Hauntings From the Past

The Transitive Vampire Book CoverBear with me…I know it isn’t the haunting season anymore.  Trust me, you’ll like this. 🙂

A couple weeks ago, I was hanging around some of my favorite haunts (aka, all the wonderful thrift stores in my town) and picked up an original 1984 copy of The Transitive Vampire.  It still had the dust cover on it, and the binding had not been cracked.  In other words, brand spanking new, yet older than the college students I work with at my day job.  31 years old, to be exact.  Let’s see…at 31, I was a mom and wife and working a full time day job and a part time evening job.  Kind of like today.  But I digress…

Why I didn’t have this book in my “writing books” collection, I am not sure.  It should have been right there along with Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Bird by Bird. How could I resist buying this book at the thrift store?  It was $2 on half-price day…what a bargain!

I’m going to digress again, here.  Because when I brought this book home, along with lots of other goodies from the thrift store, it sat on the dining room table for the rest of the day.  My husband saw it and said, “Transvestite Vampire?”  I almost fell on the floor laughing.  My husband is not much of a reader, and never a writer, as moving media is more his thing (television).  He saw the first part of “Trans” and went from there.  After I stopped giggling, I told him it was a book on writing.  He wasn’t very impressed.

From a review by Thomas DePietro in 1985:

The deliberately offbeat examples that form the body of this whimsical handbook of grammar may delight readers who savor the postmodern fictions of Borges, Barth, and Barthelme.  But these self-consciously hip sentences risk perpetuating what The Transitive Vampire tacitly acknowledges: many college-educated adults can’t parse a simple sentence.

Thirty years later, I think that is probably still true.  I work with students in higher education every day, and I see it still.  I know writing is somewhat of a talent, but it is also a skill, and needs to be practiced.  I always say essays are easy for me.  And that is true.  I was born with the ability to take a small kernel of information and form an entire treatise around it.  I can do it quickly, and I can do it over and over.  I was that kid in college whose first year comp professor recognized as someone who needed to put in a bit more effort, so she gave me lots of C’s and D’s until I worked as hard on my essays as my classmates.  I didn’t value her judgment of me at the time, but I do now. I needed to develop the innate talent I had to be an effective writer.

As soon as November is over (I’m still in the throes of writing my NaNoNovel), I’m going to be sinking my teeth into The Transitive Vampire.  What a fun read this will be.  I also need to finish How Not to Finish a Novel, which is pretty fun so far with some terrible examples of now NOT to write a novel.

And one more diB Dalton book sticker from 1984version before I go.  How many of you are old enough to remember B. Dalton Books?  Because this book has the original BD sticker on it, including the price.  Talk abut walking back in time! I spent a lot of my paychecks in B. Dalton back in the day.  Did you?

I’d love to hear your writing book suggestions in the comments.  Or your memories of B. Dalton.  Or your fabulous book store finds.

The Holidays Approach…But First, We Give Thanks

Rudolph stuffed animalI include this picture because this is one of my “happy moments.”  We all have them.  Moments where things seemed so perfect, or we got a gift we could have never anticipated, or the food was full of memories and made you feel fat and happy.

This moment was one of the most perfect Christmas mornings I’d ever had.  The townhouse we had rented had a fireplace.  I’d not had a fireplace in any home I’d ever owned.  This one had one, and it worked well.  I bought enough wood to have weekend fires for the entire winter.  We had snow on Christmas eve that year, and woke up to a diamond-sparkled sunny morning.  The air was bitter cold.  But that fireplace – it was roaring with a fire all day long.  The house smelled mildly of wood smoke, and cloves from the sugar glaze on the ham in the oven.  And I go a gift that I had not anticipated – a Build-a-Bear Rudolph, complete with a hat, scarf, and Rudolph slippers.  I have loved Rudolph since I was a little girl and saw it on television (in black and white).  Yes, I’m that old – I got to see the very first broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

I know, it is not Christmas yet, but we are right on the cusp of it as we approach Thanksgiving here in the United States.  I my memories, Thanksgiving is full of food, and family, and on Friday, we started the decorating.  Thanksgiving is the start of a long, happy, warm season, at least for me.

As we’ve gotten older, and moved away from our childhood homes (in my case, I’ve moved a thousand miles from my childhood home), we make our own new traditions, and spend our Thanksgivings being thankful.  And watching football, of course!  This year, the weather forecast is a bit dreadful – snow is expected, along with blisteringly cold temps.  What better way to spend a cold, snowy day than inside, with a roast turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, hot yeasty rolls, dressing, and PIE?  I can’t think of much!

I am thankful for so many things this year – that we are well-housed, even if it is a rental and there is no fireplace; that we have food in our fridge, freezer, and pantry, some of which I grew myself; that my paycheck is more than enough to pay the bills; that we have wonderful neighbors in this little-town-big-city we live in; that I can see the mountains every single day; that I am healthy, despite some aches and pains and needing glasses to read and having to watch what I eat a bit more carefully; for healthy parents that I can still see and communicate with (even though we are thousands of miles apart); for a kitty who thinks I’m her mommy; for grown children that make me proud, and my middle-schooler who is still figuring it all out.

And I am thankful for my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.  Without them, I could not say I am a published author.  For me, reaching this milestone was never expected, even though I’d been working toward it for many years.  To get that opportunity, to have someone validate my writing by publishing it, has been one of those unexpected, but wonderful things that I will add to my list of thankfuls for many years to come.

Things are never perfect.  There will always be struggles and bumps in the road and mountains of obstacles.  But there are plenty of things that go right.  And plenty of things that go better than right.  I am a thankful woman.

What are you thankful for this year?

A Morning Writer

SunshineI am one of those awful morning people.  Or so I am told by those that aren’t morning people.  I don’t jump out of bed and start making noise and dancing and singing, but I wake up naturally two hours before sunrise, and I get up and do things.  I get up and get dressed and fix my hair and face, and face my day.  On weekdays, I head to my computer, read my email, post requested tweets, check the news, and waste time on facebook, all while drinking a bottle of water.  I might start a load of wash or fold a load of wash, then I fix my lunch, fix my breakfast, and head off to work.  On the weekends, I still wake up early, piddle around on my computer, do a few chores, and by 7 I am at my favorite coffee shop for two dedicated hours of writing before anyone else in the house is awake.

If this sounds boring, well, let’s just say I like my routines.  They keep me on track.  And I like mornings.  Mornings are quiet, filled with the promise of a new day.  A whole blank white board of time exists before me, and I can do many things with that time, if I want to.  I can also choose to do nothing with that time.

What I choose to do with that time is to be active, to knock things off the to-do list, and most importantly, write.  I am awake, feeling good, caffeinated, and ready to go.

I know there are people who can stay up all night, and prefer to sleep through golden dawns and promising mornings.  If I were to “sleep in” (which is actually impossible for me), I would feel like I wasted the most productive, and quietest, time of my day.  That morning time is when the chores don’t call as loud, when there is not such a push to meet a deadline.  It is my time to be productive.

I am often asked, “how do you become a morning person?”  I don’t think you can.  I think you are, or you aren’t.  I have been a morning person all of my life.  My mom talks about how she would want to sleep in on a Saturday, and she couldn’t, because 9 month old me was standing up in the crib singing morning songs to the sun that was pouring through my window.  I was not raised in the country, or on a farm, although my dad and his whole side of the family are rural farm people.  I am very much like him, though.  I cannot remember my father ever still being in bed when I got up in the morning.  He usually beat me by a good hour.  He’d already had his coffee, read the paper, and taken a wander around the yard to see if the moles had been active overnight.  I could tell you about the time he took his .22 pistol out into the yard one early morning and shot a mole that had made the mistake of showing himself above ground, but I’ll save that for another time.

I cannot imagine missing the sun coming up.  I cannot imagine sleeping until the sun is high in the sky.  In fact, I can’t imagine sleeping more than about six hours, either. The older I get, the less sleep I need.  I’m in bed by 11, but not always asleep, and awake at 4 a.m., regardless of how late I stayed up.  Sometimes that is a bit of a curse, but I still wouldn’t trade it for losing my daytime.

So what are you?  A morning person, or a night owl?  Tell me what you like about being either one!

Why Romance?

Candy Heart KeyboardI am asked sometimes, why romance?  Why do I write it, and why do I read it?  Isn’t it silly?  How many ways can we write about falling in love, anyway?  How many love stories can possibly be out there?

As a woman who has gone through more than one romance, I can say that there are a lot of love stories out there.  Not all of them are happily-ever-after, but that’s actually okay.  If you get to fall in love more than once in a lifetime, then you have lived, and loved, a lot.  And don’t we believe we are increased, bettered, by love?  I know I do.

So why NOT romance?  Writing the stories that touch people’s hearts makes me happy.  I like reading happy stories, stories that end in fairy tale romance, so why wouldn’t I like to write them?

As I work on my second book, and struggle through the saggy middle of it, I try to focus on that core love story.  That story is what will keep me (and the writing) going.  Boy meets girl, and falls in love.  Girl is not so sure about boy, as she’s been burned in the past.  But she gives him a chance, then pushes him away, because she is scared.  There is a bad guy, and some messy scenes of the bad guy getting the upper hand, but through it all, the love story runs as a current underneath it all.  In the end, girl can no longer deny that boy has her best interests at heart, and she willingly admits she loves him.  It all ends Happily Ever After.

Real life doesn’t always offer us that, of course.  I’m not living my Happily Ever After, but it’s not over yet, so who knows, right?  Hope springs eternal.  And the escape of a good romantic read can make all the difference in our attitudes and dreams.  If we think anything is possible, then things will always look rosy and promising.  And there’s really nothing wrong with that at all.

What do you like about reading (or writing if you are an author) romance?  Let me know in the comments!


Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

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