Friday, October 24, 2014

47 and Holding Becoming In Touch

We all have a little gypsy inside us 
     Do you remember a country song called “29 and Holding.” Aside from making me smile it always brought home for me our desire to hold on to where we were verses where we are going. I’m forty-seven soon to be forty-eight. I have no desire to go backwards. I’m curvy, pleasingly plump, and bodaciously spectacular in all the right places, or in other words; I've developed that mid-life chubbiness.  I won’t lie there are times when it did bother me, when I would look in the mirror and see that my body was changing after maintaining for over ten years at a comfortable slimmer size.
     My husband loves my curves, and I know it’s the truth. As abrasive as he can be, I would be the first person to know it if he thought otherwise. I like who I am, how I look, in some ways my curvaceous figure reminds me a little of my late grandma whom I loved to death. She was, in fact, my idol growing up. I wanted to be like her, good, kind, warm, and loving. Her hugs were the best; she was soft and always smelled good.
     A very brilliant young woman got me thinking about how much time we spend watching our weight. Checking the scale to make sure we haven’t gained an ounce. Her point is how we need to accept ourselves as we are. Not as how NY or Paris runways claim we should look. I remember growing up in the eighties and hearing about models overdosing on drugs because it was more important to be skinny then healthy. These young girls were pushed to keep themselves looking like skeletons. It’s sad that the self-image society has sold so many young women could be so harmful. Like gullible ninny’s we buy into it.
     I like me. I’ve been heavy, skinny, curvy and some place in-between.  Where I am now, makes me laugh. I make silly faces at my kids without worrying if someone will see. When I Skype with my daughter, we get downright silly at times. There is a double chin face which is when you bring your chin all the way down to your chest, so it looks like you have a double chin. True, we honestly do, do this. I want my kids to be ok with who they are whether they are fat, skinny, curvy, tall, short or whatever the case may be.
     As a parent how can we tell our kids to be healthy if we sell them a bag of goods about what healthy is? Aside from smoking, I am healthy. My blood pressure is normal; my sugar and cholesterol is also normal. Healthy is in the eyes of the beholder. We each are unique and special, and come in all different shapes and sizes.  Women are getting stronger; the advent of the internet has given us all a platform to explore who we are. It’s helped us to realize that others out in the world we live in are not much different from us.
     There have been photo diary blogs. Podcasts, blogs, books articles all geared towards learning how to accept who we are.  We all watched Oprah struggle with her weight on national television. It seems that she finally did come to accept who she is as well.
     So here’s the deal, every blog post I am going to add one photo of myself. As I am, warts, and all. I know there will be good hair days and bad ones. Moments I would rather not share, but these blog posts are as much about honesty and acceptance as they are about sharing a good story.
 I’ve spent most of my life avoiding being in front of the camera as my friends and family can attest to. So share a year in my life, good bad or indifferent come along for the ride with me and the girls, (my dogs). See first-hand how silly life can be. You may be asking why I would do this, simple we all have fears.My image in  photos is one that has always bothered me. It doesn't matter if I look like a million bucks or look like a hag.

Ok Need some more coffee
     On a side note, I have been contemplating searching for an agent. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I am looking into it. One drawback is it would take my next book longer to get to print. Also, I’m not sure I want to give away my copyrights to the highest bidder. It is a dilemma and if you have been through a similar situation, please feel free to chime in and let me know about your experience and where you weigh in on the issue. After all input is never a bad thing.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Come out and Meet Local Paranormal Author and Blogger Robin A Dilks

Book Signing Scheduled for December 6, 2014 
Come out and join me Saturday December 6, 2014 from 6:00 pm -10:00 pm, at Days of Olde Antique Center. It's time for their annual Christmas by Candlelight 
Store event. Which is always a great success and fun night for all.  
I will be on hand to sign copies of Racheal Awakened. With each book purchased and signed you be automatically entered to win a lovely 
Daughters of Lilith Rose Necklace that will be raffled off later that night. 
There will be food, fun and wonderful collectible items for sale. 

I hope you'll join me at this wonderful night of fun. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Albertville Black Bear Part III By Guest Blogger Todd Serad

     I hope you have enjoyed our guest blogger, Todd Serad and his wonderful, scary tale, “The Albertville Black Bear”. Please take a moment and wish him a Happy Birthday. Say thanks for letting us enter his world for a few nights of thrills.
     Legends started as tales told around the fire, whispered and spoken in quiet voices. Every culture has its myths or stories about things that can't be explained. The chupacabra, big foot, the thunderbird, or boogie man. They’re the tales that as kids kept us up late at night, afraid in our beds.  So as adults we can tell ourselves there is nothing to fear. Its only a story right?….. Or is it?

Part III
The Albertville Black Bear
     “Crap,” said Zach in a  clear and direct manner.  Ben and Seth looked over at him.  Ben then glanced over at Jasper.  He was still in his corner, still shaking violently.  He had not fired a shot.  Ben considered that too, probably be a good thing.  Seth slowly walked toward the bullet ridden wall.  He lined his eye up with a rather pronounced hole and suddenly lurched back in fear.  He fell backwards and landed on his bottom side.  He scrambled back to his feet and shuffled to the opposite wall never taking his eyes off the holes in which he just peered through.
     “What, what was it?  What did you see,” asked Ben.
     “Eyes,” said Seth, “eyes, but not animal.”
     “A man?” said Ben.
     “No.  Nothing I have ever seen.  Old eyes, eyes of knowing.  These eyes knew things,” said Seth as he limply slid down toward the floor.  “We are going to die here tonight,” he added.
     “The hell we are,” said Ben, “get up, reload, we’re going out there.”  Zach looked over at Seth, who was weakly shaking his head no, but got up begrudgingly to reload.
     Shortly the three brothers were outside again.  There was still no wind, no sound, just heavy snowfall.  The three stood examining the savagely attacked wall.  Huge claw marks had been driven inches deep into the slats.
     “This is no black bear,” said Seth.  There was no acknowledgement from the other two.  Ben took a knee as his fingers sifted through the top layer of snow.
     “Blood,” Ben said, “we hit it, this thing can be killed.”  Ben stood, turned and looked into the woods with his eyes searching for any movement at all.  For a moment, he found himself in awe of the pristine beauty of the woods but was simultaneously terrified of the horror they held within.  He then noticed some branches that were missing snow.  A pathway of an array of branches with missing snow.
     “It came, or left, from that direction,” said Ben pointing out into the dark snowy forest.
     “And what, you would like to go in and chase after it,” said Seth, “no thank you. I think we should just leave here now.”  Ben turned to evaluate his brother’s well being.
     “Feel this air?  It is cold, nothing moves,” said Seth.  The snow began to come down even heavier.  Large flakes that made them blink when coming in contact with their eyes.
     “We should go back inside,” said Ben.  Seth nervously looked out over the woods as both Ben and Zach turned to head back.  As the two of them rounded the corner to the front door, they heard Seth shout followed by a loud gunshot blast.  Ben spun around just in time to avoid being shot as Jasper had blasted a hole through the front door.  As he yelled for Seth, he could hear a quick thrashing followed by immediate cracking sounds on the other side of the shack where he was standing by the woods.  Ben and Zach dashed to where Seth was standing within seconds.  There was no sign of him.  The snow was tossed about.       Ben saw drops of blood.  Zach pointed to a tree stump with something on it about twenty feet in the woods. Ben rushed in and as he neared the stump he could see that Seth was stretched over the top of it.  His head hung over the one side of the stump with his eyes wide open, frozen in terror from his final seconds of life.  His chest was facing upward.  Ben had never seen anything like it before, but his chest was pulled apart by its ribs.  As if some magnificent pair of wicked and evil hands dove straight into the middle of his chest and yanked his ribs ferociously outward and away.  The snapped front ribs hung down a few inches along each side of his torso by nothing more than layers of skin and muscle.      
     Zach pulled Ben away.  Ben noticed Seth’s gun by a tree.  The steel barrel had been twisted around it.
     At the moment they reached the cabin Zach noticed the tall, thin shadowy, twisted horned figure standing by the edge of the front corner of the cabin.  It was on the way to the front door.  The heavy snow made Ben blink.  He tried to get a good look at this thing, but could only make out its size, and with unnatural speed it advanced.  Both Zach and Ben turned to run.
     They scrambled around the opposite corner of the cabin, and then Ben rounded the next corner to head back toward the front.
     He stopped immediately when he saw a shadowy leg step out at the front of the shack.  It had back tracked Ben thought and within a second he spun around to retreat toward the back of the cabin.  He half expecting to collide with Zach, but he did not.  Hearing the heavy crunching steps approaching from the wooded side, and he changed direction and bolted toward another nearby shack and leaned against the outside wall as flat as he could.
     He heard a distant scream.  Silence.  Quiet.  His heart raced.  Then he heard it, a guttural sound from around the corner of the shack where he was standing.  His grip tightened on his rifle.  He wanted to jump out in front of it, to get a good look at what demon this creature was that tormented them.  Fear kept him adhered to the side of the wall.  He looked ahead to the woods in front of him.    
     All he saw was the still heavy falling snow.  The crunching sound grew closer.  He saw a dizzying number of limbs, branches, and brush all of which covered in heaps of white powdery snow.  Crunch, closer.  He wondered in which direction Zach ran.  Crunch, still closer.  Who let out that scream that he just heard moments ago?  Crunch, just around the corner, breathing.  Loud nostril breathing packed with snotty mucus.  A snort was followed by a scratching sound and then with an alarming degree of delicacy there was a slight touch on his upper arm.  A slender dagger of a claw gently slid down his arm in a caress like motion.
     Immediate fear welled up within Ben, and he ran with adrenaline fueled speed into the woods.  The snow was deep, but it seemed to Ben that his feet were not even touching the white substance.  He ran with such speed, slamming and knocking away limbs and branches.  He dodged trees, legs never slowing down, nothing on his mind except to run as hard and fast as possible.  Ahead there was a thicket.  It was not even a second thought, Ben plowed directly through it.  He felt several hundred miniature teeth bite into and cling to various parts of his flesh.  As he continued through the thicket, those same teeth began to rip away at this skin.  He felt fire across his left cheek.  A vine reached up and ensnared his boot causing him to sail through the air several feet before landing with a soft puff in the snow.  He picked his head up immediately listening for the sound of his pursuer.  Nothing.  He rolled onto his back and sat up while feeling his cheek.       He smeared the hot, viscous fluid.  Blood Ben thought.  He realized he had just plummeted through a sticker bush.  He began to feel other areas of burn.   The top of one hand ached, both pant legs were shredded, and his shins were sliced.  He soon realized that he had lost his rifle in the snow during the fall.  He pulled out his pistol and thought to himself that it does bleed and that it can be hurt.  Ben stood and began to walk slowly not knowing where he was heading.
     He came to a long narrow clearing and quickly realized it was a creek.  The area had a significant snowfall in the last two days, but the weather had not been that cold prior.  He heard a branch snap behind him about fifty yards.  He stood still and listened.  There was another snap and a few crunches.  Ben moved without hesitation over the creek.  Nearly across his foot broke through the ice, and he tumbled into the creek up to his knee.  He leapt out with astonishing strength and speed and scurried to the bank on the other side where he sat against a tree while carefully screening the woods on the other side of the creek.
     He saw movement.   He raised his pistol and took aim, but did not fire.  He was going to make his shots count.  The creature slid from behind one tree to the next with supernatural ease.  It was tall; it was thinner than he thought it would be.  Ben thought the creature had a creepy unnaturally long and angular body structure.  Only seeing a silhouette, he could see the sinewy muscularity of it.    
The four twisted horns shooting off its head were the most unnerving.  Several feet long, they twisted and curled in a number of different directions.  All coming to what looked like a tapered and wickedly sharp point.  He wondered how it did not impale itself.
     The creature stopped and stooped down behind a large old pine tree.  It watched Ben, and Ben watched it.  Neither moved.  Ben thought to himself that his foot was very cold.  He leaned his head against a tree to rest it for a moment while quietly wishing for daylight; it could not be long now.  As he looked up at the treetops, and realized that the snow had stopped falling, when had that happened he thought.  It also occurred to him that there was still no sound anywhere.  Quiet.  Peaceful and tranquil.  He realized that the sky, although gray, was beginning to lighten a little.  Daylight.  A loud snap followed by a crunch was heard to his left.  Ben looked over in the direction of the noise and saw nothing.  He then looked to where he saw the creature last; it was not there.    
      Lurching upright, Ben began to move away in the opposite direction of the sound.  The beast began pursuit.  Fear quickly ignited Ben’s adrenaline and the surge filled his body instantaneously once again.  He sprinted.
After running some distance, he heard the creature alongside him.  Some hundred yards away he could see its silhouette moving in an effortless loping fashion.  Amazed and terrified he saw another clearing just ahead, and at the same time the world around him was becoming clearer with the grayish sunrise.       Ben continued running, he began to see that it was more than just a clearing, he could see houses.  Ben ran with a renewed spirit.  He tapped into all remaining energy.  He could hear the beast behind him, gaining on him.  He could hear its immensity crashing through the woods easily.  Ben dared not turn to look for fear of falling and becoming prey at the brink of salvation.  With one last burst, he sprinted out of the woods and into the clearing.  Before him were several homes.  He could not see them, but he heard children playing, dogs barking.
     He stopped and spun around to face the woods.  Breathing heavily he searched with his eyes for the creature.  He saw nothing.  He took a few steps backward toward the village while still watching the woods.  After several steps, he turned and jogged away, looking back over his shoulder two more times.  Nothing.
     “And that’s the God’s honest truth, I swear it,” said Ben.  He had made his way to a town named “Conner’s Way” just south of Albertville.  That very same evening Ben sat at a long and narrow pine table with two other men at the local tavern.  Each had a stein of beer in front of him.  All of them already consumed a fair share of beer when Ben had just finished his story.
     “That’s quite a tale I must say,” said a bald, stocky man with alcohol glazed eyes.  The other man with a short and slender build nodded in agreement.  He too was equally inebriated.
     “I need to go back to find my brother.  I need to go back to kill this thing,” said Ben, “it bleeds like everything else.”
     “I do have one question,” said the bald man, “if what you say is true, this thing being as swift and powerful as you say, how is it that you alone survived?  How is that you live to talk about it when it could have easily killed you at any time?”
     “I have considered that,” Ben said, “I believe it wants me, expects me to do exactly what I am doing, bringing more people for slaughter, I don’t know.”
     “Tell you what mister, I don’t think you actually met the Pine Barren’s demon. More than likely an enormous and very hungry black bear, that’s what I think.” Said the bald man, “Gunther, and I will help you go find your brother first thing in the morning.”
Ben leaned back in relief.
     “Thank you,” said Ben, “I’ll see the two of you tomorrow morning at the edge of town, the far end of the meadow at 8am.”
    “We’ll be there,” said the bald man, “we’re always up for a good hunt, we’ll get that bear.”
     The following morning after waiting since dawn, the recruits from the evening prior had not shown, and he did not blame them.  After the haze of beer wore off they probably came to their senses, he thought.  Ben took one last look at the friendly confines of the town and then turned toward the woods.  The sun was out today and created a brilliant glare off the icy covered snow.  Ben noticed the gentle breeze, and the sounds of some birds.  Animal sounds, he missed those sounds.  He tapped various parts of his body checking for ammo, guns, and knives.  A mental checklist.  He took a deep breath, thought about Seth, Zach, Jasper, Abe, and his family.  He began walking forward and slowly vanished into the woods.

This concludes our guest blog,story. I hope you enjoyed it and got a Halloween thrill. A special thank you to Todd Serad for sharing his tale. I know I loved it and so did many of you. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grammar Police Need Not Apply…

     For almost thirty years I have been an avid reader, reading thousands of books. From fiction, biographies, historical texts, to general nonfiction. Since I began writing, I find myself doing extensive research. Research on subjects for books or blog posts, or even texts for school. It always amazes me when I see an article bashing an author for grammar. If that is the worst issue, you can find in the story perhaps their time would be better spent writing a textbook on proper grammar.
     It would be one thing if there were extensive grammatical errors in some of these works but the truth is there often aren't. Another point to mention is what one person may feel should be said one way may be grammatically correct as it is. To say typo’s, misprints and grammatical errors don't occur in books produced by large publishing houses is frankly bunk. I've had teachers tell us as students to disregard a misprint in the text. Famous authors often can have typos in their  stories. You’re reading a book for the story. As a reader, I would rather get my hands on a good story that takes me to another world then read something that is absolutely boring, but grammatically correct.
     The human eye will overlook errors; it is a truth in writing. When we write and reread, it isn't hard to miss something small. With that being said, I cannot refute the fact that a good editor for a book is essential. There are plenty of reputable ones out there for hire that do this tedious task day in and day out. Winging it and not going through the process is just plain lazy. There are programs such as grammarly, white smoke, etc. that are out there to help writers, and students pull together a well-written document. So to not use them is foolish.
     What truly burns my cookies is the dogged focus some reviewers seem to have taken on Indie writers for not taking the corporate publishing route. In this changing world, I for one am glad to be able to read books that I would never have had the opportunity to read otherwise. Let face it, the big publishing house can reject, ignore, or stick your manuscript on the shelf because they don’t feel the time is right. It may sit and mold for years out of sight.
      The growing trend of “reputable” authors who are turning to self-publishing is a strong indicator that the industry is changing for the better. Now if only the academics, libraries, and other holdouts could get off their pedestals it might actually create a level playing field.
     With that being said, if you’re reviewing a book, paper, or document you are supposed to be reading the story. If your focus is solely on the editing then, you aren't bringing life to the article you’re writing or being fair to the writer. Editing is clinical, technical and to the point. Writing, on the other hand, is about emotion. I haven’t had a reviewer shred my writing for the editing, but it does happen. More frequently than is often fair, these negative responses have long lasting effects. Not to mention the negative focus that is placed on editing clouds the actual story which may be great.
     So a word to the wise, if you’re reviewing a book, just remember it isn't a far stretch to have the reviewer become the reviewed.  It is very easy to sit in a tree with the other monkeys and throw poop, but what happens when the poop is thrown back?

I hope you will check back tomorrow night for the conclusion of The Albertville Black Bear by Todd Serad. 

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As a recently married 46 year old I am in the process of finishing my degree. Working to take care of my family and live my life.Blogging, working, writing, and chugging along like most of us.  Who am I ? I am you, I am me, I am your mother, friend, the best and worst that we each have inside of us. I am a different perspective and find myself fascinated by the interesting moments in life.

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