Poem 5–A Trip

For this poem, we were supposed to root it in truth but then make up some of the details.  One of my favorite trips I took as a child was to Whitefish Point in Michigan.  There is a shipwreck museum there and it was the coolest place ever.  One day, I plan to take my boys there so they can experience it, too.

Edmund Fitzgerald Could Have Been My Father

November 10, 1975

 

We went that summer to pay respect

to the sunken ships of the superior lake

 

A lighthouse was their headstone—

the ships, themselves, rested in paupers’ graves

 

Names—on wood, on steel—legible only to fish

in schools that can’t read

 

The living wanted to study the portraits of the dead

read plaques covered in ridiculously small script

 

Squinting      squinting      as if the reshaping of their lids

would force some meaning

 

I much preferred to study the waves—

a deepness that hugged cargo

 

close to her bottom

I looked past ripples into nothingness

 

in the nothing I saw myself

This was information best not shared

 

My brother joined me, asked what I was staring at

I considered all the things I could tell him

 

metaphors and words that end with –istic

except I was only 12 and I didn’t know

 

that kindredness had words

He was only 10—the words I didn’t know

 

held no meaning for him anyway

He asked again–

 

 

It is the most honest conversation

we will have.

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Too Much To Handle

They say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.  Or, that you should make grape juice and let people wonder how you did it.  Life handed me a small orchard’s worth of lemons this past two weeks, and I’ve got those bastards in my freezer so I can throw them at people.

Things started to go awry when I was informed my oven was broken.  When was I informed of this, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  It was right after I posted a blanket Facebook invitation to my holiday table for all of my friends who might be without loved ones this Thanksgiving.  Because nothing can be simple, I’m not going to be able to replace it for awhile.  It’s a narrow built-in unit and we can’t really replace it without redoing the entire kitchen.  So, this Thanksgiving, I’ll be attempting to roast my 23 pound turkey at my neighbor’s house while being over here preparing the rest of the meal.  My kitchen-fu is strong, though, so I just might pull this off.

Next, we had to take our dog, Cocoa, to the vet.  She’s a senior dog, unspayed, and pretty well behaved for the most part.  She listens better than the other animals, at any rate.  The vet diagnosed her with cancer.  She also has arthritis, which we are medicating to keep her comfortable.  With the way the tumor keeps growing, we don’t think surgery will do her much good in light of all the risks the surgery holds for her.

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My Cocoa Pup’s tumor. She almost looks like a male dog when she’s standing because of where it’s located and how big it’s gotten.

My younger son is heartbroken.  He loves these dogs and he cried after I told him she was sick.  She’s not acting like she’s in too much pain, and the meds for her hip help her move better.  When the time comes, I will probably have to be Cocoa’s medical proxy, as it were.  I refuse to let her suffer and I have a feeling I am the only one who will be able to be objective about it.  Sometimes letting go is harder than holding on.  This is something I know about.

After Cocoa’s diagnosis, my computer died.  I did what I could to fix it, but it gave me the Blue Screen of Death followed by the Black Screen of Fuck You, so it is well and truly dead.  Hopefully on Friday I can take it in somewhere to get it looked at.  As for now, I’m working on Joe’s laptop.  I do not like working on laptops, but beggars can’t be choosers.  At least I have this as an alternative until I can get mine fixed, so I’m being grateful.

A few days after my computer’s untimely demise, Saranda, our alpha female (at least, the way she tells it.  I’m sure Cocoa begs to differ), got an eye infection.  Of course, Joe instantly blames Smeagol for this.  My cat is a good kitty.  He doesn’t participate in run-by scratchings.  Danna never messes with him, so I knew he didn’t scratch her.  Turns out, I was right.  She has doggy pink eye.

By this time, it was time to pick up my boys for the weekend.  We were in the car driving home from Peru, Indiana (where I was telling them about Cocoa and breaking their hearts) when my transmission locked up, flipped me off, and left me stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night.  It will cost more to fix than the car is worth, so I am now without a car for the next few months.  Because of course I am.

While I was waiting to be rescued, Joe informed me that the washer broke.  We needed to buy a new washer and dryer anyway, but this was not when we were planning to do it.  So, $1900 later, we have our new washer/dryer set.  It was delivered this morning.  They were worried it wouldn’t fit down our stairs.

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Of course, as I’m going through and trying to clean the house for the holiday feasting, I keep finding old piles of dog vomit.  Apparently, when Danna got her shots at the vet, she decided she wasn’t going to tolerate them very well.  She’s been horking all weekend and if she’s still doing it after today we have to take her back to the vet.  This will be a neat trick seeing as how I don’t have a car and I’m the only one with the time to do it.

Oh, and because this clearly isn’t enough to deal with, we discovered our front garage is leaking right above where we have all of our Christmas decorations and tree stored.  I don’t know for sure yet, but I feel it is reasonable to assume we will need to replace at least the tree.  We store the other stuff in a big Rubbermaid tote, so that stuff might be ok.  Of course, there’s still a leaky roof to contend with.  Because of course there is.

Author Corner–Jane Isaac

E: Welcome to Erindipity, Jane!  I can’t believe you haven’t been on here before now.  Oh, crap.  Get in the closet.  Run!  Charlie, NO!

J: Oh dear. Looks like Charlie’s taken a shine to Bollo. Watch out Charlie! We don’t call him (Where’s the Party?) Bollo for nothing. It’s not just burglars that regret meeting him, it’s anyone:/

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Sure, blame the dog. That’s original.

E: You have a new book coming out called, The Truth Will Out.  I believe it’s available for preorder.  What can you tell us about it?

J: The Truth Will Out is the second book in the Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery series, and set between the Midlands and the Scottish Highlands over here in the UK. In this novel Helen faces her biggest challenge yet, clashes with her superiors in pursuit of the truth and has a love interest too. Let me share my blurb with you:

 “Everything’s going to be okay.”

 “What if it’s not?”

Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined.

“Naomi, what is it?”

She whisked back to face Eva. “There’s somebody in the house… ”

Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins.

Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present.

Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?

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E: Helen Lavery also features in your first book, An Unfamiliar Murder.  What can you tell us about that book?

J: I’ve always been fascinated when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people and my novels are inspired by this notion.

An Unfamiliar Murder opens with school teacher, Anna Cottrell, arriving home to find the murdered body of a stranger in her flat. She immediately becomes the main suspect in a murder enquiry, spends the night in a police cell and, just when she thinks she has convinced police of her innocence, further evidence comes to light that links her inextricably with the victim.

Whilst An Unfamiliar Murder is essentially a murder mystery, it’s also the story of two women: Anna is fighting to prove her innocence, and Helen is trying to prove herself in the senior echelons of a competitive profession, whilst juggling the demands of parenting teenage sons.

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E: Do readers need to read that book before this new one, or are they stand alone?

J:  No, both books are written as standalone novels.

E: Do you have any plans on continuing with Helen Lavery and how many books do you have ideas for?

J:  I’d love to continue working with Helen. I’ve already started a third novel and have ideas for a fourth too.

E: What kinds of research did you have to do for her character?  Were people helpful in assisting you, or was it difficult getting information?

J:  My books are police procedural/psychological thriller crossovers so they require tons of research to make them authentic and believable. I think it’s important to create characters that feel real so that readers relate to them. With this in mind, I interviewed people at many different levels of the UK police force to shape a female detective that is not only driven and vulnerable, but grounded too.

I did learn early on that you have to be quite direct and cheeky with research. In the second book I wanted to find out how the door panels of a Mini car come apart and whether there would be room to secrete some smuggled packages in the spaces behind. I phoned my local Mini garage and, after a brief explanation from me convincing the owner that I was writing a book and not a member of the local criminal fraternity (and several bouts of laughter from him), he was incredibly helpful – he even emailed me diagrams.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I am presently working on a new mystery set in Stratford upon Avon. It requires lots of research field visits which I’m enjoying immensely. I just hope it works when I put it all together!

E: What was the most useful thing you learned while publishing your first book that helped you out publishing this new book?

J: Writing the book is the easy part. A regular presence on Facebook and Twitter is essential to get your work noticed, and participation in local events helps too. You could have written the best book in the world but nobody will read it if they don’t know it’s there. 

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You can find Jane on her website, Facebook, or do what I do and bother her on Twitter.  Go ahead and bother us both.  We won’t mind.

Seattle Central Library

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day and there was an article on the world’s coolest libraries.  Number 18 on the list just happened to be the Seattle Central Library, and it is every bit as amazing as the article said it was.  Libraries are my favorite places to be anyway, so you can imagine what it was like being there.

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One of the most interesting things about the library is the floor of the languages section.  Every board is carved with a phrase from one of the books the library carries, and those books come in 14 different languages!  The phrases are carved so you can leave impressions on your body, show them to a librarian, and they can find the book the phrase came from.

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I probably spent way more time than I should have in the Children’s section, but it was huge.  In a back area they were having an event for small children and there were a lot of them participating.  I love seeing small people fall in love with the library.  Like the adult areas, the children’s book also came in multiple languages.

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Who wouldn’t want to spend all day reading in here?

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One of the coolest things about the library was adult story time.  That’s right, folks, it’s not just for kids anymore.  There was an auditorium that sat 200 people.  They watched the Super Bowl there this year.  I’d have loved to see people getting crazy in the library.

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There were also regular events held there.  I thought it was great that one event they had was a citizenship class for immigrants who wanted to become American citizens.  And let’s not forget the author events!

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Being in this place was good for my soul.  When I asked if I could take pictures, I was told to be careful not to include any pictures of people because there were a lot of fragile patrons that spent time there.  Spending this week in Seattle introduced me to homelessness in a way I haven’t experienced before.  Many times I saw people sleeping next to buildings or in the middle of plazas, so I was glad the library was a warm place that welcomed them.  They are open 7 days a week, so even on Sundays  they can get some relief from the weather.

I hope it doesn’t take me 18 years to get back to Seattle the next time.  I’d love to be able to spend more time here.

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Wish List

When I posted about Pike Place Market, I posted some pictures of different vendors that have booths.  I’m dedicating an entire post to this vendor, Art of Wings.

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She didn’t have any wings out that day, but she had these amazing hats that are completely customizable and she had some examples of the gauntlets she makes.  Did I mention she makes wings?!  This is from her website and is an example of her wedding wings.

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Are these not the coolest ever?

She even makes clip-on dreads, people!  I dyed my hair blue, so you know I’m going to be all over these like a hobo on a ham sammich.

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This comes from her website. Seriously, go check her out.

There is so much more that she does.  So, why dedicate an entire post to this one vendor?  Well, for one thing, she makes amazing stuff and I want most of it, so now you have ideas for holiday shopping.  For another, she works her table herself, so I got to meet her and she’s not only ridiculously talented, she’s also really nice.  Everything can be customized,so no matter what you need, chances are she can give it to you.  I respect craftspeople and what they do.  Consider this the equivalent of leaving a review on Amazon.

Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome to Erindipity!  Take a seat, have a beverage.  I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can.  Charlie!  Don’t be rude.  Greet our guest.

Unintelligible corpsy sounds.

J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.

E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL.  I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it.  Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.

J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.

BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.

Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.

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E: This is your debut novel.  What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?

J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.

And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.

E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel.  Well done, Sir!  What is the title and what can you tell us about it?

J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”

ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.

ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.

E: Today is also the cover reveal.  Well, don’t just sit there!  Show it to us, man!  How did you choose this cover?

J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.

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E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one?  Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?

J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.

I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.

I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete. 

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?

J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Johnny on his blog, his website, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.

Guest Post–Amie Borst

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Cindy is just a normal, average girl. At least until she wakes up one night to find out she is dead. Well, she isn’t technically dead—she just doesn’t have any hair, nose, or . . . skin. Yep, she is a skeleton—all bones and no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. It doesn’t help that her mother recently died, only to be replaced by an evil stepmother who makes her do gross things like eat liver and clean rooms with only a toothbrush. It really doesn’t help that her father is scared of her strange nightly body appearance and that there’s no way she can attend the school dance “dressed” like a skeleton.

What ensues is a hysterical tale of a young girl who, while coping with the loss of her mother, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, love, and forgiveness, all the while learning to deal with an evil step-mother and her “skeletal” abnormalities.

Cinderskella is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble.

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Amie and Bethanie Borst are a mother-daughter writing team. Amie believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate.  Bethanie is a spunky 13 year old middle-schooler who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. Cinderskella is their first book together and is part of the Scarily Ever Laughter series. You can find them on FacebookTwitter,  Pinterest,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, and blog.

GIVEAWAY –

Amie Borst is celebrating her book release and cover reveal with a monthly giveaway in The Great Cinderskella Giveaway! If you’d like to win a $25 Amazon gift card, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You’ll be automatically entered into the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire in October!

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