Fruit Flies, and Monkeys, and Lonely Woman, oh my! Some Traveling Tips.

“This sucks, y’all.”

My recent trip to Texas, a 2000 mile round-trip, has me thinking about space travel. Researching the various this’s and that’s of it, I found the image to the left. That monkey looks as if he knows he ain’t coming back.

Just as a reference: Space officially begins at about 62 miles above our Earth’s surface, called the Karman Line.

The first living creatures to be launched into space were fruit flies—they were sent up with some corn so they’d not be hungry—way back in 1947, aboard a V2 rocket. They went 106 miles, and the capsule was actually recovered and the fruit flies weren’t any worse for wear.

A year later came the first monkey, named Albert. But, alas poor Albert; I knew him well (not). Um.  Ugh. Yeah. They think he may have suffocated before he even left the ground. Dang. The rocket only made it up 39 miles.

Albert II, who fortunate for him had NOOOO idea what happened to the preceding Albert, was sent up in a V2 rocket, soaring to 83 miles. Though Albert was the first monkey to be successfully launched into space without meeting his fate before leaving the ground, there was a problem with his parachute on the recovery capsule as it hurtled to earth and—well, you can guess the rest if you like. RIP Albert II. RIP.

After that, other Alberts (III, IV, V) boarded their rockets, and none survived—either they died on impact or during the flight.

Apparently, it is said that all of the monkeys were anesthetized for the flight. Hmmm.

The infamous Miss Baker. “I’m claustrophobic, y’all! ungh!ungh!”

But at last! Two monkeys in 1959—Able and Miss Baker—flew to 360 miles, tucked in aboard a Jupiter rocket. Their recovery capsule landed about 1700 miles off range of where they were supposed to land at Cape Canaveral, but they were found and recovered, and perhaps became celebrities, maybe as spokesmonkeys for various products and services.

My recent travel was not so dire and dangerous, though perhaps it is in its own way—traffic, crazy drivers, high winds, bad storms, exhaustion, a hotel from hell—lawd!

There is vulnerability (at least for this lonely woman) to traveling alone. So I have some general tidbits for you, should you also travel alone, or will one day do so.

1). If you are traveling with a pet, and will be stopping for the night, you would be better off checking out hotel pet policy ahead of time. Many chains do not allow pets. Some allow them but with restrictions, or a non-refundable fee (one hotel charges $100 nonrefundable fee!). Some chains do allow pets for free—like LaQuinta. LaQuinta hotels are a crapshoot, honestly. Some of them are seriously outdated. Do your research and it’ll save you from being road-weary and searching.

Read reviews. There are always the 1-star “I HAAAAAATED IT!” reviews and the 5-Star “I LOOOOOOOVED IT!” reviews, but I like reading those 3 and 4 star reviews.

Also, maybe I’m just paranoid and weird, but the first two things I do when I stay at a hotel, any hotel, no matter how much it costs or where it is, is to check the mattress for signs of bed bugs (UGH!)—I have never had a room with those, but I check it every time (pull up the sheets and look at the mattress, particularly along the seams, for cleanliness—you can google this if you dare). Then I take Clorox wipes and wipe down the remote, the light switches, the toilet, and a few other surfaces—what? Better safe than sorry! All hotels, no matter how nice or what the cost per night, get this treatment. It’s the only way I can relax. I will also admit that in the middle of the night, I shine my phone under the covers just to make sure nothing is there. Yeah. My head is a scary place.

I seeeee youuuuu!

Also, if you have “trouble” at any hotel, report it. I stayed at a hotel with a weird wonky door that I didn’t discover until the next morning that you could see a little bit into my room! EEEEK! I was NOT HAPPY! While the staff was amazing, and the hotel clean, that hotel needed serious updating and renovating. It was unacceptable. They refunded my money. I won’t be staying there again. Research, y’all! Ahead of time!

2). Welcome Centers are becoming better and better about cleanliness, safety, and, well, welcoming! I always stop at a Welcome Center when entering a new state. There’s places to walk about, and if you have a pet, they have designated areas for the pets. There’s usually coffee, and nice greeters (during business hours mostly). Vending machines if you are interested in that. And the bathroom facilities are usually clean and safe.

3). Rest areas are a mixed bag. Some of them do a great job of keeping the area and facilities clean and safe. But, I have a rule: if I pull up to a rest area and don’t feel safe, or have one of my “wonky” feelings, I’m out of there. Always best to listen to your gut. As with Welcome Centers, rest areas are much better than they used to be, but some are still a little “shady.”

4). Have water handy for you and for your pet. I used to limit my water intake so I’d not have to stop so often, but now I realize that part of the joy of the trip is stopping and stretching my legs, taking in some scenery. And keeping yourself hydrated and your body stretched out will keep you awake and aware and feeling better.

5). Don’t consume sugary snacks and drinks! Same goes for high “bad” carbohydrate foods, like a lot of fast foods. Eating sugary/high carb foods will make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Higher protein snacks/food is a better choice.

And, concerning No’s 4 & 5 – if you are traveling alone, you MUST be alert! There is no one to switch off so you can rest/nap, unless you pull over to nap, and I will never do this. So consider what you take with you and where you stop to eat as an important part of your travel. Continue reading

What is your Kryptonite? Navigating the Dating/Relationship World Armored With Healthy Choices!

In the Superman franchise, Kryptonite is the one thing that makes Superman weak. While that 31D0AD7E00000578-0-In_the_comic_books_and_films_kryptonite_is_depicted_as_a_glowing-a-7_1457022062407glowing green rock is made up, scientist have found a Kryptonite and believe the conditions could be that it could form on other planets that have the extreme pressure to create it—not the glowing green rock kind, but a Kryptonite all the same. To read more, click HERE.

Also, The Daily Mail: “An influential astrophysicist claimed to have found Superman’s home planet Krypton after being hired by DC Comics to find its location.  The fictional planet Krypton would have orbited a red dwarf star called LHS 2520, says Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York City. The star is 27.1 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Corvus, also known as ‘The Crow’, says Dr. Tyson. The star is cooler and smaller than our sun. Read more CLICK HERE.

We all have our Kryptonite—in life, in people, and for the purposes of this post today: in our food choices. And my Kryptonite left me feeling weak and unhealthy–more on how I “experimented” with my body’s health, in a minute.

PicMonkey Collage

Greek Yogurt with less added sugar. Made my own BBQ sauce! Fruit drizzled with wild-flower honey. Great choices from my Earthly Ingles Supermarket. Fresh Fruit! Lots of water.

In today’s post about dating and relationships, I want to talk to you about your health. What’s that have to do with dating and relationships, Kat? Well! A lot! If you are not healthy and strong, everything is more difficult—and that includes dating. This isn’t about “looks,” though if you are concerned about that, then make it about that if you like. This is about respect. Respect for our bodies and minds, and dating or finding a relationship with someone who respects their body and mind. Food and movement are two relatively easy ways to do that—I write “relatively easy” because food choices are often jam-packed with other “issues” that have nothing to do with food, but that’s thoughts that will make this post even longer than it is!

Your weight on other planets–just for fun–I usually include our weight on other planets as part of my planet posts, and that’s where I find that information.

In my travels about the galaxy, okay, only on Earth, I notice this little phenomenon: When some humans are single they go on “diets,” and work out, etc, in order to feel “attractive” to the potential partners. Suddenly, it’s important to them to look their best, feel their best, act their best, be their best. Then, when they enter into a relationship, they drop it all and go back to unhealthy lifestyles. What.Is.Up.With.That.Y’all?

Nutrition-Now-PB-8-Pro-Biotic-Acidophilus-For-Life-027917001128

I take a probiotic every day. Along with: Super B-complex, Co-Q10, a baby aspirin, fish oil, Vit D3

Don’t you respect yourself and your body in relation to You, and not in relation to whether you are with someone? Don’t you want to feel strong and independent and capable and healthy both in and out of a relationship? Don’t you love You first? If you don’t love and respect You, then will you attract those who love and respect themselves?—because that combination is a healthy one: you respect/love You and they respect/love Themselves, and together is a powerhouse of mutual love and respect. Entering the dating world, arm yourself with healthy-choices armor and you can decide to expect good health from your dating partner(s). I am not talking about judging here. I’m absolutely not talking about body shaming: Stop That People who are doing that! And for gawd’s sake I’m not talking about “changing someone.” I never want to change someone; why would I want to? You shouldn’t either.

My healthy lifestyle has been a part of me for many many years—in relationships and out of them. It is a huge important part of who I am. I like feeling healthy and strong. It’s not just about your looks and weight, folks. It’s about strength and power. It’s about a clear mind. It’s about good sex—yes! How do you expect to have really great sex if you aren’t healthy?

well, sheee'it

well, sheee’it

If you are huffing and puffing before you get to the good part? Or what if you cannot achieve the good part because you are unhealthy? Hmmm? If that’s “not important to you” then why the hell not?

No matter what our physical bodies look like, or how we perceive them to look like, if you are strong and healthy you will be beautiful or handsome. And I am not talking about “skinny” or “thin,” I am talking about Strong. You will feel powerful, empowered. You will stride about the Earth, or any planet at all, with confidence and grace and power and good health.

 

Raw almonds are good. Sometimes I have sunflower seeds, or peanuts, etc.

Raw almonds are good. Sometimes I have sunflower seeds, or peanuts, etc.

Take a look at the photos I am scattering here and there. Are any of these things in your pantry or refrigerator—and I don’t mean with mold on them—are they? No? Why not? Fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, nuts and seeds, homemade sauces instead of always purchasing them (you control what goes in your sauce), (not shown-)brown rice. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but when I do it’s usually poultry or some kind of seafood, and other days I find other protein sources.

 

 

Being the Lonely Woman, it’s difficult to cook because it’s only me. And if I prepare something

Vitamins. Fun workout music. Home gym or gym outside the home. Improve your mind and body with movement and healthy living!

Vitamins. Fun workout music. Home gym or gym outside the home. Improve your mind and body with movement and healthy living!

delicious, there’s no one to share it with. As well, except for rare occasions, I don’t particularly enjoy cooking.  But I refuse to go schlepping to some fast food place—ugh! Or fill my pantry/fridge with a lot of processed foods—but I did fall into this trap, as you’ll read below.

Do you work out? At all? You don’t have to be a member of a gym. I converted a small part of my garage in the lil log spaceship to a workout room. There’s a mini trampoline, some weights, a bench, a boxing bag, yoga mats, etc. Doesn’t take up much space, and right there in your own home! Walking and jogging/running is free. I have exercise bands and tubes. There is yoga/pilates, but be sure to have good instruction so you don’t injure yourself. (And, see your doctor before starting a new exercise program). Get off your ass and move, y’all. That’s my old personal trainer voice—but seriously, folks—this is important. Especially the older we become. When you are in shape, you walk across a room and feel your muscles move—there isn’t that jiggly feeling of unused muscles. Feel your power. Feel sexy and alive. It’s not just about looking good in your jeans, but in how it changes other areas of your life. I’m not just referring to women here–all my posts are for both genders!

This year, I did an experiment of sorts. I thought, “Maybe I’m blowing smoke up my own ass. Maybe all this working out and eating right is bullshit.” I became one of those hungry black holes snarfing

this is a "sketched" photo from years ago that I "staged" But that's about how I felt - laugh!

this is a “sketched” photo from years ago that I “staged” But that’s about how I felt – laugh!

up foods I’d before only eaten occasionally. Potato chips—hand em over! Ice cream: oh, those Magnums are delish! French fries—give me more! Candy—mmmmm! Lots and lots of CHEESE! Ohhhhh, cheese! Alcohol most every day—which is full of sugars.

Sugar is my Kryptonite, y’all. We all, as I wrote above, have a food Kryptonite: sugar, white processed carbs, nothing but meat in our diet with no fruits or veggies, fast food, fried foods—find out what your Kryptonite is and resolve to control that craving.

During my “experiment” I thought, “So, this is what it’s like to eat and drink whatever you want and how much ever you want! Well Dang! Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.”

Ha. Yeah. Then the problems began.

At first I didn’t notice anything. I needed to gain back a little weight I’d lost (when you ‘starve’ yourself, your body will cannibalize itself, including beautiful muscle. You may be “thinner” but you aren’t healthy).   After several months of this, the weight came on fast. But this was not healthy muscular weight and instead was bloaty sluggish weight. And, worse, I noticed other things, bad things, happening to me. I’ll list a few here and see if you are experiencing any:

Don't make me come after you with an ass whoopin!

Don’t make me come after you with an ass whoopin!

Daily headaches, painful stomachaches, aches in my body that I didn’t have before and I injured easier; my hair lost its luster and there was a lot more hair strands in my comb (eeek!). My pants became tighter around my waistline in an unfamiliar uncomfortable way. I began to have sudden woozy feelings and a foggy head.

I gave up my running—something I really loved, because I “just didn’t feel like it,” and my weight training declined because “Whatever. I’m busy.” I wasn’t boxing the bag—because “I just wasn’t in to it.” I still walked, a lot, and had my healthy foods still here in the lil log spaceship, and that saved me from completely ruining my health.

Enough was enough. I wanted my Self back.

The only way to completely move away from your Kryptonite is to shove it out of your house until the cravings pass. Once you feel better and in control, you want to allow a treat every so often.

That diet dog food I accidentally bought is Naaasty!

That diet dog food I accidentally bought is Naaasty!

I quit purchasing the sugary treats. I cut out the alcohol in the lil log spaceship—I will only drink in a social situation and keep it to 2 drinks.  I stocked my fridge and pantry with my fruit and veggies and brown rice and other healthy foods. And I’m not referring to “Diet Food.”  I have my peanut butter (I use the “Natural” brand-no added sugar), and jam (I choose the less added sugar brand), and I drizzle honey on my fruit. Until I get over the Kryptonite sugar craving, the treats have to stay Out.

As I began to feel better, my other good habits returned. I’m running again, boxing the bag again, weight training. My headaches—gone. My stomachaches—gone. My hair is responding too, because I haven’t been seeing the strands in my comb like before. My clothes are fitting better again. My muscles are toned and strong. My mind is clearer and I stopped having those woozy off-balance feelings.

*I Kiss You*

*I Kiss You*

Ah. I’m back! I literally looked in the mirror and thought, “There I am.”

So you tell me, my lovely friends: which lifestyle do you think I prefer? Which lifestyle do you want to live?

No added sugar in this peanut butter!  Just peanuts! & they make a jam that has less added sugar. MMMM!

No added sugar in this peanut butter! Just peanuts! & they make a jam that has less added sugar. MMMM!

Are you having any health issues, even if they seem “minor” that plague you? Perhaps it is time to change the way you think about food and your body and your muscles and your well-being.

I promise you this: when you begin dating again, or even if you are now, or are in a relationship, everything will feel better—you will feel stronger and empowered, the sex will be better, your energy and outlook on life better. You’ll feel sexier and more alive. You’ll show that you respect yourself, because you do! Aren’t you worth it? I say do this no matter whether or not you want to date or find a relationship—do it For You!

First stop: open your refrigerator and pantry and consider its contents. Second stop: do not go on a diet! Please do not. Look at that dog food photo—yeah, I know, but that’s such a great example, ha!—one side is the regular dog food and the other side is a “healthy weight” diet strawberry salad - Copydog food. Notice how the regular is brighter colored and plumper looking, more appetizing, than the dried up diet stuff? Yeah, it’s like that. You can still have treats, and alcohol, and even your Kryptonite—make sure you know your Kryptonite and then don’t keep it in the house, or purchase just enough for one serving.

Third stop: Move. Move. Move! Get off your ass and MOVE!

askyourdoctorNo excuses—yes, being lonely sometimes sucks. Yes, cooking for one can be boring. Yes, eating alone can feel, well, lonelier. But we can decide that we’re going to enjoy life and good food and even the preparation of it because We Are Worthy.

Are you ready? Hop in your lil spaceship and head to Earth Supermarket or Farmer’s Market and fill your basket with good healthy alternatives to Crap. And what did I say to do? Yes MOVE!

Try it, and then tell me how it is working out for you. I want to know.

 


Still time to comment/like here or on Facebook for the “Kat’s Choice” drawing, which I will only be doing a drawing about once every now and then. This blog isn’t about finding people to “like” me or comment. It’s about me having fun and doing what I love: writing about things I enjoy.

The Lightning Charmer coverAnd my novel The Lightning Charmer  is on sale August 16 – 31, for $1.99, e-books only! It’s for all e-books, not just Amazon, though the link above takes you to Amazon. There’s actually some delicious, or disastrous, dating in there, too.

A haunted man shadows the Smoky Mountain forest. A lonely woman returns to what she left behind. A legacy unfulfilled calls out to them both. .

The sky darkens, the lightning seeks . . .  

The Lightning Charmer is full of whimsy, enchantment, ancient secrets, and dark earthy seduction.  Magendie taps into those primal secret places we all harbor, with a powerful story of learning where one fits in a world that may not fit us.  Braided with color, humor, and loyalty to family, this is storytelling at its best!  Sharla Lovelace, Bestselling and Award Winning author of THE REASON IS YOU

1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

 

The Novelist’s Dilemma (is not a dilemma at all, is it?)

images (4)My posts lately have been rawly honest. Opening up my pea-head and displaying not just the cray-cray but the insecurities I have as a novelist is not easy. I’ve always displayed a more positive outlook because I recognize how lucky I am to do this. I’m extremely grateful for what success I’ve had, and for how I am able to write beautiful words and interesting unique characters—how easily the words (not plots) come to me. But sometimes I over-think things—it’s a character flaw. And I’ve been over-thinking this new book—and my entire career as a novelist.

At different points in a novelist’s career there are decisions to be made that affect the novelist. Consider that it takes months or more to complete a novel all the way through from first draft to final-ready-to-be-published. No one wants to spend that much time on any project only to have to scrap it, or to have it fail. Who would like those odds?  Not I, said the Kat.

There arrives the “what next?” question. What seems an innocuous query is fraught with complication. (Now, following here, excuse me for  mentioning my books and linking to them and their sales on Kindle – indulge me, since I don’t do it often but I should!).

tgraces1743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nsweetieLast night I picked up my copy of “Tender Graces” and began to read it as if I didn’t write it (I recently also read “Sweetie”, and such a warm and tender feeling overcame me. The words were rich and full and lush. The character apparent. The work isn’t perfect—in fact, I can see things I’d change about TG;  it was my very first novel, after all. But I felt the novelist’s love for her work, the language, the setting, place, tone, characters. It all came rushing back to me just how much I love what I do. And how lucky I am to be able to do it. The “Virginia Kate Sagas” (TG, Secret Graces & Family Graces – SG & FG are on sale for under $5 on Kindle, y’all, Sweetie for under $6) and Sweetie are examples of a writer who created out of nothing Secret%20Graces%202012%20-%20screenbut love for this writing life—it shows, and the readers felt it, too—I receive more mail on the Virginia Kate books & Sweetie than any other–I think they get the better reviews, too. Not perfection, but sincerity and truth. I believe in this author. I trust this author. The characters come alive and appear as apparitions in the room.1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_n

With the exception of one of my novels—The Lighting Charmer (and to some extent even that book), which is on sale for .99 cents on Kindle! and sorry for the touting — my published books were written in one way: I sat down and followed my character to see what she, or he, would do. I didn’t think about plots or outlines or “what I should do;” I just wrote. With abandon. Without fear. With love. With hope. These images of my book covers you see here?: I did this. I wrote these books. *Takes a moment to be filled with happy gratitude* family_graces_-_screen

Then the “novelist’s dilemma” smacked me stupid – should I write what I love; how it comes naturally to me? Or should I write what I hope will be more popular? Before you say “don’t fix what ain’t broke—write what you love!” Understand that the novelist profession is not only from the guts of us as artists, but it is also a business. This is not a hobby for me. I count on this as income. I count on this to help pay bills. And that’s where the rubber skids crazily on the road. Because what I love to write, what comes naturally to me, is not “Popular Fiction” that consistently time and again tears up Amazon rankings in the top 100 (though Tender Graces, Sweetie, and yes, even The Lightning Charmer were Amazon Best-Sellers. TG & Sweetie made it to top 100. TG was number 1 on Amazon paid list – The Help was number 2: haw! Yeah, I’ve had my moments!)

someone sent me this screenshot - wish I had one of TG & Sweetie!

someone sent me this screenshot – wish I had one of TG & Sweetie! So-Why am I whining? huh. Stop it, Kat

I fiercely love Virginia Kate and those cast of characters; I adore Sweetie & Melissa. I love Ayron & Laura in Lightning Charmer and I still think that’s my best attempt at a romancy-supernatural-mountain people kind of novel—I think that book would have been even better had I let myself “go” and wrote with the same abandon as I did with my previous novels, warts and all; imperfection and all. Those characters interested me, and still do. They captured my attention and my imagination. Still do.

I was in love. I was so very grateful. What happened to that? I can bet many novelists/authors out there can answer that question with a wry twist to their mouths.

So, the novelist’s dilemma: write what you love and let the money chips fall where they may, or, try to write something “Popular” and . . . and . . . be an unhappy novelist! One who isn’t writing very much. One who writes sad discombobulated blog posts about how she is not writing and feels uninspired.

If a novelist isn’t writing, then what’s the point? If the novelist is unhappy and discombobulated, then she must find out why and remedy it. If the novelist wants to be loved by the masses, then she best not be a novelist. And if Ego is involved—oh, Ego is a terrible snarling drool-faced monster! Kick Ego out the writing room door, y’all—kick it HARD until it never returns.

The answer is clearing the cobwebs in my wonky brain. The path I choose from the paths before me that fork off in fifty-galleven directions is—drum roll, please—the one that makes me happy. Duh. The one that may (or may not!) mean failure in my bank account, but always success in my heart account. As for some “popular” attention and sales? Well, there’s always a chance that will again come. Right? Yes! I’m still alive! I’m still a gifted writer! I can still write write write as much as and as long as I want to.

I’m a woman in her 50s. I’ve paid my life dues. I can bloody well do what the hell I want to. *Fist Pump*

When I am on my “deathbed,” believe me, I won’t be sorry that I didn’t write a huge spectacular best-seller, I will be sorry that I gave up the writing just because I couldn’t write a huge spectacular best seller. Huh. Well now.

Consider: when we are not true to ourselves. When we do not do what we know in our hearts and gizzards is the Right Thing (for us). When we look outward to other novelists’ successes. When we keep checking our bank account to see how much money we have. These things change us, changes the way we think about the writing.

I need an ass-whupin if I don't get back to work!

I need an ass-whoopin if I don’t get back to work!

And the writing will suffer right along with the novelist. The heart is not pierced with love. Something is missing—and it will be apparent to the reader. Oh yes, it will.

So what if I just take this new book and turn it over on its end and shake out its pockets and take a look at what falls out? The lint along with the pocket change and interesting rocks and bones and a leaf and something magical and a supernatural glowy thing and interesting odds and ends and whatnotalls. What if I followed the character around to see what she’s up to, and she’s up to something believe you me. What if I followed to see what her magic is? How it is affecting the town? Why some of the town is suspicious of her? What about that man in the shop: what’s he up to, or is he only in love with her? What are those “Memory Vases?” What is she doing with the vial of blood or the strand of hair—why is she mixing that into her magic paints? What’s she up to? What’s her story? Let me follow her around until I find out! “Black Moon Cove” . . . why is that bomping me upside my head as a “working title” . . . ?

What if I wrote how I did when I was happy with love and excitement?

What if the novelist’s dilemma is really not a dilemma at all? What if we are in control of our own writing lives? Well, dang me!

Yeah. What if?

——————————————————————————————

Touty shout out of the day (and in the future, I’ll be shouting out lots of people here—not just writers):

download71ebbf88305ed9b9af826593ca46d111Writer Unboxed. A place where writers, editors, agents, and all things writing and writing related are discussed. Go visit. See for yourself. They’re amazingly awesome.

Pain and Me . . . .

 

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman?

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman in the dark of night when the pain becomes a lover?

In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me who  demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, “At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it’s easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?” I answered, “Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It’s mine. And I can take it. I am strong.

 
Photos-Video: No Words (and a link to interview)In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembled hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I’ll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I’ll say, “Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good.” And it won’t seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

 

———————————————————————-

1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nTouty plug of the day:

I have noticed that my Graces Series books are fluctuating “on sale” on Amazon Kindle, at least two (Secret Graces and Family Graces) are right now under $5, with Tender Graces being under $8, so, I hope you will check them out while they are on sale.

My brother composed some music for the final book in the Graces Trilogy: Family Graces-remaining at a five-star review, though not as many reviews as Amazon would like, I’m sure *laugh.* I’m proud of the Virginia Kate Sagas, and VK will remain one of my all-time favorite characters, ever. I loved writing these books. Tender Graces (A gentle yet unflinching look at how we find our way home) was my first published novel. That was when anything at all was possible – and it still is. There are always possibilities. Tender Graces was nominated for an award, has been on the Amazon best-seller lists, and even was No 1 on Amazon over The Help, which at the time was a big best seller, and TG remains at a near perfect almost five-star review status, as does the other two Graces books. But all that is just Stuff – the writing of these Graces books were magic times for me.

There’s not much to this video because I just wanted my brother to know I respected the time he took to compose this music. Thank you, bro.

He took this music and renamed it “Ghost Horse Mountain” and developed a cd around it, called Ghost Horse Mountain. My brother never gives up on his dream – ever. I have to give him that. He’s his own unique brain – hey! I meant to write “brand” but that, too *laugh*

Now go after your dream – no matter where it leads you, it will be a journey you’ll never regret.

When you said “never will I leave this place/ideal/way of life” . . . and then you do

I’m sitting in a closet right now typing this. Yeah, a closet. Because it feels quiet and contained and intimate. I will need this closet, I now know, very often, as I write my books, as I edit mine and other authors’ books, and maybe just when I need to hide myself in work and thought.

002For ten years I lived in the cove at Killian Knob in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Right smack in the Smokies. One of the most beautiful places in the world. And, with some of the oldest, most ancient, mountains in the world — once as tall as those younger ones in the west but worn down by time’s winds and rains. It was quiet there, serene, and I could go weeks without seeing a soul. I was an aging Rapunzel in her tower, locked away, both ignoring and curious of the world outside of my cocoon but somehow unable to escape my self-imposed captivity. But that way of life served me well: I wrote five books and a novella, and many short stories, and many personal essays, and some really bad poetry, and took photograph after photograph of nature.

deep creek hike 044Yet, as the years went on, a restlessness was rising up, pushing against my chest, churning in my gut, filling my brain with wants and desires and needs. It was only when the pressure exploded and imploded and all kinds of plodedes that I knew I had to take action.

arlington-tx-solar-panel-installerBut in all my imaginings, I never imagined I’d be moving to Arlington, Texas. I have family here, yes. And they need me (and I them). But still. The flatlands? The people? The noise? The lights and sounds and crowds – oh dear.

10274015_10152437219614176_2351572946895967498_nConsider this: Arlington has about 400,000 people. Maggie Valley has about between 1000 and 1100 full time residents. The biggest city closest to Arlington, Dallas, has about 1.3 million, while the biggest city closest to Maggie Valley, Asheville, has about between 85,000 and 90,000 people.  Oh.Dear.Lawd.

Snake_strike_coiled_HIBut remember my post(s) below about “Never Say Never?” How it bites you on your ass? Yeah.

So here I sit in my closet — which is really my kind and supportive brother’s closet, which is on loan to me as his “resident guest” until I am on my feet and find my own place. What I took from my mountain log house easily fits into two rooms–or one and a half rooms. That includes boxes I stored  for when I do find a place of my own. I left much behind–big pieces of my heart for one, and a husband I separated from for another, and the two do not entwine.

10262044_10152427873924176_3093475397210212123_nWhen someone we love dies, a piece of our heart is carved away that leaves a hole that will never ever be filled by anyone or anything–we can try to fill it with sex or drugs or rock and roll or things or alcohol or time or distance or pets or other people or other family or — etc — but it will never ever be filled; sorry to tell you this if you are trying to fill it, because it will not. It will remain a hole for the rest of the days you walk upon the earth. And really, that’s okay, for our loved ones deserve an unfilled space that is all theirs. Place can do this, too. Place can leave a hole in your heart that won’t be filled by all those things. And this is how I feel about my cove at Killian Knob. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

rainbows and lollipops and la la la tee dah

I will find happiness here. I will find Home. I will be with family who needs my help. I will meet friends. I will meet men who I will date. I will settle in with all these thousands and thousands of people here. But that hole will echo with the beauty and serenity and loneliness and isolation and ancient callings and my pet crow and my other critters and my chimes in the mountain winds and my walks in the deep woods and my creek singing and . . . all of it. That echo will follow me all the livings of my days until my livings are no longer. And as sad as that may feel, I’m glad that hole will be there, that it will never be filled.

So, here I am in my closet, while outside my world has changed and it is as if someone stepped upon an ant bed and there all these ants go scurrying hither and thither and beyond while I stand aside with my mouth gaped open.

 

A new life. A new journey. Endings. Beginnings. Never say never.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nNow, for a bit of business while I’m thinking of it: thank you to readers and friends for sending The Lightning Charmer to several Number 1 spots on the best seller list at Amazon, including No 1 in Women’s Fiction (and No 1 in fantasy and fairy tale or something like that I can’t remember, and another one I can’t recall, and number 4 on another one – I should remember these things but I do not). As well, it went to No. 30 in the overall Top 100 best-sellers. I missed all this excitement as I was on the road moving. Appreciate you all.

!cid_ii_hvb68sfn0_1460b2a0d019105b

 

Shoveling it (writing it)

snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 004

*UPDATE! : Can anyone tell me “what’s wrong with this picture” here to the left? *laughing* — Let’s make that around 10 inches on my driveway. *dumbass me* Yeah, the stick is upside down and the big numbers are not inches. Teeheehee.* There has to be a metaphor/analogy for the writing in this :D

Gawd. What a winter it has been. Ice, snow, sub-zero temps — my cove once dove to minus 8.5 degrees. This latest dumped fourteen inches on top of the driveway I’d just cleared 3 inches from. Welp, good, cause at least I didn’t have to shovel 17 inches. Huhn. Right? Riiight. And, as I wrote on Facebook (where I’ve been uploading photos of the snow and the beauty of Western North Carolina), how does a 111 pound 5’2″ woman clear 14 inches of snow from her longish driveway in less than 2 hours? One GD shovel at a time. I put my head down and did the job. I didn’t whine. I didn’t complain–no really, I did not. For what good would that have done? Just made me irritated and negative about it. I shoveled and I didn’t think about how much was left before me. I shoveled and I didn’t stop except to drink some water and stretch out the kinks. I shoveled and I didn’t think about my worries or my troubles or what lay ahead or what I would do next or if it were boring or if I’d rather be doing something else–nope, I kept my mind to he task. I shoveled and shoveled and shoveled some more. Until, at last, I had a pathway for my Boopmobile to clear out of so I can get out snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 028this weekend, and then, just to be sure, I shoveled a bit more–a sort of SO THERE! kind of thing.

snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 026I thought, at the end: Okay, Mother/Father/Grandm/f Nature, you bitch – I’m a bigger bitch. I’m a badass bitch. I’m a toughass kickass mountain woman, stubborn, too much pride at times, determined. I had a goal. I completed it. My arms were shaking afterward. My back and shoulders protested. But those things actually felt good because they felt like work; they felt like progress; they felt like I was in the real world doing real things; they felt like, actually, that Mother;/Father/Grandm/f Nature and I were at a truce. Oh, I know Nature can dish out some more if it wants to, and it could take me to my knees. It has done that to many of us–storms, and floods, and snows, and ices, and tornadoes, and hurricanes–and what do we do? We “shovel” out from under it one “shovel” at a time until we are done with the job.

Just Do It

Just Do It

Often people ask me: how did you write so much in so little time? What is your writing day like? How do you keep writing? I am pretty prolific. I have had published five novels and a novella, and published myself through Amazon some short stories, and I’m writing under two different pen names — one is C.W. Pomp, and the other is a secret. And you may be guessing already what I’m going to say after reading the above: I write one word at a time. I put my head down and get the job done. When I am working, snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 028I don’t think ahead or how much I have done or how much more I have left to do. I don’t worry about the future when I am working. I am a badass toughass stubborn determined novelist/writer bitch. When I am done, I may be shaking a little; I may let those worries creep in; I may falter because I don’t know how it’s all going to work out or if people will love my work; I could be taken to my knees by disappointment (and I have been!). But, then . . . I sit down and do it all over again, just as if it snows again, I will pick up that shovel and dig myself out from under what is dished out to me.

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nNow, I do not want to hit you good people over the head with this – my pride and my sense of “not bugging people” often have gotten in the way of me talking about my books, but, if I want to keep doing what I love, then I have to promote my books at least sometimes, and the sometimes is usually when I have news or deals. I thought The Lightning Charmer would be off its $1.99 sale, but it’s still hanging on – shhh! maybe they forgot to take it off! ha! So, if you haven’t tried my work, now is the time, or if you have and liked my other books, then give T.L.C. a try. I will love you for it – well, hell, I already love you all :D .

three set_edited-best_edited-1As well, my little short stories are on Amazon. I don’t talk about them much because they’re just little story snacks – things you can read quickly. Simple little things. I adore the artwork on the cover.

Okay, that’s enough of the car salesman pitch *haw!*

MUWAH! y’all. Pick up that shovel (sit down and write) . . . get busy.

Advice from “Big Sis” Kat Magendie . . . .

156The farthest thing from a young woman’s mind is that time far off into the future when she will be considered “Middle Aged And Menopausal.” Who has time to think about that when your toddler is crying and your eight-year-old just threw up all the pizza, cake, and, I’m not kidding—sushi (sushi?)—he had at a birthday party where the parents spent more to please Bobby or Suzy than what you spend on two-weeks of groceries? Or your boss has asked you to work late and on the weekend—again. Or you’ve over-extended your obligations to (fill in obligation blank here)—again.

Listen: how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will forever affect the person you will become. Who are you?—I mean, the real you, the Woman You, the one you must face in the mirror from now until, well, until you can no longer look into a mirror, or perhaps not care to (look anyway, for you are beautiful!)? For one day in your future you will gaze at yourself (even if through others eyes) and see the woman you have become from the experiences you have now. As your big sister, I want to tell you to care for yourself. To think in terms of gratitude, and health, and well-being—one decision at a time—in what you eat, drink, behave, grow, and how you perceive the world and react to it (or how you expect it to react to you).

Hair Dryer Antics Update & Oregon here I come. . .Consider the benefits you will receive right away, yes, but also think about two years from now, five, ten, twenty—your body and mind will become healthier and stronger so that you will have more energy for your busy life, and further, when you reach My Age, you will have fared better with such a healthy physical and mental base. You will be well-prepared for the Next Stage, even if that next stage is “simply” to be as good a grandmother as you are a mother. Your future you will thank you. Trust your big sister—she knows.

 

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

Finally, when is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at your kids/husband/co-worker/the person in line at the grocery who has fifteen items instead of ten in the ten-item line? Maybe. But if you did not do these things on occasion, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove. We’re all human, and we all need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to Be Humanly Human. You have permission to love yourself, to have gratitude for your days, to love yourself enough to care what happens to you now and then later and for the rest of your life.

 

 

The Lightning Charmer cover1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_n*note: My friends – The Lightning Charmer $1.99 sale has been extended for a couple more days on Amazon Kindle. It’s been steadily moving up the charts – all because of all of you! Thank you! I am grateful for every single sale. Y’all are awesome! And if you haven’t yet checked out Lightning Charmer, I hope you will.*

Over at the Bell Bridge/BelleBooks blog . . . .

Belle-BellBlogHeader

 

 

 

Living the Dreamy Dreamland of a (cray-cray) Writer

Oh, the joys of being a writer! Why, we see the world in ways unlike mere mortals. Yeah. We do. Of course we do. We walk about with our heads in the clouds, or huddle inside our little spaces with far away dreamy dreamland eyes that rarely blink. I think I once didn’t blink for a week—no! Really! When one of my eyeballs fell out, I thought, “Dang, woman! For gawd’s sake blink!” So I did, and believe you me, I make sure I blink every once and a while. It’s much better that way; take it from me, the voice of experience.

I’m more the reclusive kind of writer. There’s only rumor that I really actually do exist at all. No! Really! There’s no one actually to prove it—okay, there are some who have seen me, waiflike and ethereal, meandering in an otherworldly way with clouds hovering over my wittle head. I’m so incredibly cute!—um, in very very weirdly dangerous to myself way—but I promise I am absolutely not dangerous to others. No sirree. I don’t even see others most of the time to be of any danger to them. Yeah. I just think of really strange things because my characters are doing all this cool stuff and I want to do it along with them. I do! I want to have all that excitement, and mysterious happenings, and!, all that good hot sex. Woooowheee. FOR THE REST OF THE POST, CLICK HERE.

later y’all! ‘preciate your support! and the support of the BB blog!

Amazon Big Deal – and other such novelisty kinds of thangs

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nNew year; new time to keep up with my blawg. All y’alles know I don’t like to do any shouting, and barely any talking/writing, about my books; however, it would be stoooopid of me not to share news, and in particular news about new releases (Like the Lightning Charmer) and/or savings on my books. Truth is, folks, I am mostly confused and discombobulated about all this “promo” stuff. I know we’re supposed to do it, and I have resisted. However, reality is, if I don’t talk about my work, my books and stories, some time or another, then perhaps I am not doing all of my job as a novelist. On the other side of it, I hate all the Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah BLAH! that roars across social networking: ME ME ME! BUY MY STUFF! NOTICE ME! — So, I hope I strike a good balance, or will learn to do so. Lawdy be!

Of course, as usual, I also hope to post more here about health/fitness, writing, and general la tee dah bullshit as time hurdles by at the speed of DANG!

family_graces_-_screenFirst: Amazon has put the third book in the Graces Trilogy (the Virginia Kate Sagas) Family Graces on sale in its Big Deal Promo, for $1.99. It’s a great price and won’t last forever so if you have read Tender Graces (and even Secret Graces) and have not yet read the final Virginia Kate book, now’s the time to snatch it up.

three set_edited-best_edited-1Next, I’m slowly uploading shortie stories (stories between 3,000 and 6,000 words) – they’re  like a little story snack that you can enjoy on lunch break or while waiting for an appointment or if you have just a few moments of reading time before bed (or anytime). I have three so far, all on Amazon Kindle. I hope you’ll check them out. They’re simple little stories but they have heart.  I believe you can also find them on an Amazon Author Page.

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

The last thing is: Thank you. Thank every last one and all danged ole all of you. I love my readers! And for those of you who have not yet read my work – well, I thank you for coming by here and thinking about it *laugh* :D Y’all are chock full of awesomeness in a big ole huge bucket of Awesome: to infinity. I *heart* you all.

Now — go kick the ass of the day! I’m going to get back to work writing and doing all that angsty author stuff you always read about – yeah, yeah.

Friday Photos (and a free Kindle book for mother’s day) . . .

A bit of news first – I passed this news on at my facebook page (come ‘friend’ me if you like!- I’m rather shy so I mostly stand on the corner waiting for people to come to me *laugh*), and will do so here – either Amazon, or Bellebooks, has put my first novel – the first in the trilogy – Tender Graces – on a free promo for two days only (far as I know)  – yesterday and today. It’s for a Mother’s Day promo (there are strong mother-daughter themes in the trilogy), and as a “launch celebration” for Family Graces release. I always love passing on promos, and you all know it’s difficult for me to post/talk about my books–lawdy be in  a bucket!

Tender Graces, back when it was first released, became a Kindle best-seller – hitting number 1 over The Help on the Kindle Paid list of top 100 for  a while there – it was most exciting! It then hovered there in the top 5 for a while, and that was quite exciting, too.

Now, on the Free list, it is hovering at No 1 on contemporary fiction and No 4 on over-all kindle books–this does help with people seeing an author, I do believe, but whether it does or does not, it’s a great promo for readers to try out an author. So, thank you to all you who have downloaded my Virginia Kate — I hope you enjoy it and if so, you will perhaps read the rest of the trilogy! *smiling warmly* And if you want to try out my books without risk, here’s your chance.

There is much debate about “free books” and I won’t go into what I think or don’t think or in between–but, those promos are here to stay, I do believe, and at best they give readers a chance to check out an author and as a Thank You for reading our work. At worst – well, I’m not going there because that’s not what this is about!

If you have  B&N Nook, then it is not free but it’s there as well. I want to give a shout out to Barnes & Noble, and the indie bookstores — I support them, as well, and all they do for authors.

Now . . . Photos of the day: Spider Webs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.