Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year in Review

My calendar has been full of tiny things I put down so my life wouldn't look so bleak and empty. Like, which days we went to Costco and which to Shop Rite. Days Herb spent time at the Legion. Sometimes my friends came to visit, which was cool. The hours I spent reading and editing their work. The times Sally came up and we just had lunch and sundaes which most of the time were the highlight of my week and month. The times Sandy called and we talked and talked and talked....
And sometimes I remembered to write down the food I ate and the doctors' appointments I had.

Then there were the times it snowed and the times I was sick and the times Karyn was sick. Order numbers for the few times I ordered things online. There were the times I didn't sleep and the times I called my brothers. We ordered new furniture, which was cool as I always like going furniture shopping. Got a sofa bed for the front room, got a dishwasher and auxiliary refrigerator and a big chest that I can't figure out what to call, but it was in Craftsman style.

I wrote down my dreams if they were good and I remembered them. I wrote down the times I made it to the writers' meetings, I even gave a presentation once. The conference in March, a highlight. A lowlight, the bombing in Boston. The death of a dear friend from cancer...a horrible way to die, Debbie. Planting the garden, Easter, Cara, my niece and her husband up for a visit. Going to Wildwood for the Legion convention...nice time. Meeting Father Jim Martin while there. Cool beans!

Staying in Holgate twice in one year! Seeing the damage, seeing things getting better, seeing Seaside catch fire. We went on a couple of harbor cruises, too, down south. We had a visitor from Scotland here and we did some touring ourselves...Mt. Vernon, Montpelier, a DC harbor cruise. We canned tomatoes from our garden! Jack and Nicole came up for his 50th high school reunion. We did NOT kill each other.

My one daughter decided she was going to move out and she did. She still comes back to do her laundry and visit her friends up here. She's not that far away, but it hurts me. We got a futon for her old room which will be my office.

Karyn spent some time in the hospital. It was not fun. Sally and I celebrated our birthdays together. We had Thanksgiving here and no one got killed. I made Nesselrode pie. Christmas shopping, seeing the Stickley homestead, going to a Viking bakery in Denville and riding around to see Christmas lights. That's it. Tonight rolls over into a new year. I tried my best, things didn't always work out right but we are all still alive, including Mom C and Mom P, so that's great!

God bless us, God bless you all. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I don't know how other people do it

My life has taken some bad turns lately.  I've had trouble here and there and felt like crap and had to handle some odd situations for which I was unprepared.
Naturally, it wore me down.
But, most of them are over.
I hope.

No, I won't go into detail.  Except that personally, I was worried that the cancer had come back.  Found out Monday that it had not, and that is super cool.  But I still feel pretty bad.
Must be the elephants in my living room.
And I certainly have a few of those buggers hanging around.

Other people manage to write around the elephants and the troubles.  I can't.  I can barely blog.  My heart just isn't in it.  Here I have a novella ready to go up on Amazon and I have the other half of the World War II story begging to be worked on.  I dream about it at night, plot when I can't fall asleep and promise myself to work on it, but it hasn't happened in a month. That's just about when all the sh*t hit the fan around here, just before Halloween.

I really envy my writing friends who manage to sit down at the computer and pound out word after word.  They either have a deadline, for which they will get paid once met, or are trying like hell to produce something that will get sold.

To this, unfortunately, in the back of my head I hear "been there, done that".
OMG
Have I actually quit???

Say it ain't so, Irene!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

After the Doctor

Well, yesterday should have satisfied everyone's need for the big 50th anniversary blowout about Doctor Who.

As usual, I got confused over most of the story.  It contradicted so many Doctor things about time and space and forget Einstein!  But to alleviate the Doctor's great guilt...hmm.

And sticking in a Doctor 8A was truly weird.

I've seen the entire evolution...not all the episodes as so many are lost...and I find the more sophisticated recent stories rather showy, using CGI when the earlier Doctors had monsters made from old rugs and cardboard.

Technology!  That's what the old Doctor Who was and still is all about.  Perhaps that is why I get lost sometimes.  Then I have to figure out what is real technology from what is imaginary.  That whole bit with the sonic screwdrivers left me in the dark.  But they got out of the Tower of London, and that was what the plot needed.

Ah, it was fun sitting in front of the television for two days, absorbing what I could of the history of the show and the actors.  I learned some things.

What was the coolest thing, however, was seeing Tom Baker as the museum curator at the end.  That voice of his still sends chills up my spine!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween in Charleston from Dead Meat which is not up yet


A commotion of noise and giggles spilled down the staircase.  It did Jim’s heart good to hear this.  Bailey proceeded down the steps, pausing at each one to preen and wave a small wand.

The rest of her costume defied description.  In fact, it defied the description of five or six different costumes.

The kid had on two different color tutus, black tights, a tie-dyed leotard, many, many necklaces of varying colors, rings of bracelets around her tiny arms and a sparkling crown atop her glistening blond hair.  Over it all was a massive purple cape.

Both men clapped for her majesty as she made it to the floor.

This was a different child from the one in the container yard.  This kid had laughter in her eyes and a wide smile upon her painted lips.  Heavy on the blue eye shadow, too. Abertha had spared nothing.

“Do you like my costume?” Bailey twitched with excitement.

“Yes, your majesty, I do like your costume, very much.”  Jim bowed from the waist.

“Well, let’s goooo!” The kid jumped from slippered foot to slippered foot.

“Okay, okay, hold your horses.” Jim would have liked to have spoken with Abertha but Bailey grabbed hold of his jacket and tugged.

And so they were on their way.

Halloween in Charleston with the Lignarius


A commotion of noise and giggles spilled down the staircase.  It did Jim’s heart good to hear this.  Bailey proceeded down the steps, pausing at each one to preen and wave a small wand.
The rest of her costume defied description.  In fact, it defied the description of five or six different costumes.
The kid had on two different color tutus, black tights, a tie-dyed leotard, many, many necklaces of varying colors, rings of bracelets around her tiny arms and a sparkling crown atop her glistening blond hair.  Over it all was a massive purple cape.
Both men clapped for her majesty as she made it to the floor.
This was a different child from the one in the container yard.  This kid had laughter in her eyes and a wide smile upon her painted lips.  Heavy on the blue eye shadow, too. Abertha had spared nothing.
“Do you like my costume?” Bailey twitched with excitement.
“Yes, your majesty, I do like your costume, very much.”  Jim bowed from the waist.
“Well, let’s goooo!” The kid jumped from slippered foot to slippered foot.
“Okay, okay, hold your horses.” Jim would have liked to have spoken with Abertha but Bailey grabbed hold of his jacket and tugged.
And so they were on their way.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sincerely

For some reason, I can't get into working on the new story...the old story...the current story.  There are things going on at home that distract me from my purpose...other than the usual laundry, dinner prep, cleaning, straightening up.
The other day on some television show it was pointed out that women dwell on problems while men come up with a quick response and are able to let it go.  My dear husband falls asleep within five minutes of getting into bed while I stare up at the ceiling for hours. Last night it was near three before I stopped looking at the clock.  Too much on my mind.
Now...there may be drugs that enable a person to skip the horrors of the day, the tedious things that must be dealt with the next day or month or year. I would gladly take them if it would mean I could sleep like a man.
Like a man, not necessarily pick a man, any man, to sleep with.
I have my own, thank you, but, as I mentioned earlier, he falls asleep so fast I don't even get to say goodnight.

Too many things on my mind, too many unsolvable problems currently.

Friday, September 27, 2013

From Mermaid Arms:

The hero is a veteran who has lost the tips of his middle three fingers in the war.  As a guitar player in a big band, he's finished.  He's burned and disfigured, so he thinks, away from his movie-star good looks and promising new career in the cinema.  When he takes the hotel guest widow to hear some of his fellow musicians, he realizes what he is going to miss for the rest of his life.


“Heart Man!”
Men quickly lit their cigarettes and gathered around Lee. 
      “Heard what happened, man.  How ya doing?”
      “Hail the hero!” Slap on the back.
      “Hey, Lee, what’s cookin’?”  The drummer wiggled his sticks, hitting them against the wooden wall with machinegun rapidity.
      Right back, like he hadn’t left.  Right there with the guys, his guys, only he wasn’t one of them anymore.  He laughed and nodded, turned down the offer of a cigarette, laughed and smiled and hid his hand in his pants’ pocket. 
      Red peeled away from the crowd, pulling Lee with him.  “We all heard, kid.  Sorry.  How bad is it?”  He puffed at a cigarette, blew the smoke into the night.
      “Bad enough.  I can’t play, Red.  My left hand is shot.  No fingertips on the middle fingers.”
      “Hell.  But there may be something….”
      Lee turned away.  “I’ve had it.  The doctors told me there was nothing….”
      Red put his hand on Lee’s shoulder.  “There are ways, kid.  Come see me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I ought to mention somewhere how much I love The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, books, movies, what have  you.  One year, my younger daughter asked for a Wickie Witch doll for Christmas in a letter to Santa. She got it!

Why do I love these stories so much?

When I was about five or six, I went to see the movie in a theater, one of those kiddie matinee specials.  Although it was old by then, to me it was magic.  When it started off in black and white, I could not believe the world was so dull...I knew nothing about Kansas at the time, but I do believe that was probably the most accurate depiction of the state possible.  Then, suddenly, Dorothy opens that door and the world is in beautiful, vibrant color!  Knocked my socks off because I knew nothing about the story before seeing the movie...nothing, as hard as that might be for young people to understand as the movie is on television frequently now.
But back then, NO.

So I was transported to the movie Oz right along with Dorothy.
And the magic got to me, deep into my heart and soul.

In second grade, our teacher put on the play...I tried my hardest for Dorothy, sang tryouts along with the girl who did get the part up until the end.  Her mother, bless her, was willing to do the costume, curl her kid's hair, do whatever, buy ruby slippers while mine never volunteered for that stuff, don't know why. We were always supposed to make it on our own, and we did. 
Disappointed as I was not to be Dorothy, I was given the plum...I was to be the Cowardly Lion.  I had all the laughs, all the drama and all the kids remembered me for years afterwards.  So, it wasn't too much of a disappointment.

Then I found a Little Golden Book about the Wizard in Oz.  Got it, didn't understand that it wasn't about the movie story.  A few years later, I found Ozma of Oz in the 6th grade library.  Because it was old and falling apart, I got to keep it. 
In high school, a boyfriend found several Oz books at the local farmers' market.  I started a collection and have about twelve of the original stories, including the original Wizard book with the different illustrator, WW Denslow.  All the rest are Jno.R. Neill...he gave Oz the freakiness it needed...not too scary, not too fairytale.  Just right!

Since then, I got four reprints, including one of Ozma, which had been thrown away by my mother years ago, in pieces.  My husband bought me the pop-up book.  Someone gave me four blown glass tree ornaments.

But every year when I hear the opening strains of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I look for Judy Garland and Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley, eager to see if they melt Margaret Hamilton and win the day. 
They always do.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Last night my family left me to my own devices.  Television was pretty awful, reruns and even rerun aliens, so I started surfing and, what to my surprise, I found a Japanese Monster movie...Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.
I had seen the really old Mechagodzilla movies but this one, lucky for me, was new for me.  It was made in 1996, but somehow, it slipped away from me.

Of course it was campy. Of course it was silly in parts.  Of course there is a tall, well built good-looking guy and a sweet girl but they never got together.  I wondered about that. Never in these movies, even when, as in the original, the girl is engaged to the hero, there is no hand-holding or what have you, no affection other than perhaps a look and some inappropriate dialogue between the two characters.

Now, considering what I have seen and heard about the Japanese male propensity for pornography, this seems quite the reverse.  Anti-porn.
Maybe it is exactly that. Maybe these movies are intended for children.  If that is the case, and the Japanese folks and censors don't want kids seeing affection between men and women (or anything else other than a baby monster) how do these kids grow up to be gung-ho about pornography?

Another question to ponder into the night.

Like I need more.

But this was a fun movie and it lasted until almost midnight when the wayward family started coming home.

My life is full.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Adieu, Seaside Park

Last week, we took a drive up the Jersey coast to see how things have improved or not yet been fixed nearly a year after Hurricane or super storm Sandy.  It hurt to see the wiped out houses, the dune-less beaches, the businesses that remain closed.  There are signs of things being fixed.  The houses on the beach are pretty much repaired because there is money there.  The street that was wiped clean in Holgate remained empty.  I'd say at least one third of the businesses are closed, apparently never to reopen.
But the boardwalk at Seaside...that was up and running and packed with people!

The boards were humming, the people were laughing and carrying their prizes, eating pizza, slurping frozen custard cones, messing themselves with cotton candy.  It was alive, though the southern half did not have rides open and the northern half had rides, but not all of them back.

Now, after yesterday's fire. it's all gone from the southern end.

My heart bleeds for the owners of the concessions...having rebuilt once, now to have to try all over again.  I doubt most of them will think it is worthwhile.

Funny thing, I was trying to picture all the stalls and remembered that the psychic had a little booth down that end.  I wonder if she bothered to rebuilt, knowing what was going to happen in a few months.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Putting together the pieces

Okay, so I'm on vacation and doing what I vowed to do...make the timeline out of all the various scenes for Mermaid Arms that have been written over the course of the past four or five years.
Well, I finished putting the various parts into the timeline.
Now what I have to figure out is what is missing.

I have to write the black moment.  The hero and heroine have just had an almost date. He has met up with some of his musician friends and since he has failed to figure out a way to play the guitar again, he's feeling very sorry for himself.
She's just been out on an almost date for the first time since her husband died...she's cautious, but feeling rather happy because she's been around people and had a highball or two and she's walking back to the hotel in the dark with a man, a difficult but generally nice man.

He says something really pity filled to her.  Should I have her lash back with her own truth?  Should I have her run away, hurt to the core?

He is an ass. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oh how I wish I could describe how I write!


It is a puzzle to me as it is…I sit down and start to touch the keyboard and stuff gets on the screen that I rarely if ever get to change.
Sometimes something seems awkward.  I change that.  There are typos, I automatically change them.  But as for content?  Eh.  I usually know exactly what I want to write and it appears—in full—much to my surprise.
Now, I'm not saying that it’s all wonderful.  But after all the thinking I do, it ought to be.  I will mull over a scene for days and days until I know exactly how it should go, the I get it down.  It is a waste of my time to sit and write and write and write only to have to write it all over again once I’ve figured out how I want it to go.
At one time, I worked for a man who had money to burn but holes in his shoes.  He was writing what was going to be the literary fiction masterpiece of all time, guaranteed Pulitzer, maybe even Nobel in Literature.  Every day I’d go up to his house and type as he spoke.  Problem was, he kept going over and over the exact same words in the exact same sentences until it came to the point where I typed them before he said them. He got only so far…I think he was getting somewhere that even he couldn’t go.  What I remember was a woman and her son, the son was spoiled, there was a junkyard and then suddenly there was a scene with live lobsters escaping the boiling pot and her smashing at them with an oar.  Indoors.  On Long Island. This must have been back when lobsters were still less than ten dollars a pound.
But the point is, he kept going over and over his stuff, never really changing anything, not a word, not an apostrophe.  Just the same scenes rehashed or just hashed out because I should think rehashing would bring about some changes.
But they didn’t ever change. He never really added anything after his initial burst of story.
That’s not the way to write.
My way isn’t for everybody, either.  I have the luxury of not having a deadline.  I also do not have the luxury of an agent or editor chasing me for another book.  All I have is what gets down eventually.
Okay, I'll admit to something most writers probably do not have: I don’t sleep very well.  It takes me forever to fall asleep and then I tend to wake up around 3 a.m. and stay awake for a couple of hours.  I don’t waste that time, I think.
When I start out with a story, I already have planned the beginning, the middle, the black moment and the end.  I don’t do anything but jot down notes at this point.  Then I do research, if necessary.  My new story takes place during the very last nine days of World War II.  Since I wasn’t alive then, I had to research rather heavily, and talk with old folks who were alive then.  I take notes.  I see scenes in my head.  I remember them, even if I do not remember what I had for breakfast that morning. Then I may come up with a title (this one has changed twice as better ones come along) and a first line, first paragraph, then it starts rolling and more pages come out until I’ve gotten to the third paragraph hook where I stop and think some more.
In my head, I always know where the story is going.  I can write inside and outside of the line, but always with the same goal.  No story has ever changed in mid-stream.  Front to back, top to bottom, beginning, middle and end.
It is hard for me to realize what it must be like to have only a certain amount of time to come up with a new story, new characters, names for everywhere and everybody that fit, the setting, the date, is this a real place, a fictional place or outer space?  I know all this in advance, write down key points on note cards (I do not rely on the computer for this stuff) and when the spirit moves me, I start back again.

It is getting near that time.  Mermaids Arms is coming.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting ready for WWII

In the next two weeks, I'm gonna be working on this story, the Mermaid Arms.  In order to get my mind in the right place, not with folks in Turkey in 1856 or Newport in 1880, I'm moving up a bit. Let me see 1945 in the August heat on Long Beach Island in Beach Haven. Feel the seashore magic in the air.
Here goes:


Room five of the old hotel contained a double bed with a rollaway cot.  Like all the other rooms she’d passed, the windows were shut tight and only dim light faded through the drawn yellowed shades.  
Heat pressed down on Maggie as she herded her girls up the steps and into the room. 

“First things first,” she announced, trying to sound cheerful.  “Let me open these windows.  It’s time for that sea breeze to start up and I think we can all use some refreshing air, don’t you?” 

Neither girl answered, but she hadn’t really expected them to.  She unlocked the window and pushed up against the old wooden frame with all her might.  An inch.  Two inches, maybe, before she had to give up and try the other window.  This one, thank God, went up all the way.  The cooler air rushed in and Maggie sagged against the sill, letting that small relief caress her.  The girls joined her and turned their faces to the breeze.

They all sighed at the same time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Lignarius in Charleston


One of her hands went up to her forehead.  The IV stuck in her forearm pulled against the tape holding it in. He noticed bruises there, too. Big welts in purple and gross red.
                 “So, miss? What can you tell me?”
                 “Not much.  We went for a walk down at the Battery.  By the seawall.”  She finished speaking, her voice slurred slightly, or maybe that was her accent he was hearing. 
                 “I saw that earlier today.”
                   After taking a deep breath, Natalie blinked away tears and continued, each word coming out slowly. “It was late; I just started walking back to campus because I had a book to finish reading. Earl, my friend, stayed behind, it was dark and even with the street lights, there were shadows moving. The trees, the leaves moving in a breeze…things looked as if they were moving but it was just shadows.”
                   Jim nodded, hoping she would get to the point. “So, what happened then? A noise, a chill perhaps?”
                     A huge tear ran down her cheek. She wiped it away and swallowed audibly. “They came at him. There was a rush of motion, barking, screaming…Earl yelled ‘Run! Run!’…and I did. I looked back, saw…saw dogs…lots of dogs…they brought him down. He screamed, I started back toward him, one of the dogs, a pit bull, I think, looked directly at me and I took off.  I ran….”
                     Dogs?  Could this be a feral pack?  Not a vampire at all?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The New Doctor

I almost missed the live feed from England that announced the new Doctor Who, but thanks to FB and a friend, I got to see the whole thing. Again, thanks, Jenn Nixon.
Here I knew it was to be broadcast at 7 pm, so I'm thinking, I'll watch it tonight, not realizing that it was their time, thus making it 2 pm our time.
But, I saw the whole show.
And part of the end of the 10th Doctor wherein much is sort of explained but not really, as nothing is ever clear on that show for me.

So, after much fanfare, it turns out that the new doctor will be one Peter Capaldi, a Scot.  I don't know what the attraction to Scotland is for Italians, but once again, like Dario Franchitti, we have a Scot with an Italian surname.

I'll see if I can dig up a photo of the guy, although everyone on Facebook has seen it by now.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh, you've been away?

Yes, indeed, I have been away.  I've been in North Carolina and Virginia and the points in between.

I must admit, I did not enjoy NC.  All I did was work with Jackie Ivie in her newest Vampire Assassin League novella...which is rough and tumble to be sure, but not too bloody.  I also helped Shelley Noble plot out her newest mystery.  While I was at it, I finished up Dead Meat, getting it ready for Charity to put up on Amazon, once Karyn is done with the cover.
She told me today she's not happy with what she has so far.
I'm going to check to see what's up with that.

While I was away, I made too many observations about people.

You know?  I think I am prejudiced after all.  I'm prejudiced against deliberately stupid people.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A word from my buddy, Charity


South Beach sizzles as two determined and courageous sisters explore their attraction to two very handsome and successful men.  Join Connie and Carmen on their sexy, emotional, and humorous journey to find love and reach for their dreams.

 

NOW AND ALWAYS

 

Romantic Times: 4 Stars - Pineiro "ignites her own brand of Miami heat in this sexy and humorous romance."

 

Connie Gonzalez is a driven, ambitious woman who is one of the FBI’s best agents and determined to prove herself in a man’s world. Assigned to the Miami Bureau, Connie soon finds herself going undercover in Miami's glamorous South Beach area. An injury throws her together with the very rich and tempting Dr. Victor Cienfuegos. Victor is everything Connie should avoid, but despite the risks of her work and allowing any distractions, Connie cannot deny the attraction between herself and the sexy physician. Will danger keep them apart or is their love strong enough to survive for now and always?

 




 

FAITH IN YOU

 

Affaire de Coeur: Pineiro "pens a truly charming . . . romance . . . Her lively writing style makes this . . . romance a page-turner. "

 

Paul Stone accepts Connie Gonzalez’s invitation to join her for a traditional and fun-filled Christmas Eve dinner. Paul is instantly captivated by her intriguing kid sister. Carmen Gonzalez is leery of the self-assured FBI agent whose upscale upbringing provided him with all he ever needed. . .except love. After a fast-paced courtship, Paul and Carmen are ready to walk down the aisle, blissfully unaware that fate – and their own secret fears – will test their fragile commitment long before they make it to the altar . . . .

 




 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

And now for something completely different

We're expecting company from Scotland this week.  I'm getting rather excited.  I love listening to the burr, first of all, and next, I love listening to someone else tell stories!  Let's face it. I'm pretty much stuck in the house because of saving gas money and not being able to walk too far or too fast and the heat, so the complaints of my family become rather tiresome.
But we will have a relative stranger sleeping on our new sofa bed, eating at our table...and she's a woman, so she'll be bound to talk.  And I am an expert at bringing out the chattiness in people.
Ask anyone.

I ought to read up on Scotland a bit.  Though I did plenty of studying for In Deep, the unpublished story that takes place at Loch Ness, there are some dates that should be memorized...such as Culloden and Sean Connery's birthday.

My knowledge of Scottish cookery goes only as far as the highlander historical novels I used to inhale.  I sincerely doubt anybody cooks bannocks on a heated rock any longer, not when there are stoves for that purpose.  Haggis, well, I don't think that that is mentioned in polite circles.  Yep, that's about all I know about food in Scotland that isn't like food in England.

I know kids get milk money every month until they are five or so...so the kiddies won't starve, I suppose.  Nice thought.  Although the parents could probably waste the money on drink should they get hold of it.  There's no maid who takes the milk money and make sure the kiddies get proper food.  That's up to the mother and if she's a sot, well, there you are then.  Poor kiddies.

And the weather is poorly most of the time.  Rainy mists in the glen and highland.  Pipers in the rain.  Kilts.  Heather.  Fishing in the lochs.  Nessie.

I will refrain from bringing up the monster.  I promise I will.  Maybe, if the woman is lucky, she will be out with my daughters and won't have to tolerate me at all.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Long haul

Well, I am glad to say that Dead Meat is finished.  All it needs is a cover and away we go.

This is the sequel or second part to my Dead Guys trilogy
I've had it with vampires being heroes.  They're not nice, no matter how you might make them out to be.  If they are nice, they aren't vampires.

So, my hero is a lignarius, a vampire disposer.  Slayer and hunter and killer have been overused and right away people think he's the bad guy, when in reality, he's the good guy!  His own parents were victims of vampires...his father was killed by one and his mother, grief stricken beyond sense, killed herself, leaving Jim Ryan on his own at a young age.
Luckily, his father was in the military in Germany.  Somebody knew somebody and Jim was taken to live with Jesuits who at first thought he would become one of them. But his anger ran too deep for him to be a priest.  Instead, he was trained to be a lignarius (Latin for carpenter or one who fixes things) whose job it is to rid the world of vampires.  He is one of a long line of people who performed this job and he is really good at it.

In the first novella, he disposes of a female vampire then meets her twin sister, who is not a vampire.  He is attracted to her in a way he does not understand because Jim is a virgin, not because it is part of his job restriction, it is something he thought was part of it.  Turns out, his job does not require physical as well as mental purity.

Jim falls in love immediately with the vampire's sister.  Love gives enemies hostages, though, something Jim has never felt before, never experiences before.

He is in love, though, and willing to do whatever it takes to win her heart.

Even if he is The Lignarius.

Further adventures soon in Dead Meat, to be followed by Still Dead by next year.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

After the storm

We spent two days on Long Beach Island.  The lower half got hit hard by the most recent storm, Sandy.  Many, many houses were destroyed or damaged beyond repair.  I have photos of some of them but will have to get them from husband's camera.

This is a postcard from the upper part of the island, a long time ago.  This is where the bonfire was lit to celebrate V-J day. Keep that in mind for my next book.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Help wanted: Lignarius

A bit more from Dead Meat.


Hell.  Another mess to clean up.  This one would have to be reported to the police.  It was a good thing he’d already presented himself to them and they were aware of his business in their fair city.  They would clean it up about the driver as best they could, keep the press from getting nosy, making sure no one at the hotel got curious. But if the poor man was married, had a family…it wasn’t his business…others handled that.

His sole purpose was disposing of vampires.

Unreanimating the reanimated.

Others took care of legal.

Someone higher up took care of the family in some way, should it be necessary.

Somebody else got rid of the dead meat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An excerpt from Dead Meat, sequel to Dead Dreams


She poured ice water into her glass from a cut glass pitcher, took a long swallow, and appeared to gather her wits.
“I’ve been a minister’s wife for over forty years. I’ve helped at funerals, baptisms and even births.  Here I thought I’d just about seen it all.  But, just give me a little time to collect myself, Jim.  I'll be all right.  I’ve got to think of something to help you get to this child before something terrible happens to her.”
       Abertha cocked her head in thought.  He could tell when she thought of something and the instant she decided against it.  She shook her head just a bit…a poker tell if there ever was one. He smiled at her concentration and her effort, though. 
        “Everything I can think of that would lure a child out of hiding has a negative side to it.  I have lectured children against strangers offering them candy, or asking for help to find a lost puppy.  Come for a ride in my shiny new car…I won’t hurt you…they’re classic things bad people do when they want to harm kids.”
        “I just want to help her.”  He raised his shoulders in a helpless shrug.
         Abertha’s face lit up.  “I think I have an idea,” she pronounced with more than just a note of triumph.  “I'll go with you.”
         Jim shook his head. “I can’t get you involved, Abertha.  These vampires are vicious.  If they should see you or overhear you talking with Bailey, you’d be marked for sure.”
         “Pish tosh.” 
         “No, I really can’t ask this of you.  There has to be some other way, we just haven’t thought of it yet.”
         The woman straightened in her chair.  “Not alone.  You’d be right there with me.  You’re the man who kills vampires. I know you can protect me.  You’ve been fightin’ the devil for a long time.  I’ve tried in my own way, but never felt I’d done much good.  The Reverend, he knows how to send Satan back where he comes from, but I’ve only just stood by and watched.  I know I can get that little girl out of this terrible situation.  I have a way with children.”
         She added a nod of finality and caught Jim’s eyes with her own.  He saw that she meant business.
         So he raised his hands in surrender.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cliffhanger to nowhere


So, it was decided that the men would draw straws.  The one who got the short straw would stay with her; the long straw had to find another mate.

She cried as she held on to those lengths of straw, her hand trembling the whole time.  She loved them both.

In her heart, she could not choose between them for her love for both was so great.  She would abide by their decision, but she knew in her heart that she’d never be able to “unlove” the one who lost the draw.

Both men stood tall, shoulders back, hands placed at their waists as they waited for her to signal they should choose.  *** stepped forward as he had known her first.  He slowly pulled the straw from her fist.  Because neither had seen the length she had made in preparation for the draw, he could not tell whether he had won or lost.

Upon seeing the straw, the other man’s attitude changed.  For a second, his broad shoulders slumped, then he straightened with purpose and went over to her.  Before he drew, however, he planted a tender kiss upon her cheek, enabling him to taste the salt of her tears.

He withdrew the lone straw deliberately.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Good-bye Tootsie

Strange things happen to me while showering.  Nice things, for the most part.  I get good ideas for my writing, I sing a little, funny memories pour over me...that kind of good stuff.  And, I get the added bonus of getting clean.
Well, this morning, it was something weirder than weird.

I started singing the Al Jolson song, "Toot Toot Tootsie".

And then I started analyzing the words.
The singer is really messed up.  He's leaving on a train, away from his love.  He promises to write every day but, if she doesn't get a letter from him, he's in jail.

Now, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Where is he going in the first place, is he running from the law?  Since Jolson sang this song in The Jazz Singer, the first real talkie, he did it in black face, which might get him a good scolding nowadays, and enough humiliation to drive him off the charts.  Deservedly so.  But he sang in a different time and we have to take that into consideration.

So, this singer is going away by train, which is cool for the time. Nowadays it would have to be a plane for sure, but it just wouldn't be the same. "Leaving on a Jet Plane" doesn't have the same effect, though it has been known to make sorority sisters cry.  He's on the lam, I bet, for something, but if he goes by train, chances are he can go somewhere small and never be found.  His paper trail, the letters to his girlfriend, might catch him up, but in 1927, I don't know.

Times change.
The guy hopefully went away and came back to her.  Unless he was some kind of traveling salesman and we know how bad they were...ask former President Clinton.

Anyway, the guy left his girl hanging there, expecting letters from him every day, kissing the daylights out of her. 
Somehow, I hope she wasn't sitting around on her sofa waiting for him to come back to her, ya know?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What one can and cannot do

Well, seems that I have run into the censorship of my daughters once again.
I am currently working on a sequel to my unvampire story, Dead Dreams.  It involves a young man with the onerous job of vampire exterminator. He works for the Vatican and is referred to as the Lignarius, which basically means "one who fixes".

Well, in the sequel, there has to be something hot, but he and his new girlfriend are separated by a few hundred miles while he is in Charleston, SC and she is somewhere in New Jersey.  But while he's in a hot steamy shower after a day of investigating vampires, a woman actually comes into the shower with him.  He thinks it is his girlfriend and the woman does not disavow that...but she will not let him see her.  Did I mention that he is extremely na├»ve?

So, I had cut a bit of that scene out and put it up on Facebook.  There is only some shower touching in there, I cut it before the woman grabs hold of anything.

The daughters went bazonk. Yes, I put it up on my author page.  NOTHING HAPPENS. But the ladies who know more the ins and outs of Facebook screamed that it was going to get me taken off FB and perhaps worse. 

I guess I am unable to distinguish where innocuous ends and porn begins.

Dead Meat is half done.  It will only be a novella because I can't do vampire stuff favorably...I leave that to my friends.  I have a third story in notes, too, which I intend to call Really Dead. Or Dead Enough.  Just another time waster because I can't seem to get on with my World War II story.

Then there is the Alan Rickman concert pianist story I just dreamed up, and the list goes on and on.
My hope is that I truly live long enough to write all my stories and get them published somewhere.  And in this, I know, I am not alone.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shattered

All right.  Three dead so far in Boston over this horror show.  Another horror show in my country.  I'm pissed.
So, the news on television has only been about this.  The broadcasts missed the senator from Mississippi getting an envelope with RICIN, a deadly poison, in it.  That also was the mark of a saboteur or a crazy.
Theories abound.
Many false stories have been reported. YouTube and Facebook allow people to put up anything and no one can know for sure if it is true on not. Snopes.com finally put up a rumor/conspiracy fact list, but not everybody will bother to look at that.  I did.
Now...I have a personal theory.  This is mine, maybe shared by others, maybe not.  But after some consideration, I realized this: If an outside the US group had done this, they'd have claimed responsibility for the bombs along with some sort of reason for what they did and how they hoped everyone would die who got caught with their deadly schrapnel.
So far, nobody has done this, unless the police/FBI/State Police/ATF are keeping it quiet.
The month of April is full of anniversaries that are pretty ugly.  Waco, Oklahoma City to name just two.  Tax day was yesterday and everybody hates the IRS.  Who knows what else happened in April that crazies might want to avenge?
So, I think whoever made and planted those bombs was an insider, a crazy, someone with a grievance against someone or something in our country.  Not somebody from the Middle East.  Not somebody from Russia. Korea, why, they want to blast us out of existence with nuclear warheads...why would they settle for a pressure cooker bomb?
See?  Everybody who hates us outside wants to cause mass destruction, like the kind experienced in 9-11.
This, serious as it was and will be, is piffle to what these maniacs want...this was hardly utter destruction to the United States.
I don't know who really planted the bombs.  I have no real clue.  I just used my writer's brain and came up with this stuff.  The logic part of me vs. the illogical part of the crazy or crazies who put those bombs together.
A long time ago, Karyn made me watch some German movie starring this guy she likes...and for now I cannot remember his name.  It concerned a group of dissidents living in Berlin when it was divided.  They planted bombs in some derelict buildings...the bombs were made with pressure cookers.  Some of the bombs never exploded.  Then, with the unification, the buildings where the UXBs remained were set to be torn down and the group, widely separated and living "normal" lives, realized that the bombs could go off and hurt innocent people now.  There were also taped recordings of the group and their threats that were in the hands of the police.  So if the bombs did go off, the cops would know where to find the makers who no longer quite felt so dissident.
The essence of the movie was them getting together now and trying to get to the bombs and get the tapes from the police.  This all was in German and I do not remember how it ended, except that the hero got caught and had to escape and his old girlfriend had to help him, even though she was married to somebody else and had a kid.
Similar bombs?  Did the perpetrator get the idea from this movie?
According to the news, there are websites that detail how to make such a bomb.
I don't know, but I wonder, just like everybody else.
Bless Boston and the people who suffered at the hands of these crazies.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Search of the Aurora Borealis


It should have happened.  The sky was clear of clouds, the moon a mere crescent, those few stars The Big Dipper to be exact, shone dimly, but for read.

The aurora was supposed to show between 8 pm and dawn. 

We set out, the girls and I, to find that elusive dark place with little ambient light where we could catch a glimpse of the aurora.  Than rare natural wonder, low in the sky for once, so that people in paltry New Jersey could witness such splendor.

Only there is darkness here, but no place to pull over a car!  There are streets, there are lights everywhere, there are church yards and factories and parks that are guarded by gates.  There are three women, intent on finding someplace to witness the lights…to no avail.

If there were clouds at least, I’d write it off.  I’d merely shrug and say, “Oh, well, it was not to be.”  I have a friend who has traveled to Iceland twice in order to witness the aurora.  Both times, she did not see it.

Makes me think of all the times I’ve been to Niagara Falls to see those colorful lights. I have yet to see them, too.

Ill-fated me.

I do intend to go out on our back porch later tonight and hope the lights are bright enough to shine over my little house.  I think I owe it to myself.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The monster of Asbury Park

This is the image of the carousel building as it really is in Asbury Park.  The image at the top of my site is what my talented daughter did to it to make it mine.  See if you can tell the difference.


This one looks mean.  I could never figure out why all these images surrounded such a happy place.


Here, you can really see the difference in the faces. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mermaid Arms

After six months, here's a little bit of WWII.


Lee opened his mouth, but any words were obliterated by the sound of screams coming from the water’s edge.

The murky water churned yellow-green a few feet into the bay as something struggled…could it be a shark?  Lulu stood where she was.  There was no sign of the little redhead.

Maggie shrieked, “SallySallySally” while Lee ran to the water and dove in.

Maggie shot to her feet and ran through the sand, each step taking hours with her leaden feet.  Bodies writhed in the water.  She saw Sally’s head, she saw Lee surface and pull Sally away from something…something large and heavy tangled around her little legs.

Sally screamed when her mouth got above water.  “Daddy! Daddy!  That’s my Daddy!”

Maggie stopped at the water’s edge, trying desperately to figure out what was going on.  Then she saw what had trapped her daughter.  A body.  A man’s body, head down in the bay. A man with red hair.  A dead man.

She entered the water just as Lee fought against the arms of the floater and Sally’s screams.  The kid kept reaching out toward the body, her beautiful little face contorted with emotion, repeating her cry of “daddy daddy daddy” loud and clear.  When Lee tried to turn away from the sight, Sally struck him in the face then turned back, wriggling in Lee’s arms, desperate to get away.

“No, Sally!  It’s not Daddy!” Maggie forced her voice to sound calm and authoritative.  “It can’t be Daddy.”

The kid screamed in rage.  “It’s Daddy.  He was lost at sea. I found him and he found me!” Again, she struck out at Lee who tried to bring her close within his arms to calm her and keep her from escaping.

Meanwhile, the body bobbed on the surface.  The red hair rippled in the wavelets and one larger wave lifted the face above the water.  A crowd had gathered, mostly teenage boys. At the sight of the fish-eaten flesh, they stepped back.  One young man gagged.  Lee put his hand on Sally’s head and turned her face into his shoulder.

“Somebody went to call the cops,” one of the kids said.  “He has to find a telephone.  Can we help?”

The line of kids parted as Lee finally made it to shore in front of Maggie.  Maggie’s arms moved, offering to take her daughter from Lee but by now, Sally had wrapped her arms around his neck and refused to let go.

Bebo Valdes, Cuban pianist

This man passed away yesterday.  If you listen to this music, see if you can hear the melodies from various American songs hidden within his lovely rendition.

http://youtu.be/PnQpGpZtT14

One I can make out for sure is Willow, Weep for Me.
There are more.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another girl/guy song

While I'm on the subject, here's yet another older guy/younger but not sick young girl song...I can't seem to get them altogether.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn0ZJHVH17I


Now, you might well ask why I'm posting this stuff.  I had an older brother who had these gorgeous friends who were strictly off limits to me.  But I could dream.  Evidently, I still can!!!!!

Songs about older guys and younger women

This is not something sick, it's maybe the age difference between a guy in college and a senior in high school girl.  There are lots of these songs, here are two that have special meaning to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtLGuE1j4Pw

http://youtu.be/38H_-c5Kgnk

Wow

A Second of a Dream

Still exhausted from the weekend.  I was sitting watching morning television because I didn't want to get ready to face the world when I must have dropped off.

Right in my face was the face of someone I knew growing up, a very long time ago. I'd always forever had a crush on him.  There he was, about two inches away from my face, smiling and gorgeous, same age as back when.  He turned and kissed me on the cheek.  I turned in to face him...and he continued kissing me.

Oh, how I wanted to say, "I have always loved you," but I didn't.
Another lost opportunity, but I still had those kisses!

I think there is something wrong with my brain.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dead Certain

Decided Lignarius Series titles...one and a half down.
First is Dead Dreams, Lignarius kills vampire, falls in love with her twin sister.
Dead Meat, Lignarius encounters killer vampire dogs in Charleston, SC, acquires 9 year old girl while doing so and has woman trouble.
Really Dead, Lignarius learns there are as many fish in the sea for him as there are vampires to kill.

You always hurt the one you love!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conference is OVER

The fabulous Liberty States Fiction Writers' conference is over for the year.

It is the one thing I absolutely look forward to...without a doubt...because of a very selfish reason: I get to be Irene there.
Not Mommy.  Not Mrs. P.  Not so and so's mother, not Herb's wife.
I am Irene. Only close friends know the details of my entailment, my family, where I live, where I did what and when. 
At the conference, I am free to talk books, writing, learn about others, see old friends, and make new ones.

It's just what I need. I've been putting off writing for myself and only working on the chapters of other people. I love their stories so much I don't necessarily feel the need to write my own stories, even those that are finished in my head.

But what I truly do miss is the book signing.  I want another book, in paper, to sign for people who buy it.  I want that because, although I have three stories available for viewers on electronic devices, you have to have one of them, and while there is supposed to be a way of autographing somehow, I can barely figure out how to log into things much less sign something.  And who knows what might happen with my official signature in the ether?
I'm that chicken.
I'm that paranoid, I guess.
I'm that functionally computer illiterate.

To all those new folks I met, so glad to meet you!
To all those old friends I saw, hugs.
To all those people who couldn't make it, boy, do I wish you'd been there!