Sunday, September 29, 2013

October Challenge

I've seen on Facebook where people are posting 30-day challenges for the month of October. Over the course of the past month, I've been thinking about how it's time I broke some old habits and worked on forming some new ones. What better time than now?

I have found, since my diagnosis of severe osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and a slew of other problems, that I've become sedentary and I'm doing a lot of comfort eating and because of that, I've put on some weight I really can't afford to carry. I've also found I complain a lot and haven't been very encouraging or uplifting to Lisa, my friends, or my family.

My new doctor wants me to get out and walk every day for thirty minutes, as fast as I can walk. I laughed when he said that because I used to be a speed walker; I used to walk eighteen miles every Saturday because I could; I entered 5 and 10K races and beat more than a few runners and I never ran a step - I walked. But now, walking more than a few feet at a time is painful and exhausting for me. I depend on a cane and at times a walker. But, I've gone out and walked every day for the past five days. I only walk about ten to fifteen minutes and I walk less than a half-mile, but I'm walking.

I've also found that, because of the fibromyalgia, I have a hard time concentrating on things for any length of time. I'm a professional editor. I can't afford not to concentrate on things - I don't get my work done when I don't make that effort.

So, here's what I'm going to work on during October:

1) Every day that the weather is cooperative (as in not raining), I will get out and walk. I'm not going to push the thirty minutes and I'm not going to push the fast, but I am going to walk. I'm not sure yet what I'll do on the days it's raining since I have no way to get to a mall or a gym, but I'll figure something out.

2) I'm going to cut back on my snacking. With Lisa gone during the day, I find it's easier to snack than have a decent lunch. I'm going to work on changing that. Nothing fancy - but fewer chips, fewer sweets, more fruit and crunchy vegetables.

3) Along the same lines, I'm going to limit my Dr. Pepper to no more than one a day and I'm going to try to make that every other day. I'm also going to try to drink more juice and water than tea.

4) I'm going to do my best to edit no less than three hours a day, five days a week. That may not sound like much, but with my lack of concentration, that's all I'm going to ask of myself. If I can do more, I will.

5) I'm going to work on complaining less (hard to do when the pain is on the high end of the scale) and I'm going to work on being positive and counting my blessings more.

Anyone else up to the October 30-day challenge? I'd love to hear what you have planned. Good luck to us all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Good Night, 2012

Me and Lisa with Bugs Bunny at the ballpark
                It’s the end of another year. It seems like 2012 both flew and crawled by. There have been days I wished would end sooner than later and others I wished would never end. But end they all did, inexorably bringing us to this day, the day before the last day of the year.

                Overall, this has been a wonderfully stressful year. A year of transitions, a year of learning, a year of slowing down. It’s been a year I’ve been able to pull off surprises, something that’s hard for me, a mouthy type-A personality, to do. And through it all I’ve survived, some days with great joy, others with great pain.

                Transitions have always been a bit of a problem for me. Change has never been my best friend. After being married to a career Air Force man and moving more often than not before we got settled in, it would seem as though change wouldn’t throw me for such a loop. But it does. And for some reason, I don’t foresee that ever changing.

The major transition was the closing of the Forensic ID department at LabCorp. I was their customer service representative/administrative assistant/go-fer and I loved every minute of it. My supervisor decided every case file of every case the department had done – all the way back to ’96 – needed to be scanned and saved as a PDF. Guess who that task fell to? Little ol’ me. We all miscalculated the amount of time needed to do this monstrous task and I’m still at it. I started with the most recent files and am working backwards. I just finished 2005. Once this is done, I’ll be working for the Research & Development department as their administrative assistant/go-fer. I’m blessed to have such a great job and even more blessed to have the wonderful supervisors and co-workers I have. They have made this transition as easy as possible for all concerned.

My daughter and her husband on her 30th birthday
Another transition was actually one my daughter experienced. She turned thirty in April. It’s hard to believe that pretty little baby is the beautiful young woman married for twelve and one half years to the love of her life. I was able to pull off one of my rare surprises, along with the help of my daughter’s husband, by flying home to spend her birthday with her. I had a wonderful time and I was impressed once again by what a thoughtful, generous, loving person she is to all she encounters.

One of my largest blessings was a reconnection I made with a friend I thought was lost forever. We’d had some misunderstandings and bad timings back in 2000 and hadn’t spoken to one another since. I always prayed that one day we’d be able to put the past in the past and move forward once again as friends. That prayer was answered when she contacted me in July. It was bittersweet in a way though. While our friendship has been renewed and we both feel so blessed to be back in one another’s lives, one of the reasons she contacted me was to let me know her daddy was dying. I was surprised to find they lived about eight hours north of me so I made arrangements to go see them. In August I was able to kiss the man I considered my foster father and tell him how much I loved him. I also got to visit with his wife and my friend. Unfortunately, my foster daddy lost his battle with leukemia shortly before Thanksgiving.

It’s been a year of loss. Not only did my foster father pass over but a dear friend was murdered by her ex-husband who subsequently also took his own life. His selfishness left three beautiful children without parents. They’re blessed to have a grandmother who loves them and is giving them a home.
When Out of the Past arrived from L-Book.

I lost my publisher, Roxanne Jones, just a few days after my novel Out of the Past was released. Shortly after that, the company closed and my book was no longer available.  Now neither of my two novels are available and I was faced with a tough decision – just let them disappear from everywhere but my heart and computer, shop them around to another publisher, or self-publish.

I thought about those choices long and hard. I discussed them ad infinitum with my partner and my kids and anyone who would listen. I asked for, and received, advice from other authors who are self-published and took their advice to heart. I read blog after blog after blog and more than one book. And finally I took the plunge.

Because of a more than rocky personal financial situation, I decided to ask for investors to help me get started. If I was going to do this, I wanted (want) to do it right and not take any short cuts. I’m notorious for taking short cuts in things I do and then getting frustrated because those things don’t turn out right and then I quit. I’m bound and determined that’s not going to happen. I was blessed to have three people step up, tell me they believe in me, and invest money in order to help me get my first book out.

Rainbow Tales Publishing released its first book, Out of the Past, on December 20 and as of this writing has sold quite well. The print version will be available in mid-January and I’m confident it will also sell well. With the royalties from Out of the Past and possibly another investor or two, I will release Welcome Home in mid-spring of the new year. And I hope to have a third novel ready to go by mid-autumn, using only the proceeds from my novels to put it out.

My long-term goal for Rainbow Tales Publishing is for it to clear enough money that I’m able to quit my “day” job and concentrate on writing and publishing the best quality books possible. Will I open the company to other writers? That remains to be seen.

This long-winded blog just scratches the surface of my 2012. My biggest blessing is I’ve shared all of this and so much more with my loving, patience of a saint partner, Lisa. Her encouragement and her support are a godsend and I love her with all of my being. As soon as same-sex marriage is federally recognized, we’ll be tying the knot and all of you are invited!

One of the gourds I Zentangled this year

Atlantic Beach, NC, at sunrise in early fall

My old kitty, Geri.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Your Help is Needed!

I started writing almost as soon as I could hold a crayon. Mom would tell me to draw a picture and I would draw a story instead. I always loved the English assignments that called for an essay or a research paper to be written. I was in my element. In High School, Creative Writing was by far my favorite course. I dreamed of being a journalist, and an author with books in my bookcase with my name on the spine. But real life intervened.

I was prevented from going to college because of family dynamics and I was expected to get married and bear children – after all that's what respectable girls did, even in the mid-1970s after the feminist revolution that supposedly changed that. I did get married and I had two wonderful children. But during the years they were small and I was a stay at home mom, my writing was solely in my journals.

In the mid-'90s, when my kids were well ensconced in school, I started writing a novel. Even though I'd never been there, the novel was about Charleston, SC. Through some serendipitous events I was able to visit the city – on my own, no children or husband to slow me down – and I knew for sure my novel had to take place there. But when I returned home I discovered my fledgling manuscript had "accidentally" been thrown away. I was so discouraged I threw away my dream of writing too. I went back to my journals and gave up the idea of ever writing anything anyone would ever want to see.

Fast forward to 2006. I was ten years into being single again, had come out as a lesbian, and my children were grown. The love of my life, Lisa. blessed me with her presence early that year and one of the things she kept asking me was what were my dreams. For ages I insisted I didn't have any. But I finally relented and told her I wanted to be a writer.
With her encouragement I wrote my first novel, Welcome Home, and submitted it for publication. Imagine my surprise when it was accepted. My dream was coming true! The book was released in 2009 and got good reviews and I felt awesome.
I was introduced to the concept of National Novel Writing Month in 2008. I decided to tackle it with the idea of the novel I had started in the nineties brewing in my heart and mind. Out of the Past was born. After a lot of hard work I submitted it to a different publisher and was thrilled when it was accepted and released in September, 2012.

Then the bottom fell out. First, due to issues with the first publisher and some downsizing they were doing, my contract for Welcome Home reverted back to me. Okay, I thought. I'll fix this baby up, do some rewriting and re-editing, get a new cover and re-release it myself. I was working on that endeavor when Out of the Past was released on September 12 and then the owner of the publishing company passed away on September 26. The company shut its doors in early November and now neither of my books is on the market.

From that adversity another dream I'd been toying with for years began to take shape. I would start my own publishing imprint, Rainbow Tales Publishing. I'd talked about it for years and a dear friend had designed me an awesome mermaid logo. So, I started doing some research. I discovered self-publishing is easy if you want to take shortcuts, but not quite so easy if you want to do it right. And not so inexpensive.

I began asking people to invest in my idea and so far, to date, two wonderful people have been quite generous. But I still fall short, very short, of the amount I need to put these two books on the market plus one more next year. Hopefully, the royalties from the sales of those three books will finance further books.

But before that can happen I need to raise some money. After doing some math, adding up the costs of what my team will charge for book cover design, editing and formatting and multiplying that by three and throwing in a little extra for padding, I decided I need to raise approximately $3000. To that end I started a campaign on a website called Indiegogo, which helps people raise money for various reasons.

I'm not asking for money with nothing in return to the generous people who donate. There are perks involved – the more you give, the more you get. You can find my campaign at If you would like to see my business plan before donating, please feel free to email me at and I'll get one to you ASAP. And if you want to experience some of my writing, as well as see my photography and art, visit my website at

Some people think I'm begging for money and that it's unseemly. Yes, I am begging. But I feel it's for a good reason and there will be great returns for the money once my books are back on the market. I'm proud of my writing, of my talent, of the gift I've been given. I want to share that with others, but I won't be able to without the help from you.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting the Slut Monkeys to Bed or How I Defeated My Internal Editors

Monkeys clip art             

I used to call my internal editor "Mom" but I realized recently that I have more than one internal editor and they sure aren't Mom! So now I was facing internal editors that were telling me I'm no good, no one wants to read what I write and why bother, as well as editors saying "That word? Why in the world are you using that word?" and "Shouldn't you use a semi-colon there and hey, you're not supposed to use any exclamation marks." And the worst one wasthe one that kept telling me I can get to it later.

There were so many of these bothersome things I knew I couldn't name them all and keep them straight in my head. And I knew if I called one of them by the wrong name, it would get all huffy and give me an even harder time. In desperation one day, I screamed "Would all of you slut monkeys please go find another corner?" It shut them up for a few minutes but then they were back in force. But now I had a name for those pesky internal editors – Slut Monkeys.

But I still had no idea how to shut them up until I truly needed them, when it was time to edit my first drafts, and second, and third. I tried to appease them by telling them they are welcome to hang around but aren't to bother me until I invited them. They just laughed and turned up the volume.

I resorted to listening to the monkey that advocated procrastination. The TV had something interesting on and I'd write later. I really did need to see if Amazon had posted any more free Kindle books I wanted to download. My ideas could wait until after… You name it, the monkey found some reason to talk me into NOT writing. The monkey was winning and it knew it.

Then one day, on a whim, I pulled out the writing prayer beads my partner, Lisa, bought me for Christmas a few years ago. I carry them with me everywhere I go and pull them out and lay them across the top of the keyboard when I write. But on this day, I held them in my hand and did a guided meditation, moving my hand from bead to bead as I named my intentions for the day – none of which had anything to do with writing.

When I finished I realized I had gone deeper than I had for a long time and wondered if the beads had anything to do with it. I mentioned the phenomenon to a friend who also meditates and she admitted she uses prayer beads all the time – different ones for different types of meditation and prayer. She asked me why none of my intentions were about writing and I was at a loss. After considerable thought I realized it was the slut monkeys' fault. They had intimidated me into believing I wasn't truly a writer.

"Nonsense," my friend said. "Meditate with the intention of writing as soon as you're done and let me know what happens."

The next day I followed my friend's advice and low and behold the monkeys left me alone. I could almost hear them snoring in the background. In calming my mind, I also calmed them and they were able to rest up to bother me later about something that had nothing to do with writing.

Now meditation with the intention of writing is a part of my writing preparation. When I take a shortcut and don't meditate, the monkeys rejoice and are they ever loud in their partying.

Will meditation put your slut monkeys to rest, at least temporarily? I don’t know. You'll have to try it for yourself. But it works for me and not just for writing. I try to find time to quiet my mind before tackling any kind of task that uses a lot of brain cells. I'm able to concentrate and be much more productive without the monkeys' constant yammering that I'm doing it wrong and shouldn't even be trying in the first place.

So what do you do to prepare to write? Any routines, superstitions, must dos for you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am in poetry writing mode. In fact, I've written three in three days - some kind of record for me I'm sure. It started when sent me a free gift of a Sestina Poetry tool. I'd never heard of Sestina Poetry. Here's a definition from The sestina is a challenging form in which, rather than simply rhyming, the actual line-ending words are repeated in successive stanzas in a designated rotating order. A sestina consists of six 6-line stanzas, concluding with a 3-line “envoi” which incorporates all the line-ending words, some hidden inside the lines. The prescribed pattern for using the 6 line-ending words is: 1st stanza 1 2 3 4 5 6 2nd stanza 6 1 5 2 4 3 3rd stanza 3 6 4 1 2 5 4th stanza 5 3 2 6 1 4 5th stanza 4 5 1 3 6 2 6th stanza 2 4 6 5 3 1 envoi 2--5 4--3 6--1 My curiosity was peaked and off I went. Follows are the three poems - each quite long, but I feel well worth the read.
Beach Comfort The world of the waves sweeps over the wide smooth sand along which I stroll, barefoot, bucket in hand, fingers picking up sea shells, heart and soul seeking comfort as the waves roll back and then in again, refreshed. I find my thoughts roll around, far from refreshed moving through my emotions, waves and waves of emotion, refusing comfort. I look at the endless expanse of sand Stretching in front of me, shells Scattered through the footprints left by barefoot children and adults. They walk barefoot along the beach, hoping to be refreshed as they collect the shells that roll in at the mercy of the waves. My heart shifts like the sand blown before the wind. Why is comfort so elusive? I need to find comfort here where the barefoot children run in the sand and their parents are refreshed as they play together in the waves. Is the comfort I seek found in the shells? Does the comfort live in the shells? Or am I responsible for finding my own comfort, not allowing others to steal it and throw it in the waves to wash out to sea, leaving me barefoot and alone? I am suddenly refreshed by that thought. I dig my toes in the sand and laugh, laugh, laugh as the sand buries my feet, tiny sea shells tumbling and tumbling. Refreshed I turn to leave, knowing I find comfort in my own heart, in my own soul. Barefoot I wade back through the waves. I kick the loose hot sand as I walk home, comfort warming my heart, sea shells rattling in my bucket. Barefoot I realize I am refreshed, like the never ending waves. written 4/11/2011

What Do We Remember? When we were young we had no idea what old was. But that was yesterday, and now it’s today and old is no longer tomorrow. Young is in our memories. What are our memories? In the bright light of the young, it seems memories are only for tomorrow. The light in the eyes of the old shine brightly today as they remember the events of yesterday. It was just yesterday that so many memories were formed to be remembered today. What did we do when we were young that we’re proud of now that we’re old? We’ll know when tomorrow comes. We wait for tomorrow with bated breath, ruing yesterday when we thought we’d never be old. But now our memories from when we were young haunt us today. What will happen today that we’ll hold onto for tomorrow? When we were young we forgot about yesterday, trusting we would have the memories to sustain us when we are old. Now we are old and what happens today will be precious memories that we’ll share tomorrow and wish we remembered yesterday, the yesterday when we were young. What is it to be old and know that tomorrow will soon be today, and then will be yesterday, and that our memories are only of when we were young? written 4/12/2011

The Ritual of Tea The sun rises, ready for its cup of tea. The morning ritual begins with the rich aroma of the tea brewing, quiet in the warm teapot, meditation of tea leaves melding with water, sensual coupling like the sensual dance of sun and moon. Tea poured, eyes closed in meditation, heart and soul ready for the ritual of the refreshing quiet, steam rising full of the heady aroma. The morning fills with the aroma of bodies moving in a sensual dance of partnership. They quiet and return to their tea, and return to their ritual, and return to their meditation. The bliss of joy reaches through meditation even as the aroma of the tea follows its ritual and calls forth the sensual awakenings. Hot tea sipped slowly, helps quiet the soul. Once quiet the soul can once again approach meditation. The heart finds joy in the tea, leaping in anticipation as the aroma rises, swirls and twirls, sensual and serene. The ritual of the tea prepares for the ritual of the day, a day no longer quiet, a day when the sensual is lost and no amount of meditation can bring it back. The aroma is of busyness and stress, not of tea. The evening ritual begins with meditation, finding the quiet even as the aroma, the loving sensual aroma rises from the cup of tea. written 4/13/2011

I'd love to hear what y'all think. Feel free to comment here or leave a comment on my website or on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


That's a large number in some instances and a small one in others. In this instance it almost seems overwhelming.

I've been challenged to list 1000 things that make me smile or laugh, that make me shiver with happiness and/or excited anticipation, that make me thankful.

The list should cover the minute parts of my being, from breathing to shoes on my feet. And it should cover the daily things like food on my table and the softness of my cat's furr. And, of course, the big things - Lisa in my life, my kids, my health, my job, etc etc etc.

I've tried keeping a gratitude journal in the past and failed. I didn't fail because I didn't have anything to be thankful for but because I went about it in a way that didn't work for me. Each time before I bought a seperate journal for the gratitude list, seperate from the one I carry with me 24/7 and write in whenever the urge comes upon me. Having a second book to carry was a pain. And I kept forgetting to write in it.

So this time I'm combining my list of things I'm grateful for, things that make me laugh and smile, in my 'normal' journal. I number my list so I can see how far along I am on this challenge (81 right now), but I do it in the body of the journal. No special pages; I'm not changing colors of ink; I'm just throwing it in there.

And this time I think I'll be successful.

Back to that number - 1000. How many of us look around and truly realize how much we have to be thankful for? How many things make us laugh and smile and anticipate something good or exciting to happen? Why do we remember to say thank you to someone who does something nice for us but we forget to thank ourselves or the Universe (God, Goddess, angels, whoever your higher power is) for the so-called mundane things? I'm learning to appreciate the fact we have paved roads to drive on, the remote control to the TV, flushing toilets, the things we usually take for granted.

I challenge you to join me on this journey. Start now. Write down one thing, just one, that you are grateful for. Then, later, add another and another. You'll be amazed at how listing the things you are grateful for and that make you happy can almost instantly change a bad mood to a good one.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this rambling post.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rest In Peace

My ex-father-in-law passed away Saturday. This is written in memoriam:

Rest in Peace
Virgil Leroy Poulter
March 27, 1927 – June 26, 2010

Virgil, you were one of the most intelligent, caring, giving funny people I have ever known. Your quick wit brought many smiles, as did your wonderful limericks. You were always loving and accepting. Your love for Joana, your kids and kids-in-law and especially for your grandchildren shone bright. Our memories will keep that light alive in our hearts. Thank you for all you did and all you gave. You are already greatly missed.