Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27 - Day 7 - Musings and Ghosts

I have read some fantastic stuff over the last few days on other blogs, specifically some of the scariest horror stories. My ghosts are more benevolent. Thank goodness. I don't mind reading something scary,but I don't want to see it. I really don't want to see it up close and personal.

More than once we have been driving down the road and I see someone standing alongside of it. When I mention to my husband that maybe that person needs some help,he points out to me that there is nobody there. OK, I don't let that freak me out too much, but I do wonder why did I see them? I mean some of the other people, I understand. Maybe they came to help me, maybe they came because they are family and they needed something. Maybe I am in their space or in their way. These random people,by the side of the road or some other odd place make no sense to me.  As a side note; they are never gruesome or scary they are just there and usually I am the only one who sees them.

Before I tell you my story for today, I want to share some exciting news. I am getting off island for a few days.  We are going to Hispaniola, the Big island in the Caribbean. As you probably know it is divided in half . Half is Haiti and half is the Dominican Republic. We are going to the DR. This is the Caribbean equivalent of a "road trip". It is an expensive plane ticket and will take two planes (everything flies through San Juan, Puerto Rico).  We will do a little sight seeing and spend some time in the most peaceful place on earth. I can hardly wait.

Today another Ghost Story from my family - 

My mother and my father's second to the oldest sister Grace died within a year of each other. My Uncle Charlie, who was married to my Aunt Grace, like my Dad was lost without his wife. Dad and Charlie became fast friends and they were like "The Odd Couple". They would go out to eat together, help each other with home improvement projects and they would disagree about everything.

I was living in Colorado at the time and Dad came out for one of his annual visits. The first thing when he gets to my house he starts right in telling me that he is worried about Charlie. He is sure he has "gone round the bend" this time. I'm only paying half attention to him, because he is always complaining about Charlie. When he gets to the reason he is so worried I started paying a little closer attention.

Apparently, Grace, who has been dead for around a year, is now appearing to Charlie. He wakes up and sees her standing at the foot of his bed each night and she is terribly distraught. She is wringing her hands and tells him that 'she left something undone and it needs doing'. Charlie is frantic, he asks what it is and she can't seem to tell him. She does let him know that it is something he cannot do for her.He talks to Dad and everyone he knows looking for answers, hoping that someone can help him figure it out.

Dad, who is, of course,the big non-believer, is worried that Charlie is going nuts on one hand and on the other he asks me if I have any idea what it is she needs done. I wanted to point out the irony of that to him, but figured better of it. I did tell him that I knew what it was and that I would take care of it. It always struck me as strange that Dad, who was always the "Supreme Commander of the Universe" never asked me what it was. He just accepted me at my word and knew that I would do it.

I wrote a long and detailed letter to my Uncle explaining what my Aunt wanted and told him that I would take care of it. I spoke with him often over the next few months trying to help him understand. During this time he never said much. I never knew if he was confused, contemplating or waiting for my Aunt to have her say. One day out of the blue Uncle Charlie says to me; "I really don't know about all of this stuff, but your Aunt is happy and grateful. That was it the end.

It took me a little while to get the things that she needed done, and when I did this for her, I felt her with me. I know you want me to tell you what it was. I won't. It really doesn't matter. What matters is that death is not the end, it is just the next adventure.

This is a favorite in my family. It's a story that is special to us on many levels. I admit that it bothered me for along time that after my mother died I never saw her again. She didn't come to me or have special messages for us. I suppose that meant she was at peace and able to move on to her adventure. I sat with my Dad when he died and Mom did come for him. I didn't see her but he did, and he was blind at the time of his death. She was there at the foot of his bed moments before he died (he told me this).

My most interesting Ghost Story is about a man whose house I lived in. I didn't know him while he was alive. I rented from some of his family and when I told them that I saw him in the house,they told me his story. Later he revised some of it and filled in the holes. It's a good one. It is going to be the basis for my next novel.The one I'm writing for NaNoWriMo (google it,if you want to know more). Maybe, after my story is done,I'll tell you the "rest of it" here.

Have a great weekend. I'll have a short post tomorrow on , my personal rant, and then we're off for the weekend. I'm back on Monday at the Paradise blog and hopefully I'll post some pics of the DR and tell you what it was like over there.

Happy Halloween Weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25 - Day 6 - Another Ghost Story

My Daddy's daddy, my grandfather was killed when my Daddy was three years old. Daddy was raised by his mother and three sisters. Two older and one younger. To say Daddy was one proud little rooster in that house full of hens would be putting it mildly. Siblings went like this; Edith (oldest), Grace (next) Daddy and Ruth (the baby).

Daddy and each of his sisters had only one child, three girls and one boy.I was the tail end of the cousins, the very tip of the tail. Mom and Daddy had me pretty late in life, my cousins (on this side of the family) were all much older (One cousins had a daughter, my second-cousin, my age).

Aunt Edith and her husband Uncle Eli and my cousin Larry (14 years my senior) lived one city block and a half from us. I spent a lot of time over there and Uncle Eli was one of my favorites. I used to fantasize that Larry was my big brother (I'm sure that drove him nuts). Anyway, a few months before my 12th birthday, on a cold and snowy November day, Uncle Eli went to work and had a heart attack. It was one of those heart exploding attacks where one minute he was there and the next he was gone, no resuscitation necessary.

We were all saddened and shocked. My cousin Larry especially. He was so close to his Dad. My Aunt Edith was a lost soul. She was blind (due to neglect of her diabetes) and she depended on Eli for everything. Everyone was worried about how she would get on. Actually, she go on better than anybody because Uncle Eli came to be with her all the time. The family, Daddy in particular, thought she was going around the bend. It was always interesting to me that they discounted things like; she got really mad at Larry when he painted her bedroom yellow (she hated the color yellow). Larry was perplexed at how she knew. (He had yellow paint left over from another project and figured it was paint. She couldn't see. What was the big deal). The family was sworn to secrecy. Aunt Edith told him and the rest of us, Uncle Eli told her it was yellow.

By January all family discussion centers on Aunt Edith ad her growing delusions. My other two Aunts decided to have a mini intervention and sit her down for a talk. Aunt Ruth and her grown and married daughter, Jean, (who lived outside the city in a small town) where going to drive in and pick up Aunt Grace. The three of them would go over and spend the afternoon with Aunt Edith and try to straighten her out. Daddy highly approved of the plan and although I never knew for sure I' suspect Larry was also in favor.

On a cold, grey, snowy, day my Aunt Ruth and Cousin Jean apparently missed a stop sign on a wide country road. The were t-boned by a car going at top speed. In the days before seat belts, both were thrown through the windshield. My cousin was decapitated and my aunt was crushed. Daddy was a big city cop and knew all the local law enforcement in the surrounding small towns. When my Uncle and my cousins husband could not be located for notification of their deaths, the attending police called Daddy. He offered to identify the bodies so their husbands didn't have to see them. Daddy was also in charge of notifying the family.

On that day, I came home from school early for some reason. The procedure after school was to call my Mom at work and check-in. When I called her office, they told me she had left for the day and should be home. I heard the front door and the back door, to the house, opening at the same time. Mom came in the front and Daddy the back. I was in the middle hallway. Mom looked at Daddy and said, "What's wrong? Whose dead? Why did you call me to come home early?"

Before I go any farther I should explain Mom is Polish. I grew up in Chicago were I was exposed to a lot of ethnicity, but let me tell you no nationality is more demonstrative emotionally than the Polish. So...Daddy says, "Eleanor, Ruth and Jean were killed in an accident." That was it. Mom throws herself on the bed crying and screaming and literally tearing at her hair and kicking her feet. After a little while of Daddy trying to console her (with absolutely no affect whatsoever) Daddy asks me, "Do you want to stay here with your mother or go to Aunt Edith's with me? I have to tell her."

"Are you kidding me?" Mom is down right scary, I'm with Daddy going to Aunt Edith's. We decide to walk the block and a half. At Aunt Edith's, Daddy puts the key in the door and we walk in, before he can call out and identify himself Aunt Edith says "Art, come in and sit down."This in itself is a little unusual, remember she is blind. How did she know it was him?

Daddy says, "Edith I..."

She cuts him off with, "Art sit down, don't talk, I have something to tell you."

I'm bracing myself. Nobody orders Daddy around like that, especially not one of his sisters.

Daddy says, "Edith..."

That's all he gets out before she says, "Art shut up. I have something I need to tell you."

Amazing, I'm thinking, because Daddy rolls his eyes and sits down. I sit right next to him. It's creepy in Aunt Edith's house there isn't a light on and it's pretty cloudy and dark. Daddy is almost never this patient.

Aunt Edith proceeds to tell us; "Eli was here this afternoon. Ruth and Jean are with him. It will be alright. Art, they want you to know that they are perfect." That's it. That's the message for Daddy.

Well,Daddy gets all huffy and demands to know who told her. She sticks to her story; it was her dead husband who came and told her and gave words of comfort to her and to my father. Daddy never acknowledged whether he believed her or not, at least not in front of me. I believed her then and I believe her now.

There is more to the story. About a week after the double funeral, I couldn't sleep and I heard my parents in the kitchen. Daddy was crying (one of the few times in my life I ever heard Daddy cry, at least when he was stone cold sober.) He was telling my mother that in all his years 'on the job' and all the terrible things he had seen,nothing was so horrible at the sight of his beautiful sister and her lovely daughter so mutilated as they were in that accident. He sobbed that he would never forget that sight.

I never forgot these things. It was years, and a whole lot of understanding, later that I realized my Uncle Eli's message was most particularly for my Daddy. He was trying to tell him that in the hereafter we will all be made perfect, no matter the circumstances of our death. He was trying to reach out and comfort Daddy. I loved Uncle Eli so much in life and I loved him  even more when I thought about what he was trying to do for the family he left behind. I never saw him. He never came and talked to me. I know he was there for his wife and for my Daddy and in a way for me too.

Death is just the next adventure. How grateful I am to Uncle Eli for prolonging his time to take that next step, in order to give a family grieving and lost, a peak at the wonder of it all.

The writer in me would like to "scare" you with a ghost story. I've met a few, and they have never been scary, even the lost souls. Instead of scaring you, maybe this could give you some comfort. It's all true, or maybe I'm crazy. Either way.....

Another tale from the place where I live. A place where 'commas are optional'.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, Day 5 - More Ghost Stories

I'm still not writing anything but my blogs. Holding out for revision sheets from my editor on "Far Away Eyes" completing the research for "The Ghost's Story" and going crazy. Ah well, for me,that's a short trip.

Thinking, thinking, thinking about what interesting words of wisdom I can leave here today. Since we are leading up to Halloween I think I'll keep telling Ghost Stories, I got a load of 'em. I have an interesting experience that happened ten years ago,not exactly a ghost story, well may be it is. You decide.

It was something like September 13 or 14, 2001, just a few days after the infamous 9/11/01. My daughter and I had traveled to Billings,Montana to a horse sale. We had been planning on going to this particular sale for a few months and despite everything going on in the world we decided not to cancel. We had TV (cable) at the time (I mention that because for most of my adult life we have had no TV) and my husband could not be pulled away from the constant coverage. If I had to watch those skyscrapers collapse one more time, I was going to scream. A road trip to Billings,Mt seemed like a good idea to me.

We got up to Billings late Thursday night,had a crummy dinner at a all night restaurant and went to bed.  The next day we went over to the sale but there wasn't a lot going on, so we decided to travel on down to The Little Big Horn National Monument. Do you want to talk about a haunted place on the map? could almost hear them screaming. There is a National Veterans Cemetery there also, primarily Native Americans. Native Americans who died in WWI WWII,Korea, and Viet Nam. With what was going on in the nation there was a flag on each grave, all the larger flags were flying at half mast, everything was subdued, except the dead.

When you stood on the hill over looking the battlefield(there is a marker where each man fell) you could feel the fear, rage, blood lust and a whole lot of other emotions. You could almost see the warriors from each side and hear the screams of men and horse. I could only take it for a few minutes. I suppose about now I sound pretty melodramatic, for me this was very real. We read a few of the plaques and got out of there.

On the way back to Billings along Interstate 90 I thought the car was acting funny. I got off at Crow Agency, a small town on the reservation. There didn't seem to be any help there, so I got back on the ramp to the Interstate and the car was acting up again. I got out and popped the hood (I am more mechanically challenged than I am cyber challenged. (Come to your own conclusions there.) I don't know what I expected to find,but I figured two women alone, car by the side of the road, hood up,maybe someone would have mercy. Anyway...we have our heads under the hood wondering what we are looking at and out of nowhere this man comes along, on foot, he appears to be Native American, no big shock there. He looks at me ands says, "You better get on up the road to the next town, you car is going to break down, they can help you there".  Then he gave me some cryptic direction to a garage. He never even glanced at the car. Well, I got on up the road and got off at the next exit, where there was a larger town, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me. I could not find the garage, but as I came around a corner,there was the same man. He gave me the equivalent of an eye roll and told me to go back a block to find the garage.

At first this didn't seem out of the ordinary.  Then my daughter says, "how did he get here before us, he was walking". 

I said, "someone probably picked him up."

She says, "I don't think so. There was no one around when we got on the Interstate and I watched him walk up the road,no cars came by."

I started to think about it and she was right. Not only that, I never say where he went. He just seemed to walk up the road and disappear.

Meanwhile, back at the garage, the mechanic is telling me how lucky it is that we stopped, because there is absolutely no traffic on the Interstate in the evening and the car had about one city block left in it. He is also the only place within however many Montana miles who happens to have the part I need. My next big worry is how I'm going to pay for this. My credit card is always about $.20 under the limit and we had limited cash. Who in the middle of nowhere Montana is going to take an out of state check.

I called my husband and he says, well what do you want me to do. Thanks honey. He thought we should not have gone in the first place. Anyway...the garage owner said I looked honest. He took my check and we ended up only paying about half the original quote. In the end I told him about the Native American who sent us to him. He actually did rolle his eyes at me. Gotta love Montana cowboys.

Not necessarily a Ghost Story,but certainly an unusual experience. I've never been back to the Little Big Horn. I don't wanna go. Always wanted to make the Crow Fair in Crow Agency. It's a big Native American Gathering, a Pow Wow. Real Singers and all that stuff. Now that I live outside the US,it probably won't happen. You go for me. Tell me about it. If you meet a Native American man by the side of the road, be sure to listen to him very carefully.

There were some interesting things that happened at this Horse Sale and on the trip home. Not necessarily Ghost Stories,but interesting reminisces none the less. I'll tell you about them tomorrow on . See you there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18, Day 4

If I'm here it must be Tuesday. Keeping up two blogs is taxing my tiny little brain. Still nothing new from 'The Editor',so I'm letting it rest. Taking a break from the Far Away Series and trying to divert that tiny little brain of mine.

I'm still committed to NaNoWriMo. I have the story in my head and ready to go, now I need November 1 to come around quickly because this story is waking me up at night. It's ready to be told. This ghost is haunting me. I'm itching to tell you the story behind the story, but I won't. I'm afraid it would give too much away. Maybe after the story is written. I will tell you a few 'Ghost Stories' from my past or rather from my families past.

Why is it that some people live closer to the 'veil' than others? Why do some have experiences with those who have actually passed on but refuse to leave or who return for some purpose? I've wondered about that a lot, because in my family; everyone sees dead people at some time or other. It's amazing that it's not scary. They are just there.

Here's an instance that happened to me a few years ago. My husband who scoffs at this type of thing a lot witnessed it too, no he actually saw Michael also. My Godson was a Chicago policeman killed in the line of duty. I flew back to Chicago for the funeral. This funeral was a far worse experience than the funerals of my parents, probably because it was so public and he was so young. It was like something out of the movies. Michael was probably loving it, but it was hard on the friends and family. If I ever hear bagpipes again, it will be fine with me.

Anyway...Michael was a handsome guy and tall, about 6'6". A few weeks after his funeral I was back in SE Idaho at the State Fair. Rick and I were waiting in line to enter a ZZ Top Concert. Early September in Idaho it stays light until after 9p. It was still light as day. The line was long and there was a tremendous crush of people. I was standing there people watching and spacing out as usual. I looked up ahead and saw this guy who was really tall, a least a head taller than the average height of the crowd. He had on a Baseball Jersey, I'm pretty sure it was a Chicago Cubs Baseball Jersey. He walked right at me and was looking into my eyes. Something about him seemed familiar. When he got to me, he put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me and said "are you alright?" I nodded yes and he said "are you sure, you're alright?" I nodded yes again and knew it was Michael. Rick looked over at me and said "Was that...?" "Yeah," I said. We both stared in the direction he guy walked and could not see his head above the crowd. 

Thank you Michael for checking on me. I was a mess at your funeral. I went to be there for you Mom and I'm afraid I was such a mess, I needed the rest of your family to help me.

I guess I needed to remember that, because I started out thinking about something completely different. Maybe I'll have another Ghost Story for you on Thursday, maybe not. It makes me pretty emotional.

Remember no edits here, and I still don't know exactly "where the commas go".

Friday, October 14, 2011


This is an extra post because I'm trying to participate in a Blog Hop. It is taxing my brain to work on this,I am definitely cyber deficient. (Thank goodness for spell check, because I definitely, cannot spell definitely, to save my life). 

Anyway...there is a lot of explaining to do for this Blog Hop because I cannot get the link to post, but I did most of that on Just Another day in Paradise, so go there for my three blogs and the basic info. To get there quick click on this:

Sorry for all the confusion. Today I'm more blond than usual and "thinking is definitely optional" (I even spelled it right that time).

Oh,by the way. There are a number of hits on the site and absolutely no comments on my Ghost Story. I guess that means you hate it so bad that you couldn't tell me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13, Day 3

Still working on revisions of Book I. Still waiting on editor. Still trying to be still. For me, it's impossible.

I decided I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo. I'm not going to explain what that is,if you interested google it. What it does involve is writing a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. The month of November. I toyed with the idea of working on Book III and when I told Rick he went ballistic.I'm not sure why, but this was one of those things that it was easier to redirect myself than to argue with him.  I've had this idea for a "Ghost Story" rumbling around in my brain and I thought maybe I would work on that.

This particular "Ghost Story" is  based on fact. Something that really happened to me in a place where we once lived. Of course, I've changed a lot of it around. The other morning I woke up with some vivid impressions about the ending of the story. I may have dreamt it, I'm not sure. (I don't sleep well, so I don't dream. Maybe I do, but I rarely remember dreams.) I wanted to make some notes about those impressions, so I didn't forget them. I sat down at the computer and wrote this last chapter. I didn't intend to, it just came out. (I love it when that happens.)

I hope this isn't cheating on the NaNoWriMO, because I still want to use the story idea. I won't count these 2089 words in my 50,000 total word count. It will be interesting writing a novel, when you know the ending. With my other two books, I did not know how they were going to end. (I'm still not completely satisfied with the ending in Book I - working on that.)

When I gave it to Rick to read,he said he thought it could stand alone as a short story, but there is so much more I want to tell you. Now, you tell me: Do you want to know more about Sandra and Garrett? Do you want to know how they met? Who Garrett is? Why Sandra might be crazy? And so on and so on and so on. Is this interesting? Do you want to know more?LET ME KNOW. Please leave your comments.

Keep in mind, I write Paranormal Romance, it's not meant to be scary. At least not this part. Not unless your afraid of adventure.

Please be warned: it has not been edited. Commas may be needed or may need to be subtracted.



            Sitting in my room, I’m wondering if coming home for Christmas was a good idea. Back on the ranch, Everett seems real. I can’t be in this house and convince myself that he was just a dream. If Mom catches me leaning against the mantel in the living room, she’ll start in about counseling again. Maybe I am crazy.
            My little sisters do everything they possibly can to distract me. I know they want my attention. I do love them. It’s just hard to relate. Mom and Dad’s schedule for having children seven years apart makes it difficult on each of us.
            The Cocker Spaniel had her puppies five weeks before I came home. They are getting into everything. Dad told the girls that the whelping pen had to go out in the barn. Cindy is afraid they will be cold and lonely. Her five year old self, thinks she needs to be their mother. At twelve, Andy thinks she’s Cindy’s mother. The battle goes on.
            The house is quiet, too quiet. I keep hoping, just like I have for the past two years that Everett will go back on his word and appear to me, but I know it won’t happen. Everett was an honorable man. He would never go back on his word. Especially his word to me.
            It’s not yet nine o’clock, but things start early on the ranch. Mom and Dad went into town. The girls are out in the barn each looking after their babies. I suppose I should go out and check on them. I love the snow, but this morning I really don’t feel like getting all bundled up to tread through the thigh high snow to see some puppies. I do it anyway.
            When I step out the door, I’m reminded why I love the High Country and why I keep coming back. The air is crystal clear. It’s so cold you feel like your insides are being sterilized with each breath. The snow crunches under your feet and sparkles in your eyes. I know I’ll never be able to really leave this place.
            I step into the dimness of the barn and inhale the sweet smell of hay and animals. My eyes are still adjusting to the light but it’s obvious by the stillness that there isn’t anybody in here. No girls and no puppies. That’s odd. I step outside and take a turn around the barn. That’s when I hear Cindy’s small voice off in the distance, “Come back. Come back here right now.” I can hear her, but I can’t see her.
            Putting my hand to my brow to shield my eyes from the sun, I scan the area. I’m pretty sure Andy has a red ski jacket and I think I see her standing at the edge of the beaver ponds. The beaver ponds oh please no. I remember my Dad telling me that in the winter, your life expectancy in those frozen ponds was less than five minutes. It worked for me. Once the ponds froze over I never went near them until spring. Apparently, he didn’t have the same talk with Andy and Cindy.
            When I finally make it to her side at the edge of the beaver pond I see Cindy. She’s laying spread eagle on the ice, with a puppy under each arm crying. Andy is frantic.”She can’t make it back. She heard the ice crack and she’s too scared. I’m going out to get her,” she sobs at me.
            “No you’re not. I’ll get her,” I say as I start to untie my boots.
            “Are you crazy? You must weight a hundred pounds more than me,” Andy shouts.
            I look at her hoping that comment comes from the relativity of a twelve year old mind and not her actual perception of me. Still, she has a point. I probably do out weight her by about thirty pounds. I don’t think she weighs eighty pounds soaking wet.
            “OK, you go, but only if you do exactly as I say.”
            Andy nods her head, yes.
            Take off your boots and your jacket.
            “Cindy. Honey, can you slide around on your tummy so you’re looking at Andy and me,” I call out to her.
            “Yes,” comes her feeble reply. Andy and I watch her slowly slide around until she is facing us. “Sandra, I’m scared. I can see the water under the ice. It’s moving.”
            “I know honey. Don’t look down at the ice. Look at me,” I reassure her. “Andy is coming out for you, but you have to grab her feet. Can you do that? No tickling now, just grab her feet around the ankles and we will pull you over to us. It will be fun. You just slide along on the ice. OK.”
            “How do you expect me to get to her feet first,” Andy says.
            “Very carefully,” I tell her. “It is important that we ease you out with your body spread out as much as possible to displace your weight.”
            “What?”Andy asks.
            “See how Cindy is laying on the ice, with her arms and legs spread wide, you do the same. I’ll slide you out. This will spread your weight out over the ice and we have a better chance of it not breaking,” I explain.
            “Sandra, will this work? Dad said we would die in five minutes if we fell through the ice,” Andy asks.
            “Of course it will work. I want you to hold onto my wrists and do not let go no matter what. Let’s go. I want to get back to the house and have some hot chocolate and brownies. How about you?” I say and smile.
            “Yeah, me too,” Andy says lying down in the snow at the edge of the pond with her feet just barely hanging over the ice shelf.
            I crouch down and wrap my hands around her skinny little wrists. She does the same with mine, and I start to slowly push her out onto the ice. I keep pushing until I’m lying flat out in the snow. I’m extended up to my armpits, afraid to reach my torso out over the ice and add my weight to that of the girls.
            “I can’t reach. I can’t reach Andy’s feet. I’m cold and my jacket is all wet, my pants too,” Cindy cries.
            Oh, please no, I think. The ice must be cracking and the water is seeping over the top. I have to get her now. I slide out onto the ice up to my waist shoving Andy forward.
            “She has a hold of my ankle,” Andy says and the ice beneath me gives way.
            My head and shoulders plunge into the icy water. The combined weight of my sisters drags the rest of me in. I have never felt so cold in my life. It’s like a thousand needles stabbing into every bit of me. Andy still has her hands locked onto my wrists. I try to drag her closer to my face. Her eyes are closed and her mouth is open. Oh, Dear God, please save my little sisters, I don’t think I can.
            Somewhere from in the depth of my being I find the strength to twist around in the water. Andy is still in front of me. I shove her up to the surface and push her backward, with the last bit of strength I have. I’m amazed that she stays there, suspended just out of my reach. Did I actually push her up onto the bank? The only thing I see of Andy is her foot, still covered in her pink and green striped sock. Cindy is clutched onto her ankle. Cindy’s eyes are closed, but she is smiling. She has two limp Cocker Spaniel puppies held tight in her free hand. I reach for her waist and shove her up out of the water and backwards on top of Andy. When she doesn’t slip back beneath the water, I feel like I can relax.
            I don’t feel cold any more, but I have never been so tired. A few minutes ago I felt like my lungs were about to burst, but now I can actually take a deep breath. Something about that doesn’t seem to be right, but I close my eyes and think; I’ll figure it out after my nap.
            I barely fall asleep when I feel a warm hand slip into mine. My fingers instinctively close around it and I’m pulled free from the water. I come out of that icy pond like the cork out of a champagne bottle. I land on the bank standing on my feet, my hand still gripped tightly by the man standing next to me. I look up into Everett’s face. He’s smiling.
            “Somehow, I knew it was you,” I say.
            “Come on, we need to go, now,” he says slipping his arm around my shoulders.
            I let him lead me up the road, past the ranch house. We’re walking into the hay field, but something is different. The snow is gone. There are bales of hay staked up waiting to be picked up and stored for the winter. It looks like fall. I turn my head to look at Everett.
            “You told me fall was your favorite time of the year,” he says.
            I look down and although I’m wearing the same clothes I dressed in this morning, I’m dry. Nothing even feels damp. I look ahead and see the sun down close to the mountaintops. It’s almost sunset. It was morning five minutes ago. That’s when I hear someone crying. This woman is sobbing. Over and over she keeps saying, “my daughter, my daughter, my beautiful daughter.” When I try to look back in the direction of the weeping, Everett forces me onward.
            “Everett, someone is crying. My sisters. I don’t know if my sisters…”
            “Sandra, you sisters are fine. Today, no one showed greater love for them than you. You will see them again, just not today,” he says.
            I turn to face him and put my hands on his chest. “How is it that I can feel you? I felt your hand in the water and your arm around my shoulders. Finally, you’re real.”
            Everett just smiles.”Sandra, can I kiss you?”
            I nod yes.
            He puts his hands on my shoulders and gently pulls me toward him. His lips meet mine and linger there in the softest embrace. This is nothing like the kisses I’ve endured over the past three years in my attempts at dating. My attempts to forget him and finding someone real. There is nothing forceful, pushing or prodding about it. Finally, I feel something in every fiber of my body. This feels like love. I look into his face and I know he feels it too. Everett slips his arm around my shoulders and urges me forward.
            I can still hear that woman crying and I’m troubled by it. I feel like maybe I need to go and comfort her. When I try to turn and look back Everett stops me and keeps me moving forward.
            “Don’t look back. It’s better if you don’t look at them,” he says.
            “Can I go back? Do I have a choice?” I ask.
            He shakes his head. “You can’t go back? You can hang around here, if you want to,” he says looking over at the old ranch house.
            “If I go on, will you be with me?”
            He nods yes and says, “Forever.”
            “Everett, am I dead?”
            “It took me one hundred and fifty years to figure out that death is just the next adventure.”
            “I love a good adventure,” I say. I look around and notice that we are high up on the mountain. We stand at the exact spot where the sun is about to touch the earth in the final blaze of glory, that we call sunset.
            Everett wraps his arms around me as we are caught up in that sunset. I feel the glory of it shining right through me. He looks into my eyes and says, “I love you.”


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11 Day 2

Yes.....I got an email from my editor yesterday. She really didn't have much to say other than she was terribly busy and apologetic for not getting back to me sooner. She still has not gotten through the entire book and wants to do that before she starts to go over my revisions. OK, not exactly what I had hoped to hear but not exactly bad news either. Patience is a virtue...I keep telling myself. question today is why are writers so dependent on feedback? OK, that was a stupid question. It's obvious why we're so dependent on feedback. How else are we supposed to know if our work is at least relatable? I suppose when you deal with people who deal in words everything revolves around said words. Duh. I find that I welcome, even the negative feedback, if it gives me a chance to "talk" about my writing. Is that narcissistic? Maybe, but maybe it stems from a desire to make that work, those words, the very best they could be.

I have joined a few online critique groups and posted some of my writing. Some of the critique was incredible. Incredibly bad. One woman had nothing to say about the style, prose, lack of punctuation or grammar.She wanted to comment about a scene that I had posted where a person was drowned by another person. She claimed that I knew nothing about drowning. She cited research papers on how people actually drown and so on and so on. Are you kidding me? First of all I write FANTASY, second I wanted to scream at her, "how many people have you seen drown?" When I realized that I wanted to scream at someone, anyone, I figured that this particular online critique group was not for me. As a side note to that particular episode, I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for many years. Fortunately, I never witnessed a drowning but I did witness many scenes of people who thought they were drowning and who might have if they had not been rescued. I never mentioned that to this particular critique group. I can't say that I did not get any helpful information from these critique groups, but for the most part it was more mean than helpful.

My next level of feedback comes from family and friends. My husband is finally learning that he can be painfully honest and I will still feed him. He does give me many insights into the "holes" in my characters. What I call holes are the motivations for doing things that seem perfectly natural to me because I know these people so well, after all I am them. Anyway...he will tell me it doesn't not make sense to him, that so and so would do such and such. Then, I realize that I need to divulge more information about so and so to the reader, so that they see the motivation for them doing such and such. This is helpful. 

Also, my husband is my punctuation expert. One of the things that has always intimidated me about writing is punctuation. I love to tell stories.I have absolutely no idea where the commas should go. I like to sprinkle them in every so often to look literary. Rick goes over my manuscripts and takes my commas out and puts them in the right places. Lately, I've given up and don't use them at all. This way when he edits he has a "blank page" so to speak, and can just comma away to his hearts content. JUST SO YOU KNOW, HE DOES NOT EDIT MY BLOGS. COMMAS ARE OPTIONAL.

I envy those writers who have found great critique groups, particularly those that meet in person. If you can trust your critique partners and know that they love you and want you to succeed, can get the help that you need. This will always be difficult for me. I have trust issues.

That's it. I'm still working on the revisions and waiting for more feedback from my editor. I'm anxious to start looking for representation for this book. The characters are anxious for me to start on Book III and finish telling their story. My new mantra... Patience is a virtue. Trust me, a virtuous woman is hard to find.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9 Day 1

First entry of the new blog for the Far Away Series. Still waiting to hear from the editor on the revisions. Still waiting to go on based on editors comments on revisions. Still waiting.

In light of the fact that my personal blog (my Journal) is so Politically Incorrect and has apparently offended most of my friends. I think it best to start a brand new blog for the promotion of my Books and myself as a more sensitive, less opinionated, kinder, gentler person. Naw, that probably won't happen. I need to be honest. But, I also need to promote my work so that it gets the credit it deserves. The work, the characters,the story,not me.