Using Famous People in Stories

bowie.jpgDavid Bowie appears in my new book, How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. Sort of.

Bowie and the Basket Case is a short work of fiction. It’s completely legal to use the name of famous people in your literature. But there are limitations. Micheal Ondaajte has used historical figures, gave them secret lives.

The story must be clearly a work of fiction. And, if it is someone living, I’d be careful what I say about them. They have good lawyers.

The star of my story, however, is the basket case. But which one is the real basket case?

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Review, review, review

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I received this in my inbox. I’ve received a number of unsolicited good reviews via email or personal conversation. Still – few online.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you like a book, review it online!

As a writer, I’m more than willing to talk about my work, but share your thoughts with other readers!

I’m proud of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. I’m happy others are enjoying it.

Read it – then review it!

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How it feels to write after a long time

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The Healing Power of Writing

I’m not sure if all people begin to heal from writing, but it does happen. Once a person gives their stories air, light, voice – they begin to heal from whatever was hurting and holding them back.

healing.jpgMany years ago, when I was in school. A woman showed up late to class. She could barely walk, used a cane, struggled to a seat and didn’t speak for half the semester. Then, one day, she spoke.

Maybe it’s important to tell you about the class. It was a women’s studies class. The instructor gave voice through stories, studies, lectures, and guest speakers to women’s issues, including what we call today the #metoo movement.

For most of the semester the beautiful woman, long hair, tight lipped, rarely smiled, spoke even less, barely moved and every little moment seemed to drop into depths of pain.

Then one day, she spoke up. She said, about ten years earlier she had been raped by her husband’s best friend. If you tell, he warned her, I’ll tell your husband that came on to me and it was consensual. Afraid of not being believed, afraid of losing her husband and her son, she remained quiet, believing she could push down the shame and pain.

The class was stunned into silence that the woman could share such a secret with us. The instructor hugged her and thanked her for being brave enough to share with us.

None of us knew the power of her statements.

The following week she moved with much more ease, and by the end of the month she showed up without the cane.

She shared that since she’d let that secret out, she’d been feeling better. Her mysterious mobility issues, the serious pain that had riddled her body for years, was dissipating.

I believe, she told the class, it was the pain of that secret that was locking into my own body.

She felt freed.

Writers often talk about needing to write. Stories need to be told. Secrets need to be shared. There’s a healing power for the teller and the listeners.

I actually began this blog today to talk about my story “The Healer” in How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. But this isn’t that story. There are many times of healing in that book, but this story wasn’t mine. It was hers. But it taught me something about healing and releasing stories which might hurt us or hold us back.

3 Things Writers Hate About You (jk)

You don’t have to be a psychic to know there are things writers have in common. Some love them, some hate them. But, if you’re a writer and they haven’t happened to you yet, they will!

  1. Every writer runs into multiple people who, upon find out they’re a writer, says, “I have this story I want to write…” the conversation then progresses in a few ways. The person will tell them they’re story, will ask them to write it for them (for free), or will suddenly be afraid their story will be stolen.
  2. Every writer has someone ask them for free copies. Writers get a limited number of copies, unless, of course, they are Stephen King or someone like that. And sometimes the copies aren’t exactly free.
  3. Almost every writer who has a social media account has had some amateur plug their own book on the writer’s page by dropping a link, comparing it, or other. This is rude, distasteful, and will not win the person friends. I’ve deleted and blocked people who’ve done that.

Now, given this is my page – I’ll plug my own book – released this week. Get it here!

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Release Day

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These might be some of the best stories I’ve ever written – even if I do say so myself.

Malcom Gladwell has a theory – it takes 10,000 hours to perfect one’s craft. Well, I think, perhaps I’ve hit 50,000, maybe 100,000.

Beyond that – one learns, one grows wiser with age; hopefully, that is what you’ll read in these stories. Wisdom. Empathy. Healing.

Available now. on amazon and kindle. 

Find out how to throw a psychic a surprise party.

Dad Shines

“‘Dad Shining’ is a terrible name for a story.,” said a certain someone.

I replied, “The Chicago Tribune must have liked it. They’re going to publish it.”

I worked on “Dad Shining” for some time, not quite knowing what the ending needed. Then it struck me:

We grow up not really understanding our parents or why they do the things they do. When we become adults, if our maturity doesn’t lend itself to that understanding then it should lead us to empathy.dad-shining-cover

We can’t possibly know our parents challenges in the same way we comprehend our own. Therefore, we must let things go, forgive, and move on. (Whatever that forgiveness means to you. Don’t be tortured by the past)

My father passed four years ago this month. The story “Dad Shining” was published two months before he passed. (For which, I’m happy.)

It’s not a story of my father, nor of me. But it is a story of a child coming to some sort of peace with himself and extending compassion to the father he never quite understood.

 

(A little trivia for you – the cover was taken in Virginia where Poe’s mother is buried)