It’s one of those hot and sticky days.

The advertisements in my inbox assure me that this is the last weekend of summer, but the weather feels like it has other plans. I’m sitting outside with a floppy crocheted sunhat, freshly washed hair spilling everywhere, and a bunch of kids completely ignoring their new splash pad.

Smells like cats.

Crows are cawing in the distance, cutting over the music I have playing on a bluetooth speaker. The neighbor’s door slams as they let their dog out. A semi truck rattles by. The baby starts to fuss as she achieves a death grip on my hair, and the two-year-old informs me that she needs a new diaper.

The air conditioning inside feels nice and cool. The baby is settling down to nap as the kids beg for ice cream.

Sounds like a great idea.

About Writing

Pinterest and formulas

I look at Pinterest when I’m too tired to function, and the site is always eager to suggest infographics and articles about how I should be writing; everything from tips to make scenes more emotional to character questionnaires.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being told that I have to follow a formula.

Ages ago, I didn’t want to go to college, but everyone told me I had to if I wanted to have a future. Two years in, I was so badly burnt out that I cried every morning when I got out of bed. Then one day it hit me: I didn’t have to be there.

I dropped out, got a full time job, and rented my own apartment. Complete strangers had a meltdown over my actions. Didn’t I care about my fuuuuture????!!!

Meh. I was happier. I met my husband during that time period.

And yeah, so life did get crappy when the job market crashed. Having a college degree wouldn’t have saved me from that, however, and experience isn’t a bad thing. I didn’t cease to exist, and I learned how to really appreciate life. I like who I am now, scars and everything.

Unfortunately, formulas seem to make a lot of people happy. You know, guaranteed results in three easy steps! If you follow the formulas perfectly enough, you’ll be rich and famous. And my knee-jerk reaction is: you can’t tell me what to do! I make my own paths.

When I create characters, I don’t fill out worksheets. I give them names, ask them, ‘what makes you tick?” then listen — that’s the important part. It’s chaotic and unpredictable. It doesn’t follow any rules. It’s fun.

I can’t guarantee results. Heck, other than really enjoying myself as a writer, I haven’t seen any myself! But you know what I’ve learned? It’s the journey that counts.

About Writing

On writing communities

I joined an online community for writers.

I confess that on an emotional level, it takes me back to being a teenager on Elfwood, trying my best to chummy up to some clique, and wondering why they just didn’t like me no matter what. After all, I was WAY more talented than any of them.

Now I realize that it wasn’t about admiring talent. They copied each other, and I was stubbornly myself. Cliques don’t like individuals.

I like to imagine that those people who rejected me years ago are now trapped in lonely and pathetic lives. That’s what you get when you sell your soul! Bwahahahaha!

I can say this here, because we aren’t among them right now: I don’t like writers. I have never once gotten along with one. However, I like readers. I LOVE readers, really, because they love fictional worlds and stories as much as I do. I feel a kindred spirit with readers. Writers have fragile egos and are always on the defense — they feel threatened by talent and hard work. They don’t like me either.

I fully expect them to utilize the reviews and rating system to attempt to bully me into conformity. I will likely never be featured as a top writer. I will probably abandon my account with enough time. I suck at fitting in.

So why did I join a community for writers?

Because my oracle cards told me that I need to step outside of my comfort zone, and I can’t think of a more uncomfortable place for me.

That’s why I joined.

About Me

Children’s books

I have a confession to make.

I don’t read books to my kids.

Which is kind of funny, because I have always loved books. I wrote and illustrated my first when I was just in kindergarten, and kept the practice up for my entire life.

We started out normal enough when my oldest was a baby. We got a few children’s stories, and I read them enough that I could recite them from beginning to end without any prompts; my daughter’s absolute favorite book was simply titled Water Animals and consisted of pictures and names of things like dolphins, fish, and a polar bear for good measure.

That all changed when baby #2 came along.

My oldest started tearing apart books. Water Animals was shredded to pieces, so I taped it together as best I could then tucked it away somewhere safe (it will probably be years before we find it again). After giving her some time to adjust to having a younger sibling, we bought more books and to my dismay those were also torn up. Several months later, I mentioned to a neighbor that we didn’t have any children’s books, and she gave us a few that also met the same fate.

I was tired of cleaning up the mess, so I gave up. No more.

These days the children and I snuggle up with our Nintendo 3DS and read video game dialogue together.

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Fade to White, Muse

Fade to White origins

My best friend in high school had a boyfriend named Jason.

Jason cheated on her then bragged about it online.

On my own profile, I wrote something vague about how people disappoint me.

All hell broke loose.

Jason and his friends began an online assault against me, attacking me at every turn. Before long, it spilled over into the real world and Jason started following me to work and my hang out places. He even threatened to rape me.

Luckily, telling him that I was getting the police involved was enough to make him back off, and it died shortly afterwards.

When I told my Creative Writing teacher about what had happened, her advice was “Write it out.”

So I wrote Fade to White.

About Me

The Past

When I was a kid, I used to pin my bright yellow blanket around my shoulders (the perfect universal costume, in my humble opinion) and play act having conversations with the characters from my favorite novels. I loved those hours I spent in my room, exploring worlds and “interacting” with Martin the Warrior and Prince Caspian.

One day when I turned ten, I got hold of some lined paper, picked up my favorite maroon marker, and started writing those conversations down. Truthfully I didn’t understand paragraphs back then, or quotation marks for that matter, but that solid block of text was the beginning of my dream.

As I grew, I joined Elfwood and Fictionpress, swapped stories with other teenagers online, took creative writing classes all through high school, and majored in creative writing in college. For me, there were no other career options — I was a writer.

Then life happened.

Somehow, the agonizing moments seamlessly blended into becoming a wife and mother of three, and before I knew it the better part of a decade had passed.

But you know what? Writing is the only thing that gives my life a deeper sense of meaning outside of the ordinary. What would be the point of all the pain and joy if those emotions stayed secretly locked up inside my own head? Sometimes it seems like it’s the only way I can peacefully live with the past.

I have my days of dark depression, when demons loom over me and whisper bleak things in my ear, leaving me too paralyzed to think. Then the sun shines again, I find a quiet moment nestled between games and chores, and I write.

I will always be a writer.

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