Monday, October 20, 2014

Ripe to Write

Today I’m sitting in my office and looking out the window into the backyard where our small vegetable garden is reaching its fall stage. If it had produced as it should have over the summer, the tomato vines would be full of red fruit awaiting plucking.

I’m always amazed when non-writers wonder where we get our ideas. The thing is, life is filled with a garden of creative ideas which produces better fruit that my physical garden. All you have to do is look around and pluck one fruit off the vine.  Gardeners like us know where tomatoes come from. Ideas are everywhere.

Plucking one is simply the beginning. That’s when the work starts.

Like a nice, plump tomato, an idea is tasty. But you need to figure out how to serve it up. Shall it be simply washed, sliced and served up fast? Is it a short story idea?

Or maybe combine the luscious idea with more ripe ideas, pressure cook them, and allowed the jars to sit on the pantry shelf until the time is right. Is it an idea that can’t stand alone but becomes more when combined with other ideas? Is it a part of a novel?

Or perhaps put the freshly picked tomato into a pot on the stove, cooking it until the goodness flows and intermixes with the spices you add. Is it an idea which can be a dish unto itself and simply needs a bit of tweaking to become a nice novella or novel?

Let me share the recipe: Take one or more plump, ripe ideas, add a bit of thinking (what-ifs), a cup of characters, a pinch of plotting, then be sure to write hard to make sure all combines as needed. Cook it with a bit of editing and rewriting. Repeat as needed. The result is sure to be a wonderful story all will enjoy. They should ask for seconds.

Now, go out there and pluck a tomato!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Welcome to Guest Blogger on the WOW Book Tour: Kathleen Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse

How Writing My Memoir Helped Me Find Self-Forgiveness

Once you choose hope, anything is possible." Christopher Reeves

I never really thought writing the stories of my life would be so complicated but I will tell you honestlyas I kept writing, I felt like I was standing knee-deep in a swamp trying to avoid the alligators. I wanted to circumvent the swamp, linger along the edges so I didn't have to get in there and wrestle those beasts. There. I said it.
As my memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, began taking shape, it became clear to me how guilt and shame had haunted me for the twenty-five years I was mired in the cycle of abuse. The guilt and shame related to the self-defeating detours I took as a young woman and the harmful ways these detours impacted my life and the lives of my two children. I had to grieve those lost dreams and poor choices.
The main message underlying my memoir is the power of hope in facing life challenges. Hope has helped me transcend every obstacle and crisis that has come my way. Give me a diagnosis of Stage Four NonHodgkins' Lymphoma and I'll wrestle it to the ground with the tenacity and fury of a pit bull. Put me in a marriage that is not working and after careful thought, I'll pack up two babies and start a new life. Just give me anything that seems insurmountable and I'll do everything in my power to prove you wrong. I will fight with everything in me to overcome it. 
But if you asked me to forgive myself for the mistakes, poor choices, hasty decisions of my past, I would balk and feel mired in the guilt, shame, regret of lost dreams and what if's…
This post at about giving yourself the gift of forgiveness rang true for me: "You only need to spend some time thinking over the things you feel badly about, thank God (or your Higher Power) for allowing you to see that you are, in fact, imperfect and there will be times you mess up.
 I had to apologize to Yourself and let go.
So, boots on, I was on a mission to trudge forward through the swampland of alligators--my past regrets, with a little help from my friends, Linda Joy Myers and my fellow NAMW memoir writers. One week they challenged me to find a way to forgive the young woman who made all those decisions as it appeared to them through my stories that I was being judgmental of her choices and actions. So, for starters, I decided to have a little chat with my Inner Judge:
The Judge and the 24-year-old Me
Judge (sitting all high & mighty on the bench, looking down): I see you have committed the most heinous crime, hastily deciding to blah,blah,blah....
24-year-old Me (head down): Yes, Your Honor, you are right.
Judge: What ever possessed you to make such foolhardy choices?
24-year-old Me: I thought it was the right decision at the time. I just wanted to be happy like everyone else. I was only trying to fit in.
Judge: (slamming the gavel down) Guilty as charged. You are hereby sentenced to a lifetime of regret, lost dreams, guilt for making these choices.
Fast forward to now~
The Now Me: (looking the Judge straight in the eye while standing toe-to-toe)You were wrong. I am working on forgiving myself. I've learned from my mistakes. Despite it all, I have moved on to live a life of joy. I stand in my truth. Those alligators are really just harmless frogs jumping around.
Judge (caught off-guard and stammering, shrinking right before my eyes): But, I am the ultimate judge and jury here.
The Now Me (by now, looking down on the Judge): If you play your cards right, I may even be able to forgive you.
Soon, I was ready to get back to writing my story. I became ready to begin shedding the blame the fear, the regrets and stand in my truth. It took some practice but the self-forgiveness had begun. 
And, as always, with hope, anything is possible...
Like any skill that gets better with practice, the self-forgiveness has taken hold in my soul. Writing Ever Faithful to His Lead has helped me to face the errors of my ways and take responsibility for my choices. It has helped me to heal and move on.
Writing my memoir has helped me to not only forgive the people in my life whom I perceived to have hurt me, but to forgive myself. This has freed me to live the life I am living now—one of joy and peace.
My greatest wish is that others may find their own pathway to forgiveness through my story.

How about you~ Have you given yourself the gift of self-forgiveness?
If you enjoyed Kathleen's post here, you may want to visit her blog:

Ever Faithful To His Lead: 
My Journey to Memoir 
is available as an 
e-book and paperback 
at Amazon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Launch: Reap & Redeem by Lisa Medley

Welcome to Lisa Medley! I'm pleased to say Lisa's new book is out: Reap & Redeem. So cool!

Just the Facts:

Urban Fantasy Romance: Reapers and Demons and Angels and Sex. 
Words 78K * 
Series: The Reaper Series, Book 2
ISBN-13: 9781460337769

About Reap & Redeem:

He’s a reaper who has given up on saving souls. Will a dying woman be his salvation?

After a century of enslavement to pure evil, Kylen Larson is finally free. But he’s long past caring. The only woman he ever loved is dead, and he’s tormented by memories of the horrors his demon parasite forced him to commit. Now, he lives for nothing more than hunting down the infernal creatures invading Meridian, Arkansas, and destroying them.

Olivia Evans is in the final stages of cancer when Kylen accidentally saves her from demonic possession. When he rescues this innocent soul, Kylen rediscovers his mission—and his heart. All he wants is to help Olivia stay alive. He’ll just have to fight off an invasion from Hell first…

Excerpt Chapter One

Kylen kicked the head across the floor of the dark shed with his steel-toed boot. Blood dripped into a pool on the floor from his scythe, which he still gripped tightly with one hand. He straightened to his full height and tilted his neck from side to side, listening to his spine crack and pop. Another demon down.

“You don’t have to keep killing them yourself, you know,” Deacon said, grimacing at the black ooze spilling out of the severed neck.

“Yeah, I do.” Kylen turned and walked to the door, taking a quick survey of the cemetery. A dark, sticky trail marked his course.

“You have to admit, he’s efficient.” Nate picked up the head by the hair and dropped it into a black garbage bag.

“That’s one way to look at it.” Deacon pressed his hand, which was glowing with Reiki energy, to the center of the dead male’s chest, directly over his heart chakra.

Kylen watched as light radiated from Deacon, encasing him and the body in a soft glow. The demon boiled forth from the dead human host in a thick black torrent of sulfurous haze. Spreading his arms wide, Deacon summoned the stream, which penetrated through his sternum. His body shuddered and the light around him sparked and cracked like the arc of a welder. The glow intensified to supernova status before winking out. Several smaller streams of gray light flowed forth from the ruined body, too, entering through Deacon’s mouth.

“Well? Did you retrieve all the souls?” Nate lifted the feet and legs of the body onto the tarp he’d set beside it.

Deacon frowned. “Yes.”

“How many?”

“Three.” Deacon rose and grasped the body by the shoulders, helping Nate maneuver it. “And the demon.”

“I really hate this shit.” Nate said, pulling a spool of duct tape from his backpack.

They rolled the man tightly in the tarp, taping both ends so that none of the bodily fluids would discharge in transit.

“How many more demons do you think there are?” Nate wrapped the head in a plastic bag and walked toward the door.

“Grim thinks there are at least two dozen more,” Deacon reminded him.

“Great. Slow and steady wins the race, yeah?”

“I’m not sure we have the luxury of slow and steady anymore. At this rate, we’re never going to find them all. There’s already way too much collateral damage. This many missing humans in town won’t go unnoticed much longer. We need to find their exit portals and shut down the rest of the demons. Sooner would be better than later.”

Kylen waited in the doorway, dividing his attention between the business in the shed and the cemetery grounds. Deacon was right of course. They needed to close the portals. Permanently. As it was, they were playing a game of supernatural Whac-A-Mole. Close one portal and another popped up. New entrance portals continued to open each week, which then had to be closed by Grim and Deacon. And while one batch of demons gathered their fill of souls before sliding down the small one-way shoots to Hell—the exit portals, the next batch waited for their chance. It had become a never-ending battle and the reapers needed to press on.

They didn’t bother cleaning up the black ooze or the blood trail. The only way to make sure the scene was completely clean was fire, but arson would be sure to draw more attention to the mower garage by the edge of the cemetery than a few stains that could easily be oil or fuel. None of them were concerned about the law. There were far worse things for them to worry about.

They’d burn the body at home, and then bury the ashes and bits of bone. Just as they’d dealt with the other eleven. This host’s disappearance would never be explained. Good thing, since the guy’s head was detached.

About Lisa Medley:

Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, Reap & Repent is available now. Look for book two, Reap & Redeem, coming October 2014. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SWMO home including:  one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.

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