Brief Story: 8%

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness month. Mental health is a tough subject. No one wants to talk about it because no one wants to be declared crazy or defective. The truth is, we have all suffered from some form of depression or anxiety in a severe form. Most of us still are.

My life has taken on many different aspects and the inspiration for this story came about in many ways. I have always wanted to try this style of storytelling as I think it relates to a lot of our every day lives for many of us.

I would like to preface that I do not condone any of the actions in this story. Communicate. Speak. Get help even when it seems useless.

8%

Tuesday

7:57AM

I jerk awake when the thud of the big back door echoes through the house. My wife – going away for work – again without saying goodbye. I hear the throttle of her twenty year old beater decrescendo as she left the house – most likely still frustrated from my lack of employment. I really can’t blame her. Everything has collapsed in the last few months since one of the worst days of my life. Of our life.

I shut my eyes to calm myself, letting my heart beat fall in time with the rhythm of Carl’s snoring. He lay curled in the crook of my knees. Right where I’d left him the night before. He’s been exceptionally clingy as of late and complains if I’m out of sight for too long. I can’t even run to the back yard without it sounding like he’s being tormented.

I revel quietly in the feeling of being wanted and I reach down to scratch his long, velvety ears.. I draw in my phone from its cable; checking the time and charge.

Battery at 100%

8:31AM

I bring Carl back in from his walk around the block. His mood a bit more sprite. I envied his consistent happiness. As long as he was fed, scratched, cuddled and cleaned, he was more than happy to smile and lick your tears away. That seemed a lot more often these days. I wish I could return the favor, but I think he might get confused as to why I was licking his face.

I shoveled food into his bowl while he danced to the familiar chime of the kibble against the metal. I sucked down lukewarm coffee, giggling to his open mouthed munching. I’m not sure if my wife thought to leave me any, or if she just didn’t have enough time to finish. Either way, I didn’t mind. It was something to fill my stomach and I didn’t care for breakfast anymore. It seems like such a waste of time.

Battery at 98%

9:52AM

With Carl draped over my lap and taking his mid-morning nap, I had exhausted every aspect of online job searching. Applications, resume, email checks, phone calls – all of it!. I’d also sent a few texts to my wife with basic check-in questions. All were unanswered and unchecked. We’ve spent the last two nights with the silent treatment. Our argument on Saturday about hiding things from her and wanting to know the real reason I was let go from my decent salaried job. One that she had encouraged me to work for and pushed me over the finish line when I landed the interview.

“What was so bad that you can’t tell me? I’m your wife!”

She must be hearing rumors by now. I was stupid to think that no one would say anything.

I replied with frustrated silence. I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t reveal to her what a monster I’d been. So, in turn, she has been silent. I deserve it.

Tears flood my face like a busted water pipe while utter defeat poisoned my heart. I failed. I failed at everything and now I’m failing her.

Battery at 70%

1:46PM

After a few hours of distracted gaming, I check my phone to see no messages, no emails, no calls. It was like I had disappeared entirely, or was sucked back in to the 90’s where we weren’t so dependent on smart phones. The distraction obviously didn’t cure me ailment. I felt nothing but heaviness as soon as the adrenaline induced stimuli ended.

Carl whines and drops his paw on my arm. I think he sensed me spiraling. I looked at his honey colored eyes and could see the concern. I lent him a half-hearted smile and kissed his noggin. He blew air through his mouth, causing his over extended lips to flap before plopping his head back into my lap.

I want to feel something. Something good. Like a shot of adrenaline except… maybe… endorphins. And I only know one way to get it. The same one that made me into the trash that I am.

I step inside the bathroom and close the door on Carl. He objected. With the blank phone screen staring at me, I dive into the system folders.

“Vice” glared back at me, with the white letters burning into my eyes. I sat here for a minute, debating if I really wanted to give in to my demon. Do I want to feed the very thing that is a gremlin to my entire life right now? Why not? It wasn’t like that before. It has never had a hold on my like this before. What more damage could it do?

I tap the icon, enter the password, and there they were. Displayed for my pleasure. It doesn’t take long before I’m ready.

Battery at 50%

2:03PM

Carl scratched at the bathroom door. I can’t see him right now. I can’t let him see the monster while he is out. I couldn’t imagine every letting my wife see me like this.

With my hands clasped around the sink, I stare at the swirling water as it enters the drain. She’s left her ring by the soap. Does she not love me anymore? Is being married to me worse than ‘death do us part?’

I lean forward into the mirror and stare at the circles under my eyes. My scarred and wrinkled skin. My ten day face fuzz that grew in patches. What a waste you are, I say softly to my reflection. What a waste of a human, you scum! You can’t even contain your fucking self! You are weak! You’re so fucking weak! You can’t be strong for her! You can’t do anything! She’s done it all for you! Maybe you shouldn’t exist! Then you wouldn’t be such a fucking burden to society. Such a menace!

Carl cries loudly in protest. This snaps me out of my attack, but I keep staring at the ugly face I’ve turned into. I wipe the tears and mucus from the foreign facade, washed my hands, and reached to smell her bathrobe.

I miss her.

Battery at 46%

3:43PM

I’d just accommodated Carl in his demand for his afternoon walk. The smell of rain wafted through the house as I pushed open the door. It was one of my favorite smells. Images flash though my mind of earthy, wet dirt under my nails. It was the perfect time to dig. The perfect time to watch the mud squeeze through your fingers and toes, invading your flesh like soaked coffee grounds. If you dug deeper, you could almost see roots reaching for the sky to drink.

My wife loves the sound of rain. She always said it was like the clouds were putting on a show and the rain was their music. She’ll be home soon. It’s too bad she will miss it. I check my phone, but still no response. I don’t blame her. How could I? She has no idea about me. She has no idea what I’m capable of. But now, I’m pretty sure she knows that I’m a waste of time. I wasted her time. I’ve let everything take control and I can’t let go. Now I’m a burden and she has to carry the shame.

She wants me to go to a therapist. Or even couple’s counseling. Nothing can fix this. Nothing can cure it. I was born with a nefarious heart. It only warmed up a little to let her in. But it was greedy. It was jealous. And it has been most unkind.

I hear her wind chimes drum, calling for the audience to get to their seats. Carl obeyed, naturally. He loved the rain too. It was his idea, after all. Once the rain started, he begged me to go dance with him. And dance we did. I think he enjoys the mud too. We romped and played and yelled to the skies that everything was okay, for the moment. Just an ounce of pure joy.

Battery at 35%

3:59PM

Carl and I sat on the tile floor in the kitchen. We had had our fill of the rain and were enjoying getting ourselves dry. I wipe his paws gently, talking to him sweetly about the mud between his toes. He sat patiently, panting and cooling on the cold floor.

My wife likes things neat and orderly. I’m a little messy. These days, I try to make her happy by keeping things tidy. I’ve made a mess of Carl and rather than making more of a mess in the bathtub, I decided to treat him to a grooming. I’m sure he will be excited as he is well fed by all the assistants.

I mention his groomer’s name and Carl’s ears perked up. Rather than his normal tail wag and eyes widening, he whimpered and turned his body into mine. I’m not sure why he’s being so different today. I never turn away a good snuggle, so I wrap my arms around him and relax my chest on his back.

Normally, Carl would only tolerate this for a short while. As if to say, “If you need to get it out of your system, I’ll give you ten seconds.” But he made an exception this time. Maybe he was enjoying our day together.

Carl’s hug had a strange effect and I find myself relaxing just too much. I can’t let that happen. I can’t be any more weak than I already am. If I get too weak, the monster will take over.

After placing my clothes in the wash and allowing the fresh ones warm my skin, Carl and I walked the street to the groomer. The rain was gone, but that didn’t stop the occasional breeze from drying the trees along the way. When the groomer takes Carl, he again whimpers. He was refusing to go back, even when offered a treat. I apologized with the, “I’m not sure what’s gotten into him lately.”

I took a picture and texted my wife, asking her to pick him up on her way home. Rather than no response, there was fury. There was rage. All caps, long paragraphs. Mostly about not having money for the groomer. Not having money at all and not having any justification for it.

Oh, no. I’ve upset her again. What a fool I am. I can’t do anything right.

Battery at 34%…

33%…

32%

4:38PM

I’ve kissed Carl a hundred times in an attempt to reassure him. Meanwhile, my phone is vibrating to its death. I’ve warned the groomer that he has been super anxious today and to tell his mom when she picked him up. I prepaid for his cleaning. My wife doesn’t know that the money wasn’t hers. This money is dirty, but Carl is worth it.

I text her that I’ve prepaid. She continues to question where I had the money. She was the one in control. If only she knew what really controlled me.

As I walk home, this knot arose in my throat. I feel like a shell. I feel like I’m full of air and could blow away at any moment. And that I could be gone – missing and no one would care. They might even praise my absence. Praise that they were finally free from the extra weight I gave them. Tears flowed, my cheeks flushed, and all I wanted was to no longer exist in that moment. If I could evaporate just like the left over raindrops dripping onto the sidewalk.

I wish the rain could wash away all of these feelings. I wish it could rewind time and take me back to that first moment I gave in to my desire. The moment I jumped into the suit of a hideous creature.

In a split second, it was like someone had snapped their fingers, hypnotizing me. I went numb, my eyes dried, and the knot swallowed. Images of my life as a child, when the foundation for this dark heart was laid, inside the closet with a slanted roof. With the belt and the broomstick.

How I tried to say something, but was hushed and told to get over it. “Everyone was fucked up,” they’d say, as if this was just my rite of passage. Like an inherited sickness. My innocence was stolen and my monster was born.

I met my wife on a sunny day, wandering around a popular abandoned mansion. Just when I had covered my monster’s filth and finding an exit, the light beamed through colored glass and landed on her beautiful skin. We married when we were old enough. But I still couldn’t get rid of my urges.

Here we are now, married for a while. I’m unemployed and useless to her. There is no solace to our story.

I have a plan.

5:15PM

The wife is calling. I stare at my screen, tracing the number with my eyes. Her name already burned in my heart. I have to do this for her.

I find it ironic that now she wants to talk. It’s the twelfth hour. I can’t talk now. There’s nothing new she will say.

I swipe to send her a text, “The password is 8ight.”

I squeezed the volume button on the side of my phone. I only want silence. Let these last moments be quiet.

Battery at 18%

5:24PM

Steam fills the bathroom as the hot water sprays heavily from the shower head. I’ve removed my clothing, folded them, and put them on top of the toilet lid. After running my fingers around and around on her ring, I place it on top of my pile. I want her to know that I still love her. I still want to be close to her.

I scroll through the angry texts, the missed calls, and the muddy picture of Carl with concern in his soft brown eyes.

He knew all along. Of course he did. He’s my smarty Carly.

A new message popped up at the top of the screen, “I have Carl.”

Battery at 12%

5:32PM

I lay out towels on the floor in case water some how splashes out. I don’t want her to have a mess to clean up. I found a pairing knife in the kitchen. Razor blades are too fancy to own; a random kitchen knife will suffice.

My body went from numb and robotic, to warm and anxious as I stared at the folder once again. My monster was alive and demanded to be fed before the end. It will leave me when it’s over. It will migrate to some other poor soul with an unquenchable hunger. What’s the harm in satiating myself at this point? “Vice” is right. There is no escape.

I tap the screen, enter the password, and leave my hands to my nether regions.

5:40PM

I leave my phone unlocked and on the sink. She’ll see it when she needs to.

Battery at 10%

5:42PM

The hot water burns my skin. I hiss while moving the shower head to the lower end of the bathtub. My blood is still pumping heavily through my veins, so at least my skin is softened for the blade.

While sitting in the tub, I stare at my naked body. Every bruise, blemish, and freckle disgusted me. I examine the blade and handle of the knife, thinking of a good spot to penetrate. Which would be the fastest? The most effective?

I’ve got it. And with enough pressure to slice into a chicken breast, my plan is complete.

5:43PM

The water no longer burns, but warms my quickly cooling body. As the red rushes down the drown, I find it funny I’ve got what I wanted. The rain is washing me away.

I’m starting to drift now. Everything is fuzzy. I can’t help but think of my afternoon adventure with Carl. It played through my fleeting mind like an homemade movie. My little moment of happiness with my best friend.

It’s almost over. I don’t feel any pain now, just warmth. Soon, my misery will be completely gone. The burden I have made everyone else carry will be washed away down the drain.

I’m sorry. I didn’t want it to be this way.

Battery at 9%

5:49PM

She comes in through the back door, understandable upset. Carl pushes through her legs, running to the bathroom door and starts to whine softly. Hearing the shower running, she rolled her eyes, “Probably the excuse to not answering me or why dinner hasn’t been started.”

She puts down her things and braces herself on the counter. Exhausted from the day and her life, she exhales loudly.

Why is this so hard? Why hide anything from me?

She made her way to the bathroom, shoo’d Carl away and knocked on the door.

“We need to talk when you’re done. Don’t take too long. I don’t need a hefty water bill,” she noticed the steam coming from the bottom of the door, “And turn down the heat for fuck sake!”

No response. She huffs as she turns to start dinner.

6:00PM

She goes back to the door and the shower is still running. This time, she turns the knob, but doesn’t see much through the steam. She notices no shadow behind the curtain and the unlocked phone on the sink.

The texts from her were open on the screen with an unsent message.

I have only loved you.\ Please take care of Carl. Please take care of you. I’m sorry for everything.

She noticed her ring placed on top of the neatly folded clothes. She’d forgotten to put it on that morning because she overslept. She’d stayed up all night, applying for second jobs and working through a budgeting spreadsheet, but had gone to bed angry that everyone else was already asleep.

Carl let out a wail she had never heard before. Startled, she dropped the phone. He’d jumped up on the tub, whining and pawing at the plastic curtain. An elbow was revealed and suddenly, she feared what else she’d find.

Wednesday

2:14PM

A new type of exhaustion befell her. She hadn’t slept. She didn’t want to. If she slept, that meant that what happened would become yesterday, and she wanted to hang on to today for as long as she could. The love of her life was gone and she was inconsolable for the first few hours. She eventually became numb with random bouts of tears creeping in. She didn’t think that her heart could break any more than it had, but Carl was also mourning. She’d never seen a dog behave like that. Carl would crawl in her lap, whining and crying, burying his face in her neck. He was now at home with her mom and a vet approved anti-anxiety medication.

She’d been sitting in a room with detectives for most of the morning and afternoon. They were hounding her with questions that didn’t make any sense. What did they suspect of her spouse? Why was there a need for further investigation. It was a suicide, wasn’t it?

2:43PM

A new detective was in front of her. They had a folder with some kind of writing on it. Mostly codes to reference certain case evidence. It looked worn and old. Certainly nothing to do with her and nothing to do with this suicide.

Pictures from the folder were presented in front of her. Pictures that no one would want to see. The years were indiscernible, but the quality for some were a bit grainy or yellow.

Young children posed, some nude, some still dressed but had been beaten pretty badly.

“Do you know anything about these girls, ma’am?”

“Absolutely not,” she pushed them away and swallowed the urge to vomit, “Why would I? What does this have to do with what happened in my house?”

The other detective in the room presented her with the phone – now in an evidence bag. They’d turned it off to preserve battery, but had it on again and navigated to the “Vice” folder.

“Do you know the encryption password?”

2:44PM

Shit! Shit! Shit! Panic. Pure panic.

She made the correlation. She connected the dots. She did know.

Holding one finger up to the detectives, she retrieved her own phone. Navigating through her many hateful texts as she had the entire night – regretting every single one – she slid the device across the table and announced, “8ight.”

“You’re kidding…” The detective pushes her further, wondering why she didn’t bring it up sooner.

She could feel herself start to fall apart. Had this been the secret? Had this been what everyone else thought? Was this the reason for death?

2:45PM

After signing that she willfully gave the password and permission to search the device, the detectives unlocked the folder.

Their eyes widened the more they scrolled through its contents.

“Just as we suspected.”

Just before they turn to leave, she snatches the bag from their hand. Her heart folded in on itself and fear rampaged through her chest.

“Vice” was another name for a monster. The one who destroyed those children in those photos. For they were there, in the phone, only in much different angles and much different positions. None of them were alive.

Battery at 8%.

The plastic evidence bag began to melt and smoke billowed. The sudden heat burned her palm and she dropped it on the table. The screen went black, the glass cracked, and a hissing sound emerged. She wasn’t meant to, but she met the monster.

Nest & Heart

Leaping from my previous blog, I’d like to inform you, my beautiful and kind readers, that I have found my person.

I’m sure you really want to stay up to date on my love life, but what the hell. Why not? It should give you some insight on what’s going on and why I haven’t been posting much about my writings lately.

In my current evolution and self discovery, I have found that it is entirely healthy to speak about your previous persons because they are a part of who you are. There is no shame and you can’t negate a long stretch of time in your life. There is no redacting or even white out for that stuff. So, I will talk. Get used to it.

If you’ve been keeping up with my latest rants, you’ll know that my previous boyfriend (of nine years) and I split up in 2016. It was one of the toughest moments in my life. We had grown up together. Our families considered each other as relatives respectively. Mine still do and I have absolutely no qualms with that. We just spent way longer on something that probably should have stopped about year seven. We were great friends. Some day, we will get back to that.

Forward.

I waited a while before really getting involved with someone new. I didn’t think it would be fair to the next person if I was still upset over my break-up. About five months afterward, I started in the dating scene. I was feeling much better after the major holidays and I wanted to see what was out there. There were a couple of significant people who came in, but things just weren’t quite right, people were getting hurt, and I really didn’t want to be retracing steps. So, I pulled away for a while. I really spent time for myself and didn’t think about dating again. I eventually became bored.

I went online and ran into Patrick. A hopeless romantic with deep hooks into his inner child. Very intelligent, never serious. Someone who adores my smart assery and always tries to beat me to the punch. An adventurous spirit with whom I am totally in love with. It didn’t take long either. Both of us knew on the first date that it was serious. I even made the first move and kissed him an hour later! It has been just like breathing. Everything so natural and there never was any doubt with either of us on if we should be together. He said those three words by the fourth date. There’s no looking back now!

This bled into an interesting and eventful first year for us. We moved into a tiny apartment together. We adopted a dog together. Took so many trips together and I proposed to him a month after our first anniversary. I didn’t spare anything either. We’ve just moved into a large house where we are so excited to continue this adventure. Soon, we will be married and jauntily moving into the rest of our lives. I am so much more in love with him than that first month (I know that’s so cliche to say) and it couldn’t be more obvious. I found my happy. I finally found it.

I’ll end my update here, but I’m sure you’ll hear more about Patrick later.

A brief story: The Argument (rough)

He adjusted his tie. Dad always tied it too tight. Especially when he was wrought with worry. He coughed when the pressure released itself from his Adam’s apple.

Such a peculiar term, he thought. He opened his mouth and faced the passenger seat as if he were to process that thought into words, but his mouth dried. And in his forgetfulness, he sighed a very sad sigh. His shoulders slumped heavily and he readjusted his grip to the steering wheel of their very old but very loved Ford Focus.

Light stung his eyes in his awful posture, so he lowered the visor. The CD sleeve still held all of their favorite albums and even a couple of burned mixes. Taking the disc most decorated with pastel sharpie, he shoved it into the aftermarket player in the ash-covered dash.

“Ooh La La” by the Faces boomed from the old speakers. The very first song. The most important song. It reminded him to never leave angry, but he did anyway. The silence after their argument was deafening. Maybe this will drown it out, he hoped.

I love this song, she thought while staring out the window and hummed. Her clenched, interloping fingers loosened as the wave of the song’s chorus softened her anger. She sat in the passenger seat, in silence with her twin who was dressed, “to the nines.”

Arguments between them were rare. They were twins after all.  They knew each other more than anyone else. However few, their arguments were vicious. Mostly because neither wanted to believe that they didn’t agree to something — that the other couldn’t understand one’s reasoning. This argument was just that.

She felt compelled to apologize and make amends. The day was dreary enough. The fog was so thick it clung to the windows like wisps of cotton candy. The buildings and traffic lights barely pierced its veil once within a certain distance. It was like something from a bad horror movie using too much dry ice.

She turned to her brother with a shabby smile and asked, “Why so gloomy?”

Startled, he slammed the brakes and jerked his sight to the passenger seat. His sister’s grin faded like fog in the sunlight and an unexplainable wind pushed the remaining funeral programs from the seat to the floorboard.

His chest heaved as his breath caught up with him, panting as the papers all flipped to the picture of him and his sister.

 

 

It’s all fruit: Traditional versus Self Publication

Good Day, lovelies! Since I mentioned the aforementioned title in my previous post, I thought I would proceed with my thoughts on why I chose self publication over traditional. For the newbs out there who are interested in the joys of writing; apples or oranges, it really is all fruit. what I mean is both paths are going to take a great deal of work on your behalf. There is no easy path.

Be prepared for the awful misconceptions out there. First, you are a writer the very day that you start gliding that pen across paper or tapping away at that keyboard. The instant you step into the world inside your head and transcribe it for the rest of us to see, you are a f*cking writer. DO NOT let anyone tell you otherwise. Being established does not mean that you have to have a book ready to purchase in order to gain the title. You are what you have always been. Own it!

Second, you do not have to be traditionally published in order for you to have validity or credibility as an author. Thanks to technology, we now have the opportunity to have our works published faster, and the ability to reach more readers in a matter of minutes.

Okay. Now that we’ve cleared that up… On with the show.

Like many Indie Authors, I hungrily researched others down their paths to publication and beyond. I read articles, watch videos, read books, et cetera. I have weighed the pros and cons and went full speed at self publication. The biggest reason? I wanted complete control over my manuscript and creative rights. Now, that’s not to say that when you traditionally publish, you don’t have a say-so in anything. That isn’t true. But, like with most things, your publishing house is investing in your work and like all investors, they want to have their hand at steering the ship. My story was 20 years in the making and I would be having none of that, sir.

The positive side to traditional publishing, though, is that you have someone else putting in the time and money on the finished product. Someone else does the marketing for you. They setup interviews, book signings, book conventions, and anything else that promotes your book. But you do have to do some dirty work yourself. Writing query letters and sending out your manuscript, your baby, to people who know nothing about you or has any care on how hard you worked to make it just right. You have to be able to deal with criticisms and rejections.

Alternately, with self publication, a ll of that time, effort, and money is coming from you. If you’re someone like me, money isn’t easy to come by and this stuff is not cheap at all. Thank goodness for CreateSpace, as I would still be scratching my head on how to get Charlee out on the shelf. When you’re outsourcing the services (as you should) like editing or cover art, it all adds up. You’re employing someone and you have to pay for their time. By the way, I love my cover artist, Lyn at LV Book Design.

#shamelessplug #loveplug

Here are two ladies that I follow on YouTube religiously. These are collaboration videos with these two routes.

 

 

 

 

 

Publishing a book is not just an art, it’s a business. No joke… Tax forms and everything. You learn it very quickly and I won’t lie, it is a tad bit discouraging at first. Don’t let it stop you from pushing that book baby from your literary vagina brain and sharing it with the rest of us. Go ahead. gestate that novel, post pics of it online like it’s the best thing you’ve ever done with your life (because it probably is), you stand atop that author platform you’ve built, holding up your pure paper creation by the spine, and make us roll our eyes at you wallowing in your accomplishment and smile with pride!

Dedicated to Depression

Good Evening, Love. I hope you’re well; fitted with sunshine and a belly full of love.

I have been plagued with the ever saggy-eyed, lifeless friend Insomnia tonight. As you probably know, creative types are creatures of the night, which is where Insomnia lives. What a life it is to be chained to a brick of mud; painting our own sight with the tap-tap-tapping of plastic squares on a machine. I wouldn’t change any of it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my history of depression. It seems to be another well acquainted confidant of the night. I can remember having dark, self-loathing thoughts as a child. I don’t know if it was a learned thing, or a gift for being born on a rainy, December Thursday.

You see, I should really dedicate most of my published works (including this blog) to my dear depression. Who better to be the most in tune with their feelings (and so out of tune with everything else)? Whenever I feel a little defeated or some sort of discouragement, I remind myself of a moment that was so crucial and pivotal. The key turning point that pushed me in the direction that inevitably lead me to this keyboard… and you.

I have always hated popcorn or decorated plaster ceilings. The house I was living in at the time had lazy swoops like someone was in a hurry to fill an order. I remember this, because I spent about an hour staring at it from the peel and stick flooring of the bathroom. I had lost any happiness that existed in my life and I was ridiculing myself for not having the courage to end the rest of it. I had no drive, no ambition to do so. I had thought myself a burden to everyone I knew. I had sought love from other people to fill a void, only to be rejected and turned away. Why was I so hard to love? I certainly didn’t deserve any of it, but someone could have been generous. Someone could have taken pity on me and donated a bit of their love, because I certainly didn’t have any for myself.

I lied there; hopeless and a dry well for tears. An unlovable coward who hid her agenda from her father who was just three rooms away. Something strange happened, though.

“No one is here.” A phrase that I had repeated to myself over and over. Initially a thought that I was lonely and no one cared. But somehow, the tone in my head changed.

No one is here.

No one is here.

No one is here.

I am the only one. I am here. No one else is here.

A revelation pushed me up from that awful green flooring. It straightened my spine and I pulled myself up from the edge of the sink, staring at my puffy, blue eyes. I must’ve stood there, examining my reflection for several minutes.

It was only me. No one else pulled me up from the floor. No one else was staring back in my reflection. No one else that I had to face when I woke up in the morning. What the hell was I doing? Why was I destroying the only thing I had left? The only thing I ever really had. It was mine. It was me. Only me.

I realized that it wasn’t cowardice that kept me from leaving this Earth. It was me. The one who was fighting to survive. The one who knew I had so much more to do than letting that darkness consume me. Letting it win.

“I like your freckles,” I said to myself with a slight giggle. I felt awkward saying something kind to myself. After the years of critiquing and criticizing every single little thing, I wanted to reject it. But I couldn’t. It was the one phrase that was going to save me.

I turned the knob to the door, went to the kitchen and made dinner for my dad. A few months later, I took an offer to move out of the state with my employer. I needed to leave. I was stuck in a dismal bubble where doors to leave didn’t often appear. I found a really old copy of Charlee while I packed up boxes from my childhood. I ran into Mrs. Fritts later that day. The Universe spoke. So, I left to rehabilitate. To rebuild myself in a city that was going through its own revival. I wrote my novel and finished the first draft before my dad passed. I published a few months later.

So, I’ll say this with a wince. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, sweet Depression. I should dedicate it all to you. But I owe it all to my relentless, brave, courageous, wild Spirit.

Why I stopped the sale of my book.

Happy Valentine’s day, my loves! It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but do not fret. I have been busy with getting this second book entirely finished and working on all the fun things that come with self publishing. I plan to write an article on what I have found to be the trials of self publishing and why I didn’t traditionally publish.

I digress…

I’m sure the title of this post has you a bit alarmed and you may think terrible things like sales were awful and I became discouraged. Quite the opposite, actually. I sold quite a few books in my first year which isn’t bad for having to do all the ground work yourself. As you have read and I have documented, 2016 & 2017 were years that forced my life to take routes that I wasn’t expecting. I was absent from here and much of my writing life (which hurt my heart so much).

While I was out fighting battles and waging war, something funny happened to my book.

You see, there are a number of ways to self publish, but one of the most convenient ways is to publish with the best online book seller out there; Amazon. CreateSpace is fantastic when it comes to helping people like me get the job done. I have several critique partners and other authors who have used this service and find it to be the best option for writers like me. Unlike B&N you don’t have to pay someone to read your stuff and anxiously await approval for it to hit the shelf. They print to order rather than printing a pile of books and killing the environment. Amazing, right? Well, sort of.

One of the biggest headaches with their site at the time was the downloadable template and the actual template in which they used to upload your book into their database. If you had already formatted your book, be prepared to format six additional times. I spent two weeks on BTC to clean her up just as the Internal Viewer suggested. It was tedious work, but I had come that far and wasn’t going to let this one tiny, meticulous act get in the way.

The good news? Enough reports forced Amazon to update their template. The bad news? Every single one of us who had already published with the old one were now out of format. The results were multiple blank pages, sentences in places they didn’t belong, chopped up paragraphs and chapters, et cetera. I didn’t find out until the beginning of January 2017 with a review that informed me there was an issue. When I asked my abused critique partner, she knew all about it and had assumed I did as well.

Whoops!

I immediately pulled the book off the shelf and have set it aside to correct the errors, but it looks like the damage was already done. Some of you have emailed or messaged me on Facebook asking where you could buy the book. I apologize that I did it without warning and I should have posted about it much sooner. Never the less, she will be back! Charlee is my baby! She’s just getting a face lift 🙂

In the meantime, I have revamped my website HERE. There, you can see the cover of my new book that’s coming out this year as well as the new cover for Charlee! Check it out!

Stay safe. Be well. Love with everything.

So, you want to be a writer…

Hey! So, you want to be a writer! Fantastic! Go you, you Wordy-Wordsmith-Wendy, you! Not only are you talented in the art of typing or jiggling a stick around on a piece of paper, but you create elaborate pictures in someone’s mind and take them on amazing, heart-wrenching adventures! Hooray for no commercials! You and the Thesaurus are in a long-term, heavily involved relationship and everyone knows it. Congratulations!

But hold up, you hopeless romantic day-dreamer! Sure, you have fallen in love with a writing career and have often fantasize being stuck in a mahogany study, filled with walls of your favorite authors (and maybe a few of your own pieces on display). Possibly including an antique type writer, a bubble pipe, tweed coat, and horn-rimmed glasses to profoundly state your chosen profession. Nerd <3! I’m sure that novel is going to be a best seller one day, but to obtain things of this magnitude, have you thought about all the logistics? Have you thought about the hard work, long hours, and what it will take to force yourself to write every day, even when you’re eyes start to cross at 6,000 words? Editing can be a rough process. Can you do it yourself, or are you emotionally stable enough to pay someone else to critique you? Be honest. Do you know what genre you’re aiming for? Do you know what a beta reader is? What about your marketing skills?

The truth is: The writing is probably the easiest part. Especially if writing is a natural talent for you. It won’t be easy if you’re an introvert. You’ll have to learn how to market not just your work, but yourself as an author. Unfortunately, it’s all a business. You have to sell your art to people. Even if you only ever dream to just write purely for the  entertainment of others. If you wish to publish, you have to determine if you and your work should go through traditional publishing, or self publish. Either way, you’re going to suffer through a lot of rejection, criticism, and disappointment. Be prepared, my darlings.

All of those things only make you a better writer, though. Never take critiques personally. Accept and build upon them to make your work better; to make you better at what you love to do. No one ever writes their first piece and have it fly off the shelves the instant it prints on a page. You will struggle, and you will need to keep your expectations low.

Do not let this discourage you. EVER. I will promise you this: When you receive your first amazing review from a complete stranger, you will instantly feel that validation high. And you will want to keep striving. It will be a glorious rainbow built on coffee, lack of sleep, stress, and your fantasmical talent. It is totally worth every single bit.

Keep going. Strive on, you nerdiful pencil artists. Happy New Year! XO