She was “BLOWN away”!

Eddy is set to be released the first week of January 2018. It will be followed by a book signing in Santa Clarita, then in Richmond, Virginia at the Poe Museum!

Debbie Phillips from the Poe Museum said she “was BLOWN away. I love it, and am excited to share it with my colleagues.”

In 1848, Poe took an overdose of Laudanum. Eddy is the fictional account of what happened under the influence of the opiate based drug.

“Half mad from an overdose of laudanum, Poe re-imagines the death of each woman he loved even as their souls reach out from beyond the grave to save his life.”

eddycoverfinal

To Celebrate my upcoming publications – I’ll be posting Poe related trivia and never before seen photos of fan art – or more specifically – the art people have made for me knowing I’m a Poe fan!

I’ve got so much love for Poe fans!

Posted in Adventures in Los Angeles, Essay, Fiction, Poe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goals & Accomplishment

goals

I know many people don’t start think about goal setting for another four weeks, but I consider it year ’round.

I don’t want until January 1st to begin anything, except a new year. I don’t make resolutions that I don’t keep, I rarely make resolutions at all.  When I want to start something new, whether it be health, wealth, a writing, I do it right away.

So – I’m not going to talk about what I’m going to do four weeks from now, but what I did 10 or 11 months ago.  In January of last year (not January 1, I think it was near the end of the month,) I made a vision board of what I wanted to see in my life. I’d never made one before.  I won’t bore you with all the things I placed on it, just a few things that did actually come to me throughout the year.

Of course, I had writing and publishing goals. I didn’t have a set number of publications or a set number of hours spent writing; those I set more often than yearly. eighteenHowever, by continuing to work on those writing and publishing goals, I’ve succeeded in publishing EIGHTEEN times this year.  18!  18 poems, short stories, books, etc floating around out there in the world!

 

 

 

 

 

I received these four complimentary copies in one week!

books.png

 

What Lies Beneath features a poem “UnWalden Pond.”
Vine Leaves has two poems: “The Fly” and “After.”
Wild Women’s Medicine Circle a narrative poem, “H.”
Delphinium published “Hope.”

 

 

Elsewhere on the vision board, I had things like book signings and talk shows and other personal things, some of which happened, some of which have not YET.

One of the things I included was an interview.  I’ve done two in the last month, but I did a live on air interview with darktimes.png

Super News Live on their show Dark Times in June. They gave me about 24 hours’ notice!  But

it was so much fun. The members of the crew and staff were very sweet!

 

 

 

 

 

Our brains like Goal Setting! Even setting little goals and crossing them off our lists makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something.

With my vision board, I didn’t actively cross anything off.  In fact, at some points, I forgot I’d had things on it. I looked at it after my Poe interview and realized – I had a picture of LIVE interview on it!!

I haven’t set goals for next year – yet. I have set short term goals that I will reset and realign when needed.

Waiting for New Year’s to set goals is like planning for failure. Why wait? What can you do right now to accomplish what you want? What can you do in the next month to know what you want to accomplish next year? If you know what you want to work on – why not start now?

I think by having a list or a goal written down somewhere, picture or other form, encourages us to more actively pursue, perceive, maybe envision that goal and work to accomplish it.

Good Luck!

 

Posted in Essay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best advice for new writers?

READ!

read1

Seems pretty commonsense, right?  I don’t understand when students or writers say they don’t read.

I think it’s common knowledge that reading helps you gain knowledge. Some of the most intelligent and sensitive people I know are not (or not only) college graduates, but are readers.

One faculty member said, how do writers who don’t read know what came before them. If you’re a writer, you should know who and what came before you. Whether or not you agree with them, like them, admire them, writers needs to be aware of the talent, the styles, the accepted and the outcasts who made literature what it is today.

One writer said – it ruins her style to read other writers.  What is her style and how did she come up with idea of style if she hasn’t read other writers?

Numerous articles and books cite findings and research that state readers are more empathetic, understand human motivations, reactions, and emotions, than non-readers. How do you write an authentic character not having an understanding of these basic things?

Intelligence – so many people like to cite those people who didn’t finish college. (I did another blog about this.) But they read! They worked! They learned their craft prior to becoming successful.

We read not only for these things, but to form our own opinions, to be able to think critically about the world around us, to continue to grow and understand the world around us.

I mean, yeah, definitely, you can stay stuck in your little narrow world. Good luck with that. With the world of self-publishing, you can still publish something and call yourself a writer, too.

BUT – what have you learned? what can you pass on?

Our purpose lies in more than publishing and calling ourselves writers. Our purpose is to spread knowledge, add to the conversation of literature, to become better people than we are so we can positively affect others.

Have you heard that old saying, “Hard work won’t kill you, but why take chances”?

Well, a good book won’t kill ya, take the plunge.

BTW – Author Interview – Leonard Foster took time to interview me for his blog. Thanks, Leonard!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A True Halloween Creeper Story

There was a challenge today in one of the writing groups to write 1000 word flash fiction Halloween story. This is a true story. It happened a few years ago. (It was written in an hour – so it’s not perfect)

halloween22

 

A True Halloween Creeper Story

 

Syd and I spent Halloween jogging in the rain. Our neighborhood doesn’t receive many trick-or-treaters, so this gives us a chance to see kids in costumes making their rounds. Sometimes the costumes scare Sydney; while dogs get the whole idea of doing crazy things for treats, they’re a little uncertain of masks and make up.

There are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood, which makes running difficult because of the social factor. The neighbors with friendly dogs stop and chat. So, toward the end, it’s more walk than run for us.

As I slow toward my own block, I run into Dan with his dog. Dan has a newfoundland; if the dog stood on his hindlegs, he’d be over six feet tall. A strong, powerful rescue dog, Dan said. “In case I ever need rescuing,” he joked.

“Where’s your wife?” The rain slowed to a sprinkle.

“Work trip. She’ll be gone til Saturday.”

“I didn’t realize her job required travel.” I’ve never seen one of them without the other. They walk their dog through our neighborhood on a regular basis.

Dan shrugs. “Yeah, once in a while.” His dog pulls him forward, and he yanks back. I smell the alcohol on his breath as he yells, “heel!”

Syd’s half the size of his dog, but the same color. She turns to look at him, even as his dog ignores him.

“What are you doing tonight?” Dan asks.

“Hiding from the kids. I didn’t buy candy.”  I laugh.

“Oh, yeah,” he says as if he forgot it was Halloween. “You can hide at my house if you want. I have beers.”

I laugh again. “No. I wouldn’t want your wife, or anyone else for that matter, to get the wrong impression.”

He shrugs and almost loses his balance. It becomes apparent, he’s had more drinks than I first assumed.

“It doesn’t matter. She’s used to it. I do photography in my spare time.”

I don’t know Dan or his wife that well. I only know them from our run-ins when walking the dogs, a few moments spent here or there chatting.

“You’re a photographer, right?”

I shake my head, “No, just pictures of flowers once in a while.”

“Yeah, I can see that. I see you covered in flowers.” His eyes shine as the last sprinkles of rain hit the ground and he pauses to look at me.

“Uhm, excuse me?”

“I photograph women, models. I’d like to photograph you.” He gets that half smirk that I’ve seen on men in bars when I was younger. A last ditch sales pitch that’s sure to hit. They, like he, doesn’t realize how incredibly silly they look. Dan’s older, he’s heavier. He has the appearance of someone who indulges in too much of everything except self-care. His skin is ruddy, hair unbrushed.

“No.” I say. There’s another block before my house and he’s heading the same direction. I hope another neighbor comes out to say hello.

“It would be strictly professional,” he slurs. “I’ve photographed hundreds of women, thousands. I used to run a website.”

“A website?”  He told me before he worked for the city; he’d retired early. I hadn’t believed that at the time, but didn’t care. Much like I don’t care about this conversation and I’d rather get to my warm, dry house and give Syd a treat.

He leans in, the scent of alcohol billows in front of us. “I don’t tell many people; it’s not something to be talked about in pleasant company.” He half laugh, half grunts.

I fall back a step, lean over to adjust my shoe laces. Maybe he’ll keep walking. When he stops and waits, I ask, “Does your wife know about the website and the photography?”

He shrugs again. The dog yanks at him and he yells louder than before. “Freaking, g’damnit, heel!” The giant, near panda bear, turns his head, seems to snub him, and pushes forward with less force.

Sydney slows down, lowers her ears, then she stays by my side as we start walking again.

“You know, I told my wife, it doesn’t really matter if we’re married or not. I mean, she could take one house, I could take the other. You know? Who stays married anymore, right?”

I see another neighbor, Jenny, coming toward us; I wave madly. She’s jogging with her little terrier, Fritzie. I hope she’ll stop, talk; I think, if she does, I’ll walk in the opposite direction with her.

“Hi, Jen!” I say loudly. She’s wearing her earbuds under her hoodie and I’m not sure she can hear me.

She waves, picks up Fritz and quickens her pace around us. I imagine she’s afraid of Dan’s dog. But when I see her sideways glance, I wonder if it’s more Dan that freaks out her. Suddenly, more things make sense.

“I could do the pictures very tastefully.” He half chuckles. “It’ll only be me; what are you afraid of?”

I decide to take the clear, hard line with him. “Well, I have children, and I’m a teacher. I’d be afraid to compromise my ethics and lose my job.”

We’re just a house from mine. I cut across my neighbor’s and my own lawn. The misty night has left my skin damp, but it’s him who makes my skin crawl.

“Well, if you know any young girls….” he calls behind me.

“I’ll be sure to warn them away from you!” I call back. Once in the house, I see him pause at the end of the drive, probably trying to make sense of what I said. I lock the door, turn out the lights, and give Syd treats; then we sit in the dark to watch someone a little less creepy, like Michael Meyers.

michael-myersjpg-c73192_1280w

 

 

Posted in Adventures in Los Angeles, Essay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Ways to Stay Poor

Someone said to me the other day, “the only thing my parents taught me was how to be poor.”

Many of our parents are unaware of life outside of their socioeconomic class; they may have ideas about how to help us, which might not be enough.

My father’s idea was work ethic – he worked from sun-up til sun-down as a roofer.

So – my sarcastic look at how to stay poor:

  1. Stay home and watch television. Because, certainly, that’s what successful people do. They don’t go on to learn more, success came knocking at their door!

Every year, I hear students say, “I don’t need college, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates didn’t finish college.” And every year, I give a mini lecture, as gently as possible, about how these men were working and learning in their field of study long before college. I sometimes hint (because I believe) these men were geniuses. And they still had to work hard!

     2. Listen to your friends who say you’re a sell out. Because friends always have our best interest at heart and know way more than we do about our life and what we want, we should definitely listen to them if we want more and they put us in our places.

When I applied to college, one woman said to me, “Sounds like someone wants to be rich and famous.” I shrugged, not having the wherewithal to defend my choice, and maybe it wouldn’t have helped anyway. At that time, I would have settled for getting out of the ghetto.

       3. Dreams are meant to be secret, private, and stuffed away. By all means, don’t follow them. You don’t actually want to have a good idea and the confidence to follow through.

I can not tell you how many people made fun of and put down my dreams. One girl used to curl her hand into a decrepit fist, “Don’t have you writer’s cramp yet?” Other people swore I was “wasting time writing stupid poems and stories no one will ever read.”

     4. Don’t ask questions, you might feel stupid. There’s nothing worse in the world than looking or feeling stupid. It’s true, you might get an answer, but that’s beside the point!

The first time I went to a college campus, I went into the advisor’s office and she handed me a form. “Did you fill this out?” I hadn’t. “Well, fill this out and come back.”  I had a lot of questions, including about the form she handed me, but she ushered me out, and I remember turning to her and her shutting the door right in my face. I’d made an appointment months before. I’d taken three buses to get there. I wanted to turn around and walk away. But before I left, I picked up some other forms and talked to the student assistant in the front office who was FAR MORE HELPFUL than that rude, thoughtless woman who hadn’t given me the chance to even ask a single question. I could have walked away, and I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but before I walked out, I’d decided I wouldn’t let one shitty person who didn’t care dictate my success.

 

Now – if you have interest at all in succeeding – Try this link: Habits of Self Made Millionaires.

 

Posted in Essay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Existential Crisis or not?

After the farmer’s market, some mornings, I drive around, usually down Ventura Blvd. It’s been conducive to considering life, writing. 21741308_1794773787218606_5919141729243852808_o

I find that I usually stop somewhere for a coffee and write.
Even though I’m widely published in literary journals and other, my own work doesn’t sell much. I’m probably not that great at marketing; however, it may also be due to the fact that I don’t write genre fiction and few people know what to expect when I say literary fiction.

Obviously, it’s up to me if I want to change what I write. But, this afternoon, sifting through donations of people’s old clothes to go to different centers, places, and people who need them, I thought – I’m here to do more than write the next big romance or homelessaction/adventure story. I’m here to tell stories of real people and real lives, hard lived. ($1.00 Stories was inspired by a true story of a homeless man who wrote stories and felt he earned enough to live on)
The novel I spent the spring writing (and is currently making the rounds to publishers) is about a young man who is a recovering drug addict and a woman who spent her life allowing others to make choices for her.

I’ve allowed my heart and my life to be touched by a great many different people. Hearing and interpreting other’s stories, trying to understand and learning to empathize with individuals makes life worth living. Writing stories that people can connect with because they have a sister, brother, aunt who has experienced something similar is important to me.

My purpose is to tell the stories that are hard to write, hard to hear, and give real life meaning. This might mean I don’t make the homelessbest seller’s list, but it also might mean my work touched someone, taught someone, helped another human being experience empathy for a friend or stranger’s life.

My last few stories “Deception” is about how we lie to ourselves and each other,“The Gold Tooth” deals with a sibling who will never be what we hoped for them.  My poems, “H” and “Hunger”, both of

which will appear in Wild Woman Medicine Circle next month, explore hardships people must endure because of others’ expectations.

This is what I choose to write, I was born to write. It has meaning to me. I hope others finding it meaningful to them.

Posted in Essay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October

Is one of my favorite months!

We have Halloween. Libras. And, this year, the 168th anniversary of Poe’s death. This is not necessarily a good reason to like October, but it is part of what makes October so memorable.

Edgar_Allan_Poe_daguerreotype_cropSo… 168 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe visited some friends at a pub, saw a doctor who suggested he not travel, then boarded a train, forgetting his trunk, mistakenly with the Doctor’s cane, to pick up his “dear Mother,” Maria Clemm. She was to come and live with him and his new fiance, Elmira Royster Shelton.

The rest, we know, is surrounded in mystery. I was interviewed in June regarding my thoughts of what happened. Thank you to the members of Super News Live.

 

 

Another reason to be excited about October – REaDLips has released a short story of mine. $1.00 Stories. They called it a “chilling” story. Well, you’ll have to be the judge of that.1story

Available on e-book:    

Or soft cover:

Cris is an author who’s lost his magic touch. He meets a homeless man who might have the inspiration he needs.

But what happens is anything but magic or inspirational.

Posted in Essay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment