Monday, November 18, 2013

My Everyday Hero

I think everyone's got one--a role model--or a person who shapes who they are. Most people have more than one, but I bet you can name one person who made you who you are.

For me it's my grandmama, Millie Lorena Franklin. She taught through example. At 88 years old, she tended a garden, raked leaves, mowed acres and acres of tall Texas grass, and set aside the first Sunday of every month to have Family Home Evenings with her children and all 25 grandchildren.

I have vivid memories of Grandmama with her ten-gauge shot gun, shooting the tar out of the water moccasins that sneaked into our play yard. We lived next door, and when I was ten or so, I decided to visit her everyday.

I loved her stories the most.

She told about times before cars or electricity--when they used cisterns for water and outhouses for toilets. It fascinated me to hear about those times so different from my own.

One thing that was unchanging was her undeniable belief in Jesus Christ. On every visit she never hesitated to share her testimony with me. I never felt as if she preached. I never felt as though she would disown me if I believed differently. I feel she wanted to share something precious with me--something that gave her life meaning.

Her last year was tough. She moved in with us because she could no longer take care of herself. I know she suffered. She tried hard not to let us see it, but I knew it all the same. She was ready to go to the other side--as she called it. When her time came, she went peacefully in her sleep. I remember seeing her body after she died. I had the distinct thought that she wasn't there. Whoever my grandmama was, it wasn't in that body anymore.

I think about her every day. I try to remember her voice, the way her hands felt so soft when she hugged me. If anything, I want to live my life so she would be proud. When I see her again, I intend to let her know how much her life shaped my own.

With that thought--who shaped your life? I'm certain I'm not the only person to have been lucky enough to have a grandmama. Who's yours?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creating the Everynerd

Dear readers, I need help! I'm soon to rewrite the first scene of my book, DREAMTHIEF, which is a story about a psychologist who helps nerdy people conquer their real-world mental problems such as depression and OCD's. Most of her patients collect fairy or dragon memorabilia. Why? Because they've actually been to Fairy World and are trying to remember it.

Here's where I need your help. The first patient the reader is introduced to is going to be the Everynerd. I need this guy to be identifiable with every nerd out there. I've already come up with some stereotypical nerdy stuff, but I need more ideas. What are some things nerds are into that aren't necessarily portrayed on TV? I need each of you to reach into your inner nerd and give me some ideas. Leave a comment and let me know what makes the perfect nerd.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sulking No More

I am happy to announce that the pity party is over. Thanks to all my readers for the excellent advice. It seems the only thing I want to do when I'm down is get away from everyone and revel in my misery, though in truth it's the worst thing I could do. I was surprised by how much your encouragement boosted me.

I've shifted gears as far as writing goes. I'm determined to finish my fairy world novel by the end of this month. Wish me luck! In the writing world, November is the month for writers to write 50,000 words. It's called NaNoWrimo. I've never participated, but this year I will, although my goal isn't 50,000 words. It's to finish my book!

I know we usually set goals at the beginning of the new year, but why not now? What are some of your goals? I'd love to hear how you plan to accomplish them. For me, I intend to write 1,000 words every day. By the end of November, I plan to post whether I accomplished finishing my book or not.

Let me know what your goals are! Because you know, once you write them down, they're a lot harder to ignore.

Here's another thing that cheered me up. My four-year old came home from school singing, "What does the fox say?" I thought it was another kid's song, but then I was enlightened as to where the song actually comes from. And then I learned that not only is my four-year old singing this, but all my kids plus my eight-year old's whole football team. This video is weird but hilarious. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rejection--How my Rear End Met the Couch

I've had a rough couple days because of a very silly problem. That stinkin' R word--rejection. My manuscript got rejected by one of the agents I met at the conference. I've been sulking, I hate to admit. I've realized I'm not as thick-skinned as I should be. I know everyone deals with rejection at some point, be it with writing or relationships or anything you put your heart into. How do you handle it? My response was to sit on the couch with a bag of potato chips. Deplorable, I know. But really, what are some of your coping mechanisms in dealing with rejection? Leave me a comment and help me get my rear end off the couch!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Lesson Galveston Taught Me

Four years ago, my family packed up from our home in Galveston and moved to Tulsa. Dave had trained in medical school for four years and was to train in Tulsa for his residency for the next five years. We'd had our ups and downs. By that point, after Hurricane Ike had torn Galveston apart, after scraping by on pennies through medical school, I was anxious to leave.

I remember before we moved I went to Kroger's. I sat in the parking lot. My kids weren't with me, which never happened, and was probably why I was able to enjoy a quiet moment. In my rearview mirror, I watched the sun set over the beach. It was one of those sunsets you don't forget. Bright pink tinged with gray. At that point, after living in Galveston for four years, I felt ready to leave, mostly because I was done with the tiny apartment, done with hurricanes, and done with being broke. I was ready for the next adventure, and thought anywhere we went would be better than Galveston.

And now we're going back...

Oddly enough, I want to. It's not a perfect place to live, but is anywhere? I thought Tulsa would be the promised land. In some ways it was, but in actuality, they've got tornadoes here. We're still scraping by. I've learned that anywhere you go you still have problems. You'll never find paradise, not on this earth anyway. I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, but I want to point out a lesson I've learned, and I'm still trying to learn.

On the final episode of The Office, Andy Bernard offered this advice. "At what point do the good old days become the good old days?"

I remeber that sunset, and I remember thinking, Will I ever see a sunset like that again?

I've come to learn that we have to enjoy what we have right now. Sure, life may get better, or it may get worse, but the point is--ejnoy your time right now, because someday you may look back and realize how beautiful that sunset really was.

Surely I'm not the only person in the world to realize this. Please comment and let me know if you've ever experienced the same thing!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spot That Error

I've been playing Spot That Error! for the past couple weeks. Why? Because I had three agents request my book at the writing conference. I wanted the thing 100% error proof. Which, if you've ever written anything 80,000 words long, is impossible. So I focused mainly on my first chapter. Surely I could get those words whipped into shape, right? I read, re-read, re-re-read, you get the idea. I read the thing so much I could quote it word for word.

Yesterday I sent it off. Whew.

It wasn't easy.

And of course I couldn't leave it alone. I had to go back and read it again, just to make sure I'd caught everything. I still have one agent left to send to, so reading it now isn't a total waste of time. Here's a snippet of what I sent. And, of course, there is an error. See if you can find it. If you do, please (please!) comment and tell me if you see it. It may be so hidden no one finds it, which means the agent may not find it. But you've been warned about it, so it probably won't be too hard to spot. Honestly, it's probably not a big deal--and certainly nothing to lose sleep over, although I did. Am I overreacting? You tell me. Here's the snippet:

“You think he’ll jump?” he asked.
“Not a chance. The guys do this every year. Usually they just climb to the top, wave their arms around, and act like morons. A sophomore died a few years ago. Broke his neck when he hit the water. Three people drowned trying to save him. Now everyone’s too scared to jump.”
“Are you?”
She rounded on him. His question sounded innocent enough, but something in his voice seemed like a threat. “Why do you think I would want to jump off a ninety-foot dam?”
He shrugged, acted casual. “I’ve heard you’re a daredevil, that’s all.”
“That’s all?”
“You haven’t heard anything else?”
He locked his eyes on her. She froze. He knows. How could he have found out? She’d never told anyone. Maybe she was overacting. How could Ian know about her ancestry? He’d only been in Jefferson a few months. He cleared his throat, turning his gaze to the dam where Ross stood on top, waved his arms around, and acted like a moron.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I've been invited to work on a very special project by author William Bernhardt. He's written a comic-book style series of stories about a girl named Aura, who finds out she has special powers by supposedly blowing up Seattle. He's invited me and a few other authors to create our own stories, which will debut soon.

I've read the story, and let me tell you, it is good. Just be sure not to schedule any house work before reading!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So You Think You Can Think?

My brain has liquefied. I'll tell you why. I attended the Rose State Writing Conference this weekend. I loved it. It was motivational, I learned new things, and I got to pitch my book to three agents, and all requested pages. (WOOT WOOT!) But when I came home, the pressure of getting my book out to three agents started to eat at me. What if it isn't good enough? That cannot happen. It has to be good enough. No, not good. Stellar. Rock star.

I woke up the same night I got home and started rewriting my first page. At one a.m., my thoughts were a blur, but at some point I managed to come up with something decent. At least I hope so. I'm on page 87 now, still combing through every sentence, weighing each word with careful precision, trying to make my character so likable that you would cry with agony before sending her to rejection land.

This morning my brain feels like runny oatmeal. I'm surprised I'm able to type this post, to be honest. But it's worth it. By the end of this process, my brain is sure to be chicken broth, but it's worth it. Why would I put myself through this? You might ask. Here's the answer:

When you're a writer, at some point your characters are born. For example, in my third book, my main character's name is Lily White. I'd come up with her physical description (long, dark hair, very curly to the point of annoyance.) Her personality (shy, when she's not in demon-mode) and her positive attributes (loyal, especially to her father who's been captures by her aunt--The White Demon). Yet I still didn't really know her. By the end of the first draft, I wrote a scene where she walked through a cave, backpack slung over her shoulder, hiking boots. It was a simple scene of a person hiking through a cave, but that's when I saw her. In my mind, I saw her walking through that cave. And that's when Lily White was born.

Now I feel it's my obligation to get her story out there, no matter what it takes. One a.m. brain-busting sessions, writing conferences, one-thousand words written every day--I'll do it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What a Week and Another Snippet

Life throws curve balls all the time, doesn't it? This week, I'd planned to volunteer in the school library, cart kids from ballet practice to football, make a quick run out to our church's temple in Oklahoma City. I'm also making time to write--I plan to finish my fourth novel by the end of October.

Today the school nurse called. My son has the stomach flu. Flexibility--another virtue moms appreciate.

I mentioned my novel. Because I'm an unpublished author, it's hard for me to say, "Hi, I'm an author, and here's what I write," simply because I don't have anything out there for you to read. But that's why I've got this blog, because every now and then, I get to give you a sneak peek of what I'm working on.

This novel is about Olive Kennedy--a psychologist for people who've visited Fairy World and have no memory of it. She's trying to save her godson from an evil being called the Dreamthief. In this scene, she's bantering with a smug, yet handsome,Viking descendant named Kull. He's never been to our world before, and he makes some interesting discoveries . . .

A knock came at my door. I jumped.
I crossed through my living room toward the door. Who could it be at such an unholy hour? I looked out the peep hole.
What on earth did he want?
I cracked the door open.
“What?” I asked.
He had a look of amazement on his face as he held up a can of Dr. Pepper. “Have you ever tasted such a thing?”
I rolled my eyes. “You’ve come here in the middle of night for this?”
“It’s very good. Even in the Wultlands nothing is served as strong as this beverage. It has bubbles in it, Olive.”
I ground my teeth. He peeked inside. “Is everything okay?”
“It was.”
“You look pale.”
“I’m not.”
“May I come inside? You really should try this.”
“Can it wait until—”
He pushed past me and entered my apartment. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. “I could call the police for this sort of thing, you know.”
He ignored me and crossed to my kitchen. He pulled two glasses from the cabinets. My cat, Han Solo, appeared and brushed against the warrior’s legs. I leaned on the bar. I wondered where on earth this guy got his nerve, though secretly I felt grateful not to be alone anymore.
Kull poured two glasses and handed me one. “Drink it slowly. It’s got a powerful fizz.”
I emptied half my cup. He lifted an eyebrow.
“So what happened to staying at your hotel?” I asked him.
“Have you been to one of those places? They’ll bore you to tears. Nothing to do but watch that box. No sport, no libraries. I thought I would succumb to madness. And then I found a machine with this.” He held up his glass. “Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Sure,” I said and took another sip.
“Did I wake you?” he asked.
I glanced at my bathroom. The light was still on. “No, not exactly.”
“You’re frightened of something. What is it?”
“I never said I was frightened of anything.”
He leaned over the bar, close enough for me to see the soft azure flecks in his eyes. “You didn’t have to say it.”
I wanted to draw back, but his gaze held me. “In the mirror,” I admitted quietly. “It was the Dreamthief, at least I suspect so.”
“Did it harm you?”
“No, I don’t think it has the power to.” Not yet, anyway.
He unsheathed his sword. Where on earth did that come from? “Shall I destroy the mirror?”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm a Doctor's Wife, Not a Millionaire

When I married my very insanely awesome husband eleven years ago, his marriage proposal came with a warning. "I'm going to be a doctor, Tam. Medical scholl will be hard. Residency will be worse. Life will be hard."
How hard? To put it in perspective, I've decided to address the topic to the Chief himself.

Dear President Obama,

Doctors are an easy target. They make lots of money. They live priveledged lives. They can afford the cuts in salary you're soon to give them.

But, wait. How long did it take for a doctor to get to where he is?

Four years of undergrad+four years of medical school+3-7 years of residency+1-4 years of Fellowship=11-19 years of training.

Do the math yourself. Yes, I'll repeat it. 11-19 years of a doctor's life is spent in training. That's longer than they spent in Elementary, Middle, Junior and High School combined.

Do they drive corvettes and live in mansions during training? Do they get paid the big bucks?

Let's put it this way--Last month I struggled to pay our bills. I had to grovel at the feet of my in-laws for enough money just to cover groceries for the month.

My husband and I have been married eleven years. He's still training. He still doesn't get paid enough to support our family. And when he finally does become a full-fledged doctor, he'll have at least $100,000 of student loans to repay.

So, Mr. President. Please, please don't regulate our doctor's wages, unless you want a healthcare crisis, a shortage of doctors, and more American citizens on food stamps than our already overloeaded system can handle.

A Doctor's Wife

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ready, Set, Write

I'm celebrating at the Grantham house. Why? Because my kiddos went back to school yesterday, and I've been writing like a machine.

Yesterday, I worked on four different novels/short stories. For those of you not familiar with my writing, I write mostly young adult fantasy, similar to Meg Cabot or Suzanne Collins.

Here's a look at one of my short stories called Deadlands . . .

“What’s the worst pain a person can feel?” I asked Anafi, my blind guide. The man sat across from me, the camp fire popping bright orange sparks, illuminating his scarred brown skin.
            “You ask the oddest questions, Yonto.”
            “It’s Sabrina.” I don’t know what Yonto means, or why he calls me that. Anafi smiled as he chewed a mouthful of dripping hot salmon.
            “I think Yonto suits you better.”
            “You didn’t answer my question.”
            His gaze penetrated me, though I knew he saw nothing through the scars that had once been his eyes. “Why would you think I have the answer to such a question?”
            “You’ve been through a lot. I just thought—”
            “Do not ponder these things. Sadness, pain, they are an abyss that consumes.”
            “Right,” I mumbled, chewing the fish, wondering why he couldn’t be straight with me just once. “So what’s on the schedule for tomorrow?”
            “The Deadlands. Nasty place.”
            “Worse than where we’ve been yet?” Honestly, I had trouble believing it.
            His voice became quiet. “Much worse.”
            “Hmm.” We’d almost drowned, burned, starved to death. But it would be worth it if we came out alive. I had to finish this. For Damon.
            “Do you ever wish you could go back? Fix things without all this?”
            He laughed.
            “What’s so funny?”
            “I’ve been a guide for twelve years. Never have I heard such strange notions.”
            “But it would be easier, wouldn’t it? If we could just go back, knowing what we know now, and fix all those things we regret.” Saying it out loud brought back memories I’d tried desperately to push away. Leaving Damon behind, thinking he’d be okay.
            “You should eat your fish, Yonto.”
            Though hunger escaped me, I took a bite.
            “My daughter talked as you do. She had an imagination, that one.”
            “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”
            “Esther. Named after the queen who saved her people. But we never called her by that name.” He smiled, as if re-living a memory. “Only her mother called her Esther, and only when she’d caused trouble.”
            A muggy breeze wafted, smelling of the swamp, of peat and mold. The chirps of cicadas increased into a high-pitched wail. Of all the places we’d been yet, this felt the most like my home in Louisiana. But home was millions of miles away, another planet. Another life.
            “So what’s in the Deadlands?”
            “You’ll find out tomorrow.”
            “Don’t you think you should tell me now? So I’ll be prepared.”
            All righty then.
            “Three hours we sleep. Wake before dawn. We leave before the sun rises.”
            Anafi stood and unrolled his bed pack. I watched him work with nimble movements, his fingers feeling the seams of his blanket, his bare feet searching the ground for stones.
            When I’d first learned that he’d be my guide through the Race, I’d cried. I thought I’d be dead in a day. Really, I’d asked. A blind man for a guide?
But here we were, day thirteen, and already we’d outlasted half of the others.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tamara Dares to Sleep

Sleep has been a hot commodity these days. The baby is usually really good at sleeping through the night, but as of late, he's been waking up a couple times, and naps are getting shorter. The result? I'm tired. I hate being tired. I get grumpy. I think nasty thoughts about my loved ones who don't deserve my nastiness.

Writing has been a challenge as well. A few weeks ago I was steaming out 1000+ per day, now I'm struggling to get anything down.

The answer?

I need sleep.

The baby isn't the only reason for my deprivation. We've been having some crazy Tulsa thunderstorms. A few nights ago, the wind actually blew open our back door. All in the house slept through the crazy turbulence except me.

I woke up, walked into the living room, and smelled the scent of rain. I realized a door must've been open, and sure enough, I found the back door banging in the wind.

My husband sleeps like a brick, and with good reason. He averages four, sometimes five hours of sleep per night. I've learned to take up the slack. When baby needs someone at night, it's me. When one of the other kids needs something--they come to me.

I'm hoping the baby gets back into the groove of sleeping soon. Pray that he does!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On Being a Mother

I recently read a post (sorry, can't remember where) about a mother of five children. She was bothered by comments others made about her lifestyle. Comments like, "Wow, you've got your hands full." "How do you do it?"

Her response was that she chose to have five children, she wouldn't choose anything else, and while she may have her hands full, she feels grateful to have her children.

I'm paraphrasing. And I completely agree with the author. But I have another bone to pick--something that's bothered me for a long while.

I am a stay at home mom of four children. It's what I always wanted to do, but in truth, I never prepared for. In high school, I took all the AP classes, studied hard, shunned the home ec. classes because they were blow-off classes. I took Advanced classes, because those would be the classes I needed for college, for my future. In college, I challenged myself, didn't take any classes having to do with homemaking or cooking, because again, I didn't need those.

I got my degree in English, even got a teaching certificate. I was prepared for the world, right?

And then I had children.

How many times have I wished I would've had classes on home maintenance, keeping a schedule, child psychology, stress reduction, how to communicate with a spouse?

But I didn't take those classes, because I wouldn't need them.

It makes me realize how messed up our system is. I don't regret taking AP English and Pre-Cal, but I wish I would've had an opportunity to take classes that would actually help me in my situation now.
I'm not saying that going to college is a bad thing. I loved my college experience, and I plan on going back someday to get a Master's degree, but why was I so focused on getting the grade in Calculus, when I would've been better off focusing on how to communicate with children.

I always assumed the mothering thing would come naturally. Some of it did. But I'll admit, sometimes I have no clue.

In the meantime, I'll learn while I go. I'll take the challenges with a positive attitude. And someday I might figure out what I'm doing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sad Cat Diary

I was in tears after watching this. Anyone who has cats will understand! So hilarious. I write this as my own cat, Chester, stalks my keyboard. I gave him my empty yogurt cup to appease him. He now has yogurt on his nose. Perhaps he can add it to the diary.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Review of THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

I'll admit, since becoming a writer, I've gotten critical of everything I read. Instead of thinking, hey this is a good story, a little slow, but still fun--I'll think, hey they're cluttering the page with adverbs, why so much back story, is that adjective really necessary?

That's an example of my thought process. It's called the writer's curse, and I've got a bad case of it. Whenever I do book reviews on here, keep in mind that I'm very picky.

That being said, I loved THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey.

It starts with a quote from Stephen Hawking, which basically says that if aliens were to visit our world, the outcome would be similar to the Europeans discovery of the Native Americans--disastrous.

I've always liked the quote, and I was interested to see Mr. Yancey's interpretation of it.

The beginning of the book intrigued me. It wasn't the typical aliens vs. humans. We didn't see any aliens for half the book, didn't even know what they looked like, which I think added to the tension. The world's in shambles. Ninety percent of the population has been wiped out. Our heroine, Cassy, is alone.

The middle of the book sagged for me. I was interested in Cassy's story, and then we switch to another view point. While this story wasn't bad and certainly entertained, it wasn't what I wanted to read. I wanted Cassy's story, not someone else's story.

Finally we switch back to her story. We get hints of a romance, but for me, it was too slow. I don't read romance, but I like a little in my stories, and I felt this romance could use some TLC.

After that the book see-sawed. Her view point, the other guy's, her's again. My head spun after awhile. Just give me her story, dang it. She's the one I'm interested in.

The end of the book didn't feel satisfying. I needed more closure. Even if Mr. Yancey intends to write a sequel, I still want more closure than what I got.

You see? Told you I'm picky. In all, I enjoyed reading the book, and I will definitely read the next book. Until then, does anyone have suggestions of what I might read next?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Making Time to Write

I called this post Making time to write, not Finding time to write, because I don't believe in finding time. It can't be found.

If you're not a writer, insert you're own hobby into the sentence.

Making is different than finding. When you make something, you actively put thought into you. You plan ahead, you rearrange your schedule so that when 9 a.m. comes around, you know exactly what you are doing.

When you find something, it usually happens by chance. How many times have I looked for keys only to find them when I wasn't expecting? It wasn't something I planned.

I firmly believe that when you really want it, you can achieve it, no matter what road blocks are in your way.

I write to stay sane. It opens up my mind, it keeps me sharp, it makes me feel as if I've accomplished something. When I don't write, I get grumpy. The same goes for not exercising.

Many situations in life aren't fair, but there is one thing that everyone on the planet, past and present, has equal amounts of.


The only difference is how you spend it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thank You! And Why I'm Addicted To Reality TV

Last week, unknown to anyone, I had the goal of doubling the amount of followers on my blog. Guess what? I did it!

Thanks to you!

I went from three to six followers, which may sound silly that I'm so excited, but I feel it's an accomplishment.

I feel grateful to my followers, and hope to keep you posted on what's going on with my writing, my family, and life in general.

As for today's topic, I'd like to discuss my fetish with reality survival shows.

This all started after I had my fourth baby (three months ago). I needed something to keep me occupied while nursing the baby. So I turned on the TV.

It all started with The Deadliest Catch--a fantastic show, in my opinion. Five stars. Those crabbers are down right crazy. And I love it.

Then came Survivorman, Man Woman Wild, Dual Survival. This branched out to other shows like Alaska State Troopers, Navajo Cops, The Shift.

Now I'm currently watching The Colony.

Here's the premise: Seven people agree to live in a post-apocalyptic setting, where they have to survive on whatever supplies are available. They eat rats, snakes, roaches. Bleh. They bathe infrequently. They have to find shelter, water, food, all of which are scarce or in poor condition.

This show is also crazy. I'm surprised it's legal, actually. On season two, one of the colonists gets captured, bound, a bag stuffed over her head, the whole nine yards. Even if it is reality TV, how would this not be traumatizing?

She gets thrown in a jail cell for a day. Again, traumatizing. If you subscribe to Netflix, all these shows are available, assuming you want to waste as much time as I do.

I guess you can see how much time I spend nursing my little booger.

I feel a little embarrassed about how much TV I watch. But there is something to be learned from all this.

Here I go at psychoanalyzing myself: I have trials. Who doesn't? Sometimes I have pity parties, whoa is me, etc. But I watch those shows about people spending thirty hours on a crab boat deck, pulling pots in the freezing cold rain, no sleep, no food. Or the wife following her husband around in awful places around the world, starving, having heat strokes, sleeping in mosquito infested swamps.

And then I think, hmm... at least I don't have it that bad.

In fact, I have a/c, a bed, food whenever I want it, and a family who loves me. Maybe I'll try on a smile for awhile.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I'm an unpublished author--a writer. I'm determined not to call myself an author until someone actually pays me to write.

Yesterday I signed my first writing contract. In February, assuming all goes well, my first novella will come out!

So, my friends, in February, will I become an author?

I can't say for sure yet.

What's it about?

I can't tell you that either. I know, I'm horrible.

Until February, here's a snippet of a novel I've been working on for quite some time. It's called DREAMTHIEF, about a young lady named Olive Kennedy who helps people remember their past, specifically their time they spent in fairy world and have no memory of. Their repressed memories lead to mental instabilities such as depression, bi-polar disorder, etc.

And you thought depression was genetic . . .


I don’t believe in karma. Once I gave twenty bucks to earthquake victims, thinking hey, maybe tomorrow my luck will change, maybe I can pay the utilities this month without digging into the grocery bill. The next morning my car broke down. Transmission. Five-hundred bucks. Don’t get me wrong, I still think we ought to help others, but not because we expect the universe to pay us back for doing it.
I do believe in magic. Not magyk. Not Magick. Not the stuff that Wiccans do or warlocks. I believe in the old stuff, the real, honest-to-goodness-straight-from-fairy-land kind of magic. Am I crazy? Maybe, but not because I believe in magic.
I knocked on apartment 31C off Champion Forest Drive. Houston is a damp place in November. Standing on the porch, hands in my pockets, my breath like puffs of cumulus clouds, I wished the lady inside wouldn’t have taken five minutes to open up. The door cracked open and a gray eye peeked out, matching a wiry mass of hair. I tried to ignore Ms. Shot’s sour expression. I get that a lot.
“You the shrink?”
“Yes.” I stopped correcting people a long time ago. If they want to call me a shrink, let them. I know what I am. I’m not offended. “My name is Olive Kennedy.”
“Dr. Hill sent you?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
She looked at my purple Doc Martens, my cropped red hair, and then stared at my slightly pointed ears. Her brow creased. “He said you were a shrink, not a circus freak.”
Circus freak. Wow, I’d never heard that one before.

Ms. Shot took a step back. “Ruby’s real sick. Maybe you ought to come back next week.” The door started to close. I held it open.
“Ms. Shot, if she’s as sick as you say, don’t you think I should see her now before she gets worse?”
“She’s getting better.”
“You just said she was real sick.”
“She is.”
“Then may I please come inside?”
“I’m not sure you can help her.”
“We won’t know until I try, right?”
“You sure you ain’t gonna mess her up even more?”
“Ma’am, Dr. Hill trusts me. There’s a reason he sends me to all his patients he can’t cure.
Because I can.”
Ms. Shot gave me one last stern glare and then opened the door. I stepped inside. The smell of cat feces hit me immediately, followed with the unmistakable scent of old lady.
Crocheted doilies covered every surface. The couches, the end tables. Through the apartment’s tiny living room I could see into the kitchen. Pill bottles cluttered the counter, interspersed with loaves of half-eaten bread and cloves of garlic. But I didn’t find what I needed, not yet anyway.
Ms. Shot led me through the living room to a door opposite the kitchen. She turned to me, her voice low. “Ruby’s in bed. Refuses to get out, even for Jeopardy.”
“How long has she been in there?”
“Two weeks. She woke up week before last like usual. Watched Price is Right and then went to bed. Said she wasn’t feeling well but won’t say why. Dr. Hill calls it depression. Baloney, is what I call it.”
I glanced through the door. Ruby didn’t resemble her sister. Her cheeks were more filled out. She looked like the sort of old lady who would offer you hard candies any time you visited, who would bake the world’s best cupcakes and give them to trick-or-treaters, whose face would light up any time you said hello. Instead of a smile, her face twisted in a frown, in pain. I knew the look. I’d seen it too many times to count. Turning to Ms. Shot, I saw her watching me, expectant, part of her hoping I could help and the other part suspicious.
I wanted to help, but so far, I hadn’t found what I needed.
“May I go inside?” I asked.
Ms. Shot nodded, opened the door.
I stepped into the bedroom, searching. Ms. Shot followed.
On a wall near the bed sat a china closet. Fairy teacups, figurines, statuettes.
The closet, the end table, every surface available. All fairies.
I turned to Ruby. She eyed me from the bed, her expression sour.
“Do you collect these?” I aimed for a polite tone. Being raised for half my life in Texas, it’s not too hard to conjure up.
Ruby nodded.
I stepped to the china closet. Dust covered most of the figurines. I focused on a few interesting pieces. Time worn, their little faces like something from the Dick and Jane books.
“How long have you been collecting?”
Ruby shot me a blank stare. Her mouth slacked, but she didn’t answer.
“’Bout forty years,” Ms. Shot answered for her sister.
“Ruby, I know this is going to sound strange, but do you remember the first piece you collected?”
I got the blank stare for an answer. Ms. Shot turned to me with a hard look. “What’s this all about? I thought you were here to help. This some kind of voodoo or what?”
            “It’s no voodoo, ma’am.” That was all the explanation she’d get. If I told her the truth, I’d be back outside in the rain.
I scanned the china closet, scrutinized each piece. All the fairies not covered in dust I immediately excluded. Any fairies with steampunk or gothic themes: out.
That left me with a row of fairies at the bottom of the shelf. I knelt, peering at each one with a carefully trained eye.
That’s right. I stare at people’s junk for a living. Hey, I never said my job was glamorous.
One of the little faces caught my attention. A male fairy—a little boy with a dog snuggled at his feet. With the chipped nose, Leave it to Beaver kind of face, and the yellowed paint, I guessed it to be at least forty years old.
I pointed at the figurine. “When did you get this one?” I asked Ruby.
Ruby focused on the statuette but didn’t answer. Ms. Shot crossed her arms. “I think you ought to leave.”
I ignored her. “Do you remember?”
Ruby only stared.
With careful fingers, I picked up the collectible and walked to Ruby. I took her hands in mine, then placed the statue on her open palm. A strange expression came over Ruby’s face as she looked at the figurine.
“Lonnie,” she whispered in a cracked voice.
 “Who’s Lonnie?” I asked.
“Our brother,” Ms. Shot answered. “He’s dead. Farming accident. Crushed by the hay-baler.”
“How long ago?”
Ruby exhaled. She ran her hands over the little figure. “Forty years.”
“You collected this piece soon after he died?”
She nodded. “It looked so much like him—the way I remembered him as a boy. Always had a dog with him. Wherever he went, there’d always be a dog that followed.”
I pointed at the tiny pair of wings sprouting from the statue’s back. “This statue has wings, Ruby. Why do think you collected a figure like that?”
“The wings.” She ran a wrinkled finger across the ceramic wings. She looked as if she were trying to remember, but couldn’t.
“Fairies,” I answered for her.
Ms. Shot heaved an exasperated sigh from the corner of the room. “You don’t have to listen, Ruby. I’ll tell her to go if you—”
“No,” Ruby answered. She looked into my eyes. I saw a flicker of hope in her expression. “What about the fairies?”
“Ruby, I know this sounds strange, but you’ve been collecting these items because you’re trying to re-live a memory. Sometimes, when people suffer a tragedy, like a loved one dying, they can’t handle the grief. When this happens, their enhanced emotions create a portal to a realm called Faythander—a fairy world.”
I leaned closer. “You’ve been there, Ruby. After Lonnie died. When you came back, you had no memories of Faythander, of the fairies you visited. But somewhere within your subconscious, you held on to the memory. You collected these items, trying to remember, but never quite grasping the truth of the past.”
Ms. Shot blew out an exasperated breath of air. “Of all the—”
“Let her speak,” Ruby cut in.
I took Ruby’s hand. “I can help you remember, if you like.”
Her gaze lingered on the statue. She nodded.
“Keep your hand on the statue. I want you to think about Lonnie. Can you do that?”
She nodded.
“Good. Now close your eyes,” I said. “Listen to my voice.”
Her eyes closed. I closed mine as well. I called the magic inside me, focused on the statue, focused on Ruby’s breathing, focused on mine.
I felt the magic flow from my hands. Then I felt it flow from her. She gasped. Good, we’d made a connection. Now I just needed a way for her to view the trapped memories. Ms. Shot still lurked in the corner. “Do you have a mirror?” I asked in a soft voice.
Arms still crossed, she nodded at the bedside table. I picked up a cheap plastic mirror. It doesn’t matter what kind I use. Faythander magic courses through any mirrored surface. I held it in front of Ruby. “Ruby, can you hear me?”
She nodded.
“When you’re ready, I’d like you to open your eyes. Your memories will be unlocked once you look in the glass.”
Squeezing my hand, she slowly opened her eyes.
Blue Faythander light glowed from the mirror. An image formed of a little girl skipping through a maze of giant red mushrooms the size of houses. Lights the color of twinkling stars fluttered around her. She stopped by one of the mushrooms and held out a finger. A fairy settled on her finger.
She smiled.
The image faded.
When I lowered the mirror, I saw tears in Ruby’s eyes. “You remember?” I whispered.
“Yes. I remember.”
I left the apartment, my bank account still empty. I didn’t care. I’d never done this for the money. Seeing the look on Ruby’s face when she finally remembered the past, that feeling of real joy in knowing I’d helped someone who really needed it. That’s what I did it for. Come to think of it, I wondered if this was karma. Not a paycheck, but something far better. That thought stayed with me for the next three-and-a-half minutes, right before I hit the five-o’clock Houston traffic.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Sometimes I get in a slump. You know the feeling--where you think nothing is going your way, your life is hard. My sister explains it as, "Life sucks and then you die."

I have those moments. I hate them.

I don't have a cure for getting out of them, but this is how I got out of my current slump.

I went to church. I don't mean to be preachy, and it wasn't a stirring sermon that got me out of the mood, but the people I interacted with instead.

First I learn that my good friend, who was supposed to be on a camping trip, had gotten in a wreck. Though they totaled their truck, they were okay. But that wasn't the worst part of it. Their neighboring campers had a three-year old son. He'd gotten hit by a truck. Unfortunately, he didn't make it. I can't even imagine the pain the family must feel.

And then I talk to another friend. Her husband passed recently. When I asked how she was doing, she answered with tears in her eyes.

She'd been cleaning out a closet and found an umbrella. It was the umbrella her husband had used to dance with her and sing, "Singing in the Rain." She'd forgotten about it until she'd found the umbrella, and when she'd pulled it out, I guess all the memories came flooding back.

My heart broke twice yesterday, but it also healed.

Sure, I have problems, but are they really so bad?

My four babies are healthy. I have a husband who loves me. I really have nothing to complain about. I love my family so much. They're the world to me. And because of them, I have to make a valiant effort to stay happy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I love to get comments on my posts. It makes me happy. It makes me feel loved and all warm and fuzzy inside. So today, if you've read my post, leave a comment.

You may think I have nefarious reasons for requesting this, but I don't. I just like to hear what other people have to say.

If you don't know what to write in your comments, here are a few ideas:

What are some of your favorite books?


Which people in your life do you respect most?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

What's the worst injury/illness you've ever gotten?

Okay, those are just suggestions.

Tomorrow, I will answer the questions myself, and we'll see what everyone comes up with!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A New Day

Have you ever woke up grumpy? I hate doing that--and today was one of those days. I'm trying to work my way out of it. Writing helps. Exercise helps. But when you're in one of those moods, it's so much harder to get motivated!

At least I've got four sweet kiddos to help me out. The things that come out of their mouths crack me up. I love the way they think, and the innocent way that they view the world.

Bridger has become my assistant diaper changer. I lay Baby Gabe on the floor and Bridger appears. His job is to open the tabs and pull the diaper open, and the most important part, to say "Oh, yuck! He made a burp."

It's called poop, sweetheart. Burps come out the other end.

You'd think the stresses of tending my kiddos would make me grumpier, and yes, sometimes it does. But for now, I think I'll enjoy them as much as I can, while I can.

Which is weird, because now I figured out why I'm grumpy.

It was my dream last night, of my kiddos growing up and me not remembering them being babies. My first waking thought was, I've gotta take more pictures . . .

And now I'm crying, because I love my babies so much.

Alas, who knew motherhood would come with so many tears.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Man of Steel: My Two Cents

Man of Steel did what movies should do, it entertained. I loved the sci-fi feel, (but I'm a sci-fi nerd, so that's no surprise), I loved how we saw Superman in a light we've never seen him in before. The movie wasn't a rehashing of the same story told so many times everyone and their grandpa knows it. We got to see Krypton for at least fifteen minutes, way longer than we've ever seen it before.

But here's my beef, and I'm sure I'll get tons of flack for this, but I'll say it anyway.

Does Superman have to always be so darned super?

His mom and dad are perfect, even his real mom and dad are doting and only want to do what's best for their kid. Clark Kent has a normal childhood. Sure, he faces bullies every now and then, but who doesn't? In other words, where's the tension? He has a secret to keep, but again, most of us do. It seems like any time we see Clark Kent's parents on screen, we know they'll do/say the right thing. That's okay, but it's a far cry from reality.

Maybe I'm just a big fan of Batman, who doesn't have it easy. Although Bruce Wayne is a gazillionaire, his parents were murdered. And that creates tension. He gets lucky with the ladies but no one sticks around. Except for Alfred, he's basically alone in a huge fortress.

I'm not saying Superman should be Batman, but does anyone else feel Clark Kent has too much of a perfect life?

So that's my two cents.

In response to Ilana's question, who asks how I manage to be Supermom with four kiddos, a scarce husband, and books to write: here's my answer.

I'm no Supermom. I'm far from it. I make mistakes every day. I get mad at my kids. I cry. I scream. It's the truth. But at the end of the day, my kids are alive. I'm alive. And we even have some fun times in between.

And perhaps that's what I'd like to see Martha and Jonathan Kent do: cry and scream and admit that they aren't perfect, but they're trying.

After all, they did raise Superman.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm Back!

I know everyone's been anxiously awaiting my return to the blogger world, right? I've finally done it. And I'd love to make this a habit, so leave me your comments, and let me know what I should blog about, and we'll put some zing back into this old dead blog for once!

Since I blogged last, I've finished a book, finished a novella, started another, but none of that compares with my biggest accomplishment, having a brand new beautiful baby boy!

Baby Gabriel was born on March 30, 2013, a healthy 8 pounds 5 ounces. He's 2 1/2 months old now and growing bigger every day. He's brought so much joy to our family, and though it was a trying pregnancy, to put it mildly, it was well worth it.

I have to thank my friends and family, and especially my husband David, for being there for me. I'm lucky to have such a great companion.

Happy father's day, Dave!