Saturday, October 27, 2012

LocoThology is Here!

I am completely jazzed to have received Loconeal Publishing's LocoThology at last.  Why am I so excited about this anthology?  Because I'm in it!  "Dolls Are For Kids" was a blast to write, and I was thrilled when Loconeal told me they were accepting it.  Check it out here; you can buy it on

I promise you it's a worthwhile read.  All the stories in this book are engaging, inventive and lovely from start to finish.  I especially loved the first one, "Hot Encounter," by J.M. Odell, but I won't tell you what it's about because that will ruin the surprise revelation of the plot; don't worry, it comes within the first few pages.

Yes, it's been a rough year in more ways than one (health issues, losing our Dad, etc.).  But life moves along, with its curves and dips and turns, some up, some down... and I must admit as a writer, it's been a wonderful year for me.  My story, "Blue Angels," appeared in The Binnacle, published by University of Maine (, and "Strange Companions at London Zoo" will appear in Big Pulp magazine ( produced by Exter Press next fall or winter 2013.  Yahoozie!  

I've been published in several e-magazines, including Quail Belle this year, too.  They featured "The Bowl" ( a few months ago, and I was almost apoplectic with euphoria!  And yes, fellow writers, you can be apoplectic with emotions other than anger.  I was beyond myself, outside myself, overcome with pride of accomplishment.  When you've written and submitted over fifty stories, received hundreds of rejections, those few acceptance letters are golden treasures of the heart.

I have to keep this short because I am still fighting with this disc and can't sit for long.  I need to find one of those cool laptop pillows so I can type on my lap without straining my neck.  I miss my writing, and unfortunately, extreme pain is not terribly conducive to creativity.  But it's getting better after cortisone shot #2, lots of rest and careful PT.  Fingers crossed, I'll be back to my world of fiction again soon.

Meanwhile, thank you for giving me a place to ink it up a little and keep it short.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Back Pain and Ceiling Tiles

I'm spending a lot more time on my back lately, and this break from life has given me a lot of time to think (in between counting ceiling tiles).  I herniated the disk between  L5 and S1 (lower back) so I didn't have much choice in the matter. I guess fate just thought it was time for me to chill.

I'm no stranger to back pain; I've had several car accidents, which caused a lifetime of chronic upper back and neck pain.  But I am fairly new to lower back pain.  With it, comes a whole different set of limitations, starting with less sitting and more reclining to get the weight off my disk.

When in this lying down, positively prone position -- and it cannot be propped up on pillows, but completely FLAT on the back -- I've tried to read, but a host of problems ensue... My arms get tired from holding a book up above my chest, my concentration is inhibited by sharp muscle spasms or I feel drugged out from pain meds.

Sitting can only happen in short spurts because the pain becomes so intense.  Currently, my time limit for sitting is about 30 minutes.  That has really cut into my writing time, which occurs in my office at my desk.  Since I'm spending most of my time either on the reclining couch or be, that's another limitation.  It's hard to type from a completely horizontal position, and believe me, I've tried.  Basically, sciatic pain means you have to move slowly and not stay in the same position for long.  Even bed gets painful after six hours.

Okay, so I'm reading and writing less and thinking more, which brings me back to my main topic...what am I thinking about?  

Gosh, where do I start?  Clear memories of my mom, some of which I thought were lost forever, came flooding back.  I remembered how much fun we had together.  It didn't matter what we were doing.  Fun was always a part of everything.  At the shopping mall, we'd link arms and skip, uncaring of anything but our own fun.  During a rainstorm, we'd sit inside in the dark.  We'd listen to the rolling thunder and watch the lightning and giggle.  And in between the spasms of light, we'd whisper in mock sinister voices, "Who's afraid of the dark?  Not me!"  We could be driving somewhere or eating dinner in a restaurant or watching a movie, and we'd turn to each other and make crazy faces and laugh.  When I was dressing for a date, it was tradition to perform a runway show for Mom so she could give her input.  She'd hold up numbers to vote on her favorite outfits.  

I've thought about the people I love.  I love my husband and my friends and family and even the majority of strangers I meet.  I love their kindness, their compassion, their laughter, their intensity, the adventures we've had, the trust they've given me, their hugs, their reassuring gestures, their honesty and most importantly, their steadfast friendship.  

And I love so much more... my darling kitties.  I wonder what I would do without them in my life.  They make me smile and sigh and laugh and vibrate with love.  And oh -- the soul-warming sunshine, the delicate color or bold flash of flowers, soothing rain, a cool blue snowfall, beautiful wild birds who flutter down to transform a moment from bad to good, just when I need it most, mysterious, gorgeous  howling wolves with their golden eyes that take in every detail, and my tranquil or uplifting or thrilling or poetic music that makes my mind dance even when body cannot.

And I've thought about what I don't love.  I've thought about people or behaviors of people I don't like, usually the ones who have chips on their shoulders or something to prove.  They're the ones who want to change every aspect of you at any given moment.  When you're down, they say, "Cheer up!"  When you're excited, they urge you to, "Calm down!" or "Relax!"  When you're angry, they say, "Let it go!  Forget about it!" When you're moving quickly, they say, "Slow down!"  I really can't stand it when people order me to be something or feel something different than I am.  It's very judgmental and critical to say things like that.   

I don't like people who are negative, and it's why I try to surround myself with only positive people.  If I end up crying or getting angry around someone every time we're together, there's something wrong.  I don't like people who are mean-spirited, especially those who pass it off under the guise of a joke.  At least be honest if you're going to be insulting.  I don't like people who hurt other people, but I especially have a hard time with people who hurt animals, trophy-hunters, abusers, neglecters.  Most animals cannot fend for themselves, so not only do I think they are mean, but "coward" is added to my assessment of them.

As I think of what I don't like about people, it occurred to me, even when I meet people like this, I have something to learn from them.  That lesson is:  Remember how I never want to be myself.  Remember how hurtful it is, remember so I can be different.

My mind has flit back and forth from topic to topic, like a honeybee to a field of flowers.  Vicadin helps.  It's amazing how a little uninterrupted free time and strong prescription dugs can get the mind reeling into different territory.  I've invented at least a dozen contraptions, globe-trotted, mind-skipped and time-travelled.  I have jumped into the brains of everyone in my family, seeing things from their perspective, noticed things I never saw before.  During all this mindful reclining, I've wished that everyone in the world could have this same time, however, without the accompanying pain.  Feeling pain tremors from your hip to toe or slices of pain down the back and into both thighs kind of puts a damper on things, so I wouldn't really wish this on anyone.  

And of course, with all this uninterrupted time on my hands, a million short story ideas have passed through my braincells.  I scribble down the ones I can for when I can write again.  For the moment I need to limit myself to a few journal entries or a quick blog.  Cranking out a short story is detrimental to my health.  I made the mistake of writing a 500 word story earlier this week, and I couldn't pull myself away from it once I immersed myself.  Sitting at my computer for four hours straight set my healing time back three full days.  I know that's my own fault; I admit it.  Writing is an addictive activity.   

I know my back will heal eventually, and I will get back to what I love to do -- write!  For now, I'm storing up ideas, trying to relax and heal and focus on that.  

Okay, speaking of that.  My muscles and nerves are screaming louder by the minute, so time to take a break.  

Bye for now!