We are whatever we think we are

I had a conversation with my 27-year-old son today about the hype surrounding The Secret. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of The Secret, it is a huge–I guess you’d call it a movement–that teaches people about the Laws of Attraction, and how gratitude and a positive frame of mind can actually draw to you the things and the people you desire.

My son has watched the CD and is very excited about it. But he made me feel really good when he told me that many of the basic teachings are things I taught him long ago. I actually wrote a poem about 20 years ago called MIND CONTROL about a mother whose son was sick, who didn’t have health insurance, but with positive thoughts, chicken soup and aspirin, his white blood cells did battle with the bacteria and made him well.

I have always believed in the power of positive thinking. We ARE what we think. If you are unhappy right now, try this. Smile. Get up and walk to the window and stretch as you smile. I guarantee that you will detect a change in your negative feelings.

We can even create our own heaven and hell right here on earth with the power of our mind. If we are constantly telling ourselves that we will fail, or that we aren’t good enough, or thinking from a place of lack, then failure, rejection, and lack will be our reality. The proof of this in my life has been overwhelming, but remaining positive in a negative world, keeping a good and grateful attitude no matter your circumstances, has to become part of who you are, it’s not a temporary remedy, it’s a way of life.

It is wonderful that people are embracing The Secret. But what I wonder is why not until now? Maybe it’s the presentation combined with timing. We live in chaotic and frightening times, and many people have become disillusioned with religion. I blame this mainly on the years and years of corruption in the church and from its leaders, and also on the violence that has been wrought in the name of religion.

I have heard rumblings that Christians feel that The Secret is trying to replace religion, and I disagree. The Secret teaches that we are energy, just as Wayne Dyer has taught for over 20 years with his belief that we are all connected to a Source. You can believe in God and Jesus and still believe in the power of your mind. God created free will, and what is that but choosing your own life?

The Secret Science of Getting Rich

I was talking about “The Secret” here a few weeks ago, about how hyped up my son is about this program after watching the movie. I saw the authors of the book on Oprah a few weeks before Justin told me that he’d seen the movie, and the impact it had on him. I got fired up myself, listening to what was said on Oprah.

“The Secret” takes the tenants of The Laws of Attraction and applies them to the everyday, teaching us how to project positive things into our lives. But now that have taken it one step further. There is now a seminar and an affiliate program in place called The Secret Science of Getting Rich and after all I have heard, I have no doubt that they really can teach you how it is done.

I am so glad to see that this way of thinking and these teachings are making such an impact on the masses. I am running across people almost everyday who are excited about The Secret and have jumped on the bandwagon. It is about time there was a move toward something positive in this country. I was beginning to wonder if negativity and bleakness were the new order of the day. Maybe there is hope for us after all.

I am married to my job

I have been thinking about what I wanted to say, and it occurred to me that productivity is just about my middle name these days.  From the summer of 2003 until this past November, I lived in a dream state. I spent a year writing a YA novel, then I spent my time learning about the publishing industry, hanging out on writer’s message boards, playing at being a writer, writing poetry, short stories, essays, and a few articles here and there, getting a bunch of publishing credits under my belt. My hope was to be a great ‘writer.”

I didn’t make any real money to speak of, my husband paid the bills, so I didn’t worry about it. I had basically, if the truth be known, browbeat him into to supporting me. He kept telling me that I needed to get a job, but I was in denial about so many things. My son was in trouble with drugs and would soon no longer be with us.

My marriage was in trouble too, but I didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. Actually, I am not sure I even knew it. You know how they say that things can change in a New York minute? Well that’s what happened the day after Thanksgiving of last year. My husband informed me that we was in love with someone else and was leaving me. I was devastated, but my first thought was of course one of survival. How was I going to take care of myself?

I had signed up with Payperpost a few months before that and was making a little cash, but once Shane hit the door I hit the computer. Hard. I did all the paid posting I could, for PPP and other companies. I worked to get my PR up so that I could take better paying opps and also because I fell in love all over with my blogs and became proud of them, plus it felt good to be helping other writers who were also struggling to make ends meet. I started writing for Associated Content. I began taking other low paying content writing jobs, counting my pennies, holding my breath. I have been working like a demon ever since, practically married to my job. But I haven’t thought about it, I have just worked, grateful that I had the ability to make a living online. All I could concentrate on was the fact that I had to take care of myself so I wouldn’t lose my apartment, and thus my freedom, and eating is always a good thing. :)

I was finally able to start paying my own bills within a few months. Then last week I won that $1000 from PPP and I was ecstatic. I felt like it was a gift from God for all my hard work. Then yesterday I was hired to write for a site called The Go-To Girls where I get to talk about my experiences with online dating and offer advice on sex and relationship. (Got plenty of experience, been there, done that, got too many t-shirts, as I said in my first article I just finished writing.)

With all of this good fortune and the hard work I have done, things are settled into a comfortable monetary place so that I am actually able now to write Monday through Friday about 7 hours a day if I want and still make a good living. I can get up at 6 and work until 2 and be done. I love that.

It’s been a rough road, but you know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Even though I have often worked seven days a week these last few months I am glad I was forced to wake up and smell the coffee. I love working. Up until the summer of 2003 I had been a career woman all my life. It is who I am, and I feel like my old self again most of the time. So, in conclusion, my thoughts on productivity is that it is essential to good mental health. And being self sufficient is something I will never relinquish or give away again.

My thoughts on Dale Carnegie book How to win friends and influence people

I decided that the best business book I ever read was Dale Carnegie’s HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. I read it when I was probably 16 years old. My daddy was in the Jaycees for a time. The Jaycees is an organization much like the Kiwanis. That was during one of his periods of trying to improve himself in between bouts of manic depression and alcoholism. Let it never be said that a person with mental illness and/or a social disease cannot also be a great person, even if their periods of greatness may come and go. My daddy was one of those great people and he taught me much about life and about human nature, as did this book.

It changed my life as a matter of fact. For one thing, it made me realize that I possessed some of the key qualities that it takes to succeed, in both life and in business. I was intelligent, I was friendly, I had good manners, and a sort of charisma that was already drawing people to me. What HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE did was shore up my confidence in myself and help me to see that there was a much better way of living, a happier life, out there for me than the one I was living.

I have spent my life as a career woman. I have sold life insurance, winning top honors continuously, I have been the office/credit manager of a building material center, I have been the assistant administrator at two nursing homes, I owned a small advertising business for 10 years, and now I am full time blogger/writer. And through all of these incarnations I thank that one little book for helping me to see what a people person I was and that I really could win friends and influence people. And I have!

Experience of a writer with getting free search engine traffic

SEO, Search Engine Optimization. To put it simply, it’s a way to ensure that words, keywords, will be picked up by Google and other search engines’ spiders, who crawl across the web every so often before they update their databases.  I think it’s underhanded. (But I also think ads for food on TV never taste as good as they make it look!) Still, I think this kind of writing is death to creativity.

Here’s an example. I applied to a company to write a weekly article for their website. It paid, and after years of being a career woman and a business owner–even though my wonderful husband told me when I started writing full-time that I could write whatever I wanted and not to worry about the money–the idea of actually being paid on a steady basis was very appealing. The company had a formula to follow for where in the article and how often certain words should appear. Ok. I tried it. But I failed the litmus test, because they also had tip and tricks for pulling on the heart strings of readers, and my article “didn’t make the editor cry.”

Yuk. I hate manipulation. I didn’t bother responding.

Now I know that all of this is just part of commerce and capitalism, and it’s not going anywhere. And I’m sure not all SEO devices are to be frowned upon, I guess if you are selling something, it’s like advertising, getting the most bang for your buck. What I hate to see is an aspiring writer, filled with passion and talent, but since they need to put bread on the table, they sell out to content sites who’s only goal is to sell articles to companies who need them for their websites. These articles must be designed for ultimate optimization so the “spiders” can crawl. Good name for the nasty little buggers. These writers get paid peanuts, receive no byline, sell all rights, and all of their writing time is eaten up writing this robot content.

I can see right now that being able to say what’s on my mind with impunity is going to be one more reason I love having a blog. :)

If you are new writer, please don’t write for content sites. There are lots of jobs you can do from home that will pay much better, and you won’t have to compromise your integrity. Check out the WAHM forums. Jobs galore. And if you actually have a job outside the home and you are writing content, well, I guess I’ll have to concede that there’s a lid for every pot. I HAVE actually seen the websites of several writers who make a good living writing SEO. Ok, I’ll give them that. Maybe their minds are wired for technology and they just happen to be able to turn a good phrase.

If that’s the case with you, great. If not, then I’ll repeat myself. Please don’t waste your talent writing for content sites. Write for the love of it. Like Wayne Dyer said, “Do what you love, and the money will come.” That’s why I repeat what I said yesterday. You WILL NOT find those kinds of jobs listed in my Monday markets. Ever. The markets I list will either be reputable ezines that don’t pay–which is a great way to build credits and get clips, and how I started out–or they will be paying markets; magazines, both print and online, seeking fiction, essays, articles, poetry, calls for anthology submissions, contest, an eclectic mix that will have a little of something for every type of writer.

You will find that probably 85% of them will be paying markets, period. I don’t like the idea of working for free. But I will slip in a classy ezine here and there for newbies who are just trying to get their foot in the door.

And no, I am not “making a living” as a freelance writer yet, and yes, I know that I am one of the lucky few who doesn’t have the money monkey on my back. But don’t for a second think that I am some kind of prima donna housewife who’s NEVER had to worry about money. I raised two sons as a single parent, often working two jobs. But I am headed in the direction of actually making a living freelancing, for with each credit I add to my portfolio, reputable credits, the more attention paying markets are giving to my cover letter. And up the ladder I move. Upward and onward, toward my dream of being a respected and well paid freelance writer and traditionally published author.

Speaking of which, I’ll have to tell you someday soon what I think about vanity publishing and Publish America, Authorhouse, IUniverse, Whitmore Publishing, Traffford Publishing–there are plenty more, so called publishers whose Google ads you see everywhere.

Let’s just say for now that I don’t think everybody who has the capability to sit down at a computer and type is necessarily a writer.  Aaaahhh, boy did it feel good to get all of that off my chest. I never knew blogging could be so therapeutic!

Blogging is like fishing

There has been the coolest conversation going on across the blogosphere and I decided it was time for me to jump on board. Char at Essential Keystrokes, a fellow Gack Inker and great blogger, started it with her post about how to explain blogging to your mom, a brilliant post that compared blogging to a Farmer’s Market and prompted others to describe what metaphor fit blogging for them.

Though there are a lot more really good metaphors, in fact, too many too list here by now, I really like what Liz at Successful Blogger, who honored me several months back by naming me an official SOB, had to say about bloggers being learners and teachers and how she has pumped the volume way up on this deal and turned it into a group writing project with ten bloggers who post their metaphors receiving a copy of a book called “What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.”

So, I thought about it for a couple of days and decided that to me the best way to describe blogging is to compare it to fishing. I do paid blogging for different pay to post services and this is what led me to the fishing comparison. Especially with PPP, for the new opportunities come out off and on during the day and the competition to get the best paying ones is fierce. So what I do is this. I get up early in the morning, the early bird catching the worm, and I do a couple of blog post that are assigned to me by other companies while I have my coffee. It is quiet and peaceful, the morning sun shining through my office windows like the sun shining across a lake.

Once I have done my assigned post I take a bath and make some breakfast, and then, by 9:00 am, when the opps start coming out at PPP, like new fish being added to a stocked pond, I have my pole in the water, waiting. clicking to refresh the page like watching for a bobber to peek below the water. It works most every morning that I end up making a pretty decent amount of money. If I haven’t made the quota I set for myself, I am back after lunch, fishing for a few more hours before I am tuckered out and call it a day. But like fishing, there is a limit to my catch, and like life, there must be balance. In between doing paid posting I must fish around and find interesting, news worthy or helpful things to blog about that will assure that my blog retains its quality and keeps my readers coming back. I mean heck, who would want to sit and watch me fish all day?

How to get ready for a job interview if you are a woman?

I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging, but in 35 years I can’t remember NOT landing a job I really wanted. I feel that qualifies me to offer you advice on landing the job that YOU really want. Of course, unless you have inside connections, maybe your father owns the company, you can’t get the job without first acing the interview. Here are ten steps to make that happen:

Dress for Success: First impressions mean everything. No matter how smart you are, or how qualified for the job you might be, if your appearance is not up to par it could sour the deal.

Be on Time: This goes without saying, but I read on a forum not long ago a post from a man who said he had a girl call him twice, late for her interview, with one excuse or another. Needless to say, he didn’t hire her. Punctuality is tantamount. If you can’t make it to the interview on time how can you make it to work on time?
Make Eye Contact and Offer a Firm Handshake: To me, this is one of the most important aspects of the interview. This is your chance to let yours shine. And make sure you make eye contact and offer a firm handshake both in the beginning of the interview and at the end. You want to be remembered, and by presenting yourself coming and going as someone polite, professional, and confident you will definitely accomplish this.

Be Yourself: When I mention that I am nervous about a meeting, an interview, or a date, and friends tell me just to by myself, I always say, “Who’s better qualified?” There is only one you, and that automatically elevates you to the level of unique! Don’t be concerned that your interviewer might find you too eager, too laid back, too this or too that. After all, you can pretend to be someone else, but the person who interviews you will be able to detect such deceit. Trust me.

Be Prepared: It is so very crucial that you have your resume polished, that your portfolio is professionally done and up to date, and that you have taken the time to consider any questions that you may be asked during your interview. Some of these questions could be about your past performance, your personal references, why you feel you are the person for the job, what you can bring to the table, etc. Don’t despair if a question comes out of left field. If you are have done a good job in previous positions, if you really are qualified and want this job; if you show enthusiasm, you should be able to handle whatever comes your way during the interview.  I honestly believe that by using these tips you will be able to ace your next job interview and be the person who is hired. Good luck!

Best Books to Learn Creative Writing

When I first decided to write full time four years ago, like everything else I make my mind up to tackle, I knew that I first needed to study to craft. I mean, yeah, anybody can string words together, but there actually are rules to creative writing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. I read a lot of advice books from established authors on the craft of writing, and I’d like to share with you the most important things that stuck with me, and also the names and authors of a couple of those books.

The main thing about creative writing is that you want your reader to forget they are reading. Make the story read so smoothly and flow naturally, and that’s what will happen. You aren’t writing for yourself, you are writing for the reader’s entertainment. Anything you put in your story that doesn’t advance the plot doesn’t belong.


Use all five senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, as you describe scenes. That puts the reader in the moment. Most writers are avid readers so you know what I am talking about. If a woman, for instance, is cooking a pot of stew and talking on the phone, you want the smell of the broth, the sounds going on around her, like the birds singing outside or what she is saying to the party on the other end of the phone, the heat rising from the pot, what her facial expressions are like, how the carrots feel in her hand as she chops them. Do you see what I mean? Just pretend you are a camera recording an event. That was really the MAIN thing that I never forgot.

Now here are two books that I recommend over all others for beginning writers: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Dare to Be a Great Writer by Leonard Bishop. I found both of these at the public library, though the link above will lead you to a paperback copy of Bishop’s book for a little over $2.00. It is an older book, but the advice is timeless. Both books are down to earth, easy to understand, filled with humor and moral insight, and the best frigging advice I could direct you to.

How to free my mind?

I have always been a person who strives to understand human nature and myself. When I was in high school my goal was to be a psychologist, in fact. That’s how fascinating people and their motivations are to me, figuring out what makes them tick. But alas, life intruded and I never got to follow that dream. However, that didn’t stop me from continuing my quest to learn how the human mind works and what motivates us. This quest has created for me a deep and abiding spiritual life as well as a life of the mind. I have been told more times than I can remember that I am ‘too deep’ or “out there.’ So be it. I like who I am and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t easily fit into a mold. In fact, I’m proud that I don’t.

So in that vein of discovering what motivates us, I wanted to speak to you about a book I just finished called, “Co-Dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Care for Yourself,” by Melony Beattie. I was led to read this book out of a sense of desperation. After my husband and I separated I was, for the first time in years, single and living totally alone. I had lived alone back when my son first went off to college, but I hated it. This time I wanted to learn to like it, but first I knew I had to figure out how to like myself more. Ever since my other son died two years ago I have really been down on myself, bearing the weight of guilt that comes with grief when someone you love kills them self. I began to really watch myself, how I related to other people, my reactions to situations, and I saw that I was a controlling person, although I cloaked it under the umbrella of trying to help. The control I needed was not actually about other people. It was me who felt out of control. This much I knew before I cracked open that book. But let me tell you, I didn’t have a clue how co-dependent I was or how much better I would feel after reading the book. I see that I am not so “out there” after all, for one thing. Millions of people are co-dependent, and the good news is that you don’t have to stay that way.


I learned that most co-dependents come from dysfunction families, of which I am one of those people. Learning to be a caretaker, someone who could be depended on to save the day, learning to please others to win approval, is something co-dependents often learn when they are young and growing up in their dysfunctional homes as a coping mechanism. Well that describes me perfectly! And reading those words gave me so much hope, because behind them came suggestions on how to change.

I don’t need other people’s approval to be happy. I need MINE. I don’t have to give and give to be liked. If I am loving myself, people will be naturally drawn to me. I don’t have to be in control of anything but myself. I don’t have to be reactionary. Nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world. I can trust myself to make good decisions. I am not helpless, nor am I am victim.

I feel the yoke of guilt and shame I have carried all my life being lifted daily, and I can’t tell you how free I am feeling. Of course, it will take time to undo behaviors that are almost as old as I am, but I am being patient with myself. Now that I am armed with knowledge I feel empowered to finally be free of the need to please.

If you see yourself in this article, by all means PLEASE get this book and read it. I bought it used on Amazon for around $6.00. The best money I have ever spent. I am going to read it again. That’s how good it is. This journey of life can be heaven or hell. The last few years have been hell. I am so outta there!

The Restorative Value of Margaritas

Thank God it’s Friday! she said with delight as the blender worked its magic.
Honey, what are your plans for tonight?
Me, I’m drinking and flashing.

Flashing! He said, his forehead askew
Didn’t I tell you about that?
The last time you did it was that evil brew
And I will no longer stand for it!

Not to worry, you silly man
That’s not the kind of flashing I meant
I’m meeting my friends because I can
So don’t get your nose all bent

We write a story in under an hour
While we drink martinis or margaritas
Then once we’re done, we critique our wares
It’s better than sitting outside with the mosquitoes!

He kissed his wife and smiled sweetly
Well in that case have a good time
I’m watching wrestling, though I’m defeated
by how it’s turned so nickel and dime.

Chicken today and feathers tomorrow

That’s what my daddy used to say. And this writing life fits this old country saying to a tee. You can go for weeks and not hear a word, your inbox,  your mailbox, silently taunting you, and then BOOM, a slew of rejections, or in this case, good news!

I received my copy of The Sword Review in the mail yesterday. I have a flash fiction piece in there. But what was so very cool about it is that on the cover, a few spaces down from the other stories listed inside, it said, “Bonus! Print version only!” with my story and name listed. When I opened the book, my story was the first one. It made me feel special, and boy don’t we writers love and need to feel special every now and then.

I also got two request for the full manuscript of my novel from agents and a contract for a poem I’ve had accepted in an anthology called “Susan B and Me” coming out in the fall. All of this on the heels of my granddaughter’s birth. And on top of that, my husband got a big raise at work.  So yep, my daddy was right, it’s chicken today. I guess I better get my appetite whet for some feathers.

Why is flash fiction important for writers?

Flash fiction is the best and fasted way for a new fiction writer to get some publishing credits under their belt. Or that’s been my experience, anyway.  Although, my VERY first published piece was an essay and found it’s way to getting published out of sheer luck. I was looking for a market to send it to, so I described the essay at WritersNet, and of all things, an editor at Hot Psychology magazine read my posts and was interested in it. Man, was that ever a thrill! But it’s rare for something like that to happen.

After I sent Maddy into the wild blue yonder, I discovered another online writing group that had flash challenges. I had never even heard of flash fiction, but I jumped in head first to these flash & chat sessions, began subbing the finished product to small literary e-zines, and before I knew it, I had a hand full of flash pieces published.

There’s no confidence builder like a yes. From last fall until now, I wrote and submitted like a demon. I now have a list of flash pieces, essays, a few newspaper articles and YES, finally, my first bona fide print magazine piece, published.  When I found out in January that one of my pieces had been nominated for a Pushcart, Lord don’t you know, my heart soared!

But as I said yesterday, in the back of my mind was my novel. The winner of the Delacorte contest was announced the end of October of 2005. And for all of these months, while I was busying building my portfolio, Maddy was sitting lonely, waiting for me even offer her a glance. Finally, a few weeks ago, I could no longer avoid the fact that if I were ever to get her published, I would have to start sending out queries. But I did a smart thing. I asked a fellow writer, a YA author, to read Maddy for me and tell me what she thought. Her advice was priceless. Though she loved the book, she pointed out some grammar and punctuation errors, along with tweaks here and there which would make the story stronger.

Joy of getting immersed in my passion

When I started writing “The Sun Shines on Maddy Weaver,” I had no idea it would end up a novel. All I knew was that I had a story to tell–actually, I had a childhood to rewrite–and that I had a message to bring to kids in similar situations. That message was one of hope.

My fingers flew across the keyboard, words trapped for years planted themselves on the page. I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning so that I could write again. I could look up at the clock and hours would have passed as if they were minutes. I wrote in my sleep, the words typing themselves on a keyboard in my mind. In the middle of dinner, I would jump up and write something down, a thought, a phrase.

There was no joy like the madness of that immersion into Maddy’s world.

Within weeks, I realized I had the makings of a novel on my hands. So I took a break and started studying the craft of novel writing. I joined an online writer’s group, where I posted a short excerpt. No one had read a word up until then. And to my utter delight, I discovered that my peers loved it. To hear a professional writer say, “Your voice exudes charm and personality” was like they had handed me the Oscar!

It took over a year to finally come up with a draft I was happy with, and I entered Maddy in the Delacorte Middle Reader’s Contest. It was truly like saying goodbye to my little girl.

I didn’t win, and now, eight months later, after becoming sidetracked with other writing, the experience of which I will tell you about tomorrow, I find that I am a better writer than I was last summer. I am in the process of another round of editing Maddy, and this experience too I will share with you in days to come.

What is the importance of editing for writers?

When I left off last week in the discussion of my writing journey I was talking about how much I hated editing. But about that time is when a fellow writer said something that really hit home, about how editing was like rebuilding the engine of a car. For a former tomboy and car enthusiast like me, the metaphor was perfect.  I have been editing my novel, hating every minute of the work, for a few weeks now, and I kept wondering why I was so uptight, feeling so rushed.

What I realized is that my age, 51 next month, has felt like the sword of Damocles hanging over my head for whole three years I've been writing full-time, always thinking, gotta get published, gotta make money, gotta hurry before time runs out. And this attitude shows in my stuff. I have a file full of stories, essays and articles that reflect the rush, that aren't quite there yet, that need to be fleshed out, cut down, returned.  I decided at the end of 2005 that 2006 would be the year of really breaking through, getting published in major pubs, making bucks, but this morning I am embracing the fact that, nope, 2006 for me is "The Year of Editing."

Understanding this and accepting it have already made me breath easier. It takes what it takes, and I have a lot of overhauling to do. And that's where I am with my novel. Once I shut myself away from the world and stop that analytical and business side of my brain from trying to run the show, I'm right back in that world I created, but I am finding myself editing from a reader's perspective. I impressed myself with my prose, I got the story down and finished, and now I'm trying to view it with detachment.  I'm just going to start repeating, "I love editing, I love editing.."

I hate editing…no, hate is not the right word. I am impatient, and thus editing frustrates me. I thought when I sent my novel off to Delacorte contest that it was good to go. Nope, not by a long shot. I’ve always heard that you should step away from your work for a bit before you do any editing. I see why now.

I am in the process of killing my darlings, rearranging paragraphs, correcting punctuation, even deleting whole sections and totally rewriting others. It’s satisfying work, because I know for sure how much better the novel will be when I’m finished, but I’d like to quote Kris Broughton, who nailed the way a final draft feels to me, “overhaul it from the ground up - just take it apart, sentence by sentence, comma by comma, verb by verb, and take your time putting it back together as if you were blueprinting a brand new engine.”

It has taken me 2 weeks to get to chapter 7. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all worth it, that it takes what it takes. Hopefully when I’m done I’ll have something a publisher would be happy to see.

Shrek fan fiction

Poor Donkey. After Shrek and his princess bride rode off into the sunset, bound for a fantasy honeymoon, green ogre love and the land of Nod, Donkey was left to fend for himself. Shrek no longer needed his four legged companion, though the two of them had been through so much together.

“Dayumn!” Donkey brayed in lonely frustration as he stood at Shrek’s empty castle gate. “Why does marriage have to change folks?”

He gazed up at the sky, a tear dripping into the fur under his huge brown eye. “And what’s that ugly ogre thinking anyway? He ain’t gonna like living in this pile of brick!”

Hanging his head, Donkey ambled down the path, away from the castle, dejected, imagining the castle filled with the laughter of miniature Shreks, which made him even sadder. But the main thing on Donkey’s mind was where he would live now that Shrek had boarded up his treehouse in the forest. “Mmmrrhhp,” Donkey snorted. “Some friend. The least that lily livered traitor could have done was left that dump for me.”

Donkey wasn’t watching where he was going and stumbled into a huge bramble of bushes. “Arrghh! Crap!” He whined, fighting his way out of the bush. Scratched, bleeding, Donkey was at the end of his rope. But as he came into a small clearing, there, like something out of a fairy tale, sat a beautiful, thatch-roofed cottage. “Whaaa? Wonder who lives here?” He brayed a bitter laugh, “mmmrrhph, probably Shrek’s hired help!”

As he drew closer to the cottage, Donkey saw a basket sitting on the steps. Warily, looking around, as if there was a soul out in the middle of bumfriggin castleville to see him, Donkey checked it out. There was fruit, apples, “oh yeah” and peaches, “oooh, boy!” but most amazingly of all was the note pinned to the basket.

Donkey, this place is our gift to you, mine and Fiona’s. No way could I live without my best friend near by.

Love always, Shrek.

“Well hot diggity dog!” Donkey shouted, dancing a jig around the yard of his new home. “Man, do I love that big ole ugly ogre!”

Confessions of a self made businesswoman

I’m talking about me. All my life I’ve been a businesswoman. As I said in my bio, the only thing I did as far as writing was concerned, up until three years ago when I started writing full-time, was dabble in poetry. I would write a poem on a napkin in a bar and give it to someone I had just met. I have written more poems than I could ever count for people I cared about, family, friends, lovers. I had a girlfriend who would call me and have me write her a little ditty for someone at work. I’d say, “call back in an hour” and I’d have it ready for her. But once I decided to make a career out of writing, once I got past that innocent, doe-eyed, romantic stage of simple creation, the businesswoman I have always been came calling.

So here I sit, still trying to decide what I want to write. I spent a few hours last night working on a piece I started a year ago, about a women strapped to a toilet chair in a basement. But then, here comes that businesswoman, asking me, “will this sell? What genre is it, thriller, horror, what, what? Is there a market for this if I spend the time to write a whole novel? That’s a big investment, what will the returns be?”

I stop. I start perusing horror sites, reading stories, comparing, evaluating, thinking, “Ok, yeah! That scene is just as scary or more so than some of the stuff I’ve run across.” I get excited, remembering all the old horror movies I loved so much when I was a really young kid, The Hand, The Blob, Straight Jacket, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Psycho, then along came the Omen, Amytiville Horror, The Exorcist, and how I used to devour Dean Koontz and Stephen King novels the minute they hit the shelves. I thought about how all the most memorable scary movies had a character who was unforgettably crazy or a monster, like Frankenstein, Count Dracula, The Mummy, then along came the modern day monsters, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers.

That businesswoman was planted firmly on my shoulder, shouting, “create a character of your own, one that will be a huge hit! She reminds me of all the stories I have written over the last three years that aren’t published yet. “Several of them,” she says, “with some tweaking could definitely fit the horror genre.” Suddenly they feel like inventory I need to move before I restock.

Then that mantra I hear over and over comes back to me, “just write, don’t worry about anything else, just start writing” I can’t seem to do that, I have a compulsive need to know, or at least have a good idea, what the future of what I write is going to be. I hear so many writers say they can’t “not write” but I can “not write” if it means that my time will be wasted. “Time is money” that businesswoman whispers.

But then I think about Maddy, my middle reader, and how I really did just sit down and write the story. What pure joy that was. And right behind that thought comes another one. “I wish I could hurry up and get this published so I could market it! I’m great at marketing, I need Maddy on the shelves!” Although, I will admit, the businesswoman has been influenced by the writer to a large degree, because the writer adds softly, “I really can’t wait for kids to read this, I think they will love it.”

Oh innocent, doe-eyed muse, please return! Gods of creative writing, scary stories, horror novels, would you put a muzzle on this businesswoman and let me write in peace?