Unease crept into her, but she plastered a smile on her face as she looked at him.

“Did you see a man on the trail? About six feet? Beard, probably unkempt hair?”

The backpacker shook his head. She sat on the rock warming her hands by the fire, and she motioned for him to take a seat.

“I’m Ian,” he said.

She grasped his hand, noticing his knuckles were split around the edges, like he’d been hitting something. He followed her eyes, and she stared up at him, darkness staring back at her. She shuddered and pulled her hand back too abruptly.

“I practice taekwondo. Split my knuckles on the punching bag. Your name?”

She nodded, but she didn’t believe him—the same feeling of unease from this morning creeping back to her as she wondered where Mark could be and whether the blood on the rock was his.



“Belonging to God.”


“It’s what the name means. It was my mother’s maiden name and was stuck onto me like a fungus. Imagine being a girl and growing up with a name like Lem.”

She didn’t know why she was telling him this, nervous talk, because when she looked at him the feeling of dread seeped under her skin. She wished Mark was here, or that she even knew where Mark was, but more than that she wished the gun in the tent was in her hands. She thought about breaking away from the campfire, going into the tent and pushing it into the space between the elasticity of her pants and her skin.  But, she thought, if Ian was dangerous then she would be trapped. Coming out of the tent, he could easily accost her and she didn’t want that. She thought about the split skin on his hands, the blood seemed newly dried and this thought turned her stomach as she thought about the little pool of blood on the ice. It could only be Mark’s.

“Would you like some bacon?” she asked, pointing towards the pan she had left cooling by the fire.

Her breath was still coming out in vapor, but the world seemed to be warming up now that the sun was peeking up from behind the trees. 

“Yeah, that’d be fucking great,” Ian said, and he leaned forward to help himself to two pieces.

“So how does one get lost from their group so early in the morning?”

He glared at her, and she felt an icy prickle, like a hand, trail through her body alerting her to the danger this man seemed to possess. 

“Maybe you should be asking yourself that about—what’s his name?”

“Mark.” When the name came from her lips, she knew Mark was past tense. She wanted to crawl out into the woods and look for his body, but right now she had to protect herself from the monster sitting right next to her. 

“This bacon’s great.” The words from his mouth dripped like acid, despite the benign nature of them.

She nodded, pulling her knees to her chest and rocking back and forth, trying to warm herself up in a childlike pose meant to protect her from things unknown.

“I think I’m just going to go to the tent, put another layer on. You’re welcome to another piece of bacon.”

She set her feet into the dirt, and as she started to push herself up from the rock his hand clamped on her wrist, a pair of handcuffs meaning to trap her to this place. His fingernails dug into her skin, a grip so tight she knew there was no escaping.

“I think you should stay here,” he said through clenched teeth.

Her heart was beating so fast, a thousand tons sitting on her chest, as the reality of the situation started sinking in. Sweat broke out on her forehead, despite the coldness that seemed to drag itself into every pore of her body.  She wanted it to be a nightmare. She wanted to wake up and roll over, feel Mark’s warm skin next to hers and warm herself up with a morning coital.

The daydream faded as she realized Ian wasn’t going to let go. Her eyes moved from his hands, split knuckles, dirt under the fingernails, to his chest.  When she saw it, she gasped.

He had the necklace hanging around his neck—a token from a kill? The Joshua Tree imprinted on the metal, the frayed edges of the shoelace material laying along Ian’s neck, instead of Mark’s where it belonged. She had bought it for Mark at Joshua Tree National Park about a month after they started dating. He hadn’t taken it off since.

And she knew what this man was here to do.

He maintained his grasp on her wrist. With his other hand he trailed his fingers against the exposed skin on her neck. She started screaming, and as expected he clamped his hand over her mouth, the smell of dirt and moisture filling her nostrils.

Lem tried to break away from his grasp, and was surprised when the searing pain clouded her field of vision, and suddenly her world went completely black. This is it for me, she thought. 

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Friday, February 13, 2015

And we have a winner...Plus "Just a Body"

I'm happy to announce that we have a winner for the Rafflecopter giveaway of a free copy of "No Turning Back."

(James, check your email!)

Thanks to everyone who entered, and check back often for more giveaways.  For more information about "No Turning Back," such as where you can buy it, see the bottom of this post


Now, I wanted to share with you "Just A Body." I wrote this piece for Mid-Week Blues Buster, which my great author friend, Michael Simko, led me to this week. He knows all things Flash Fiction. One day, we're going to start our own Flash contest, so keep attuned for that announcement.

Also, one little brag on myself. I won Alissa Leonard's Flash Fiction contest this week with my entry of "Berlin." I'll be judging next week over there, so if you're a writer make sure to enter so you can make my decision harder!

And, without further ado, here's Just A Body:

Fumbling around in the dark, he couldn’t find where he had left his pants. He had one shoe on, and he was hopping around like one of those poor blokes in the movies. He knew it was time to leave. She was in the bed, still looking at him and scratching her armpits. God, he hated when she did that. He could imagine her monkey self, somewhere out in the jungles of Africa, and it turned his stomach.
She picked at her fingernails and looked at him, as he pulled the khaki pants up over his rump.

“So you’re going to leave again, just like that?”

“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. He was glad the lights were out, and the room was dusky, so she couldn’t see he was lying.

At exactly that same moment, she clicked on the bedside lamp. He looked like a deer in headlights, standing there slack-jawed, she thought. God, why did she invite him into her bed every time she ran into him? She’d been picking out mangoes at the grocery store this time, when he’d come up from behind. His hand automatically put his arm around her waist, as if he owned her.  

“It’s Sunday,” she said, but she could hear the neediness in her voice. She reached to the floor and plucked up the rose colored shirt that had been discarded seventeen minutes before in the heat of passion.

“Um, yeah, I know.” The words dribbled out, falling flat between them, little meaning behind them besides the lie.

“Do you think we should, you know, do more than this?” She wondered why she was asking. She’d never been one for commitment, but there was something about him.

He was standing up against the wall, and he leaned back easing into it as if it could hold him up and maybe even carry him away from this conversation.

“More than this?” he asked, acting oblivious.

“Forget it. Get to work,” she said, turning over and turning off the light.

He slammed the door when he left her house. He saw the need in her eyes for something more. But he knew he couldn’t give that to her.  He pulled out his phone and Emma’s name was flashing.

He auto-dialed.

“Hey Em.”

“Where have you been?”

“You know, just out for a Sunday stroll.”

“I have on red lingerie and I’m sitting in bed waiting for you. Waiting is so not sexy. Did you forget Sunday was our day?”

“Sorry—I just had an intense need for some mangoes.”

At least Emma understood their arrangement, he thought, as he started the car, driving towards another dark room where he could lose himself inside another woman, just a figure, just a body, nothing more.  


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

You're a Natural

Last night, Number One had a private lesson at gymnastics.  He's a level 5 gymnast, but he dislocated his shoulder at the beginning of the year. He's preparing for his first meet of the season this weekend. His coach looked at me last night and said, "You know, all he needs is the confidence. He has such a natural ability, but he doubts it."

And it got me thinking about, because I have a natural ability to write or at least an inclination to do so, but I doubt how good I am ALL THE TIME. I doubt people will want to read my stuff.  I read a great blog with lots of colorful language over at Terrible Minds yesterday, and it really made me think about how we all seem to beat ourselves up and put ourselves down and be our worst critic. And it's stupid. Chuck is right, we do it so we don't have to succeed or push ourselves, or work HARD for something that's supposed to be natural. But guess what folks? It takes working hard to be good and to achieve your goals, even if you are a natural.

My son, at the age of ten, knows that he has to work the high bars over and over again to get his kip. He knows he needs to swing his legs around the mushroom a million times to perfect his spindle and his flares. But, even he, has doubt. Doubt is natural too.  Work hard for what you want, even if you are a natural. And if you're not a natural, then work harder and you'll get there. It's determination and hard work that helps you succeed.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An Accident Waiting To Happen

Yesterday, I was in a foul mood. I was letting those dishrags in the sink get to me. I've been waking up at 3:30 AM every morning, mostly I think because my mind can't sleep. I have a lot to do, and when I wake up early I am always productive.  I went through the day letting everything anyone say irk me, and by the end of the day I was exhausted. I hit the gym, and I did two miles on the treadmill and laughed probably for the first time that day while running and watching, "Juno."

When I came home, I wanted to work on my synopsis, on fixing typos and editing another work, and I wanted to get another few hundred words into my work in progress, Little Birdhouses. But more than that, I wanted to curl up in bed and go to sleep by 8:30.  You know what they say about the best laid plans.

I consciously ignored the kids while I worked through my manuscript for about an hour. Hubby put the kids in the bath one at a time. We had a cold front come through, so our gas fireplace was on. And Number Two comes in the room, prancing around butt naked and bends over, sticking his butt right on the hot glass (I'll remove this post before he's a teenager and it embarrasses him too much).

At first, I didn't think he had hurt himself. He cried immediately, but not a heavy cry, more a shock of a cry. And then he started screaming, and he wouldn't stop for about forty-five minutes. Burns hurt. Well, we debated, is this a first degree burn or a second degree burn? We cooled it down, put him in a cool bath, and put aloe on it, but still he couldn't sit on it. He said it hurt so badly, and the burn was angry, red and swollen. Hubby went to pick up Number One from gymnastics (where he basically lives), and I stayed home with the little two. I finally got Number Two settled and asleep on the couch, about forty-five minutes after the incident, when Number One burst into the room and woke him up. Hubby put silver gel on the burn, the pharmacist's recommendation, which elicited a whole new outbreak of cries. He requested, "You Are My Sunshine," and then promptly cried himself to sleep.

Poor Number Two. .He's always getting hurt. First the broken wrist, then the punctured head, and now this.

I felt like the day was leading up to that point--just a day where you know something is off. Do you ever have that feeling?


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Tuesday, February 10, 2015


For today's Finish That Thought, I wrote a sequel to The Wall. If you haven't read The Wall, then you may want to start there. Otherwise, this can be a stand alone too.

Ada could see the little girl hiding behind the desk. The little girl had only transformed halfway, tusks protruding from the corners of her mouth, but blond ringlets still adorning her head.  Her eyes held the look of having seen too much in her short years.

Ada stepped forward, her wings fluttered aimlessly on her back. She kicked the dead body out of the way, probably the girl’s father. He had died easily. He hadn’t even tried to defend himself. She walked straight up to the desk, and she put her hands down heavily upon it. She heard the girl scurry, trying to push herself further back of course, as if she knew what was to come.

When Ada squatted down, she held out the poisoned knife. It was the same one that had taken the life of her childhood friend Hannes, a few years before the Wall had fallen. The child trembled as their eyes met. Her tusks receded as she saw kindness in Ada’s eyes. Ada slid the knife into the sheath adorning her leg. She reached out her palm to the child, and the girl sat her hand in hers, warmth of touch feeling their bodies: something Ada hadn’t felt since the years began.

The girls’ pupils were dilated, black orbs swimming around in her head.

“My Momma said fairies were nice. She used to tell me and my brother stories of your kind.”

“Where is your brother?”

“Dead,” the girl said, her face was deadpan and she had stopped trembling.

“I suppose the stories were of wood nymphs, rather than fairies. Few realize fairies are full sized.”

The girl shook her head, “My Momma had a best friend who was a fairy. She told us about how they used to play, before the Wall changed everything.”

Ada moved her hand to cradle the girl’s elbow, and she helped her up, careful not to let her bump her head on the desk above her. The school room floor was slippery with blood, and Ada slipped as she brought the girl into the light. She caught herself by pushing herself up from the dead body who lay still in the chair. Only sleeping, she told herself. She’d been telling herself that all along to assuage the guilt that continually crept into her soul.

The little girl’s blonde ringlets spilled from her head. Ada’s grip on her hand was heavy, and the girl had started squirming as she took in the killing room. Ada was surprised she didn’t run to her father. She had seen many children do that, try to find protection in the arms of the dead.  She took the girl into a chokehold, and she bent down towards her, caressing her face with her hand.

“What your mother told you about fairies, none of it was true.”

She drew the knife, and she sent the child shape shifter to a better place. At least she hoped so. 

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Dish Rags Don't Belong In The Sink

Do you have pet peeves? Sure, everyone does. Mine are things like this: don't leave the cap off the toothpaste and don't leave the kitchen cabinets open. Stupid things, that for some reason drive me absolutely insane.  I used to have a lot of pet peeves, and I used to make them all known. Critical Kelly, or whatever.

Today I woke up at 4 AM, and I found this in the bathroom sink:

I have a child, not to be named, who always does this:

Crazy Eyed Shepherd
A few years ago, the dishrag in the sink would have made me livid. I mean, steam coming out of my ears kind of mad. I used to have an anger problem. It's funny, because Number One struggles with controlling his emotions, and sometimes I ask myself why? Well, I can look right back at myself because I was that person for years.

I realized a few years ago, that dish rags in the sink DON'T matter. Who cares? Tell the kid not to put the dish rag in the sink, remind him over and over again, and he still does it. Obviously, he needed a wet rag to make the swoop on his hair perfect, or to stop the bloody noses that plague him all winter. In the scheme of things, is it important that I have to remind him to remove the dish rags from the sink a hundred times? There's absolutely no reason to get upset about it. A few years ago, though, I would have seen that in the sink and I would have seethed. When he woke up, the first words out of my mouth would probably have been caustic and punishing. I would have pushed him away from me, instead of holding him tight. I only have a few short years left with this crazy-eyed, wild kid before he moves off on his own. I want him to know he's loved and accepted. I want him to know how to make himself happy: by letting go of the small things.

You see, there's no point in getting wrapped up in the small things. All it does is take you away from the big things that you should be present for. It takes you away from the moment where your child might wake up and say, "Hey, I had the best dream." Or the moment when they're lying in bed next to you, and they're spilling their heart to you, because you're having one-on-one time and that's precious and rare. If you're always getting upset about the little things, then you're pushing people away. You're using it as an excuse not to let people get close to you. Trust me, I know, because I used to be that person (and I still sometimes am-a constant struggle).

It's so easy to change this too.  Be conscious of what you say to others and how you interact. Smile at people.  Let people know they're loved and accepted, even when they're being "corrected." When you feel anger rising up in you, count to ten, or walk away.  Come back to the problem at a later time if it angers you too much in the moment.  Think about it this way: if the dishrag is in the sink and I don't want it there, then I can pick it up and move it but I can't force someone else to do that. I can advise my child to not do it again, but chances are he will. I can use it as a learning experience, and make fun and conversation afterwards, instead of using it as a distancing tool simply in my tone and demeanor.

Do you get mad because there are dishrags in the sink?


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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Time Warp

Today, I'm posting another flash fiction piece from a challenge over at Chuck Wendig's website Terrible Minds. This week the challenge was to write 1,000 words of a story. Next week, another person will write a 1,000 words, and this will go on for 4 weeks. In the end there will be a complete story finished by 4 different authors. Pretty neat, and it reminds me of when we were a kiddo and we used to pass stories around like this, each person weaving it into something the original "author" didn't anticipate. Fun stuff! And hey, look, at the bottom of this post I posted the Rafflecopter giveaway that no one has entered. I guess no one likes free stuff? Click on it to win, and leave me a comment on this blog to tell me what you think about today's story!

Time Warp
973 Words

It was a day like any other. She had come down the stairs, her phone was ringing, and she stopped to answer it, realizing her pump had slipped halfway off. She put her hand against the building, and leaned in, pulling the pump over her heel.  She caught herself looking at a bearded man, sitting in the park, reading a newspaper. Her eyes looked him up and down.

On a hunch, she crossed the road to the park, not even looking for taxi cabs, even though she knew they wouldn’t stop. She’d read just the other day about a kid who had been hit, holding hands with his father.  She didn’t know why she was headed to the park. She should have turned right and walked the length of the street, on the way to Barnes Butler to drop off the package. But there was something vaguely familiar she saw in the man.

When she had crossed, she stopped and she stared at the back of his head, silently daring him to turn around. He was engrossed in the newspaper, and she thought maybe she should just turn and leave. Instead, she barreled forward as if driven by a motor and stood in front of him, like a tree, blocking his reading light. He shook the paper and tilted his eyes up towards her. His face twitched in instant recognition, but it was too late for him to go anywhere.

“I thought that was you,” she said.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“I work across the street.”

She sat down next to him, and he folded up the paper and sat it on his knee. He gave her a sidelong look as she stared at the print on the paper and gingerly picked it up with her thumb and index finger.

“You know if you’re going to sit here on a bench in Central Park in the middle of New York City, the least you could do is buy a newspaper dated for today. March 4, 1972, really Henry?”

“I take it there’s nothing in that manila envelope I need to be worried about. It doesn’t look thick enough to carry a gun.”

“What do they say these days?” she asked, raising her eyebrows at him. “Take a chill pill?”

“Yes, I think that’s correct. I’ll tell you the English language is not what it used to be.”

“You’re not my target this time.”

“Who is?”

“That’s privileged information, and you know it.”

“So how come you can’t kill me now, but in 2150 I’m your mortal enemy?”

She shrugged, clutching the package in her hand, and looking from side to side to make sure no one had followed her. He put his hand down on the bench, and he moved it over towards her skirt, but her reflexes were quick and she slapped it away.  It pained her too, because she’d always found him attractive, even with a target on his head.  But this wasn’t one of those spy movies where the two people fell in love and forgot all about the price on their head. She knew she’d have to target Henry next time they warped, and she didn’t want to risk unnecessary emotions becoming involved.  She had never been here, to this time, and it was a surprise to see him. He looked innocent and younger than the last time she’d seen him.  Of course then, his hands had been gripping the side of the building and she had been just about to peel them off one by one. She had imagined the scene as he dropped the fifty stories to the ground. She could even hear the splat his body would have made against the pavement, but in that exact moment in time she had warped.

The next assignment had not been a good one either, because it had occurred during the war, and it had taken much longer than she expected. Blue versus Gray, and she had been a housewife. She thought to herself that she should have never taken this job. She had no roots. Babies born and abandoned. But here she was, still at the hands of the powers to be.

“I could help you,” he said.

“And why would you do that?”

“Because you didn’t kill me last time.”

Ha, she thought to herself. Only because there was a glitch in the machine. “I tried to.”

“Have you thought that maybe the orders have changed?”

She looked him in the eyes. She felt like she could trust him, but she didn’t know why. Her mind jumped to the moment in time where he was about to fall to his death. His eyes had looked sincere and warm, and in that moment she had felt a twinge of guilt. She never felt that way. It was always just business to her, never guilt.

“And why would they have changed?”

“Ophelia, we’re working for different people who have the same objective, aren’t we?”

She nodded, because she knew he was right. She looked down at her watch, the second hand spinning fast, and she felt the familiar wave come over her. No, not now, she thought. She couldn’t warp now. She grabbed the park bench, her grip tightened against the wood, as if she could save herself from traveling through space and time.

“What is it?” he asked.

“I think it’s coming. The warp.”

He shook his head. “That’s impossible. You haven’t done your job yet.”

“And how do you know what my job is?” she asked.

“That’s simple,” he said. “Our groups, they’ve—“

But the words were gone, in a swirling whirlwind, because in that moment her body was disassembling into millions of tiny particles, atoms, quarks, and it was traveling through a funnel towards another time period. 

When she opened her eyes…(To Be Continued by someone else!)

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Who Doesn't Like Free Stuff?

I'm writing this post at 4 AM, because I've been up hacking up a lung since 3:30. I figured, why not be productive, instead of lying here in bed pretending my body will fall back asleep! Oh, the joys of the flu and cold season!

Anyway, getting to the point of this post! This is a giveaway! (YAY!!!) Doesn't everyone like free stuff? For one week, you can enter to win a free copy of my e-book, "No Turning Back."  A random winner will be selected next Friday, February 13th (aww, just in time for Valentine's Day).  All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. I'd like a specific comment, because, you know, I love to read. Writers generally do, love to read that is. So, I'd like you to leave me a comment with the best book you've read lately!

Click here to enter to win a free copy of my book: a Rafflecopter giveaway .  You can also enter to win over at my Facebook author's page:

And, if you're one of the few who doesn't know by now that I actually did write a book. Here's a little bit about it:

Here's a summary:

Kaia Hart seems to have it all: a career as a successful architect, two perfect children, and a handsome husband, Patrick, but she’s haunted by an accident in her past.  On a business call, one day, she’s surprised to find Asher, her once-love, has moved to town and will be working with her.  In “No Turning Back,” Kaia faces nightmares from her past and big decisions about her future, as the two worlds seem to collide.  Will Kaia give up everything for Asher, or will she find comfort in the arms of Patrick?  

Add it to your Goodreads reading list:

Where can I buy this book? Glad you asked:

Barnes and Noble:

You can find more of me online in these locations:

Now, let's see those comments down below! I'm going to go take some meds, deal with this cold, and watch the entries roll in...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Almost Giveaway Time...

Tell your friends, tell your neighbors! Tomorrow, right here, I will be hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a free copy of my e-book, "No Turning Back."  It's easy to enter! 

So send your friends and family over to my blog tomorrow so they can get their own copy of my book! The more the merrier.

In the meantime, I'm off to write and cough up a lung. Oh the joys of flu and cold season!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Finding Balance

I think the thing I hear most from my friends, family and other writers is, "How in the world do you find time to write with three kids?" I also get this question about how I find time to read. And the answer is simple: you make time to do what you love.  Do what you love, and you'll love what you do. That's my new mantra. Excuses take away from success, so I'm done making excuses in every part of my life.

But, that said, I still find it hard to achieve balance in my life. I become so absorbed with my characters when I'm writing that they seem to be living with me. I think about them in the shower, when I'm eating, and when I'm watching Number Two play basketball. I think about how they'd react to a certain person, what they would say, and even what they would order at a restaurant. Writers are a little crazy like that: they always have someone else living in their heads.

On Monday, Darling Daughter was diagnosed with double ear infections. I'm hoping she won't need tubes again, but she may. When I came home from the day job that night, I was on a mission to put "No Turning Back" on Createspace, order my cover and spine. Nothing could get in my way, and as a result I sat on the couch with the computer as kiddos clambered over me, but mostly I ignored them. And I felt bad. I felt bad the next day when Darling Daughter woke up and crawled into my lap, throwing her arms around me (still, and not for much longer, smelling a little bit like a baby), and kissed me on the cheek. She said, "I love you Mommy."  And my heart melted, and I decided I would have to take a day off from (or rather the night off) from writing, editing, or doing the next thing that needed to get done on Tuesday. I needed to spend time with the kids. So we went to my Mom and Dad's house, and Darling Daughter followed my Mom around while I watched Rio with Hubby and Number Two. Number One was busy at the gym perfecting his kip on the high bars.

Still, I felt better that night, like I had been present for them.  And to top it all off, Number Two and I read "The Giving Tree," before bed. And I told him how giving and caring he is, and how I'm envious of those qualities that seem to reside in his soul.

Balance is hard for me. When I get absorbed in a work-in-progress, it's hard for me to pull myself away.  How do you find balance between your work/life?  Having a day job, kids, and trying to write (more or less full time) is tricky business.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Wall

This week, I'm participating in Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge. At 2,000 words it's really a short story, but it was fun to play with. He listed 20 genres and 20 subgenres and a random number generator was responsible for the genre-mesh we had to write. My chosen two were Urban fantasy and alternate history. I knew this would be a challenge, because I don't write in any of these genres.

Without further ado:

The Wall by Lauren Greene
1998 words

On August 13, 1961, they started building the wall.  I remember, because that night my mother tucked me into bed and whispered to me, “Ada, from now on we will be safe. From them. They won’t be able to get us.”

I heard snippets on the news broadcasts, “Communists and Fascists.” I saw his fist slam against the table as my father shouted, “It’s not right. They’re cutting off families.”

But my mother, she said it was right. She was the voice of reason whispered in my ear. I remembered her words: It will keep us safe from them.

Twenty-eight years later, my mother’s voice still seemed to be whispering those words into my ears, even from her grave. Cancer, they had said. My mother had wasted away, and within six weeks of the diagnosis they were putting her in the hard, cold ground. Then my father had drank himself nearly to death, and I never took off my black mourning clothes.  Some say I was responsible for the start of the Goth subculture, but I don’t know if I’d go that far.

The wall ran right through my street, an ugly sight of gray concrete rising up from the ground and capped with a circular piece, supposedly to deter climbers. My neighbor, Mr. Millicent’s, elderly mother lived on the other side. He received permits to go over the wall and into West Germany to visit.

“What’s it like over there?”

“Different. More freedom. The wall on that side is covered in graffiti. They talk about unification.”

I was horrified, remembering the drawings my mother had made in the leather-bound book and her words of warning.

“Is your mother safe?” I asked him.

“They say it’s safer than here. They have policemen roaming the street, but no armed guards.”

I was shocked by this. But, what if? I didn’t express my concern to him, just nodded and continued to eat the cookie he had given me, and took a sip of my coffee. Dark and rich, just the way I liked it.

“There is some talk, from the government, that they are going to tear it down,” Mr. Millicent said, as he stirred his cream into his coffee.

I met his eyes, and I knew the expression on my face was akin to The Scream. 

“I will be glad,” Mr. Millicent continued. “My mother is elderly, and she needs someone to take care of her. Visiting doesn’t cut it.”

“There’s been talk before,” I said. “Nothing comes of it, as well it shouldn’t.”

“I’m surprised, Ada. For such an artistic lady as you, the West seems to be the place you should be.”

I wondered who I could talk to.  Were they really going to tear the wall down? I knew for a fact the government knew what was really on the other side, even if they kept it from their civilians. I’d heard all about the civilian deaths, about people who went from the East to the West for a visit and never came back. 

I stood up and delivered the chipped rose-colored tea cup to the sink, twisting it in my hand and thinking about Mr. Millicent cut off from his mother, just on the other side of the wall, within waving distance. I turned back toward him, propping myself against the counter.

“I’m going down to Museum Island today.”

“Oh yeah. I hear they’re thinking about doing something about that, renovating. What do you want there? Walk the ruins?”

“It’s beautiful. My mother used to tell me stories of before the war, about how the museums were. I’d like to walk around and feel her presence.”

“Oh yes. The anniversary, right?”

I nodded, looking down at the grungy tile on the floor, feeling the familiarity of the grief rising up within me, threatening to take over. It never got easier, losing your parent, even if it had been eighteen years.

“Talked to your dad lately?”

I shook my head, looked away, and gathered my coat from the back of the chair, sliding my arms into it.

“You should give him a call. I heard rehab worked for him this time. He wants to change, Ada.”

“He has my number. He knows where I live.”

I felt underdressed when I came out of the train near Museum Island. The breeze seemed to have kicked up, the water in the canals rippled, and the wind chilled me to the bone. The Altes Museum was the only one open, the others were busy falling into ruin and decay. Such a shame; all the history here was falling by the wayside, and I hoped what Mr. Millicent said about renovations was true.  
I was standing in front of Thronende, when I felt the weight of somebody’s hand placed on my shoulder. I turned around to see familiar eyes that I hadn’t seen in years. I knew the face, he was the little boy who lived across the street from us in West Berlin, before the wall was built. I had played with him, running through the streets; memories of my childhood swept through me like a wave.


“Hannes Nimitz,” I said. The fear caught in my throat, and I felt it swell. My mother had told me he was one of them: a shape-shifter. The little boy I had played with was one of them.
His hand was still on my shoulder, and I had turned slightly toward him. I could see the coarse hair freckling the back of his hands, creeping slowly out of his jacket the way vines crept up trees. 

“How did you get here?”

“East, you mean? I’m part of an envoy to your government, to encourage them to tear down the wall.”

“Did you run out of food on that side?”

I couldn’t believe I was standing here, next to him, in the Altes. My whole body seemed to shake with fear, and he was still touching my shoulder. My mother had drawn pictures in the book. The transformation from man to wild boar. Shoulders slumped, falling to the ground as hooves took the place of their feet and tusks protruded from their mouths. I stared at Hannes Nimitz’s mouth and noticed his canines were large, “the better to eat you with,” I thought of the old familiar lines of 
“Little Red Riding Hood.” 

“You know, don’t you?” he asked, hand still sitting on my shoulder.

I nodded, and I tried to back away but he tightened his grip. My breathing came rapidly, as I tried to pull away from him.

“It’s a lie, Ada.”

“My mother wouldn’t create monsters like that if they weren’t true.”

He moved closer to me, pushed his face into mine and whispered the words through clenched teeth. 

“It’s true, but we aren’t dangerous. Not in the way your mother thought.”

My whole world seemed to come crashing down. I thought of the tales my mother had told me of the West Germans stealing babies from their cradles, devouring them and leaving only empty bonnets in their cribs. Why would she create such horrible stories?

“Think about it? Did I ever put you in danger? Did my parents?”

I thought back on my carefree days as a child and I shook my head, but I still felt small and weak in his presence. My mother had drawn those pictures, of Hitler, and what he had done to all those people. I had never understood why he had starved them half to death before he killed them, but my mother had explained that boars liked bones. 

“What about Hitler?”

He dropped his hand down to his side, and looked me in the eye as if he was challenging me. We strolled through the gallery, which seemed so romantic but the reality of the situation was far from it.

“There are some corrupt shifters. Just like there are some corrupt politicians. Do you really think a wall could keep us out?”

We were standing in front of the bust of Nefertiti. I looked out of the windows, surprised to see rain, when it had felt cold enough for snow. The gray colds seemed to be taking over the whole sky. I looked him in the eyes, and something wild and free looked back at me. I hadn’t felt free for years, trapped by my fears of this world, trapped by my fears of him.

I thought of him in his lederhosen as a little boy, running down the street in front of our houses, before we had been separated by the wall. The smile he always had plastered on his face and the twinkling in his eyes. Even at that age, he knew he had to pretend he was someone he was not. I understood that, pretending for all these years along with all the East Germans that the only danger on the other side of the wall was democracy.  

I grabbed his wrist, and twisted it pulling him toward me with as much force as I could muster. He did not resist, and when he leaned in I thought he was going to kiss me, so I pushed him away.

“I will fight you and your kind for the rest of my life if I have to. I have connections too.”

“Your mother’s dead,” he said, cocking his head at me.

“She fought for us her whole life.”

“Too bad she’s not here to fight for you anymore,” he said, and turned his back, walking away from me.

When I got home I pulled off my jacket and released my wings, shaking them out until they were full sized. The light danced against the iridescence of the spider silk from which they were woven.  I thought about Hannes Nimitz and how he said shifters weren’t dangerous. In my room, I pulled out the leather bound book my mother had left for me. The first page showed the Nazi symbol and Hitler, morphing from a man to a boar. He had led the fairies into gas chambers, killing millions of us.  My mother had escaped persecution, as had many fairies who kept their wings a secret. Ever since, I had been told to hide who I really was. I wasn’t all that different from Hannes in that respect. I knew I would never feel comfortable releasing my wings in public, although some fairies, as of late, had come out of hiding.

I slid the book back into the drawer, and as I did I heard glass breaking downstairs. I reached down, sliding the knife from the sheath securely attached to my leg. I gripped the bannister tightly with my left hand as I scanned the house for signs of the intruder.

In the hallway, I could hear heavy panting. I turned around, and there he stood, half-man, half-boar, still in the process of shifting.

“The door was open,” he grunted.

I looked at the shards of glass where they were scattered along the floor. I knew he could use them against me. His hooves struck the ground, as if he was about to charge me. His transformation complete now, the eyes of a wild beast replaced the soft blue hue of Hannes’. He didn’t calculate his move, instead he charged at me with his tusks. I knew he didn’t see it coming. He was huge, but I thrust the poison-laced knife directly into his heart. Blood seemed to drain out of him at an alarming rate, as he sunk to the ground and curled up in the fetal position. I watched as his fur slowly disappeared replaced by the gray of his dying skin.  The tusks sank back into his mouth, and I stared at the naked dead man lying in a pool of red in my foyer.

On November 10, 1989, to the tune of “Wind of Change,” the Berlin Wall began to be torn down. It wouldn’t be complete until 1992. Then, I knew the war would begin. 

 You can find more of me:

"No Turning Back," my novel is available:

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