Some things I learned about myself in 2013

christmasI can finish what I start! I did it! I finished Misspelled. I got help with the copy editing (as many of my critics suggested) and I’m querying agents as I write this. It was a ton of hard work, and there were times when I wasn’t sure I’d get here, but I saw it through. It’s morphed quite a bit since the first iterations, but I think you’ll like it. I hope you all will.  Here’s a chapter from the final version.

Some other things I discovered about myelf:

I kind of like scary things. Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Paranormal Activity 1-4…bring it on. Just as long as the lights are on, and I can wash it down with an On Demand showing of SNL.

I don’t have to carry my iPad with me everywhere I go. Seriously, who does that? My back is much happier with me now.

I write better in the morning….now if I could only get myself to get up earlier, that would help.

I’m not good at accepting criticism. It takes me at least a week to get over the feeling of self loathing.

I’m the worst public speaker in the world.

I love the idea going for a walk.

I forget how much I love the idea of going for walk, once I’m actually walking.

I like brussel sprouts.

I look more and more like my mom every day.

I will never have a hair do that I’m happy with.

I need to get as good at appreciating my own talents as I am at the self loathing.

Don’t be too serious about anything. If you can’t laugh about something, it’s not worth letting into your life.

So, I suppose the next thing I should do is sit down and write my resolutions for 2014. Hmmm. Nah. I think I’ll just do my best to do my best. No point in starting off the year in disappointment.

New excerpt from my next project

It’s hard to believe it’s Labor Day weekend again. When you were young, you barely paid attention to the sayings about how life happened in a blink of an eye, or that time goes by faster and faster as you age. Especially since the people expelling those notions tended to be older than you were back then. And though they had lived longer than you had up to that point, you thought that most of what they said was just sad and, of course, didn’t apply to you. Besides, you thought to yourself, it would be awesome if time went by faster! Then you wouldn’t have to wait so long to get promoted, or make enough money to get that car you always wanted. You could finally meet your dream guy or gal and get married and have kids. You could hardly wait to meet all the good stuff of life head on. Yep, that’s how I saw it waaaay back then. Oh how I long for the days when it felt like 2 1/2 months of summer seemed to last forever.

Now another summer has come and gone, and I feel like I barely have anything to show for it. But do I have time to wallow in my wasted opportunities? Hardly. Sigh. Goodbye Summer, I should have appreciated you more. Well hello there Fall. Please don’t tempt me too much with Halloween sweets and holiday treats. Because before you know it, Spring will be knocking on the door, and Summer will be waiting just around the corner yet again.

Anyway, I’ve posted an excerpt from chapter 4 of my current writing project. I’m currently finishing Chapter 8 (or is it 9?) which should be the last chapter of book 1. And yes, it feels like I only started writing this story a couple of months ago. But alas, almost 2 years have passed already since I put the first pen to paper on this project. Woosh! Dang, life just raced by and almost took my head off!

If you are still young…ah heck, even if you’re old and ragged…seriously, appreciate every beautiful moment and don’t wish too hard for the future to get here. It may be cliche, but life is short, live it well.


“Rose! WAKE UP!” Mom’s voice jolted me from a dead sleep. My eyes shot open. I gasped and felt hot air rush into my lungs. Immediately, I started coughing and started rubbing at my eyes. I could barely open them because they burned so badly. Just then, my bedroom door blew open. I gagged when I saw a shadowed figure rush towards me. I almost screamed until through a squinted stare, I was able to make out Mom’s face. She had Zack tucked tightly to her side. He was coughing uncontrollably, too.
“Rose! Hurry, we don’t have much time!” She said, pulling me from my bed. It was then that I saw the billowing gold flames in the hallway behind her.
We hurried to my bedroom window. I could feel the intense heat on my skin. She must have felt it too because it was then that she swung her arm violently in the air towards the door slamming it closed, shutting out the heat and the flames for a while longer. My coughing got worse. I thought that any minute my lungs were going to explode. When I struggled to open the window, Mom nudged me aside and handed Zack to me. With one smooth movement, she lifted the window pane without even touching it. The heat from inside the room rushed by us and into the night air. Several of our neighbors were standing across the street, staring at our burning home. I waved at them frantically and yelled “Help us!” I turned to face Mom. “We’re going to be rescued!” I said. Then I heard a loud rumbling as the door to my room began to rattle on its hinges.
“There’s isn’t time to wait.” Mom said in a surprisingly calm voice. She took one step backward. “Hold on to your brother, make sure he’s safe.”
Obediently, I tightened my arms around Zack. Then she closed her eyes and began some sort of incantation I’d never heard before. In the full moon, I could see her face flush as she continued to chant. Suddenly, the whole room was cast with a beautiful cerulean blue light.
It was at that moment I realized I wasn’t coughing anymore. I could breathe again. I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with sweet oxygen. I looked down at Zack, who had also stopped coughing. He rested his head against my chest, his eyes heavy with exhaustion. He looked like an angel with his curly hair and round pink cheeks. It took another second for my brain to register that I could actually see the color in his face. When everything else in the room was cast in a bluish tint, the walls, the dresser, the bed, Mom —there was no hint of blue in Zack’s face. I looked at my own hand. Even in the dim light, I could see the flesh tones of my skin. That’s when I realized that Zack and I were inside some sort of bubble. I looked at my mother as she stood behind the blue translucent wall now separating her from us.



I looked up the word inspiration and found this:
1. Stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity
2. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.

Then I looked up the word stimulate:
1. To increase temporarily the activity of (a body organ or part).

And I got to thinking about what inspires me…
Witnessing someone’s kindness
A baby smiling
The sound of the ocean
Watching my mother lovingly tend her garden
Winning at anything
Genuine creativity
Music that makes me move
A story that moves me
Making someone happy
Doing something that inspires others

Inspiration is personal. What “stimulates” your insert body part here can change from one minute to the next. The important thing is to seek out the things that inspire you as often as you can. It isn’t always possible to surround yourself in inspiration every moment of every day- in fact, doing so could cause an over-stimulation of some sort…and that can’t be too good. So let’s say at least once a day get close enough to something inspirational to touch it. Life is too short…and more often than not, too shitty to let a day go by without feeling something as good as stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity.

The image I’ve attached is from an article about some guys who were inspired to build a real floating house based on the “Up” house in the Disney/Pixar movie. Click here to link.


The Welcome Christmas Song

There’s nothing like singing a Holiday song to get you into the Christmas spirit!

Welcome Christmas come this way
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day
Welcome, welcome fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome dahoo damus
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your cheer
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome all Whos far and near
Welcome Christmas, fahoo ramus
Welcome Christmas, dahoo damus
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your light
(hum next two lines…)
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day
Welcome Christmas, fahoo ramus
Welcome Christmas, dahoo damus
Welcome Christmas while we stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome welcome Christmas Day…
Welcome, welcome X-mas day….

Life is a Roller Coaster

Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain

What is it about a roller coaster that is so appealing to so many people? Is it the incredible, freeing sensation of soaring into skies or the the gut clenching fear of plummeting back to the ground that makes people want to wait hours in line just to experience one? I heard someone refer to a roller coaster as a giant version of your dad tossing you into the air when you were a kid. Scientists will say it has something to do with the stimulation of your inner ear. It makes sense, I mean I was the type of kid that loved spinning myself into a dizzy fit, and being flung into the air by my dad – and I love roller coasters.

I suppose there are many things in this world that can simulate that excitement. The exhilaration of a budding relationship can bring you those same highs and lows. Certainly, a gripping movie can make you laugh and cry in a matter of moments. And of course the ebb and flow of a well written novel can be bring you a similar thrill. What is happy without sad? What is love without loss? You’ve heard that saying…life is like a roller coaster. I’ll admit that I’ve been through some crazy twists and turns in my life that have left me nothing but a bad case of nausea. And I’ve climbed to fantastic heights just to fall flat on my rear end many more times than I care to say. So I get the analogy.

But when I saw this article about an art installation in the Rhine, I thought to myself…”Now that is closer to how life is!”

At least in my experience, life doesn’t pull you up to soaring heights – you have to work hard to get there. You climb only as far as your legs can take you. If your lucky, someone might give you a little push, or hold your hand. But for the most part, it’s up to you to get to the top. As for going down? Well I guess that depends on you too. You could decide to play it cautiously, and climb down the steps. Be a little more daring and skip a few steps on the way down, or really take your chances and glide down the banister. Or heck, just jump off the darn thing.

But my favorite part of a roller coaster is that second or two of weightlessness you get right before the plummet. I get the feeling you don’t get that with this roller coaster. Drats! On the bright side, it might be a great way to burn off lunch!

Here’s the article for those of you who are interested:

A Roller Coaster for Wimps: You Walk Instead of Ride by Belinda Lanks

I’m back

Well first, I have to admit that I’ve been very remiss with keeping my blog updated with fresh posts, and I am sorry for that. But I was very open in the beginning when I said that I’m not someone who particularly likes to write about self-centric things. You know there are two types of people in the world – one type that, when faced with one or two challenging situations, seek assurance by shouting their thoughts and ideas from the highest mountain top, and the other type who when confronting those same challenges, tend to retreat and keep their thoughts and feelings closer to the vest. It’s the classic extrovert vs. introvert concept. I am and have always been the latter, so sue me.

So what have I decided to write about on my first return post to pull myself out of my hermit-like existence?  Just a few things that have inspired me and kept me sane these past few weeks.

I’ve read two books. The first was a completely indulgent read that I was prompted to pick up after watching a BBC movie based on the same novel on a gloomy Sunday afternoon.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.  I can never get enough of J.A., I love the way her mind worked. I’m always amazed at how she was able to incorporate all the complicated emotions of her characters inside a simple story that keeps her readers riveted even without being action packed.  And the second book, I resisted for as long as I could, but finally gave in. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Why did I resist? I’m not sure. Maybe I wasn’t ready to see that baton of favorite YA book series handed off by Stephanie Meyers Twilight Series just yet. Yes, I know that was years ago, but I was pretty addicted. Kind of sad really, for a woman my age.  At any rate, I decided to hell with it. I need another engrossing story to inspire me and get my own creative juices flowing again. And so help me I totally loved it. I ate it up in just a couple of days. Just like Twilight did for me a few years ago, I think about the Hunger Games characters constantly.  I can only hope that I can give that kind of life to the characters I create.

I got an IPad.  This is something I am very excited about, as I am certain that this instrument will help me with my productivity (in writing and in life). However, the beginning stages of owning one of these you can pretty much categorize as frivolous.  Fun, definitely. But productive, not so much. Right now I’m on the hunt for the perfect writing app. I have Pages and My Memoirs right now, and I haven’t determined which one will work better for me. I’m sure when I have it all perfectly set up, I’ll have to blog about it. But right now, I’m still pretty much app-happy and pushed-content drunk.

I’ve finished another chapter in my current story. Yay!

I’ve been doing some digital fantasy artwork. It’s another creative outlet that I desperately crave at times but unfortunately take up large chunks of precious time that I should be devoting to writing.

I’ve been spending quality time with my mom, watching our hometown NFL team kick butt on Sundays. (Insert sheepish chuckle)

So, that’s it. You are up to date. And yes, I have purposefully left out the details of said challenges that drove me to my introverted ways. Those details are safely tucked away in my personal journal. Of course, I will endeavor to post more and share and express more thoughts on writing and inspirational topics on this personal blog site. But don’t take that as a promise. Take that for what it is, the only thing I can offer…hope.

Remembering, ten years later

As the 10 year anniversary of that terrible and life changing event is upon us, we have been inundated with news articles and reports to remind us of just how scary life in the real world can be. I remember that day clearly. I was at a conference in Atlanta, and when I first heard the news, I remember being confused. What do you mean a plane crashed into theWorldTradeCenter? I imagined the nose of a small Cessna jet jutting into the side of the glass and concrete building with the people inside the plane completely fine and unharmed, poking their bodies half out of the circular-shaped windows with arms comically waving in the air like you might see in a simply animated cartoon. It took a second for the seriousness of the matter to hit me, and then I immediately thought about John Kennedy Jr. and I immediately felt a sadness tugging at me. The idea of a full sized airline jet still hadn’t entered my mind. It was simply unfathomable. There were no televisions near us, and since this was pre-smart phone, we were completely clueless as to what was really happening. It wasn’t until almost an hour later when we starting walking back to our hotel, and we saw a large group of people crowding into a small restaurant bar to watch the live news reports on the television, that we saw the horror and devastation. As I watched the towers come tumbling down, a numbness washed over me. For the rest of the afternoon, I sat there glued to the little tv screen. People gasped, and murmured around us. My colleagues were on their cell phones with their families offering assuring comments like “it will all be okay,” and “I’ll be home soon.”  When I was back in my hotel room, I cried. Not just a few tears. I’m talking about a drop down to my knees, gut clenching kind of sob. A few days later, after they let us fly again and I was home, I cried the same way again.  For several weeks, I found myself emotionally distraught and crying at random moments. I didn’t personally know anyone who died that day, and I am so thankful for that. Because the anguish I feel for those thousands of strangers was paralyzing enough.

It’s now 10 years later. And there have been hundreds of tragedies, including a few personal ones that have affected me since then. Let’s face it, terrible things happen every day and there isn’t all that much we can do about it. Yet, every year around this time we hear stories of the souls that lost their lives in that dreadful attack, and stories about the people they left behind. And every year I find myself crying again.

This morning, I was standing in front of my closet picking out the clothes I was going to wear to work. I had the news on in the background as usual, waiting for the traffic report so I could figure out just how much time I had to lollygag around before I had to start my commute. I was in the middle of contemplating between wearing the grey top or the bluish grey top -because there is a difference and it matters- when on came a news story about 9/11. They talked about how a man, despite being told to stay in the building that day, directed and helped the people he worked with to evacuate, so that by the time the first tower collapsed, they were all safely out of the building. But the former military officer didn’t make it, because he went back in to try and save more people. I realized the triviality of my morning dilemma, and already there were tears welling up in my eyes. I stopped what I was doing and walked over to my television monitor to get a closer look at a picture of this hero.  His name was Rick Rescorla, and he was a veteran and a security officer. I came to find out that the report wasn’t only about his bravery on that day, but that the SF opera had created an Opera based on a book by journalist James Stewart on Rick Rescorla’s life story.  I had to smile as my spirit lifted in the understanding that this glorious spirit will live on. I felt encouraged by the thought that everyone has a story, and whether more of that story is uplifting and inspiring or dark and sad, each life is worth remembering. And moreover, each life is worth living.

Here’s to stories. May they be forever thought provoking and emotionally moving. Here’s to people whose actions and lives prompt us to tell their stories in many different ways. Here’s to the writers and poets who breathe life into written words, and the artists who create visions to relay those stories. After all, everything we create is about life, isn’t it?

Here’s a link to one of the news story about Rick Rescorla :

Short passage from Chapter 2

I was hoping a long holiday weekend would give me ample time to write during the day so I could possibly catch up on some sleep. But here I am at 1:30 in the morning pounding away on the keyboard as usual. I wish I could be one of those people who say “Aww, sleep is over-rated.” But the thing is I LOVE sleep. I love it so much I dream about it.

I think I have another hour or so before my face hits the keys, and I have to drag myself to bed, so gotta keep at it until then! Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll have time for a more thoughtful and thought provoking post. That is if I’m not in a Labor Day BBQ induced coma.

Great Life Quote

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
— Hunter S. Thompson

Is that not a great quote or what? Sorry for the short post, but it was too long to tweet, and I was too inspired by it not to share.

For those of us who are always fearful of getting hurt or of failing, it’s a good reminder that life is a gift that shouldn’t be wasted.

Is it just me? Or does anyone else suddenly have the urge to jump on a Harley and take it for spin?


There are few song writers that give us such a clear and beautiful perspective of the human soul than Tori Amos. The song “Crucify” makes me quiver every time I hear it.

Tori Amos

An excerpt from “Crucify” by Tori Amos

Got a kick for a dog
Beggin’ for Love
I gotta have my suffering
So that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter
He says will you ever learn
You’re just an empty cage girl
If you kill the bird
I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Got enough guilt to start
my own religion
Please be
Save me
I cry

What song lyrics move you?