Monday, October 16, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Mid-October Check-In

A walnut Davenport desk with burl veneer. 19th century.

Hard to believe that it's mid-October already. Two weeks until Halloween and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - you can learn more about that here). This week is also GRL - GayRomLit, and while I wish I could be there, I know I'll get back there eventually and I have met some of the most amazing people there.

I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo, I hope to go to some of the write-ins, but I don't always make those, because there are days when it's hard to be around people or in confined/tight places. But, I enjoy writing with others. I miss the writers retreats I went on before I got super busy in the fall - R was in marching band in high school.

This past week, my goals were to spend 7 hours writing or on writing related tasks.

I spent 8 hours on writing related things - some writing, organizing, work on my website, and research. I spent 3 hours and 45 minutes writing. I spent another 10 hours on research and organization not related to writing. So, goal met, although, not nearly as much writing as I'd like to get done.

The second goal, was to tackle one declutter task a day. Sort of. I missed one day, but then I started a larger task and still haven't finished it. So, maybe not.

I finished "The Write Type" by Karen Peterson. It was pretty good. I learned some new things. Others were confirmed, and some of it didn't apply to me.

Goals this week are a lot like last week:

Spend 7 hours writing or on writing related tasks. - Aim for more writing than writing related tasks.

Tackle one declutter/purge task every day.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Midsummer's Dreaming

Midsummer's Dreaming

Hayle St. James’ refusal to continue living a lie when he is confronted by his family about being gay finds him on the back of a motorcycle riding through a forest in the middle of the night. What he finds will either make everything worthwhile or break his heart.

Leife O’Neill has finally found the perfect man. A man who loves him for him. Hayle is everything he could want in a partner. Too many things stand in their way. On the night that Leife wants to declare Hayle is his, reality and responsibility collide with anger and jealousy and more than one heart is on the line.

Stopping in the middle of the forest to make love under a full moon seemed romantic, however, Hayle and Leife quickly learn that they are not alone and not everything is as it seems. One man watches and waits for the opportunity to confront the man he loves, while another is forced to face the consequences of his actions and fear. In the span of one night everything changes, no one is certain of anything anymore and everyone’s lives are changed.


“Is it true?”

Hayle St. James blinked and looked across the dinner table at his father. Anger and hatred washed across his father’s normally stoic face. Hayle’s stomach bottomed out, dread weighing him down. Dread rushed through his veins as he processed his father’s question and hoped he was wrong. “Is what true?” Hayle asked, swallowing around the lump in his throat.

“Don’t play dumb with me boy!” Elliot St. James shouted, pounding his fist on the table. “You know what I’m talking about. You’re the same as the Royce’s oldest boy. An abomination!”

Fear settled in Hayle’s chest and made breathing difficult. “I’m not an abomination,” he replied, trying to keep the apprehension and pain from his voice.

“Are you one of those sex-craving deviants? An affront to God?” Elliot demanded. “Get down on your knees and swear you are not a homosexual—that the rumors I’ve heard are false.”

“Being gay isn’t wrong or evil,” Hayle answered, hedging his answer. He didn’t want to admit to his father what he’d known since practically the beginning of puberty, but hadn’t accepted himself until a couple of years ago. His father’s reaction was most of the reason
he’d never came out to his family. Why he’d never planned on coming out to his family. Why only a handful of people knew the truth about his sexuality.

“It is a sin against God and nature,” Elliot said. “Confess it and repent, or deny it, and we will forget about it.”

Hayle stared at his father then turned his attention to his mother and his younger brother and sister. How easy would it be to deny the truth? To remain hidden, to keep the love and affection he had from his family. What would it cost him? Hayle squeezed his eyes shut. His lover’s words came back to him. Never be ashamed of who you are, of who you love. Being gay isn’t evil or wrong. If anything it’s different, but not wrong. Leife O’Neill had captured his heart and had won his trust. Taking a deep breath, praying he was making the right choice, Hayle shook his head. “No.”

“No, you aren’t gay. Good then you can stay away from¾

“No, I’m not evil. I won’t confess to something that isn’t wrong.”

“You’re making no sense boy,” Elliot ground out, hatred and disgust evident.

Hayle took a deep breath and prayed for strength. “I’m gay, not evil.”

His mother gasped, his siblings broke down crying and his father’s face turned red with rage. “You¾how¾what¾” he sputtered.

“I’m gay. I’ve always been gay,” Hayle said quietly. “I’m not evil or sex-craving. I simply prefer men over women.”

“He can be fixed, can’t he?” Hayle’s ten-year-old sister Anya asked. “Can’t he, dad? You can fix him.”

“I’m not broken, Anya, I’m different,” Hayle replied.

“Don’t you speak to her! You’ll corrupt her. Turn her from the church and the family,” his father said before turning to his siblings.  “Anya, Kyle, go to your rooms. Now!” he ordered.

“God will fix you,” Kyle said with all of the belief and confidence of a twelve-year-old as the pair left the kitchen.

“You will renounce it this instance!” Elliot demanded.

“Renounce it?” Hayle asked incredulously. “This isn’t citizenship or religion. It’s biology. My beliefs haven’t changed. Nothing about me has changed. I’m still the same person I have always been.”

“You will renounce this abomination or you will get out of my house! I will not have a sin against God in my house!”

“I am not a sin. I’m a person. I’m not evil or an abomination,” Hayle exclaimed, standing. Why couldn’t his family accept him? It wasn’t like he was serial killer or child molester or did drugs or alcohol.

“Get out of my house!” Elliot St. James yelled, leaping up from his seat, the chair clattering to the floor behind him. “If you don’t straighten out and ask for forgiveness you’re no son of mine.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Hayle protested.

Pain shattered his face, taking his vision out of focus. The force of the blow sent him stumbling back into the corner of the kitchen counter. Wood pierced his skin through his t-shirt. His dad stepped closer, trapping him. Blood trickled down his back as the countertop dug farther into his flesh.

“Elliot, stop!” his mother Laura screamed.

Hayle’s hand automatically covered his eye and cheekbone where his father had hit him. Hayle squeezed his eyes shut and slowly opened them. His world was crumbling around him. Hatred showed in his father’s eyes before he retreated to the living room.

“Give him a couple of hours to cool down. Pray about it, pray for God to rid you of this,” his mother said. “How could you do this to him? To me?” She looked from him to the direction his father had gone.

“To you? Do you honestly think this is a choice?” Hayle asked. “Do you think I wanted this? That I haven’t prayed to be straight? But I’m not. Nothing is going to change that. And I haven’t done anything to you. I didn’t renounce you, dad, the church, or anything else.”

“You have to leave. I can’t have him angry and hurt. And this,” she waved a hand over him “needs to remain clear of Anya and Kyle. Go see the pastor. He will know what to do,” Laura said, looking back to the living room.

“I’m not broken mom,” Hayle said quietly.

“You need to leave. This is his house.”

Monday, October 9, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - October Already!

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that not only is October already - an
d the 2nd week at that - but my kid, R, turns 19 today. S/he was born two days late during Typhoon Zeb and has become an amazing young adult. Compassionate, kind, spirited, resilient, strong, considerate, courageous, and beautiful.

S/he also shares, which means s/he gave me  her/his two-day cold.  That combined with some sort of office ick, tried very very hard to turn into bronchitis. I'm over the coughing for the most part - love antibiotics - but my lungs haven't completely recovered. So, I'll head back to the doctor this week to see what's going on.

My friends Brynn and Dakota ran the Pumpkin run this year, and while talking to Brynn later I committed to walking the Color Run next summer. The surgeon who replaced my torn ACL, said no running. But walking is good. So is the elliptical. And maybe as I lose weight, I can start running. If not, that's okay. I'll walk. So, I'm walking the Color Run in the summer, and next fall, R and I plan on walking the VA's Suicide Awareness 5K.

In addition to my weekly goals, which don't really seem to vary a whole lot right now, I decided to set some monthly goals. I really really want to finish Behind the Masque this month - I've been wanting to finish it for most of the year.  In an ideal world, I could get it done in a week if I write 8 hours a day, or 2 weeks if I write  4 hours a day - which is probably more realistic of the two options. However, I do have a day job, so, hopefully by the end of the month.

As long as I make some progress on Marked, I'll be happy. I write that long hand at lunch and on my breaks at work. The notebook stays in my bag and goes everywhere with me, so I can either write or read depending on where I am and what I'm doing/waiting for.

Last year, a friend of mine did what she called a "New Year Purge" as Samhain marks the beginning of the Pagan New Year. This year my goal is to tackle every room in my house and declutter and purge everything that I don't need or doesn't have a valid reason for remaining. It does a couple of different things for me - cuts ties with my past, frees me from stuff, and will make moving easier when that happens. Which, could be sooner rather than later as the park has started to tear down the trailers on my street.  Rumor has it's either to bring new trailers in or because the airport wants the property - but there is a freight rail line between us and the  airport without any sort of natural hill or valley, so probably not. Either way, eventually I want to move. Into a real house.

I'm reading The Write Type by Karen Peterson and Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. The first is the second writing craft book Ms. Peterson has written, and I have found it insightful. The second is dark fantasy, and very interesting.  I'm hoping to finish both of these this month.

So, my weekly goals this week are to spend  7 hours writing or on writing related tasks and tackle one decluttering task everyday.

Accountability --

The week of September 18th -- I wrote 5 1/2 hours and spent 4 hours on research and 1 on character development.

The week of September 25th -- I wrote 1 1/2 hours and spent 7 hours researching.

The week of October 3rd -- I wrote for 1 hour. -- I got sick on the 29th.

I have today - Federal Holiday. My city renamed it Indigenous American day - I'm good with that.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Some Passing Thoughts on Life

Some days if I stare at a blank page and a flashing courser long enough, words come and the make sense. Today is not one of those days. So, I leave you with the words of other people.

I bookend my days in gratitude, things I keep to myself.  I am grateful for all of the wonderful people I've met over the years. Many who have shown that no matter how hard things get, it will get better.


Monday, September 18, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Mid-September Check In

I can't believe how fast this year has gone by.  It's hard to believe that next week it will be officially fall, never mind that Pumpkin Spice, Carmel Apple, and Apple Cider everything are out and about.  Along with Halloween decorations. This is my favorite season.  I finished Write by Karen Peterson and am reading The Write Type by her.  I've adapted some of her exercises to my own use.  I may go back and follow the exercises exactly, but I'm not sure at this point.

I had hesitated to add dailies to my bullet journal, because I have a day job Monday through Friday with a schedule that doesn't change.  But, recently I started adding them along with my weeklies, so that I can keep track of my writing time better and any other tasks I want to get done.  I don't add a time line, because at the moment I don't see the need.

My weekly goal is to spend 7 hours on writing or writing related tasks.

The first week of September - 4th - 10th -- I wrote sentences for 2 hours, people watched for 1.5 hours, and worked on my website for 8 hours.

The 2nd week of September -- 11th -- 17th -- I wrote for 4 hours, researched a variety of things for 7 hours, and worked on my website for 8 hours.

So, for both weeks, I met my goal! Which makes me really happy.

I'm going to continue with my daily tracking, because I have to check in with myself daily on whether I made a goal or not. If not, what did I do and why.  There were a couple of days when nothing got done because I was either taking care of family or self-care was more important.

Every morning after I complete my Miracle Morning Routine, I set a goal for the day. Most of the time it is to write 1 hour on Behind the Masque, because I want it finished and I keep missing my self imposed deadlines.  I also write down my mood at that moment.  And a reward. Right now, I'm on a stitching kick, so that is my reward if I make my goal. Although, honestly, I may stitch even if I don't make my goal.  Then at night I write down what I actually did, my mood, and where I was. The section under that is what I read for the day.   You can see on this day, I did write, but not on what I wanted to, so I didn't make my goal, but it does count on my tracker.

My goal this week is to write 7 hours on either Marked or Behind the Masque.  I also want to read for 30 minutes a day and to go through one box stacked in my office.  My big goal is to have my house completely de-cluttered by Halloween.

What are your goals for the week? What do you want to accomplish this week? This Season?


Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!!

Today is Labor Day, at least it is in the US. There is historical meaning behind the holiday. However, for most Americans it is a reason to hang out with friends and family and cook-out. In Michigan it also means that public schools and some Colleges and Universities start classes tomorrow. I'm blessed to be able to spend part of this weekend with R, R's boyfriend, and my family. We nearly lost my brother Friday to a burst appendix. He wanted to sleep, his fiancee took him to the hospital. They are getting married next weekend.

A friend of mine posted a list of places besides Houston that were hit the hardest when Hurricane Harvey hit.  Here is a link to a New York Times article on those places. Consider donating time, money, or supplies to those areas that are also affected by Hurricane Harvey. My post last Wednesday had several links to those willing to help those affected.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Helping the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has battered parts of coastal Texas and has set his sights on Louisiana.  While it is heart rending to see the damage and aftermath Harvey is leaving in his wake, it is heart warming to see people helping people. Something this world needs more of.

People are bringing in food, clothing, and other necessities. Some are bringing in food and kennels for animals. The Cajun Navy out of Louisiana brought in their boats and are helping to evacuate people.

Once the rain clears, the clean up and the healing can begin.

Money, food, and clothing are all being collected to help.  Several organizations are setting up blood drives.

You can find a Red Cross Blood Drive location here, just type in your zip code.

NPR published this story on helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey - Here - it contains links to several organizations that can help.

The New York Times has published this story. This article also contains links to charities that will help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

More on the Cajun Navy is here and here and a donation link is here.

I've also heard of the Texas Navy, organized a lot like the Cajun Navy, but I haven't been able to find any more information on them.  

The stars of Supernatural - Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins have started a crowdraise to support help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. That can be found here.

There are issues that we as a country must still deal with, but if we can come together now, we can over come those issues too.