Category Archives: Traegar’s Lunatics

Time to decompress

     The probation officer assigned to one of the guys who sold Chris the drugs that killed him just left. Nice guy. He wanted to know if I had anything to say. I said I didn’t think jail time was going to do anything good for (the kid) or the world. He’s been through a lot. He has mental issues he can’t seem to get help for. He can feel guilt, remorse, sorrow, but he has no real concept of the world beyond himself. He’s devastated about what happened. Of course he is. “For what it’s worth, this is killing him,” the officer said. It breaks my heart.
      I had a lot to say about the mental health issue in this country, and that there’s something really wrong when a whole generation feels the need to turn the world off badly enough to create the epidemic we’re facing now. Honestly, I don’t see any answers. Well, I do, but changing attitudes about such things isn’t going to happen. It’s societal. And it’s biological.  There are too many who believe it’s all about self-control. That “crazy” people are somehow lesser, and not simply different from the norm that doesn’t actually exist. Teddy Roosevelt would have been diagnosed ADHD and given drugs to calm him the hell down. Most of history’s genius would have been medicated away. There is no room in society for those existing outside of boxes someone, somewhere (many someones, many somewheres,) have decided are what’s best for everyone. We don’t celebrate difference. Not yet, anyway. I think we’re getting there. I hope.
     There are those who truly need to be medicated simply to function without hurting themselves or others. I’m not a fool. But there is a fine line between medical science helping and hurting, and I believe we’ve crossed it. Society wants it that way. It helps keep “difficult” people in line.
     Just make me Queen of the world, Empress. I’ll take any title, as long as it comes with a sparkly crown.
     Whew. Time to decompress. I’m halfway through second round revisions on the novel formerly known as Traegar’s Lunatics, now titled, in my heart, The Pen. I love this story beyond words.


Filed under Life's honest moments, The Pen, Traegar's Lunatics

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.



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All and sundry


The closer Christofer’s birthday comes, the less I think about him. I get through whole days without crying. It’s like my brain has put its blinders on. If I can’t see it, it can’t see me. Too bad that’s not how it works.

My logical mind says it’s just another day among many. But those blinders…they’re on for a reason. If I think the thought, it flies away quickly. Like right now, I’m already thinking about the rest of this post, tomorrow’s hair appointment, the busy weekend. Distraction that can’t quite pretend there’s nothing more nefarious going on.


Traegar’s Lunatics is now 33K words. I’m so in love. (first draft–don’t judge.)

Leaning low compressed lungs too weak to compensate, but Alfonse held his breath and did so. He kissed her brow. He kissed the fair princess’ cheek, and the monster’s. He dropped back in his chair, gasping. Cecibel opened her eyes, blue marbles, even, impossibly, the ruined one. The moment froze one heartbeat. Two. Three. Four. She was rising, towering over him. A wounded Valkyrie fresh from battle. Alfonse felt so small in that gaze. A withered old man who’d trespassed into places he didn’t belong, and couldn’t survive.

Cecibel’s hand came to rest on his shoulder. A swoop of hair dropped into his lap as she kissed his brow, his cheeks, his lips. She lingered there though he didn’t respond, couldn’t respond without breaking the spell. A thousand sweaty nights, languid afternoons, fresh mornings careened through his body, his brain. To pluck even one of them from the parade would undo him. Instead, his fingers curled into that hair pooled in his lap. He fingered it, concentrated on the thick softness Cecibel took with her when she pulled away.

He didn’t call her back. She didn’t glance over her shoulder. The metallic click of his door was the only indication that she was gone; he hoped, not for good.

Head back, eyes on the ceiling so high above his head, Alfonse counted breaths until he could do so calmly. He couldn’t have written the magic of these moments, not if given another century to try. Life could never be contained by words. It could only be expressed to the best of one’s ability, in the hopes of capturing a tiny spark and giving it away.


Busy weekend, starting with tomorrow’s hair appointment. Blue and purple this time. Really, my hair is still blue (baby blue, now) from when I did it around Halloween, but it’s grown out some. I’ve got a book signing on Saturday, and a writing group event on Sunday. I figure it’s time for a fresh-up.


Next Friday is Christofer’s birthday. So much distraction. I’ll be fine.


Filed under Life's honest moments, Traegar's Lunatics

I love it when a plan comes together

I opened my file a few moments ago, read yesterday’s work, and when I got to the end of the last paragraph–

He couldn’t know anything about her outside of, somehow, getting files from Dr. Archer, and Dr. Archer hadn’t known anything. Because Cecibel never told her, never admitted she didn’t know if the accident had been on purpose, never confessed that whether or not it was, she’d been more than willing to die. 

–I added a single line.

More than willing to take Jennifer with her.

Who the hell is Jennifer?? There is no Jennifer in the story. There wasn’t, at any rate. She tagged along today and pulled a whole storyline I had sketched but not fully fleshed into sharp focus. I’d known, from inception, that Cecibel (POV character) was in a a motor vehicle accident that left her face disfigured. I knew there was question as to whether it was actually an accident, or not. Along the way to this point, I was leaning towards it being on purpose, but didn’t know why. This morning, Jennifer became the reason why.

I know who she is. I know why Cecibel was willing to die and take Jennifer with her. I know why she’s fixated on Olivia Peppernell’s vision of headlights and twisted metal in the opening line of the book. How amazing it feels, this creative process.

I got so excited, I had to record it here in my blog so, if the process gave me trouble one day, I could come back here and show myself it does happen when one’s patient.

Image result for headlights on a dark, wet road


Filed under Traegar's Lunatics

Gads, I love this story

Just a little snippet, because, egads, I love this story…
Alfonse chuckled, a wheezy, breezy sound. He offered his arm, and Olivia took it, resting her head to his stooped shoulder and remembering days gone by. A similar setting. A sanctuary, they called it. His shoulder broad and sinewy. Her hair like fire. Fans waiting. Gossips too. But in there, safe from them. From Him. Her injuries healing. Her memory daily and diligently erased by drugs and electrical shocks. Dreams of tumbling turned to headlights and twisted metal. No one visited. Not the man who refused her a divorce. Not the children he kept from her. Only Alfonse, and sometimes Cornelius, though never at the same time. Now, decades hence, decades older, decades lost, they bookended the fame, the fury, the sweetness and safety and solitude. They’d give to each other, to Cecibel. And maybe it would be enough this time.
Traegar’s Lunatics. Just under 30K words. It’s coming along nicely.
the Pen


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