Monthly Archives: March 2016

Traegar’s Lunatics Snippet

Walking the grounds of the Pen alone—she’d asked Fin not to join her—gave her time between his bed and her own to gather perspective, let the world back in. The real world, and not the one she’d spent the last few hours in. But in those hours between one day and the next, perspective bent in fantastic ways, showed her is and might be were not entirely different things. Cecibel hummed, matching her tune to the see-see-saw of crickets and her step with moonlight patches wending through the leaves. It was no longer today, and not yet tomorrow. It was now and, for once, she was content.

I love this story. It’s sad and joyful, whimsical and grounded in harsh reality. (And currently at 67K words!) I write every day from 10:30-4:00. That seems to be how long I can go–with small breaks like this one in between–before my brain tells me, “enough.” But within an hour after closing the computer, my brain sings a different tune. “Oh! This will be perfect.” “Add that.” “Don’t forget about…” And in the night, when I wake, it’s usually from dreams of this story occupying so much of my thought.

I won’t go into the more nefarious implications of my obsession. They’re obvious enough to those who read this space. A mind occupied by joy has less time to sorrow. ‘Nough said.

Funny little side note: There’s a reason for the title, one the reader won’t come upon until the very last bit of the book. It works, trust me. When I came up with the title, the name “Traegar” stuck and wouldn’t unstick. I knew I’d heard it before, but couldn’t place it–until I started watching every season of Parks And Recreation on Netflix and realized it was one of the main character’s names. The Rob Lowe character, for those who know the show–Chris Traeger. I looked up the name to see what ethnic origin it had, and what came up was a whole lot of stuff about heavy-duty-serious BBQ grills. If you are indeed familiar with the show, you know that Chris Traeger is a vegetarian and would stick his own hand in a smoothie blender before eating anything with so many carcinogenic properties. A sly little wink, for those who got it. I thought it was really clever.



Filed under Traegar's Lunatics

Bits and pieces


I had the strangest feeling
Your world’s not all it seems
So tired of misconceiving
What else this could’ve been…

(Believe~Mumford and Sons)

When I picked Chris up from his apartment for the last time, back in June 2015, this song was popular. There’s a line that goes, “This is never gonna go our way/if I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind.” I remember taking his hand across the console and giving it a squeeze, singing those lyrics to him. His mouth stayed closed.

That was it–the moment that might have changed things. There were other moments, but this was the first, the “heading it off at the pass” moment. If he had spoken. If I had pushed just a little harder. But he didn’t. I didn’t.

I’ve worn a ring ever since he died–a mourning ring. Very Victorian. The inscription reads, “If love could have saved you, you’d have lived forever.” I’ve been thinking, lately, that maybe it’s not such a good idea to wear it all the time, this constant reminder of my deepest sorrow. Yesterday, I took it off along with my wedding rings to shower, and forgot to put them back on. When I went to get them this morning, the wedding rings were there but the mourning ring wasn’t. I have no idea what happened to it, but I’m going to believe Chris took it and hid it away.


I had a thought the other day, watching my daughter with her kids. In her, I see me–but the the me I wish I’d been for her. Was I? It’s so hard to remember what was and what I hope was. I never knew what the word “ferocious” truly meant until her. She was my first, and I was so young. We grew up together, she and I. Maybe I wasn’t the me I wish I’d been for her, but at least she helped me become her.




Filed under Life's honest moments

This time last year…

I feel like I’m in some kind of time warp. This time last year, all five of my kids were in good places in their lives. Happy. Healthy. Good jobs, good lives. I wrote about it here: March 31, 2015, because Chris was moving out, heading into the life he’d worked really hard to make. Years and years of struggle, pain, anxiety, depression, and he was happy. Really happy. Everyone was.

Then came June and he was gone. Just like that.

And, just like that, everything started to rewind. My youngest daughter, who’d been happy both professionally and personally, suddenly found herself in bad situations with both. My oldest son and his then fiancee lost their apartment when the owner decided to sell. He, she, a dog and two cats ended up moving in here. Both daughter and son struggled through personal and professional debacles. We helped them all we could, lent a hand when they reached out for one and (hopefully) stepped out of the way before boundaries were crossed. Our lives were suddenly and once again complicated with children now adults and their adult problems. And then there was the grief. Such intense grief for all of us. Our two oldest have families of their own, and I think they largely escaped the whirlwind in this house, even if they still had to deal with their grief.

Around the turn of the year, things seemed to halt their careening rewind and, after a pause for breath, started winding forward again. Daughter got a new apartment, settled in a good working situation, and fell in love. Son and his fiancee hit a rough patch that ended in a break-up I don’t think either of them saw coming. She took the dog. He kept the cats. And now he’s the one moving out. To Portland, Oregon. He’s taking the chance he didn’t take several years ago when his bandmates headed west. He’s on his way right now.

And here we are, once again: empty nesters. I’m thrilled son is off on the adventure he not only wants, but needs. I’m ecstatic daughter is happy in Brooklyn. But Chris…he’s not out on his own, living his life. The nest emptied in a way I can’t be happy about.

I truly am looking forward to being just me and Frankie D. To the relative quiet, to the freedom of being responsible for only ourselves on a daily basis. We all love our kids, but no one can dispute that things get quieter once they’re out of the house. This time last year, I was excited about that quiet. After that massive rewind, I can’t say I’m excited. I’m…heedful. There’s no going back to that innocence, the wonder of a life opening up and spreading out before me like a gift. I see the shadows now, the little ruts and ridges on the path that warn, “Don’t go too fast! Watch your step! There are bears in these here woods!”

But here I am, on that path I’ve been looking forward to since I had my first baby, because I’m not the kind of mom who ever wanted to keep her kids forever. I didn’t wish my babies back, or “endure” their teens. I have been madly in love with them through every stage in their lives. I still am. It’s just that our nest isn’t the same kind of empty it was this time last year. It’s got a ragged hole where one fell out rather than flew.

The forward momentum continues despite the ruts, ridges and bears. I head into my future a little more warily, but no less optimistically. Because there are flowers in the wood, too, and treasures along the rutted path. The benefit of treading a bit more carefully is that I’ll spot them more often than I otherwise would have.




Filed under Family, Life's honest moments

Finder Just Keeps On Entertaining

I just found this review for Finder, left last December (2015–five years and some since publication,) that I hadn’t seen. I guess I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my romance novels, but a series of events led me to go in and check on my fantasy work, and I this happened:

When I started reading this novel I expected an adventure, and it is there, beautifully portrayed in vivid descriptions and engaging characters. But as the tale progressed I also encountered superb storytelling, where clever clues and loose ends planted throughout two decades of struggle and hope are ultimately woven into a rewarding conclusion. As the author describes in the story, the experience does not just come full-circle, but rather it spirals upward, elevating the reader to a new level of understanding and appreciation.

For me, what set this story apart from other adventure tales is the influence on the characters of the eighteen-year gap that comes in the middle of the story. For the protagonist, Ethen, it highlights his transition from a young man who takes chances and dodges responsibility, primarily because he has gotten away with things in the past, to a mature adult who has suffered the ramifications of poor decisions and has learned to plan wisely. And for Zihariel, his heart’s desire, it highlights the painful maturity that comes too early for those subjected to a devastating childhood. Where Ethen evolved, Zihariel was forced into adulthood at a very young age and that trauma helps her survive the insults and injuries to come.

Add to that a wealth of intriguing personalities, some endearing and others malevolent, and a journey that takes the reader through poor alleys, splendid cites, bawdy taverns, rich homes, deserts and seas, and you have a delightful tale that touches on many of the highs and lows of mankind. The reader is sure to find themselves somewhere within the pages.


PS–I just realized who left this. A true fan!


Filed under Fantasy

Where does your story come from?

I read every day. Though no one can actually go through a day without reading at least a traffic sign, thanks to smartphones, most people do read more than that on a daily basis. The kind of reading I’m referring to, however, is story. Fiction of whatever kind. Something from someone’s imagination turned into a small reality and shared. Setting my book down this morning–reluctantly–I thought to myself, How does anyone live without stories?

About 1/4 of American adults don’t read books. That 3/4 of the population does read isn’t really heartening. Most of those will admit to reading a book or two a year, and a large percentage of those read non-fiction. Few have read a book a month, and even fewer, more. Statistics vary according to the year, but they don’t travel too far. Readers are a rare breed.

Reading isn’t for everyone. I get that, but I don’t get it. I’ve been a constant reader since I could do so on my own. How does anyone live without novels? Sure there’s television, movies, plays etc. They’re stories we see with our eyes, leaving our brains to simply enjoy. But reading–it takes effort. It’s an act of creation on top of an act of creation, because though writers provide the words, and good ones do a fair job of providing cues and clues, the readers have to finish creating that world, those characters in their own minds. No matter what’s going on in the world, the separate reality within remains constant, and yet, depending upon what’s going on outside those pages, we’ll see different things within the text. It’s the same with any art, of course, your internal dictates its external. I’ve read The Giver (Lois Lowry) every five years since my twenties and I come away with something different every time.

I suppose, story intake is different for everyone. A conversation is full of story. Sit in a cafe, and there are stories all around you. Study a painting, a piece of music, a garden–stories, stories, stories. I know this as well as I know everyone is different, there is no right and wrong but only perspective, that people get what they need in the manner they need it. And sometimes they don’t. But for me? There is no living without story by the written word. There just isn’t.

How about you? Where do your stories come from?

magic book


Filed under Uncategorized