Coming To The Home Stretch

I’m nearly done with writing my second manuscript for book 2 Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers in the Hall. I figure I have 5 more chapters to go. I could be done by late October or sooner. We shall see.

My goodness, I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a month or more. This time I want to showcase my progress from my dry erase board of the past few months. On each photo, about four of them, it will show my regular life schedule that also mingled with my writing.

You’ll probably notice a great gap in mouths and gaps in between weeks. Writing is hard at times, especially when that pesky writer’s block kicks in. The story is all there, it’s just life stresses keep you from writing. The darkness inside you of the doubt you have in your craft tries to weight you down with that massive or even small writer’s block. It’s no joke when people say: writing is hard.

What they mean by ‘writing is hard’ isn’t the writing part of typing up and hand writing words on a page, it’s getting the words out from your mind to your fingers to the blank page. That blank page can be intimidating at times. You just don’t quite know how to put the words together in telling the story of what scene or situation or conversation comes up next from where you left off.

Now that I’ve broken free of this nasty writer’s block that lingered for a collective total of six months or more, I’m almost done with the story. This second book has been the hardest cause you ‘feel’ as though the story is done with just that one first book, but oh know, it’s far from over.

At NorWesCon 2016 author Jennifer Brozek gave me some well needed words of encouragement that I will never forget:

“The hardest part in writing a book series is that second book. Most beginning writers have the hardest time writing a second book cause inside they believe that first book is the finished story. If you can show that you produced a second book in a series, that will help you get noticed by publishers. Until then, just keep writing and finish that second novel.”

I may have not repeated exactly her words, but it’s damn close to my ability in remembering them.

Now, onto what my work load looks like. Mind, I write on the board what I have produced and what happened in the day later in the evening. I don’t write a deadline to myself. It psychs me out and upsets me.

I gave up on the original idea of making a deadline, with posting a timeline of each week of which chapters to write, as seen in the first image on the left for the month of February.

In the second image, June 23-July 20, 2016 I began showcasing my real home life of what an author goes through in between ‘writer’s block’ and real life and then finally the writing that flows. Same thing for the third image of July 21-August 17, 2016.

What I used to do back when I wrote the first Soul’s Little Lie manuscript was, I kept all of this in my head of how I was producing chapters. Writing 1 chapter a week or more which spanned a total of 9 months. This time for the second book, it’s been a fussy child to me. I’ve been working on the second novel since late fall 2014. What really bogged me down in my writing for the first year or two was the constant interruptions of my elderly parents. They could not respect what I was trying to achieve. Now, you can see I’m more focused far, far away from them.

To add, I’ll do this little ‘writer’s tag’ questionnaire that I found on Jenna Moreci YouTube channel.

#1 What do you eat or drink while writing? – Maxwell House Coffee w/ International Delights Creamer of a flavor I’m in the mood for, usually it’s Almoretto Cafe and sometimes tea, but in between each cup of coffee, usually 2 cups one in the morning and one at night, I’ll drink a few 8oz water bottles of water. Oh, I don’t eat while I’m writing. I’ll take my food into the living room or watch videos on YouTube while I have my snack or lunch or dinner. Never, ever while I’m writing will I eat.

#2 What do you listen to while writing? – I have a large eclectic collection and it all depends on my mood in the scene I’m working with. I have a few soundtracks strictly for Soul’s Little Lie series. I arrange them in order of the story and use that song that comes up next as a ‘tuned in’ marker for my mind.
#3 What is your biggest distraction while you’re writing? – The negative hurtful words of my mother telling me I’m no good at anything. That then turns into a few days to a few weeks of depression and fear about my work. That emotional manipulative bs of my mother’s voice really hurts my time in the hours I could be writing.
#4 What is the worst thing that has happened to you while writing? – My first manuscript that I wrote by hand, that then I typed onto a Mac computer back in 1996 in computer class, decades later the hard floppy discs became corrupted and I lost all the files of all 200+ pages. Thankfully I printed the file out way before the corruption occurred and I have only one copy left. Recently though, 1 out of 3 hand written notebooks of said first original manuscript, along with 3 hard bound notebooks, artwork sketches, other odd notes and 2 hand written poetry books are in limbo at the USPS Distribution center in Federal Way, WA. The mailing location address was ripped off somehow and I’ve been waiting ever since, for nearly a year, for the box to return to me. I’ll have to just drive down to Federal Way location to get it that way even though I LOST the tracking number in the process of my move back to WA. Yeah, I’m on edge about that and that’s part of my writer’s block. I want my novel materials to come home to me so badly.

#5 What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while writing? – Currently getting Soul’s Little Lie book one published. Gotta consider each publication is a stepping stone to something bigger for my main goal.
#6 Who do you communicate with while you’re writing? – I don’t talk to anyone while writing. No one really should talk while they are writing cause you have to focus your whole energy onto your craft. If you must talk to someone, make sure it’s during a break so you can write down the notes during your talk. Or, just talk to yourself, since that’s where your writing is coming from – your inner soul.

#7 What is your secret to success and your biggest writing flaw? – I don’t have any ‘success’ to speak of yet. I just have one book published and have many more to write that will get published when they are ready. My biggest flaw would have to be – doubting myself and ‘listening’ to my mother’s harsh words. I have to break that habit if I am to ever succeed to my main goal.
#8 What is your inspiration? What makes you productive? – Music, my mind and my dreams that I remember when I wake up in the morning. Seeing that massive goal at the end of all of this. Can’t tell you what that final goal is, it’s a secret.
#9 What is one thing that you do or that other writers do that is super annoying? – There is this one author, I won’t say her name, that I met at NorWesCon2016. She kept on boasting this at the panel and in public at her booth – “I just want the fuck it all money!” Let’s just say, putting the cart before the horse and boasting that the cart can move, when it can’t, is a bad bad thing to do in one’s writing career. I don’t care how many books you’ve published or who your publisher is or how many you’ve sold. You don’t boast about wanting the ‘fuck it all money’ cause there is no guarantee of that ever happening. She was also very rude in how she spoke to me and other fledgling authors as though she was the ‘bell of the ball’, the ‘I’m better than you, cause I have this publisher’.
#10 Are you willing to share something you’ve written? – Since book 2 isn’t finished yet, I don’t want to share that just yet. I’m really not too keen on sharing book 1 either cause I need to clean it up for republication. I’m so sorry, but not at this time. I want to make sure both books are finely polished before sharing them in small bits.

Well, that’s all for today. A fairly long blog post as of late. Hope you enjoyed reading it and got a visual in how I do my work. If you’d like to see more my writing in what I’m up to, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

All the Signs are There

20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You

I’m going to cut and past the article here. From all 30 years of my life of being around family members and ex-boyfriends and an ex-husband and his own family that were just like these traits expressed, I can’t stress this educational piece enough.

If you are in a relationship that your gut instincts tell you is bad, listen to your inner truth. You can get help and get out of that bad relationship. In the end, you can find real love. It’s not the end of the world when getting out of a relationship like this.

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20 Diversion Tactics

Highly Manipulative Narcissists,

Sociopaths and Psychopaths

Use To Silence You

Article By: Shahida Arabi

Toxic people such as malignant narcissists, psychopaths and those with antisocial traits engage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt their intimate partners, family members and friends. They use a plethora of diversionary tactics that distort the reality of their victims and deflect responsibility. Although those who are not narcissistic can employ these tactics as well, abusive narcissists use these to an excessive extent in an effort to escape accountability for their actions.

Here are the 20 diversionary tactics toxic people use to silence and degrade you.

1. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.

When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that might arise. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced? A manipulative person will convince you that the former is an inevitable truth while the latter is a sign of dysfunction on your end.

In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in your own reality – sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.

Article by: Shahida Arabi

Follow Shahida on Twitter Facebook

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I’ve been asked by Shahida to only post the first main paragraph of the article.

You can find the rest of this indepth educational article in the link at the top.

Thank you.

My Babies Need Me…

I’m thinking of not doing anymore promoting for my books. It’s hard to get noticed when everyone is doing the same thing as you are. Getting noticed is so hard these days with online techniques, even for free. It’s become a detraction. I know I have to do this to get sales, but this is ridiculous. The writing of my novels is much more important than trying to get noticed when the books are not all finished. I have 3 more books to get done. With all this ‘advertising‘ I have to do and getting hardly nothing out of it in the ‘free market‘ it’s getting to not be worth it. I can’t shell out $35 a month or a week to get noticed. My boyfriend Jon isn’t made of thousands of dollars. We have bills to pay. Food to put on the table. On top of that, Facebook is a major detraction to me now. I’m not going to remove my Facebook pages, but I will not be posting anything until all the other three books are finished. If I have a gift to share with the world I must bare this burden by myself.

My books are not just stories.
My books are not just words on a page.
My books are not just something to read.
These books I’m writing, I’m baring my soul to the world of what is inside my mind.
I’m creating something different that I know people will enjoy.
These books are books I would want to read.
These books are my children and I’ve neglected them for far too long.

Book 1 – Soul’s Little Lie (DONE)
Book 2 – Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers in the Hall – (Work in Progress)
Book 3 – Soul’s Little Lie: Echos of the Lost – (Work In Progress)
Book 4 – Soul’s Little Lie: Behind Cloaked Mirrors – Mythia Chronicles – (Work in Progress)

I’m writing something very special. I’m writing something I love into a myth. And I can’t write when I’m detracted by something that demands false attention.

My books are my children.
Babies I give birth to from my mind and soul.
The only babies I’ll ever have.

New Schedule for Book 2

Set schedule for my writing and much more fantastic news and behind the scenes.

As you can see from this photo, I’ve created a schedule for myself starting tomorrow.

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It is time for me to get back into the swing of my writing. After a hard 2 years living with my parents after my divorce, it was hard for me to fix up a set schedule for myself. Everything was hectic in my family’s house were I could not concentrate at all.

When I started writing the first draft to my first novel, Mythia back in high school from Sept 1, 1995 to May 9, 1996, I did a schedule for myself in my head. I pumped out nearly 200 pages in 9 months. During my marriage I went back into finishing up the first draft adding more to the piece which came to a total of 197,000 words, 23 chapters, 4 parts. From chapter 18-23 I think I wrote it in six months. It’s been so long.

Now, with Soul’s Little Lie book one done, that piece taking 9 months, taking weekends off and 2 to 4 weeks off (not all at once), I found myself doing a set schedule in my head. I had quite working at Michaels Crafts Store in Everett, WA from August 10, 2010 and found myself with plenty of quiet time to get the main draft done. I started in June 2010 and finished in February. Another 9 full months to finish a draft.

As for Soul’s Little Lie book 2 – this one has been a pain. I have all the chapters outlined and in order, but it has been hard for me to get back into the swing with the disruptive household back in TN and then the move back to Washington state. It was quite hectic for me.

What was also lagging me was I actually enjoyed having a set schedule. Keeping up on it, not missing a day at all from when I worked in retail. I can still have that type of discipline here at home with no worries.

Now, no excuses.

No, bull shit!

Time is NOW! Treat this book, with what is left, as a real work schedule as though I’m back in retail. Book 2 is almost done, say, 5 more chapters to go and book 3 is demanding to be born. Book 3 can’t happen if I don’t finish book 2.

Also, join me on Facebook at 3:45pm PST (5:45pmCST) A Platinum Event! Provocative Paranormal Online Multi Author Event! with other fellow authors of paranormal romance fantasy adventure writings. Giveaways, Q/A and more.

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of my first book along with a free eBook copy.

Hope to see you there!

 

Interview with blogger Lynne Cruz

Did a little pre-Thankgiving interview with Lynne Cruz here

Not much else to say, but loads of thanks!

I would say more, but food coma, ya know how it is.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Back to Washington state

I have moved back to Washington state. Family life had gotten disturbed and a family member betrayed me. I will not go into details. At least here, living with my beloved Dave, I can continue writing my novels in peace and quiet. Things here are a bit hectic to get things in order for my computer spot and in waiting for my computer to get back to me. I’m using Dave’s laptop to produce this entry tonight. I’ve been back only 2 days, after taking the train for four days, that I miss my computer something horrible. I miss my beloved coworker. A writer does not become an author, again for a second future time, without their computer.

Until then, I shall wait patiently as much as it hurts me to wait for my computer to return to my side. My loyal companion in my written creations.

Book In My Hands

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My first novel is now in my hot little hands!

My mother ordered the first one and it came today. I feels surreal to old my first work like this. I’ve dreamed of this day since I was little. I’m calm, but happy. I’m calm, but ready to work more into book 2. (having some writer’s block, argh) I want to get outside in this beautiful weather and dance and party with my dear friend Robert. Robert…oh dear Robert! It was you who pushed me to talk to Eden Glenn. It was you who kept insisting that I hook up with Rebel Ink Press. It was you who pushed and pushed me into the right direction to see my dream come true.

To my Parents – Thank you for reading thousands and thousands of novels in this family home over the years. For reading all kinds of genres – Romance, Military, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Mystery. Thank you for keeping as much of your book collection as you could every time we moved around the country. Thank you for putting up with my emotions as I pushed to get what I always wanted – my dream to come true!

To my MPHS classmates – you know who you are! Thank you for believing in me and thanks for tolerating my first manuscript back in school. (THAT piece will never see the light of day) Thank you for being my cheerleaders as I kept writing. Thank you for the party to jump start me out of there. I miss you all so much!

To Dave – Thank you for being there for me throughout this whole experience from 2003-present. Brainstorming with me. Believing in me. Pushing me to write. Being my archival guy. Being there when I cried. Being my first reader and mild editor. For being there for me throughout it all.

To Robert – Thank you for pushing me toward Eden Glenn Thank you for giving me the courage to talk to her on FB. Thank you for helping promote my work and being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for putting up with my fears and doubts.

To Eden Glenn – Thank you for pushing me toward this goal in the beginning publishing process and throughout. Thank you for being my mentor, for teaching me the basic noob learning curves. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for answering all my questions, and there will be more.

To my Publisher – Thank you for believing in my writing, in this story and the stories to come. Thank you for being patient with me even when I may have been confusing at times. Thank you for teaching me how it all works. I love learning this business! Thank you for believing in me. Thank you from the core of my heart and soul.

 

Now, to relax a bit, dance a bit in the glow of my happiness and re-read book 2 to get back on the ball again.

Soul’s Little Lie: Whispers In The Hall coming soon.

 

 

Publishing advice…

Wrote this reply to someone on YouTube who asked me about publishing advice. Thought I’d share the love.

I sent in 9 query letters to different publishing agents and all 9 agents rejected my book (Soul’s Little Lie) cause ‘they didn’t know how to publish something so unique‘, that it was out of their range that they publish for. My first manuscript, that I wrote when I was 16, but finished in my late 20s, I sent it in to Baen Books of just 3 chapters and they loved it, that it had potential, but their current publications for the next ten years was backed up pretty majorly, so there was no place for me at that time. Every rejection letter you get, keep them. They are a badge of honor. Tack them on your ‘I Love Me Wall’ or put them in a scrapbook to look back on them when you finally do get published. You’ll wonder why you may have cried over the first few rejections. I’m grateful for making friends with Robert when I moved back in with my parents, I’m 35 now been back with them for two years, and cause of Robert he hooked me up with Eden Glenn an author with RIP (Rebel Ink Press). You’ll find your tactic that brings your book to life. There is a MASSIVE market for children’s books right now. Go to Writersdigest.com for more info and look into their Writer’s Market catalog books at any book store. Keep reading and keep writing, it takes work, but it’s full of love and fun. Remember, each rejected query letter is a stepping stone to your goal that much closer.

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Mind, this is only my first novel that is being published. I’m still on the learning curve.

The Eastener

Day 1: March 20, 2013, Wednesday – Train 8, Empire Builder

We got to Everett, the first thing on our minds was breakfast or in this case, brunch. Poor Dan looked bummed as he ate his pancake sandwich – bacon, scrambled eggs and two pancakes. It was to be our last time together at Kate’s Restaurant. Dave was doing very well to distract me with jokes and making my brain pop. It’s a special talent he has with me.

The three of us, myself, Dan and Dave hung out in Everett for a few hours. I did not expect us to do much, however, Dan had some fun ideas. We stopped off at Mulkiteo Beach watching the wind howl up the waves into white caps. The shells were picked clean by the birds. The wind was blowing so hard that I was afraid Dan’s crumbled old leather hat would blow away. Walking along the pebbled and semi-sandy beach line, Dave was taken by surprise by some waves that got his shoes and bottom of his pants leg wet. He tip toed funny like to get away as I laughed. Once the wind was too much for all of us, we headed to Forest Park to hike the trails for a bit.

At some point Dan got the bright idea to hike to the bottom of one trail were it meets the windy street below. He wanted me to see the fountain. I had seen it so many times, it’s lost it’s enjoyment. Heading back up, we had to walk up a hilly service road. He has odd ways of being inconsiderate to others. Poor Dave on the 18th of March had walked his way from Arlington to Marysville just see me on my birthday. The poor guy had walked enough and Dan was making us go up this hill that nearly kicked Dave’s ass.

We get to Everett Station checking in my ticket and baggage. Turns out the odd time differences between Washington and Chicago doesn’t allow for baggage check in. It has something to with the three hours difference. I don’t get it. Afterward, Dan gave me some cash to buy a drink. I got an Italian soda with coconut, pineapple and banana flavoring. All three of us chewed the fat for an hour, until someone showed up at the station that I thought he wouldn’t make it. It was Nate Conley, one of my NJROTC classmates from MPHS. I had left him a note on FB since I saw his profile picture on a side bar and thought it would be wise to tell him of my new life and adventure.

I rushed to him hugging him tightly. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. There was an odd falling out that I wanted to clear up. Ann, his wife was with him and so was their three year old son Allistir. Their son is very rambunctious just like Nate apparently. I updated him as to what happened with Dan’s issues. Nate add, “Oh, good reason to move to Maryland so you could get as far away as you could. I totally understand.”

Nate and Ann had a hell of a time chasing their son down from running around all over the place. Who needs a gym membership or a treadmill when you have kids? They’ll keep you winded, but excising just fine for hours. After a while, Ann came back from their car with some art supplies and coloring pages. The boy was entertained for the rest of the time before my train arrived. A few minutes just before the call went out, Allistir gave me his colored picture of a Littlest Pet Shop kitty. I gave him a hug as I teared up from the kindness and cuteness of his actions.

Nate’s family and him went to the second floor of the station so Allistir could see the train better. Dan held onto me as long as he could before the train arrived. I said to him, “And for goodness sakes, take a vacation and relax.” Just then the train cruised into the station as I gave Dan a kiss good-bye on the lips. Yeah, not very appropriate, but who cares. I gave Dave a big hug and a kiss on the cheek as I went into the train with my luggage. Found out an hour later, Thor could not make it. He was stuck in the parking lot at his work trying to make his way out so to see me off, but it was way too late.

There was some confusion as to which sleeper I was to be placed in. Once that got figured out, the car steward lugged my belongings to the second floor. Next time, I’ll leave the main larger bag downstairs. Once I was settled in, I sat back and watched the Northwest pass me by as I realized I was free at last. I had cried tears of happiness finally. Being so worn by tears of sadness for ten years by Dan’s foolish; cold hearted withdrawals of me, that I actually recognized what tears of happiness actually felt like. As I blotted my tears with my handkerchief, that dinner was announced at 6:45pm. They do dinner in shifts by car. That way there is no over crowding in the dinning car. I had the steak with steamed vegetables and baked potato. For dessert I had the cheesecake with blueberry topping and a glass of water. The coffee isn’t too bad. Everyone was seated with another passenger or two. I struck up conversation with the two men about the economy and what forms of work each of us did for a time. It was very engaging conversation.

I apparently was more stuffed than I thought, however my room was overly stuffy cause the vent was closed. As it got dark, I could hardly see anything pass me by. This made me motion sick. Thankfully I brought along some anti-nasia pills with me and I took one the moment I realized what was going on. A middle aged woman, whom was picked up at one of the stops in Washington, let me borrow her mini fan. The steward was so saddened that my first train trip was starting out so poorly. There is always a first for everything.

I had pulled down my bed before the steward could get to me. I was impatient and ill, so I had to do something to keep my mind off of my swirling stomach. I propped myself up watching the night sky and some town lights go by while the fan blew in my face. After two hours my stomach felt better. However, sleep wasn’t so great. I never do well sleeping in a new location on the first night. I toss and turn most of the time, but for this case I had to urinate six times as I tired to go to sleep. I had drank two bottles of water and one glass of water with dinner and that cup of coffee. Yeah, I had to pee a lot. I think I did find sleep, but the gentle cradle like rocking and sound of the tracks beneath the wheels kept me awake. I dosed off countless times, but I’m not sure if I found sleep fully or not. I had left the curtains open so the morning light would wake me instead of an alarm clock.

Day 2: March 21, 2013 – Thursday –

I awoke this morning to the sun hazily peaking over the horizon. I wanted to stay in bed, but couldn’t cause breakfast was announced just as I woke up. I had a bowl of Special K cereal, four strawberries which were really, really tasty, half a cup of Greek yogurt which I didn’t care for and a whole wheat biscuit. I didn’t want to over stuff myself like I did with my dinner from last night. The way through the Rocky Mountains was snowy and windy. Just now, at 10:41am MST the train left the mountains behind and we are now on our way across the Great Plains.

After breakfast though, I was recorded some footage of the mountains with the camcorder. I’ll edit the pieces all together through this trip later on. The snow is scattered here and there in small or large mounds on the prairie grass. The skies are clear with some wispy clouds. I have traveled through the Great Plains many times before as a child and preteen on family vacations or on the whim weekend road trip by automobile. Traveling the plans by Amtrak train is the best way to see the plains by far. Nothing else compares. ‘Amber ways of grain’ is exactly as depicted in the American anthem. Our founding fathers and pioneer ancestors said it best while describing the vast flatness and rolling hills of this expansive earth and sky. There is nothing else like it I have ever seen and I’m not just saying that.

Lunch was very tasty. I had the Chilope Black Bean Veggie Burger with everything on it, but cheese. Struck up conversation with two middle aged women. The woman across from me had a terrible lisp and stuttering problem. I learned a little bit more about patience with people this afternoon. The other woman next to me is going to see her grandchildren and daughter. Not much else to say, but I told them a tiny bit of why I’m on the train. They congratulated me on my new life and freedom. The women were surprised that my ex-husband paid for my trip and move. Dan’s not a ‘bad guy’ per se, he just doesn’t understand giving love back in return. He didn’t understand human interaction of how normal people react to bad situations. That it’s not normal for someone to strike up an argument just to get a rise out of someone even if that argument was false from the beginning. If you love someone you give them respect as much as the other person respects you back. He just never ‘gave back’ to me and it hurt, quite literately physically hurt and I have the scar on my right leg to prove it.

Before dinner though, right after lunch I took a nap for three hours. I didn’t ‘fully’ fall asleep, but I know I got rest. While I waited for dinner time, I recorded a few bit of the Montana scenery. I was able to capture a moment of life beginning. A cow was giving birth to her cafe in the cold spring snow. He or she was half out of it’s mother as I recorded the scene. Evening dinner was really good, even though I should have reserved for a later dinner say at seven o’clock. I ate at least half my dinner of the beef rib, mashed potatoes, vegetables and half my brownie pie. I’m pretty full, but not sickly full. More conversation with some more new passengers. The guy to my left was heading home to New York. His ex-wife did not want to move to New York while they were married. I can understand that. New York can be intimidating and large. He said he was a teacher for English and writing classes in many schools across the country. Now, he wants to calm things down as his epilepsy has now taken over his life, getting worse as the years continue.

The elderly couple, that I had met at the beginning of my journey had visited family in Seattle. They are heading to Fargo, North Dakota to see her daughter and the grandchildren. I had explained about my plight of my ruined marriage….they just called out over the intercom of needing help with someone downstairs for medical needs. I hope there is a doctor on the train…..Well, anyway, the elder woman added onto my story of her daughter’s bad marriage. The daughter’s ex-husband did not work for three years and kept abusing her. He basically went off the deep end. The daughter had to file for restraining orders, court issues of giving him the house, but she kept the kids and moved to North Dakota. So far the ex-husband has left her alone for six months at least.

Soon after that conversation, it shifted talking about the environment of ‘Global Warming’. I said my two cents of – If Mother Nature wants us dead, she’ll do it on her won terms. Why worry about something we don’t fully understand yet in ways to control it. The Earth will still be here long after we are all dead. All this thawing and warmer weather is a seventy to hundred year cycle. We don’t know enough in modern weather pattern to know any better or worse of this planet. I’m all for electric or hybrid cars, but other than that, forget it. The woman then explained about her time in China of how smoggy up the country is. I won’t get into that fuss, but it would be nice if the Chinese would get their heads out of their asses. It’s that simple.

It’s been snowy all the way from the Washington Cascade Mountains all the way across Montana. It was, however, very clear and partly cloudy at the beginning of Montana. Now it is getting dark. The snow is blending into the gray evening sky like white cotton sheets meeting gray silk. Ever so often I saw oil drills doing their ‘dirty work’. Left over oil that would come up from the vertical pipe would be burned off with fire ablaze at the top. I don’t know if it’s natural gas or crude oil in general. It’s something I thought I would never see but on television of the news. It seems unnatural to see oil fires like that in the United States. Maybe some day there will be a new form of working the oil out of the ground without burning off the excess. Maybe some day, in my life time, oil will be a thing of the past.

One of the most interesting bits about this journey so far, is hearing about how many passengers are taking the train for the very first time. There are at least five that I could hear in ear shot that say brightening good fortune thoughts of their new lives. I’m not the only one looking for a new start. I may be going the longest distance to get to it, but riding this train is like going down river to leave all my nasty past behind. Or, it’s like going up river, to ‘spawn’ for the first time like a salmon…nay, it’s more like going down river, enjoying the current taking me on a ride of a life time.

Stanly, North Dakota is the next stop. It’s nice to get off the train every once and awhile to get fresh air. The train will be filling up with seventeen more passengers. The conductor said the train would be nearly full. Amazing how many people actually take the train these days. I thought not that many did so, but considering the price of flight and baggage prices, it would be understandable to take the train instead. I keep hearing that it’s so much cheaper. So, if I took a flight it would have cost me maybe two hundred or three hundred dollars more. Not counting the baggage charges. Baggage is not charged for train travel. I really like that a lot about Amtrak.

Just now I’m passing into the Central Time Zone. It’s 9pm and it’s dark as pitch out there. The clouds are thick with snow, so the stars are hidden from view. I hope on the third day I can see some stars. I hear by some passengers it is to be sunny all day tomorrow. Here’s hoping so.

River of steel,

Deliver me to my new future.

Tears of happiness,

Finally let go false bondage.

Flowing down stream,

Leaving all past pain behind.

Sights never before seen,

Give inspiration to my mind.

Rocking gently,

Like the rhythm of the heart.

Vast skies of blue and white,

Open my eyes to life’s delight.

Blankets of cotton white snow,

Meet evening gray silk skies.

Haunting silvery white half moon,

Watching silently as the train passes by.
Train horn echos forth,

Does the vast plains hear the haunting sound?

Day 3: March 22, 2013 – Friday

I might have done a little better at sleeping last night, but still woke up off and on by the sound of the train and rocking movements. Apparently I’m not used to sleeping on trains yet. I thought for sure I would be able to sleep better last night.

Continental breakfast with oatmeal, strawberries and Greek yogurt and two glasses of orange juice. I didn’t eat the yogurt. I didn’t like Yoplay’s style of it. Those strawberries on the train are the tastiest I’ve ever had in a long time. Washington strawberries, that come from California, taste bitter and don’t have that real strawberry flavor.

I packed my belongs early as it is dangerous in Chicago like never before. I’ll be in the station the whole time waiting for my next train. Our car steward said we would arrive in Chicago by 4pm. This will give me just two hours to wait for my next train to Washington, DC. It is 8:48am and we are on our way now. It is snow all over the place here in Minnesota, Minneapolis. One of the fun things seeing the snow in the day time is figuring out the animal tracks. Deer and rabbit is what I can find so far. Deer are not afraid in this area, that’s for sure.

Even though I’m on a train for the first time and we go through many train stations and railways, I do not count the cars that go by right next to me. Family and friends who know me best know that when a train goes by while I’m in a automobile or walking down the street, I will stop and count the cars. I’ll count the engines separately and the cars all together. I’ve done this act since I was very little. Don’t know why I do it, I just do and it’s cute and fun. However, being on a train and seeing other trains go by, it’s not as cute to count the cars so close to me.

For the last two minutes I recorded some of the Mississippi River. You don’t know how large it is by automobile until you see it by train. Yes, nothing compares to traveling down river by steam boat, but to me this train trip is very special to me. Sights I had not seen since I was a little, little girl. Rebuilding old memories to make my own is a treat and a good strengthening excise for the mind and happiness for the soul. Half the river is frozen with ice at varying thicknesses. I thought maybe there could be some animal tracks, but the deer in this area are smart. They don’t dare venture onto the ice. There are deer tracks next to the rail tracks. How cool is that? Oh, even some coyote tracks and rabbit.

For some strange reason, the music of Enya goes very well with train rides. Something about her music that just mixes with the energy and movement of the train and scenery going by. The song, “Trains and Winter Rains” fits perfectly. I can see this song being used as a soundtrack to an Amtrak commercial in the future. Traveling by train is the best way to go. Not enough people realize how easy it is to travel by train to and from work. There is one man at today’s breakfast that he works as a construction protection consultant. He lives in Minneapolis, but works in North Dakota. He would rent a car in Minneapolis, take the train to work and rent another car. He would do this three days out of the week. I don’t remember how much car gas he said he saves, but the main perk is ‘sleeping while someone else drives’. I found that amusing. I’m glancing over ever so often and I see many, many tracks of deer. Hunting must be really good. I see grouse and pheasant tracks, too.

Dreaming for years to live on the East Coast, I thought I would drive myself. A road trip to a whole new beginning. Little did I realize that dreams aren’t what they seem to be. You may dream one process to get there, but then the Universe shows you another way. The train was one of those ‘other paths’ that never crossed my mind for the past three years. I didn’t realize I waited for another route. This blessed surprise by train, that my ex-husband paid for, is a wonderful treat for the senses. You get to see things you never thought you could passing you by on smooth, sometimes bumpy track. Leaving the driving to someone else is very nice indeed. It gives me time to reflect on my future. Not my past. My past was left behind on tracks of the West Coast. Fallen away like sheds of darkened; hurt soul fragments. Breaking free from a dark shell that no longer has purpose. I feel the ‘steel river’ below my feet delivering me to my future as my new wings of my inner self build up strength for the days and years ahead.

Lunch was very good. I had the Penini Pasta with meatballs and a salad. The three other passengers this time were different and had lots to say. The middle aged couple in front of me, her and her husband of three years are heading to Chicago to see an opera. The gentleman has been retired for many years now. His wife works at Angie’s Gluten free product company. She helps distribute new products to new locations. The beginning of Angie’s got started with their ill son who could not eat any gluten foods. She had made a kettle corn popcorn for her son that helped him digest his food better and become healthier. The product went so well that she then made a business out of it. Angie’s products are making their way to the west coast at this time. I gave the woman as much information as I could remember of gluten free stores and other grocery stores that would take the products. If I remember correctly, Angie’s products are already in some Fred Meyer stores.

The young man next to me is heading to Washington, DC for school, I think it was. He boarded the train in North Dakota. For the life of me I can not remember what line of work he does. I’m so sorry. He will be taking the same train into Washington, DC as I am. Maybe I should hang out with him in the station while we wait for our train in case there is trouble. Soon after the conversation repeated with more gluten free products. I mentioned my favorite bread – Dave’s Killer Bread. Praised the 21 Grain the most and wrote the website down for her to check out later. Next time I take a train I’ll be sure to keep a pocket sized note book of paper on hand.

Our train was late to Chicago by an hour due to signals not working properly in Minneapolis. Once that got figured out, we headed out. The conductor called out over the intercom that the train would be kept in the station until all Seattle passengers were on board the Capital Limited. All ten passengers, including myself, had to hoof it really fast down to the end of the station. Union station sure is large, but I only got to see the interior of the trains themselves, not the interior of the station itself from the inside. Oh well, I wanted to get on that train as quickly as possible and so did everyone else.

Dinner on the Capital Limited was the best dinner I’ve had on Amtrak. You want to know why? Sure you do. They were serving my favorite sea food – crab. Maryland Crab Cakes with green and white beans and rice and salad with roll. I love crab cakes. When I heard my car steward mention the crab, my ears perked up. The passengers next to me started to giggle at my expression and inquired about the crab in Washington state. I promptly wrote down my crab and salmon patty recipe and gave it to the man’s wife who he said was the chief in the household. I hope she likes them as much as I loved cooking and eating them back in Washington. I do intend to make those crab and salmon patties at my friend’s house as soon as the funds let us be able to.

My dinning buddies for tonight were a middle aged woman and her 9th grade son. He played flute at one time, but gave up as he was being teased. However, he picked up trumpet and liked it very much, but did not practice in the house as it was too loud. I can understand that. He also played piano and is still playing today. He’s getting a head start in physics to help with his math skills and is excelling in his studies. I didn’t quite catch what his mother does for a living, sorry.

The elderly woman next to me had been traveling for decades on Amtrak. She happily told of her experiences as the years went by that the services and food got better and better over time. When I say, ‘she traveled everywhere’, I mean it. She’s got some millage under her belt for sure. Maybe she should write a book about all those decades on Amtrak.

Well, now I’m on my way to Washington, DC. I won’t arrive until mid afternoon. Then I will be taking the Northeast Regional to Penn Station in Maryland.

Day 4: March 23, 2013 – Saturday

I actually slept. How can I tell? I had a dream. I know I woke up at 3am to go to the bathroom, but fell back to sleep fast. I guess I got used to the movement and sound of the train finally. I was so comfortable, I nearly didn’t get out of bed for breakfast. I had corn beef hash, potatoes, and crusant. I ate mostly the corn beef hash which was the best I’ve ever had. That canned stuff is nasty compared to the train service of corn beef hash.

As for my breakfast buddies, three middle aged women. The woman on my left was visiting family in Washington, DC. The woman across from me near the window was doing the same, but then mentioned she lived in New Jersey once and expressed in fair detail the beauty of New Jersey of the back country, rolling hills and even a few mountains that not many people hear about. She expressed that ‘it’s the Garden State’ is a true thing by far. Then the conversation shifted to ‘what is your profession?’ the other woman across from me asked. I mentioned my novel ‘Soul’s Little Lie’ and told a little bit about it. The woman near the window said she too wrote a few books, but has a nice stack of rejection letters she has tacked on the her wall. She has not given up. The woman across from me is named Regine Thomas. She wrote a children’s book – ‘Mister Taxi Man Meets Irene’. Her book is about a young man who drives a taxi and one day picks up a young woman. He goes out to lunch with her and later discovers it is a young version of his deceased grandmother. The book is written into a rhyme about twelve pages long with her own illustrations inside and the cover.

Her book can be found on AuthorHouse.com and Amazon.com. She kept saying she’s having a hard time trying to sell it since she self published. Everyone in her town bought copies and loved it, but she can’t seem to understand why AuthorHouse isn’t doing good in sells for her. I then mentioned about Deviantart.com to help promote her book and art there and see about self publishing on Lulu.com. After a while Regine and I got an itch to write out all our info to each other at the table. Each woman got a copy of our novel, website and email information. Next time I’ll be sure to bring a host of business cards with me. Never leave home without one when going on a long trip. You never know who you’ll meet.

Throughout this whole train experience I have expressed by words all the people I have met while having meals. The goofy part is, I can’t seem to remember any of their first names, save for Regine. How peculiar that is. Next time I’ll be sure to bring out my digital recorder. Apparently, I have found a new hobby. Writing short story excerpts of travels going by. There is a market for such things or if there is not, I’ll make one. I’ll have to clean this ‘journal’ up to show to a publisher later. Somewhere amongst this note taking babble is a short story waiting to be noticed. In a why the whole seven pages is a short story, but in my prospective as much as I can remember. The details of the scenery outside the windows can be put in later. I have a good memory for such things.

You know, even though this journey by Amtrak train was during the early spring with many areas of the country still full of snow and the trees have yet to grow their leaves, I will have to take this trip again back to Washington state when it has become green all over. That trip is long ways off into the future. As for what I have seen, besides fifteen new; expressive and polite people, I saw a mother cow give birth to her cafe in the snow of Montana. Thousands of Canadian geese waiting out the snow storm across the Great Plains. Wild turkey, at least six hens, walking around in the early morning mist. A few white tailed does grazing in the early morning. Many, many snow tracks of coyote, deer, rabbit, pheasant and grouse. I even saw two dark crowned cranes in a field. Streams and rivers moving past my eyes in the framed window by my side. The Mighty Mississippi never before seen from such a view by train. What a sight to behold.

Fields of gold, reddish brown. Stones of brown-red and granite gray. Oak, ash, pine, apple, birch, aspen, and silver birch. Old growth forests with twisted, knotted trees that could tell stories past. Old farm houses kept in good order for prosperity of American history. Snow caped mountains with spring waters trying to thaw the snow around them. Waterfalls cascading down hill or mountain sides bring life to spring. I now understand, in a small manner, why I feel a pull to the east coast so much since I was a little girl. The country of the United States is old here. The west is young and too wild. Here on the east coast it is set in it’s ways with wisdom and old growth forests that give a pleasant haunting of the past. I feel at home on the east coast. I have family in Tennessee, but I feel home near the Atlantic Ocean.

My task at hand, once I settle down in Denton, Maryland with my long time friend, is to save every penny I earn in a job. Once I have a comfortable amount of funds, I will move my way up north to Massachusetts. That is where my heart and soul are waiting for me. A part of me stayed behind in the Northern Shore in that summer of 2010. I intend to retrieve that part of me so I can ‘come home’ to where I feel I belong. This journey has been in the making since 1986 when I moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee so long ago.

Crying out, “Mommy, I don’t want to leave! We shouldn’t leave here. I want to stay!” the little five year old Tara proclaimed with tears in her eyes. The house on Palmar Drive was my grandfather’s that he built at the early stages of the Rothwell Enterprises Construction Company. Alas, she had to leave for new pastures that her parents set out for since the economy in the 1980s was getting worse. It would not be for three decades later that her parents would say, “Dear Tara, you were right. We should have never left Tennessee,” her mother expressed after having moved back there in 2004.

Where we moved to was New Orleans, Louisiana. Daddy had gotten a job at a Nissan dealership being a certified mechanic. He was good at his job, so good that I had somehow inherited his internal knack for ‘listening to cars’ of what made them ill. However, early on in the three years we lived there, Daddy had become ill himself with two hernias and some contagious sickness. He was unable to care for the family of two kids and wife.

(**To Be Continued of possible novel**)

Why Drugging All Schizophrenics For Life Is Not the Answer | Alternet

Why Drugging All Schizophrenics For Life Is Not the Answer | Alternet.

There is hope for people who suffer from schizophrenia. This brings a smile to my face cause of all the people with the disorder I’ve come across in my life.