Category Archives: Life

Storms

Inspired by:   Hallelujah – Lindsey Stirling

Current Reading:  Stephen King’s-It  (One of my favorite books,  read it for the first time when I was 16. Readers, what was your first favorite, best loved adult read?)

So forgive the radio silence for the last little while, everyone.  Life showed up and took a big old chunk out of yours truly.  My daughter has hit a major change in her health.  Not world ending, or life threatening but a new normal is how I am going to choose to put it.   So, that has taken me off the creative grid for a while, put revisions on hold,  and basically leaving me with the dire need to write or go nuts.  So here we are.

I am not going into details because well, that’s just not how I manage life. The people that need to know do.  So I have been thinking lately and came across a photo writing prompt that got the gears turning.  At this time, the photo cannot be included in this blog due to copyright and I don’t feel like tracking down the photographer to get permission to use it.   At any rate the gears got going because a the image was of a winding path and a tree set back from the road. Overhead was a beautiful storm cloud either rolling in or rolling out.  It felt like either the calm right before or the calm right after the storm. I feel like I am in the calm after and things are starting to still.  To quote Alexandra, “Light knows I’ve been wrong before.” We’ll see where the path leads.  Some times, it just comes down to weathering the storm.

So the image and the song got me going but before I get to the more creative endeavors,  I have a small announcement to make.  On April 29th,  our friends at Gathering Volumes will be hosting a massive event for Independent Book Store Day celebration featuring a whole slew of local authors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  I will be on hand with my handsome assistant (read: husband) signing and selling books.  There will also be a gift basket available for a drawing. The latter I’m still putting together. When I figure out what is in said gift basket, I will let you all know.   Also, cupcakes.  Because well,  cupcakes are awesome.

At any rate,  if you’re in the Ohio/Michigan area and fancy a road trip,  go check out the Facebook event.  That will list times and what other events will be on hand. It promises to be a fantastic time.

With that being said,  I know some of you are probably waiting on the next installment with Alex and Marc.  It’s coming. I have a character that is demanding to be developed.  But not tonight because well this little writer feels bedtime calling. To you faithful readers,  leave me a little comment below of what you think about the story arc if you’re following along.  Take care!

Better late than never

Current Listening:  Rains of Catamere – Break of Reality

Current Reading: (As far as I’m concerned, audiobooks count)  Dark Tower III:  The Waste Lands – Stephen King

So I’m a slacker, I admit it.  Life shows up,  book 5 revisions show up and this tends to go by the wayside.  This first part of the year has been absolutely insane. Usually things settle down about late February but this year that just has not been the case.   So far, early 2017 has been running from one fire to the next.  At least, that’s how it feels.

At any rate,  for those that don’t know,  I have developed an avid interest in tabletop gaming.  This started with my first D&D campaign last year at GenCon and has evolved into an every other Saturday online event.  Well,  for those unfamiliar  with the genre, tabletop role play is basically a storyteller’s dream if you like to game.  You create a character within a specific world and act within that world to build a story. This story can include combat and just about any scenario you can think of.    The only real limit is the games mechanics and your imagination.

Lately, my Saturday adventures have been within the world of Deadlands.  This game is a western type sci-fi and it challenged me in terms of my storytelling and character development because it’s just a smidge outside my normal comfort level.  So I’m sharing the character I created for this world and her…introspection I guess.  I hope you enjoy.

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The doctor had come and gone.  The morning, from what she could see, was clear and bright.  Doctor Palmer,  who had some sort of history with her charge, said she would be at least another week abed before she could expect any reasonable return to normalcy.  Her bloodstained shirt and pants were long gone in favor of a loose shirt and pants that he could maneuver around her bandages with ease.  What the doctor and her compatriots had seen during the course of his examination, Deandra gave little thought to.  The time for southern modesty had long since passed.

Richard Speakman, for all his gruff sternness,  had been a godsend.  He saw to not only her needs but Kara’s and Rodrigo’s as well.  Deandra suspected that there was a further motive to the man but she was in no position to investigate.  As it stood now,  Deandra owed him and one Sioux her life.  In truth, she owed them all her life.  After all, she knew quite well what it was to be left behind.  Her lips thinned to a line. She had more or less been on her own since she was a teenager.

The first week had been a haze of drifting consciousness and pain.  The only thing she really remembered clearly was that both Kara and Rodrigo had not left her.  Kara might as well been stapled to her bedside while her own wounds healed.   Everyone had taken a beating to get away from the Dusky Jewel. They lost Simon McCoy in the retreat too.

When she began to mend, she asked Speakman if he could procure a leather bound notebook and pen for her. Her own had been lost when the stagecoach up-ended the very first day she met Rodrigo and Kara.  The man had complied with a smile.  That smile had its own secrets but for now she would take what help she could get.  Perhaps Kara’s distrust of people was rubbing off on her.

As of late most of her writing had been lent to case reports but often she used such endeavors to clear her head.  Right now, matters were puzzling and her head was a mess of emotions that needed an outlet.  With that in mind,  Deandra pushed herself into a careful sitting position.  If she moved quietly enough,  she might avoid waking a still-slumbering Kara.  At least, she could hope.  Her dark hair was carefully plaited down her back. She did not ask who responsible for the messy plait as she was in no condition to do so herself without pulling at the doctor’s careful stitches.

She put a pen to paper.  At times like this she missed her parents. Her father would have been both amazed and saddened at what the world had become. The concept of ghost rock and technological advancements would have astounded him but distinct lack of safety in the west would have dismayed him to say the least.   In his memory, she did what she could to keep the innocent safe.

Dear Mama and Papa,

Missing you today hurts anew but I have found I am not alone anymore…

She tapped her pen on the page with a thoughtful smile before she continued.   Deandra documented their journey and the success they had at discovering the Dusky Jewel.  From what she had heard as she drifted in and out of sleep,  Rodrigo had told Speakman who then informed the authorities of the camp’s existence.  Her thoughts flickered back to Agent McCoy as she considered his sacrifice.

I still don’t know if I could have saved him but it came down to a choice between Simon McCoy and my friend.  My friend…I haven’t used those words since I was a girl.  I don’t regret the choice in the least but the child in me wishes I could have saved them both.  Speakman says he sees no reason this success should not usher me into a full Agency position but, my god, at what cost?

Writing her parents often eased not only the ache of losing them but the loneliness that came from a girl displaced from her home.  Her aunt and uncle, though very kind, served to educate her and put a roof over her head but, they were not parents. She had school acquaintances but she would never have suspected a single one of them cared enough to throw her unconscious, bloody, body on a horse and try to stabilize her in order to assure her survival.

At times, her aunt and uncle had no idea what to do with her. She suspected that they breathed a sigh of relief when she entered the Agency and headed west. New York was not home.  Hell, from what she heard she suspected that the south might not be home anymore. Where did that leave her?   A smile curled her lips as she thought about her assignment,  which Speakman assured her,  would remain part of her objective whether she was promoted or not.

The Mexican Blade is as deadly as his nickname but he ruffles people’s feathers over the mildest thing.  He is outspoken and usually drunk but he means well.  He went for the doctor that saved my life, from what Kara told me.  Speakman also indicated he threatened to shoot the doctor if he did not come immediately.  So,  I suppose the cat is out of the bag about my affiliations but I do not believe he realizes my exact purpose here.  Watch him, they said. Keep him alive, they said.  They did not really indicate why but orders are orders.  Why my superiors would want such a notorious outlaw kept alive is beyond me.

Deandra paused again to reflect on those orders and the impact they had on her life. Duty was duty, she decided as she glanced over at Kara.  She suspected that her friend was just giving her the illusion of sleep to give her the perception of privacy. Kara was sometimes good like that.  If she wanted to know,  Deandra would tell her what was on her mind.  Yes, duty was duty but friendship was another monster entirely.

 

Spooksville

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No music today, just well wishes for a very scary Halloween.  Halloween is a big deal in my family.  It falls three days after my husband’s birthday and everyone in my family loves to get dressed up, carve pumpkins and decorate my parent’s house (pics later, gang).  One year, the fright was bad enough that neighborhood kids ran screaming down the street.  That year was a little over the top but still fun.  I’m leaving in a few here to go get the house decor  started.  Again, pics later.

What are your Halloween traditions?  Do you enjoy a good scare?  A good horror flick?   Now,  I leave you with the following quote…I need to go hide some glow in the dark spiders in my teenager’s dresser.

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By the by, fellow bloggers…who’s doing nanowrimo this year?  Have a great day everyone! Stay safe!

Disappointment and other things

Inspired by: Ludovico Einaudi -Elements

Current reading:  (Uh, nil at the moment. #amwriting and behind #reading)

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

Oy with the thought provoking questions, hostess.  This week’s prompt is “What is something that has disappointed you?”  Happy Writing, she says.  So I looked at it Thursday and thought to myself “where the hell do I begin with that?”   I had nothin’, she stumped me again.  Until today.  I was scrolling through Twitter doing my usual author checkup and check in and came across this quote:

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Now let me preface this by saying that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite classics.  I love this book but I have not read it in a number of years.  The quote got me thinking about that and disappointment.  Now I could go down this big dark depressing rabbit hole of disappointment but hell, we’ve all been down that particular rabbit hole.  I think if you’ve never been disappointed by something in your adult life then you have not really lived beyond your comfort zone. Disappointment is a natural part of life.  We have a choice to learn from it or let it devour us. I choose to learn from disappointment and failure.  I keep going.   A friend said I was “resilient like that.”   I think it’s what you do when life leaves you no other option. I did not like the other option so I chose to learn and grow.  Was it an easy path? Uh. No.  I am not the kind of person that takes the easy way though.  When I was young I learned the hard way that easy was not always better.  Easy might be comfortable for a minute but for long term happiness, the challenge is usually better.  You learn more. Just my thought though.  So yes, I have had my disappointments in my professional life, my writer’s life, and my relationships.  Did I learn from them? Why yes, yes I did.  The biggest disappointment that comes to mind immediately was when a well-meaning friend looked at my books and said to me “There is nothing here that would make me want to buy this if I did not know you.”

Talk about a blow!  My first reaction was immediate defense in response to that but; said friend was coming from a place of love even though she will just tell you she’s a bitch.  That stopped my defensive reaction and disappointment and gave me the opportunity to learn and look hard at the product I had produced.  I had to look at my work as more than the person who created the story.  I had to look at the way people view the product and that too took a lot of thinking.   So, when faced with that, I challenged myself to be better.  This was how the new cover designs were born, by the way.  I had to put me out there.  Yes. Me.  That itself is difficult because I struggle with that kind of exposure.  I like my privacy. Some folks can do it without hesitation.  I have to work for it.

So don’t be afraid to work for it.  Challenge yourself to be better.  Challenge your friends to be better.  The people closest to me have always been that lightning rod for change.  Sometimes the strike is subtle.  Other times, the strike knocks me on my ass but either way they get me thinking and get my attention.  To those people, thank you.

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On to news!  Maeseloria: Light’s Guide is now released.  It is available through Amazon and, just recently, all of my books are available through Barnes and Noble.  However, my friends, if you are a Toledo or surrounding area native?  I encourage you to purchase my books at Gathering Volumes.  They are the only independent book store in the area and they actually have signed copies in house.   If you wait until November 20, however, you will get to meet me and have your book signed in person I’ll be there from 2pm-5pm.  Stop out and see me would you?

 

 

I see you..

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Inspired by:  I See You – Idina Menzel

Current Reading:  The Borgias – G. J. Meyer

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

So this week’s “a piece of cake”.   Right.  The image above is not meant to taunt those watching what they eat. Cake is good once in a while, after all.

So I’m going to follow this lovely image with a quote that makes me think.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
— Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings)

Most people cut this quote off at the first sentence but I think the entirety is more powerful that just that first sentence.  Particularly in light of the number of people that want progress without the struggle.  I think anyone that has not had to struggle in life—be those struggles internal or otherwise—has not really lived.  They tend to be going through the motions or hiding.  I hid for a longer time than I care to think about.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”  How do you interpret this?  I think that he means you have to fight to move forward.  If you want something, you have to go fight for it and that if you are willing to brave the thunder and lightning, brave that awful roar and are willing to disturb the natural order, you will succeed.  You have to go after what you want without hesitation.  In simpler terms and in terms a dear friend said to me just this afternoon.  “Fuck you, I’m doing this.”   In that same breath she told me that she was proud of me for putting me out there and going after my passion.  I had to boot my hesitation in the ass but I got there. Her words really touched me because if she sees it,  my daughter sees it as an example.

If I had not, I never would have been happy or satisfied.  That restlessness that sat within me for years would never have settled.  So there is bravery in that story, I think.   I participated in a project sponsored by my friends at Holl & Lane on Instagram.  They asked that you post a picture and tell part of your story.  The project got me thinking.  By nature, I tell stories, I use them to teach and I have a lot of different tacks to take with this project.

This time I decided to share my experience, or evolution into the author I am now.  In a word? Terrifying.  When I was a girl I wrote little stories, did the high school newspaper gig and then, for a while I put it away. No particular reason, just life got in the way.  I did not pick it up again seriously writing until maybe 2001-2002.  I did not recognize that creating was a need until after my divorce in 2007.  For me, to not create, to not write is a death of the spirit.  I do not say this to exaggerate.  If I do not have my writing time, or even just an hour or so to visit with ye olde blog, I get exceptionally cranky and unfocused. I -have- to write.  My husband will attest to this,  I get hard to live with if I do not.

It was 2012 when I decided to go for it.  Imagine that, ten years of writing before I made a decision. I just did not consider all it could be.  I never took the time to dream of something bigger than just storytelling.  In a way,  I still don’t.  In the marketing crazy,  the layouts, the cover design,  I do not think about what it could grow to be. I just enjoy the ride.  That too is important.   Part of me wishes I had seen it sooner and another, perhaps wiser part, realizes that things happened exactly as it should.

At any rate, if you’re interested in sharing your story, go to Instagram, post a picture and share your story—what makes you you?  Tag #mystoryispowerful and @hollandlane in your story.  Ladies, we have a lot of beautiful things to say if we’re brave enough to put ourselves out there and be honest.  If you’re interested in the magazine, go here.

In book related news,  I got my first stock order of my books yesterday. Check out these beauties:  20160926_194454.jpg

This was the first time I was able to hold book 2 in my hands since the cover redesign.  Can I just say that this never stops being awesome?   Three weeks until Light’s Guide release! How exciting is that?

In closing,  enjoy your cake.  Especially if you’ve worked your ass to get it.

As always, stay out of trouble, guys.  Take care.

 

 

New stuff!

So it’s been a busy week here.   Between getting stuff ordered for a local author fair I’m attending and getting a little miss ready for Homecoming next week.  We’ve been up to our eyeballs.   On that note, a couple of really awesome things are happening.  Things are starting to come together.  First,  these beauties arrived yesterday:

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Promotional items for the fair. Woo!  New bookmarks, business cards,  stuff to hand out. I have book stock coming Monday.  This is doubly exciting because the only book I’ve held in my hands since the cover redesign is Birth of Light.   So lots of Maes-related exciting things are happening.

On another note,  as some of you know, some don’t, I have issues with my weight.  I joined Weight Watchers in April and have had moderate success.  Almost 25 pounds down!   They were doing a promotion where if you lost 10 lbs in 3 months you got a $50.00 gift card.  Well,  I had kind of a revelation in that 3 months when it came to portions, eating habits and the like.  Long story short I lost 20 pounds.  Yesterday, I got a $100.00 gift card in the mail because I lost 20.  Talk about motivation to get going!   I have a long journey ahead of me but this excites me that I could DO that and do so much more.

So that’s the update gang.  Sound off in the comments if you would please.  Favorite bookmark design? What journeys are you struggling with?

Have an amazing Saturday!  AND if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, October’s edition is due out in ONE WEEK!  Click subscribe on the top sidebar.  I have a great offer coming out and some Facebook live events planned for October.

Until then, take care.  Stay out of trouble.

 

 

Peace of Mind

Inspired by :  Peace of Mind – The Jezabels ,   Undone – FFH

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So another shout out to the hostess because the song title got me thinking and the second one got me creating.  These lyrics stick with me:

We all want love
We all want honour
But nobody wants to pay the asking price

I’ve written the last three-four pages of The Guardian’s Fall to this song.  So I’m trying to find some peace here where my favorite tortured soul isn’t harassing me.  So far no luck.  This makes me think about how everyone wants love and to be honored by those who care for us but no one really wants to put  the work in.  Real love is hard.  Real love is still there even when you’re hard to love. Not everyone wants to pay that price or be that brave. Friends. Lovers. Spouses. Even family.  So maybe that’s why not only this song but Nicholas and Alex’s love story appeals to me. So does the conflict between Marcus and Tanya.  Some of my favorite relationships have conflict.  Outside of my own writing,  I love the relationship between the ka-tet in the Dark Tower series.  (PS if you have not read this series DO IT)

If you have read through to the fourth book, you understand their struggle.  The asking price, at first, was more than Nicholas was willing to pay.  None of the other characters I have written together have struggled as much as Alexandra and Nicholas.  Their story is special not only to me but to my readers.  I have gotten more feedback about the two of them than I have for any other couple within the realm.  I am proud of the two of them.  She started the whole story and he came along to challenge her.  I don’t know that either one of them would be the characters they are without the other’s creation.  I think they challenge each other to be better people.

In a  way,  I think all good relationships are like that.  There is a price you have to pay to truly love someone.  That price, to me, is your vulnerability.  Being completely honest with both yourself and someone else is truly frightening.  On the other hand, it’s also the most fulfilling and completing act.  Good relationships challenge each other to be better.  They grow together instead of apart. Even if time gets in the way and distance interferes.   That is a lesson I learned the hard way and, thus Alex and Nicholas  had to learn through hardship and loss.   I figure you can only create from what you know and, frankly,  what I know makes rather interesting fiction.  At least, that’s how I feel.

So I leave you guys this question….what characters do you love/hate as readers?  What kind of elements make the way two characters relate interesting to you?  Do you like conflict and growth? Easy companionship?  Let me know.  If you are familiar with the Maes universe,  who are your favorites and why?

 

 

Let them in, Peter

Inspired by:  Prayer to St. Peter – Edwin McCain

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I sat here and looked at this picture and the blank screen for awhile before figuring out what I wanted to say.  Has it really been fifteen years?  A lot of people will write about what they were doing that day and the helplessness they felt so I am not going to beat you to death with similar sentiments. I know what I was doing and felt.  I listened to the song above on repeat while glued to CNN.   I feel sadness today but for very different reasons.

In that mass hysteria in 2001,  the bravery of the American spirit shined. People stood up for their neighbors, their friends and people did the right thing.  It is sad that people have forgotten that beauty fifteen years later.  In the middle of racial and religious tensions,  did we somehow lose that beauty? Because, yes,  9/11 was horrific and awful but even then,  there was beauty.  Beauty in the bravery of people; in their willingness to do what was necessary, what was right.   And, for the love of Light, don’t get me started on politics. Politics are a no-fly zone on the blog.  You have your views. I have mine.  I prefer not to be beaten bloody with yours because you perceive your rightness of the situation.

I digress.  In a way it makes me sad to see what it took for the people of this country to band together and how quickly that unity fell back into chaos.  I’ve seen posts littering Facebook about how “we hope this doesn’t have to happen again to fix our country.”  Can I just say that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read?  If you were old enough to have memory of this event and the terror it invited,  you should never…I repeat NEVER say something like that. That is an insult to the survivors and the families of those who died. To me, it discounts the sacrifices so many made.

My best friend is a firefighter.  To imagine him having to respond to such a call hurts my heart and starts up so many worries.  I cannot fathom how the families of those first responders felt 15 years ago.  I cannot begin to put myself in their shoes. So today, thank a first responder for what they do.  Reflect on the magnitude of the event. Do not forget those that sacrificed so much to save another.

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Holl & Lane

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Holl & Lane, Issue 9

So. About a year or so ago,  a coworker came to me and said “My daughter is starting a magazine.”  Now,  I’m not going to front, I’m not a magazine reader by any stretch of the imagination.  Though I am a bookworm,  I’ve just never really got into magazines.  So I took her request to check it out with a grain of salt. I figured I’d lose interest.   Most magazines do not provide anything I can relate to.

I like to be wrong every now and then.

Their website states this:

“We are more than a magazine.  We are starting a movement for more honest media.

Life isn’t always perfect, and we’re okay with that.  We’re focused on providing stories from real women about real life – the triumphs and the hardships.  We want to show you that you have a voice and a story.  We’re starting the conversations that need to be had.  The mission behind our magazine is simple: each time you open up and share your story, you help someone else feel less alone.”

I find many things in the magazine–new reads, new music.  The staff at Holl & Lane are nearly as eclectic as I am and I love it.  They’ve written articles about abuse survivors,  cancer survivors, battling addiction.  On the flip side they also write about easy, budget friendly ways to decorate your home.  They have a section for recipes that more healthy than decedent and I love that.  Their DIY section is AMAZING.  I am always finding one new thing or another to play around with or dog-ear for when we have a house.  I cannot go on enough about this. I read every issue cover to cover.

So, a year later I am a happy subscriber and supporter.  They do support their mission statement. The honest integrity I find there keeps me coming back. If you want to see what they’re about,  check out their blog here. Everyone has a story and their willingness to share those everyday stories makes the world, I think, a little less lonely. Check out the links to their site, Facebook page and Twitter.

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VCRs and other things

Inspired by:  Awake and Alive – Skillet

VCR

Yes. That really is a VCR. If you don’t know what one is/have never used it, I don’t know if we can be friends.  And yes, that really is our writing prompt for the week.  To the Figgies, who looked at this and said “really, Mia?”   I will admit,  I was among them and said as much to our hostess with the mostest.

But then I got to thinking…

And that thinking generated a discussion. There is a magazine that I am a fan of called Holl & Lane.  They right honest, kick you in the face stories about life, travel-I’ll get more into it and how you can get involved next post.  (You guys get a two-fer today.)  At any rate, they wrote an article about a charity called The Mend Project.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

The article was about the charity’s founder. She was a survivor of not only childhood sexual abuse but a long-term emotionally abusive marriage.  Oddly enough she was married exactly  as long as I was and suffered through many of the same issues I did. I am an abuse survivor.  Like the founder of The Mend Project, when I divorced I alienated friends and family because people did not believe me. There were no physical signs.  The blog is not a place to get into details.  They’re not stories I share openly  but I will tell you this. If a survivor comes to you and is brave enough to tell you what they went through?

Believe them.

With time the days got better and I became a little more sure of myself. I grew and learned but I would not wish that sense of loneliness on anyone. The Mend Project was created to help survivors by a survivor.

Do me a favor, guys,  click the links above, go look into that charity.  Donate if you can.

Next post…happy news. Promise.