Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...


If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cornucopia Of Awesomesauce Thursday

I've decided that today will be Cornucopia of Awesomesauce Thursday. I wanted to take some time and share with you all some amazingly exciting news from friends of the Imaginarium. Jeremy at the wicked fun blog iZombie Lover has an exciting interview with the group, The Blanks, on his site Two Thumbs, Eight Fingers. They are an A Capella group who probably best known as "Ted's Band" on the tremendously popular television show Scrubs. Member Sam Lloyd appeared on all nine seasons as "Ted Buckland."

In other awesome news, Angela Felsted , from My Poetry and Prose Place, is running a contest because her new book, Cleave, will be out January 12 from Finishing Line Press. Cleave is going to rock because it is a poetry chapter book. Check out the trailer, Angela created it herself. I love it.

In more spectacular book news, MPax, from Wistful Nebulae, has her novel Semper Audacia releasing on Oct. 4. Yay! Here's a little bit about Semper as well as the gorgeous cover from M's site.

Alone. Leda is the last living member of the brigade, the sole defender of her world. War took everyone she knew, leaving her in the company of memories and ghosts. Or is it madness?

The siren blares. The enemy is coming. Or is it? The approaching vessel isn't a friendly design, but it answers with the correct code. Leda must figure out whether the arrival is reinforcements or the final assault. In an aging flyer, she ventures out to meet her world's fate, the last stand.

Sounds utterly brilliant, doesn't it? I can't wait to get my copy.

Finally, my newest, Nathan's Angel drops on Oct. 16 from Amber Allure, I'll post the blurb tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Do You Edit: A Guest Post By Stephen L. Brayton

Today I am letting the super-talented author, Stephen L. Brayton, take over the Imaginarium. He is the author of Night Shadows, one wicked cool fantasy horror. His newest novel, Beta, drops this Saturday, Oct. 1. It's a mystery featuring one literal kick-butt private detective, Mallory Petersen. She's a fourth degree black belt in taekwondo, hence the picture of Stephen in his awesome dobok. He is a fifth degree black belt. So you know I'm already anticipating getting my copy. Oh, how I love my strong female protagonists. Take it away Stephen...

Katherine Hinkson, a writer friend, and I both agree editing is probably the worst tribulation about writing a manuscript. Certainly, it is the most tedious and frustrating. One of the reasons is because we are constantly finding mistakes, even after the third, fifteenth, and fiftieth read through. Then, when the publisher’s editor(s) get a hold of it, they’re finding even more. Plus, they’re coming back and mentioning not just the fundamental errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation), they’re noticing continuity and time mistakes among others. For instance, they’ll catch the misspelled word ‘fiend’ when you really meant ‘friend’. They’ll also notice you left the door open in a certain scene, yet your hero, upon leaving the room, opens the door and steps out.

My last book went through several editing phases and then, when I thought everything was kosher, the publisher came back with highlights on all the ‘were’, ‘was’, and ‘that’ words. I couldn’t believe how many I’d used, especially in what she called ‘clusters.’

I think the best way for you to recognize mistakes and problems in your own writing is to edit others’. During my short stint as an editor for Echelon Press, I edited several manuscripts and finding errors in those helped me find errors in my stories, even while I was currently writing them.

Another interesting method to learning editing is to take a random book, and start writing it. Open to page one, grab a pen and paper and start writing from the first word in the first chapter. By doing this, you’ll see what the author is doing, how he/she is using words and phrases, grammar and punctuation.

My second book, “Beta”, didn’t have as many problems, but only because I’ve been editing and rewriting it for nearly ten years. For those of you struggling with editing, I say, “Good for you.” Everyone should. However, we’re all in this together, so I’m not going to sit back and laugh and poke fun. Instead, I’d like to offer a few tips on how I edit. I’m not saying this is the correct way. It’s MY method and until I find a better one, (or someone offers me tips like I’m doing for you), I’ll stick with it.

For Beta, I wrote the first draft longhand. I used up a pen and several legal pads. Today, I write a few stories’ first drafts on the laptop. I prefer longhand because it is my first chance at editing. I can think faster than I can write. So ideas and descriptions and dialogue will form and stack up waiting their turn to be put down. Other scenes may intrude or details may come to mind for me to include elsewhere. Conversely, when using the laptop, I can type faster than I can think, so sometimes, I lose some of the ‘fine tuning’.

After a chapter or two, I’ll then type what I’ve written onto the computer. This is the next chance to edit. I’ll fix the fundamentals, and I may substitute words and sentences for others that sound better. Again, while typing, other ideas may present themselves, other scenes to include.

After I’ve typed in the entire manuscript, I”ll celebrate what I’ve accomplished. Then it’s back to the pen and pad for an initial read through, catching typos and jotting down questions for research or areas of concern. I’ll spend a period of time with corrections, then another read through. Somewhere in this process, even before completing the manuscript, I’m reading chapters or scenes to members of a critique group. I’ll jot down their concerns and suggestions, then when I’m correcting the read through, I’ll insert those as I see fit.

I’ve been trying to follow a course laid out by Todd Stone in his book “The Novelist Boot Camp”. He suggests looking at specific aspects of the story for each read through. Action, Dialogue, Sentence Structure, Setting, and others. I think this is a good guideline to follow. By focusing on specific areas you’re not as overwhelmed by trying to catch EVERYTHING on each round.

Even when I’d edited “Beta” many times, the critique group still had suggestions. I needed to tone down the brusqueness of my main character. Plus, they didn’t like the names for two of my male characters. After reviewing this, I agreed. So Jamie became Darren and Lauren was renamed Lawrence. I like them better.

Find your editing method. Get frustrated, but realize that with each correction, you are improving not only your story, but your writing as well.

To find out more about Stephen and his works,please visit:
Stephen Brayton.com, his website
Brayton's Briefs, his blog
Brayton's Book Buzz, his book blog

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Celebration Of Banned Book Week

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

- C.S. Lewis

Provocative quote, isn't it? And so true. I am celebrating Banned Book Week loud and proud. As an author of sexy and spicy tales, I know what I write is controversial to many people. I know that if certain conservative wingnuts out there had their way, I would be on the banned list. I think that the very idea of censorship is abhorrent. It's telling people what to think.

What surprises me is how innocent censorship starts out. Well, Melissa, people say, we just don't want our kids to read those kinds of things. They're five, ten, two years old. They don't need to know about sex, violence, curse words, etc. I know that, I have four nephews. But, kids talk. They get and pass along, a lot of wrong information. I know because until I was fifteen, I thought that pregnancy only occurred right before your period. Well, a good friend from grade school, whose son is now 25, gave me that wrong information when we were eleven.

People love to say that Huckleberry Finn is about promoting violence and racial slurs. "We don't need that coming into our homes, Mel. We don't want to promote racism. We're good people." The mere act of reading about racism and slavery doesn't make you a violent plantation overseer. If reading affected people like that, then I would be a six foot blonde warrior goddess and a werewolf. I also would have gone to Narnia.

It all starts with this idea that we're somehow protecting our kids, ourselves, that we're not supporting cruelty or offending anyone, that we're making our society better. I am a sex writer, the proverbial canary in the mine shaft. What happens to those of us on the controversial fringe, snowballs. I guarantee it. First, it's the erotica and porn, then it's horror, then sci fi, then murder mysteries and on and on, all for innocent-sounding ideals.

Bertrand de Jouvenel said "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." We keep censoring stuff to protect our children, to promote good thoughts and eventually there is no stopping. More books get fed to the flame. Freedom is difficult. If we are to keep our freedom of choice, then we must defend others' choices when we don't like them. Instead of blocking our children from having the information, we should have open discussion.

Okay, I am off of my high horse. I will leave you with this thought, though. The next time you hear about someone turning down the censorship road, ask yourself, would you like to see your favorite author end up on a banned book list? Although that is a hellagood marketing strategy...Melissa Bradley author of banned books. Anyway, I'm sure the answer is a resounding no, so go on and read some banned books. I'm cracking open my very favorite novel and long time member of banned book lists everywhere, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Here are some banned books to consider:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Flashcard of My Life by Charise Maricle Harper
Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Author Spotlight...Kelley Smith

I am very excited, Imaginarians. You know how I love discovering new to me authors. Today, I am shining a huge spotlight on Kelley Smith, author of the terrific YA tale Glittering Ashes. I'll have a post about her fantastic debut novel in the very near future, but right now, let's get to know Kelley. She's a terrific author with whom I connected a short time ago and I am just blown away by her.

Kelley holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in English literature. Having been a word smuggler from way too far back to remember, she has always been obsessed with language, stories, and throwing these two together to make sense of the world she knows and the worlds that she doesn't. She is currently working on other novels, from the young adult genre and beyond. Glittering Ashes is her first novel.

What was the inspiration behind your debt novel Glittering Ashes? Tell us a little about your main character, Roe Daniels. She seems like quite an intriguing person.

Glittering Ashes started out as one of those stories that brews in your head for a long time. I first imagined all of the things that happen after the first book, but then I realized that there needed to be this as a beginning to have the rest of the series make sense. Roe Daniels was/is fun to write. She's adventurous to a point, but remains cautious. I liked writing her next to Jordyn, a more wild and crazy character.

World building can be so enjoyable for some writers and quite challenging for others, what side of the line do you fall on?

I think coming up with worlds can be really enjoyable, and I think a lot of worlds that people build start off from whimsy, from a person being imaginative enough to want to make a place totally different, but actually executing that world after finding a passion for it can be difficult. I'd say I'd definitely fall on the "it's enjoyable" side though.

This is a YA novel. How do you feel about exploring issues like sex, domestic violence, drug abuse and suicide in teen stories? Do you think there needs to be open dialogue with YA authors and their readers?

I've talked about this before on people's blogs when they've asked, and what I said then is similar to what I'd say now, it has to be integral and authentic to the story. If it makes sense for those types of things to occur without being gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous, then I think there's a place for conversation and dialogue about just about anything within the YA genre.

What made you decide to embark on the writer’s journey? Who are some of your writing influences? Is there one author or title that had the biggest influence?

I've always wanted to write in some capacity. I was the girl with the notebook who scribbled story ideas and beginnings that never went anywhere but entertained me. I couldn't wait to have a laptop or access to a computer whenever I wanted to write everything down. I remember being saddened when I finally got to type up THE STORY I had been working on and it only amounted to a few angsty pages typed. lol.

My writing influences are really varied. I love to read. A lot. YA, romance, chick flick books, New Adult, Non-fiction, thrillers, horrors, magazines, blogs, how-to's. If it's interesting enough for me to pause and think about, I'll read something about it. I think anything can be inspiring, so I always like to be looking at any and everything to see what sparks something in me.

I wouldn't necessarily peg a specific author who made me want to write, but there were authors who made me want to read, and reading is definitely what made me get into writing. Robert Cormier was mind-blowing to me as a young teen, but, like I said, I look for inspiration everywhere.

What has surprised you the most about the business side of writing? Is there any part of publishing that you find especially challenging?

I was surprised about how much you have to work to get your book out there. Sure, I knew you had to direct people to it, but your book is one of so many books out there, and it is really important to steer people to your book, rather than just let them find it. At least in the very, very beginning.

I think choosing to self-publish with Glittering Ashes was challenging in that there are a lot of steps that could snare someone who doesn't research how to self-publish well and correctly (formatting wise and distribution wise), but if you want to learn, the information is all out there so it does become easier.

Do you write every day or only when inspiration strikes? How do you keep the creative juices flowing?

I don't write every day. I think every day. I stew on things almost every hour of every day (yes, I dream about WIPs sometimes), but I haven't yet decided how beneficial it is to force myself to write when I'm not feeling inclined. Goals are important, though. That I completely agree with.

I think reading is the best thing to keep the creative juices flowing. If I read something really awesome, it makes me more excited to write, to get my turn to try to be awesome. If I read something really bad, I want to write better and that gets me writing. Reading always helps.

Aside from writing, what are some of you favorite pastimes and pursuits?

Well, I've mentioned this on my blog before, but I am knitting a quilt that never ends. I knit many squares (SO many) that are roughly 5x5 inches. I have them piled in a bin in my closet. It's my dream to someday connect them all and have this crazy quilt of many colors. I also have been googling hand embroidery lately, so I'm interested in starting that. I really like looking at artsy things and trying to be creative. I love looking at and designing crazy tshirts too.

Do you have any favorite indulgences that might surprise your readers?

Hmm, I like looking at literary tattoos and looking at different ways to write text. I'm really into typography. Is that surprising? lol

What’s next for you? Is there a genre that you have not tried before, but would like to attempt?

I have a numbered list of book ideas written down. I think I have 33 on the list, last time I checked. Some are series ideas. Some short story collections. Some romance, some New Adult, some horror/thriller or script ideas. I would never rule a genre out. I'd like to take a try at everything. I'm really looking forward to doing something like a flash fiction collection or small book of poetry some time. I'll keep you posted :)

If you could pass along one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Write everything. Give everything, every idea that seems worth it, a shot. You never know what could stick and what you could amaze yourself by writing.

You can find out more about Kelley at these cool links

Her Blog: Writtled
Her Author Page: Amazon
Follow her on Twitter

You can purchase Glittering Ashes here or at additional retailers here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh has compelled we in the Blogosphere to list our Worst Movies Ever. These are the movies that just stunk up the theater and made me want to demand my money back. They made me want to bleach my brain, gouge out my eyes and bemoan the loss of those hours from my life. They made me say "I can't believe I paid to sit through this shit." They also made me wish wholeheartedly that I had seen them with Joel, Mike and the Bots from Mystery Science Theater.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my... Worst Movies Ever. (I think I need an echo machine for dramatic effect.)

Jeepers Creepers (2001) Total rip off. You start with the typical dumbass brother and sister college students on a lonely road because no one drives the interstates anymore. Also, I really don't know what makes Hollywood think that America's highways and byways are ever deserted. I digress. So they spy a guy dumping bodies and simply HAVE to investigate. All the makings of a great cheesy serial killer epic. Then...THEN this guy turns out to be a winged monster. WTFH? You have got to be freakin' kidding me.

Twilight (2008) From the bad acting, which was stiffer than frozen spaghetti, to the stilted dialogue to the utterly crazed vampire mythos...here they can walk around in the daytime and sparkle in the sun...this is one hot mess of a movie. Seriously, it stretches the bonds of believability. Riddle me this, why would anyone who's rich and looks eternally 17 choose to go to high school over and over and over and over. And wouldn't he be considered a pedophile?

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) Talk about the most useless sequel ever and absolutely no chemistry between the actors. And why would an egyptologist search for mummies in China to begin with? I was so goddamned bored in this movie that I walked out and snuck into The Dark Knight, which I had already seen three times.

Paranormal Activity (2007) I know this was an indie with no budget, but come the fuck on. We get this self-absorbed couple, Katie and Micah, a pair of white bread yuppies who, when shit starts happening in their house,just gotta put it on video. Fine, I get that. But then whole movie centers on time-elapsed drooling and staring from Katie and off camera noises that wouldn't scare a toddler. The big ending comes when"demon" Katie kills Micah, again off-camera, then it takes her hours and hours to drag his body up the stairs (My fat ass takes less time) where she pitches it like a fastball at the tripod, which miraculously stays upright. Finally, Katie crawls over to the camera and makes a constipated face. The End. I laughed and laughed through this entire movie. And Oren Peli had a nerve to sic two more on the world.

Over the Top (1987) An arm-wrestling movie, seriously? WTF! Struggling trucker Stallone tried to win his estranged son's affection by entering the national arm-wrestling championships in Las Vegas. Because you know family problems can all be solved with a bit of hand to hand tango on a table in a casino. Who got paid for this shit?

Sleepwalkers (1992) Shape shifters come to town because they need a virgin to feed on in order to keep their powers. Yeah, cuz you know those untouched women work just like a pack of D batteries. And I thought Duracell was the best.

The Prince of Darkness (1987) Of all the forms the Devil could take, green goo was not one I'd ever imagined. A cylinder of green slime is found in a Los Angeles church where it is discovered that this is the essence of Satan. What the eff, John Carpenter? I waited for a seriously cool monster and all I got was a tub of salsa verde. I survived babysitting the Gojnar monsters, er boys, for this piece of shit. Oh my God, pissed does not even begin to describe my mood upon leaving the theater.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) The plot for this is so effing stupid, it deserves to be called STOOPID. An insane toymaker hatches an evil scheme to kill millions of children by using a stolen boulder from Stonehenge and putting something in their Halloween masks. A stolen boulder? WTH? Kim Kardashian's popularity makes more sense. And precisely why this was named as part of the Michael Myers franchise is beyond me.

Roller Boogie (1979) It's the Exorcist meets Studio 54...I'm kidding. Linda Blair stars in this whacked out film about skaters who band together to keep their roller disco open. Boo Hoo... tear that piece of shit down, I say. I could only watch and wish that Linda's head would have started spinning and spewing pea soup.

Star Wars: Phantom Menace, Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith I am stating unequivocally that there is only one Star Wars trilogy and it features Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. I don't give a rat's ass what any one else thinks. This prequel trilogy of self-indulgent, badly written films with the worst acting ever is total bull shit and tarnishes the legacy. Hayden Christensen is horrendous and he utterly ruined Darth Vader. There is no fucking way the most awesome villain in the universe sprang from that wooden-headed brat. George Lucas, you greedy asshole, you fucked with your own mythology and ruined my childhood memories. Damn you!

Deep breath. Rage has been contained. Hope you enjoyed this look at some of the craptacular flicks I've tortured myself with over the years. And to think each one of these was released in theaters, none were direct to DVD Syfy Z Grades. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching Willow Watts Launch Party...Time To Have At It Like A Rock Star

Today, super cool author and blogger, Talli Roland is celebrating the launch of her newest creation, Watching Willow Watts. I know, I'm about million years behind and everyone's probably already been there done that and is over this already, but I'm getting in the party anyway because I really am excited about this book. The theme for today is "If I could be anyone, I'd be..."

The reason for this is that the main character, Willow Watts, impersonates Marilyn Monroe after a You Tube video makes her famous. So for all of you out there wondering who I'd be if I could be anyone here it goes.

If I could be anyone I would be...

Sarah Jane Smith

I am a Doctor Who fan and Sarah Jane was my favorite companion of all time. I have always fantasized about being able to travel around with the Doctor, having neck or nothing adventures while battling Cybermen and Daaleks. Sarah Jane was the coolest chick in the universe to me. Brilliant with attitude and courage to spare, she traveled in the Tardis with the last of the Time Lords. She even went on to have her own adventures, fighting aliens and saving the Earth many times over.

RIP Elisabeth Sladen. You brought Sarah Jane to life and are terribly missed.

Now go with me to buy Talli's fabulous book.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My New Story And Other Awesome News

Here is the cover of my newest tale, Nathan's Angel. Isn't that heavenly seraph one sexy beast? Rrrowr! Anyway, Nathan will be released on October 16 from Amber Allure. This was a very difficult story for me to write as it is my first foray into writing gay characters. I wanted to write something for some of my dearest friends who have supported me over the years.

September is going to be a hot month around here because I am also having two very cool authors visit. Kelley Smith will be here on the 22nd to tell us about herself and share her new novel, Glittering Ashes. Stephen Brayton, a previous guest author, will be here on the 28th to promote his exciting new thriller, Beta. I can't wait for their visits and I hope you'll stop by.

I also have a brand new puppy. A little shih tzu female whom my nephew named Vegas, joined our household on Friday. She is the cutest little thing. I hope to have some pics posted here soon. She is beige and white with one blue eye and one brown. She is such an adorable little fluff ball. We got her from someone who had taken her because her owner, a show breeder, could not sell her. Her eye color is considered undesirable. Poor thing! It was love at first sight for all of us.

Hope you all have an awesome week and after my temp assignment today, I will be getting back to my regular visiting and commenting (I swear) so I will definitely be seeing you all around the blogosphere again. I hated being away. I thank you all for being such great friends to me during this discombobulated time.


9/11...Ten Years On

It's hard to imagine that it has been ten years since that horrible day, yet, time has marched on and while the wounds have scarred over, they are still very much with us. Each anniversary of this day that has come and gone over these last ten years had me torn between, "God, I am so sick of reliving everything over and over. Just stop" to watching every single news item, reliving every single moment in my mind's eye and praying.

I remember most of that day with a clarity that stuns me. And I was no where near New York City or Washington DC. I was here in Chicago and in my office at 300 W. Washington on the 21st floor, just three blocks north of the Sears, now Willis, Tower. I sat at my desk, opened my Diet Pepsi, then got into voice mail and started answering messages. It was just before 8:00AM Central Time and the first tower had been struck.

My co-worker Lisa came over to my desk, ghost white. "They think a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. There was an explosion."

"What?" In my mind I'm thinking a Cessna or some other small plane that had some engine trouble.

"They think it was a jet. There's a lot fire and smoke. We turned Good Morning America on because we had to adjust the picture on the new tv for the meeting later."

That brought me up short. "Holy shit!. Are you serious?" She nodded. Her blue eyes were so huge they looked like swimming pools. "We're all there watching, if you want to come on back. No one's here, really.." Our company had been having its annual conference so most of our office, at least all the bosses, were out in Las Vegas.

"Yeah. I've just got to finish up the consultant schedules."

"Okay." She left, but somehow I could not bring myself to do it. I grabbed my soda and headed to be with my co-workers. I walked in that room, just in time to see the second plane crash. All the oxygen was sucked from my lungs and I could not process what I had just seen live on tv. It reminded me horribly of that moment when I watched the Challenger explode fifteen years earlier. Everyone started exclaiming and crying. I dropped my soda and simply stared at the screen. I fumbled for a chair and sat down, my mind screaming "What the fuck?" over and over.

The next thing I remember, my friend was Teena handing me a napkin. I hadn't realized I was crying. I dabbed my eyes and continued to watch, ABC News had now taken over and Peter Jennings was the voice of reason to my scattered brain. The phone rang, making us all jump. Lisa answered and she started talking to one of our engineering consultants who happened to be in one of our member bakeries in New York. He said he didn't have long, but that he was going to extend his stay and try and rent a car because he didn't know if he'd be able to get out that night. They talked a while long, but I don't recall what was said because by this time the news that the Pentagon had been struck came across.

"Oh my God," another co-worker, Tom, exclaimed. "The Pentagon, too. I wonder how many planes were taken over? What other targets are there?"

Those words frightened me because we were right smack in the middle of downtown Chicago just up the street from America's tallest building. I ran to the window and looked out. I could just make out the top portion of the Sears Tower and my ears strained for the whine of a jet engine.

"Jesus Christ!" someone yelled, I spun back only to see a rumble of gray smoke and debris roll across the television screen. The South Tower had collapsed. I could not believe what I had just seen. It was weird and horrifying, like seeing a mass of red and slowly putting it together as blood stains.

Word came that a jet had crashed in Pennsylvania. We were starting to talk about that when a little while later the North Tower came down. I remember thinking with the rod on top, it looked like a collapsing birthday cake. A dumb thought, sure, but it was what ran through my brain at the time.

Talk started about other planes and other targets when we heard that the FAA had grounded all flights until further notice. But, they still could not account for four planes. A little while later, someone from the building manager's office came in and said that they were evacuating the entire Loop. I remember getting my stuff together and heading for the elevator. I was scared and wanted to take the stairs, but our building had people riding in the elevators with us and assuring us that this was the fastest way.

Outside was totally surreal. There was no noise at all. It was like the cemetery hush, magnified. All these people and cars, but no noise. I had a seven block walk to the train and I was terrified the whole time. I kept craning my neck, listening for a plane, yet trying to walk as fast as I could. I wanted my parents in the worst way.

The ride home on the train was a strange blur. I could not think, I could not concentrate on anything. My mind was just in a whirl. I got off my train and got on a bus. It was weird because instead of getting off the bus at the regular stop, I got off by old grammar school and walked that way to my parents' house. I had not walked that route since I was 14 and finishing 8th grade.

I stayed at my folks' house most of the rest of the day. My mom took me home later and I had a message from our company president, Bernie, saying to stay home and don't come in until Thursday morning. I watched the television all night and I recall that I went to bed right when the sun was starting to come over the horizon.

Ten years is a long time and yet, it still seems like just yesterday. This country has been changed forever. I have been changed forever. I think I'm going to do some serious reflection today and pray for peace.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Baaaack...Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back!!!! I really hated being away from you all and missed you something fierce, but the good news is I'm DONE with my story. I'll share the pertinent details with you very soon. Lots of exciting things are planned for this month and there will be tons more news coming soon. I'm still discombobulated so bear with me.

I am very excited to be a part of Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. This is where we writers bare our souls and give a peek into our crazed craniums. We'll be talking about our struggles, insecurities, fears, hopes, breakthroughs, as well as sharing words of encouragement. There will be posts on the first Wednesday of every month for the group.

Today, I want to talk about one of my biggest fears in writing and that is my fear of my work not being good enough. I love to write, to tell stories, but when I am in the midst of working on something new, I reach this point where the words won't flow. I suddenly am overwhelmed with thoughts of "this story sucks," "what made you think you could ever write, you big loser" and I physically cannot write a word.

It's like going from finding golden nuggets in a river with a pan to having to take a pick ax to solid rock and getting nothing but rock with maybe a few flecks of gold. I hate every syllable, I get headaches, want to vomit and I feel trapped. My production level drops to the point where it will take me hours to produce a paragraph. Part of the reason I took a hiatus from the blogging was because I was having a serious breakdown over this story and I was making myself horribly ill. The day that I announced my hiatus, I had a migraine of epic proportions and could barely see to type.

Now that the thing is done, I am on pins and needles waiting to see what my editor will think. Will she hate it? Will I have to make a million revisions? This is story is different from anything I've ever written because for the first time, my main characters are gay. I wanted to write something to honor some very special friends. Did I do the characters justice? Will my friends like the story?

All these things crash around in my brain like a psychotic bowler every single time I write a story and I don't foresee it going away any time soon. How do you all deal with insecurities and fears?

Here are the other participants in the Insecure Writers Support Group and I encourage you to visit these amazing people. Pass along some blog love to them and you'll take away a lot from the experience. Thanks Alex!