Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Tropical-Vacation

 

Yes, I know… it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything and I’m a total slacker.

I could give you a list of reasons for my absence, but some of which I really cannot talk about yet on this platform. Let’s just say some things are in the works and as soon as I can spill my guts I will.

So for now, just leave it at I’m on vacation… sort of. I have some stuff to schedule and plan on being back in full swing beginning in September, perhaps even sooner.

Bear with me, I hope it will be worth the wait.

 

 

Sneak Peek 1: The Devil’s Downfall

Here is the first of several sneak peeks I have for you guys before the release of The Devil’s Downfall (August). 

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“Esmeri are you out he-… oh!” Jenna said as she came tumbling out the door.

Esmeri pulled away from Nicholas and looked at Jenna’s smug face.

“Stephen was looking for you, but um, I see you’re occupied. Sorry, I will go keep him busy.”

Esmeri narrowed her eyes at Jenna, something akin to jealousy and defensiveness creeping up inside of her.

“Where’s Matt?” she asked flatly.

“Left already, yea didn’t work out,” Jenna said. “No worries, have fun you two.” Esmeri’s jaw set as she watched Jenna disappear back inside and Nicholas chuckled.

“You like this Stephen then?” he asked and Esmeri glared at him.

“No, it’s not… it’s just…” she stammered.

“Spit it out, I’ve heard worse I’m sure.”

“Jenna is a troll.”

“I thought she was your friend?” Nicholas asked with a slight chuckle, confusion masking his handsome features.

“She is the image of all I will never be in everyone else’s eyes,” Esmeri said softly.

“You should be counting your blessings that you will never have to deal with being so ordinary and predictable,” Nicholas said warmly.

“What do you mean?”

“Anyone who has any common sense will take one look at her, maybe even before they really know her and realize that she is just like every other simple-minded woman on this planet. Searching for her identity in the arms of a man. Maybe not solely because she needs a man but because she feels she needs a savior.

“You see someone who you are envious of because of physical beauty, the obvious kind, that you don’t see the true beauty that is you both inside and out, the beauty that is everlasting. Men may enjoy her company for an hour, but they will want your attention for a lifetime. She may be able to give them a moment’s distraction but it is going to be you they will never forget.”

Esmeri didn’t know why, but she felt a blush creep up her neck all the way to her cheeks as he spoke.

“Thank you for trying to make me feel better,” she said sheepishly.

“My pleasure,” Nicholas said and checked his watch before sighing.

“What?”

“It’s time,” Nicholas said, his face growing somber again.

“I have to go with Luc now don’t I?” she asked, that panic filling her again.

“Not exactly,” Nicholas moved closer to her, so fast she didn’t realize he was behind her until she felt the knife go into her side. She gasped at the white-hot pain that filled her and she tried to scream as his hand clamped over her mouth. He started to whisper against her ear as he held her and she started to feel the life drain from her. She could barely hear his words, only make out that they were a language she didn’t understand.

“You will,” he said and she could feel him grin against her ear. He pulled the knife free of her and she gasped as he let her go, slicing his palm open and forced it to her lips.

“Drink, now!” he demanded and she didn’t have a choice before her was forcing her mouth on the wound. The blood hit her lips and she couldn’t stop the urge. Fangs descended just like when she was with Luc and she bit down into his flesh, swallowing hard as the coppery liquid splashed against her tongue.

Esmeri collapsed to her knees screaming out in pain as he let go of her and then he was gone, leaving her all alone. She felt something overtake her, the charge she always felt when she used powers with Luc, but this time it hurt. It felt like her insides were being doused in acid.

She felt arms lifting her and heard someone telling her to hold on, and then she smelled something she couldn’t quite place, something akin to burning flesh.

“Esmeri, stay with me,” Stephen said and she felt his hand pressed to the wound in her side. She was being moved and being placed in a car. All she felt was pain so terrifying she couldn’t breathe and she clawed at him, trying to tell him.

Stephen was in the driver’s seat, putting the car in drive and pulling out of the parking lot of the banquet hall so fast his tires squealed. He didn’t know what to do, but all he knew was she was paler than normal and had lost a lot of blood from the looks of her dress.

“Hold on, I’m taking you to the hospital,” he said and she gripped his arm.

“No,” she managed hoarsely, panic in her tone and he looked at her, her eyes wide, emerald flames shining against her pale skin and blood-stained lips.

“You will die if I don’t get you to a doctor!”

“No… Stephen… please…” she stammered. “Take me home, take me home.”

Stephen watched as her eyes rolled upwards and her body went limp. He was barely able to focus on driving as he scrambled to feel a pulse. Finally feeling a faint one he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Liam.

“She’s hurt, bad, she’s bleeding from her side, looks like a stab wound,” he said when Liam answered. “I’m taking her to the hospital.”

“No don’t!” Liam demanded. “It’s too late Stephen, they can’t help her. Luc has already been here. She will be fine, but you need to bring her home immediately.”

“You’re not listening to me Liam, she is dying, right here, right now, she is dying!” Stephen yelled.

“Stephen?” Devrynne’s serene voice was on the phone now. “Listen carefully, Esmeri is about to go through something that the doctors cannot help her with and you are in very real danger. I promise you, she will be fine, just bring her home.”

Stephen closed the phone, throwing it against the dash and it bounced onto the floor. Esmeri stirred next to him but didn’t wake up. What was he doing arguing with vampires, he wondered. Turning the car around he headed towards the manor, praying to whatever god might be listening, that she didn’t die.

One of those days…

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You ever have a day where all you want to do is scream at someone?

Today is one of those days.

You all may have noticed that I have been silent for the last week or so, allow me to explain.

Almost two weeks ago, I had surgery. Nothing major, some out-patient stuff that I’d been waiting to do for over a year now. Finally got around to doing it. Let me just say… everyone talked about this procedure being bad the next day, as far as the pain level it would cause. I didn’t listen. The day of the surgery I was a trooper. We were home from the hospital by like 10 AM and I sat most of the day and crocheted while binge watching Nurse Jackie. I had even talked to my sister and told her that I would definitely be at my brother-in-law’s birthday party the next day. Her response: “Wait to see how you feel tomorrow, when all the hospital drugs from anesthesia have completely worn off.”

Holy Effing Batman, people… she was not wrong. I woke up the next day in more pain than I knew what to do with. Enter in the next three days of being in a pain pill coma.

Then last week was an emotionally bad week.

I watched as my best friend of five years left our company to go start a new job… In Another State!

While I am very happy for Adam and know that this is a very good thing at this point in his and his family’s lives, I can’t help but be a little selfish about it, and want nothing more than to stomp my feet and throw a fit.

Then you have this week. We’re only on Wednesday but I am practically counting down minutes to the weekend.

So that is the reason for the silence here… trust me though, all is well and I’ll be back to normal soon… well as normal as I ever am.

A Day In The Life…

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Someone asked me once to do A Day In The Life, and I laughed. I thought it was the most boring, ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of. Maybe because I felt that way about my life, that you poor people would be bored to tears having to read through that crap. For the sake of honesty though, and because it’s been asked for again… here you go. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

5:30 AM – The alarm goes off, I growl at it, but then practically yank it out of the wall to hit the snooze button. This continues until about 6:15.

6:45 AM – I am up, drying my hair usually, scrolling through Facebook or WordPress while drying my hair. Oh the exciting life I lead!

7:15 AM – Hair and makeup done, but now I’m worried about missing my first cigarette of the day before work with Adam, because I can’t seem to decide what to wear. Can’t wear the purple shirt because while I love it… someone once said I look like a grape. Can’t wear the blue striped shirt because it makes my arms look bad. Should I wear a dress today? No. No dress today.

7:30 AM – I am in my car, speeding to work because Adam will be there soon and if I don’t start the day off with my best friend, the day will be shit for sure. I’m in the dress I said I wasn’t going to wear because the hot guy from the second floor commented on it last time I wore it.

7:45 AM – I notice as I pull up to work, how oddly similar the building is to the county jail. Funny I feel the same about work as I would about jail. I spend 10 minutes having a cigarette with Adam before getting a Mt. Dew and heading to my desk. Kim will say hi, and I will make a mental bet with myself over how late our non-functioning alcoholic co-worker will be.

10:45 AM – Adam and I are outside smoking. These days he’s talking about his last days with our company which are quickly approaching. I’m putting on the happy face because while I am happy that he is moving on to better things for him and his family, it’s slowly killing me to think of not seeing him every day. My boss has told me twice to be nice today, even though I typically am, I’m just honest. They would have more success in telling me to lie, than they do telling me to be nice. I am counting down the minutes until I get to go home.

2:00 PM –The non-functioning co-worker showed up an hour late and has now been gone for lunch for an hour and a half. The bosses do nothing. They are “documenting” this, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. I have proposed an idea that would drop the amount of redundant issues they are wasting time on by over 40% and have been shot down on this proposal twice. Our newest shiny toy that they’ve hired, proposes the same thing, but only because I told him the idea I’d had that they’d veto’d. Guess what’s being made an operating practice starting next week? My idea. But guess who’s getting the credit? The New Guy.

4:30 PM – I am standing outside, smoking with Adam. We start our work day together, we end it together. I will say that I am trying to soak up as much of his time before he moves out of state, this could be true. I don’t know. He brings me calm, and acceptance, in a way no one else does. I rattle off the amount of teasing I had to deal with for the day, as I am typically the butt of most jokes. Perhaps it’s because I’m a smartass, and I come up with witty comebacks every time the teasing starts. I don’t know. Maybe if they knew that their comments cause me many hours of agonizing if that’s really how I’m perceived, if they would stop. I doubt it highly.

5:00 PM – I am at home, having my customary 25-30 minutes of downtime, alone in my bedroom, before the mom duties start. The laundry and the cooking and the cleaning. I can hear my daughters arguing over something. It ends with Kaylee saying something snarky to her sister and Trysha slamming a door as she goes to sulk. I decide I should probably go make dinner.

9:00 PM ­– The girls are either in bed or settled for the night, I am free to do whatever. I spend twenty minutes on Facebook, wondering if I should start writing something new or edit some more of my third novel. Truth is, I’m not ready for this trilogy to be done, I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.

10:30 PM – I have fooled around online, normally talking songs and music to Jordan on Facebook. He has been posting me videos of our favorite country singers. He appreciates my need to hear more to a song than the lyrics or the beat… he knows what it means to need to hear the pain in a singer’s voice. That grit that Gary Allan has the market cornered on. He gets it I think, maybe because he knows pain. He can appreciate it when I tell him that Matt Mason’s A Reason To Ride  makes me ache in places I didn’t even know hurt. He gets the simple things that music speak and that listeners feel. He knows that pain inside of me that everyone else ignores.

11:30 PM – Shower is done, I am laying in bed trying to beat this damned game 2048 that Amy’s wife Candy got me hooked on while I was at my sister’s house. Still can’t get higher than a 512 tile and it’s bugging me. My need to be the best at everything is battling with my exhaustion. I don’t even realize I’ve fallen asleep until I wake up to that damned alarm again.

The Curse of Being Creative

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If you Google any type of writing/author quotes online, you will find a myriad of posts related to how hard it is being a writer. I am here to tell you, it is.

Now you may be the type of person who has to struggle to even get 300 words down on paper, or may have a hard time plotting out a chapter… those things have been the death of some of the greatest writers I know.

When you’re a writer, ideas and inspiration are everywhere. It can be especially challenging to lock down one idea enough to write it. You are plagues with A.D.D. when it comes to ideas, and distractions because of that.

When Hemingway talked about writing drunk and editing sober, he wasn’t lying. It is that much of a struggle.

I found yet another reason why it’s difficult, one that bothers me more than the perpetual writer’s block.

Television.

Now, you may be saying that television is just a distraction, when you could be reading or writing. Yes, that is very true. However, anyone who knows me knows I have some shows, I’m infatuated with. The curse I’ve found as of late, when you’re a creative, it’s easy to see the route that other writers will take. It’s easy to know the nuances of a story and how you have to work certain angles to keep a fan happy, but pull the threads of it just enough to leave them feeling something.

I’ve watched this last Fall/Spring season of the television shows I’ve watched, and they’ve all become damn near predictable. Now I’m not talking Supernatural, because let’s face it… they have been ripping me off since 3rd season… but that’s another blog.

I noticed it first with Grey’s Anatomy… was able to predict most of the episodes this season. I explained this away as I’ve watched for years, and know how Shonda writes her episodes. However, it then started to happen with The Blacklist this year, the newest show I love watching, and I couldn’t deny it any more.

I’ve even tested this on movies, and true to form, I can pick out the plot and ending in most of them.

Now, I will not be giving up The Blacklist any time soon, but it has made me shelve The Following, and probably Grey’s Anatomy. Simply because I find them to be predictable.

Is that true of other writers, or am I completely bogus in this new theory of mine?

The Dirty Dozen Interview – Andrew Gilmore

I posted last week about interviewing fellow authors/writers for a series called The Dirty Dozen interviews. This week we have Andrew Gilmore with us!

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Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I think the signs were always there. The first one I remember was in fourth grade. We wrote short stories as an assignment and shared them with the class. But even before that I made up my own little book that I called “The Book of  Faces” or something like that. I was bored in church so I ripped up the bulletin and drew faces with different expressions, writing the emotion underneath. When I got home I made a cover and stapled it together. I think my Dad still has that book.

But the definitive moment I can point back to was in 11th grade. I read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. It was an assignment for my English class, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. When I got to the end of the book I thought to myself, If I could make even one person feel the way I do right now I would consider my life a success. Thus I knew I had to start writing.

Q: Did you share this dream with anyone, if so what was their reaction?

A: I was kind of scared to share the dream because I was afraid people would destroy it. I knew even at 17 that professional writing is a tough way to earn a living. I eventually did tell my parents and friends, but I think they already had a sense that this is where I wanted to go. They were always supportive.

Q: Who has been your biggest supporter and your biggest critic?

A: My parents and my wife have always supported me. I’ve been lucky (or is it unlucky?) not to have too many critics so far in my writing journey. Over the years I have had a few nasty comments on my various blogs, but that’s about it.
I remember my freshmen year of college before classes even started, my advisor tried to talk me out of a writing career. I guess you could call him a pre-critic.

Q: When someone gives you an opinion on your writing, do you tend to believe strangers over people you’re close to, or vice versa?

A: Definitely people I’m close to. I won’t lie though, in my darkest moments I start to question whether or not they really like my writing or if they’re just being nice.

Q: Have you lost friends/families because of your writing?

A: Thank God no. I have gotten into some arguments with friends because I write about Christian matters.

Q: What is the thing you struggle with most about writing?

A: For me it’s often a roller coaster. One day I’ll feel like every word I write is pure gold. The next day I can barely rub two words together. I’ve learned that writing consistently (at least 4-5 days per week) is a great way to combat this.

Q: Have there been moments where you have wanted to give up on this dream? If yes, what has made you stick with it?

A: Absolutely. In fact, I pretty much did give up on the dream. After I graduated college, I got a job totally unrelated to writing. Maybe I was scared of failing or just scared of being broke, but there was a period of 3-4 years in which I barely wrote a word.

That said, the idea of writing was always in the back of my mind. I knew I wanted to come back to it.
One day while praying I felt God telling me that it was time to start writing again. And I did. That was four years ago, and I haven’t stopped since then. And I don’t plan on ever stopping.

Here’s what made me stick to it: Remember that Hemingway feeling I said I got from The Sun Also Rises? That’s a big part of what keeps me going. I re-read that book every couple of years, and it still gives me chills in places. And every time I read that or The Old Man and the Sea or To Have and Have Not, I think the same thing: If I could make even one person feel this way, it’s all worth it.

I read somewhere that you should only write if you can’t not write. That’s how I feel. I can’t imagine living a life in which I’m not writing. I have a lot of other interests and passions, but I love writing. I love books, words, learning, knowledge, and stories.

Sorry, that’s a super long answer.

Q: I tend to give long answers when I feel passionately about things too, so it’s not a problem at all! What is one thing that you wish you knew from the beginning of your writing career?

A: I wish I knew that the path to success in writing is to write consistently over time. Practice is what makes a bad writer good, and a good writer great.

Q: Do you have things/people you turn to for inspiration or can you sit down and just write?

A: These days I can pretty much sit down and write without thinking about it. I very rarely have “writer’s block”. Since I write a lot about the Bible, that’s usually my source of inspiration. Ravi Zacharias is also an inspiration to me.

Q: What achievement in writing are you most proud of?

A: Writing, editing, formatting, and publishing my first book this past May. During that time my wife and I had our fourth child, I worked a full time job, and we sold and bought a house. It has been an extremely busy year, but I was able to persevere and get it done.

Q: What has been your biggest lesson learned in writing?

A: Great writing doesn’t always win out. In a perfect world, someone could write the best novel of all time, put it in a bottle or on her blog, and all the critics, publishers, agents and fans would just find it and start pouring out money and awards on said author. Instead, connections with fans, other writers, influencers, and just good old fashioned marketing is how you get yourself known. I’ve seen inferior writing (not that I consider myself the greatest of writers) get plenty of attention.

Q: If you could only pick one, would you rather be well known (NY Times Bestseller etc) for one piece of writing, only to be broke after a quick fifteen minutes of fame, or would you rather be semi-unknown, only making just enough sales to live modestly, as long as you were able to keep writing?

A: Great question! I guess it really doesn’t matter to me, because I plan on writing and publishing indefinitely regardless of whether I become rich and famous. Being an NYT Bestseller is definitely a goal of mine, but it’s not the most important thing. Enriching people’s lives by the written word is what I’m after. It’s my calling.

So I guess if I had to pick, I’d choose the latter because it better affords the chance of longevity.

Well there you have it! Thank you Andrew, for being with us today, I have thoroughly enjoyed picking your brain!

 

Andrew Gilmore is the author of Do No Work, a book that helps Christians beat down stress and draw nearer to God through the study and proper application of the Sabbath commandment. He and his wife Katie spend most of their time raising their four children in Norman, Oklahoma. Neither one has slept since 2010. You can catch up with Andrew at http://andrewgilmore.net

 

If you would like to read his book Do No Work it is available on Amazon, or you can click HERE

Do You Have a Work Spouse?

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There is a growing trend in pop culture, it’s been the “it” phrase for a while, to have a “Work Spouse”. I know people who accept this and others who are infuriatingly jealous by it. Allow me to explain the dynamic…

A Work Spouse – Co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you have a close platonic relationship with. In many ways, these relationships mirror a real marriage.

In 2007, during a survey done by Vault.com, an average of 23% of employed adults admitted to having a work spouse.

CNN did a report in 2008 titled “Seven Signs You Have a Work Spouse”.  This list included things such as: Depending on co-worker for supplies, snacks, aspirin. Inside jokes only you and they share, and also a colleague that is your first thought when something big comes up in your life that you share with them first over almost anyone else.

I’ve been a Work Spouse for almost five years now, and let me tell you, the dynamic is one of the most fulfilling relationships in my adult life. Being a “Work-Wife” has its advantages for sure. You know that without a doubt, someone will always have your back. This person shares in your sense of humor, normally in a way that most don’t. They’ve seen you at your best and worst. They are most likely to be the shoulder you cry on about work injustices, so you don’t spoil the relationships you have at home.

Another big plus is the fact that you get the best parts of your work spouse. You don’t have to deal with the petty fights over whose turn it is to change the baby or walk the dog, you don’t have to clean up after them, you don’t have to argue with them over replacing all the doorknobs in the house because one broke and they no longer make that style. Because I mean people, you just cannot have un-matching doorknobs in your home, it’s a travesty.

The downsides… and yes there are a few of those too…

You can grow so accustomed to being in a marital-type relationship that you get the questions from other colleagues. You are a victim of the rumor mill non-stop. Lies of infidelity are rampant in a workplace. You also run the potential risk of falling for the other person, which is especially bad if you are already in a relationship outside of work with someone else. You run the risk of your partners (if in a relationship) being jealous and hostile about the situation. This appears to be true more from the females who watch their husbands have work wives.

They are rare relationships, and being a work wife myself, I can tell you that my work spouse, is one of two men I’ve ever trusted unequivocally. I know without a doubt this man would take a bullet for me, would move Heaven and Earth to take care of me if I needed it, and most of all, he encourages and supports me in all my decisions. That my friends, is rare.

So what about you? Do you know someone or have you ever been the work spouse? What challenges did you have to face because of it?

Just a girl and her dreams…

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