No Excuses Aloud (sp), Only Written Ones

Blogger Leah Oviedo is a woman on a mission. She strongly believes that there is no excuse for not doing our part to create positive change in the world. Leah takes on this challenge in many different ways. She writes, teaches, and encourages others to follow her lead as she brings people from different backgrounds together through social media.

Leah has been following almost since its beginning. Her comments on my posts always bring a smile to my face, and I consider Leah a friend. She recently invited me to participate in her April Indie Author Read-A-Thon. How could I say no to someone who promotes Indie Authors and works in her community to empower women? These are two things near and dear to my heart.

I am honored Leah has chosen Summoning The Strength as one of the books featured this month. If you are on Facebook, check out the books Leah is promoting in the month of April here. You may also be interested in her blog. Check it out here.


Now for the remark I intended to publish Monday.

Please excuse my absence from I am unable to see straight due to an overwhelming amount of research for school. In the event that I make a staggering discovery which must be shared with the world immediately, I will be sure to blog about it. Otherwise there will be no posts published here until the end of the semester unless I have a prolonged bout of insomnia, which isn’t likely since I am exhausted most of the time.

Thank you.


My Writing Process – Blog Tour

A friendly place where there is always more than meets the eye. That’s the blog of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, hostess of the weekly challenge for fiction writers to make every word count. Rochelle specializes in history with a twist. Her exceptional attention to detail is reflected in every story she creates, and I enjoy her writing so much that I once travelled to a cemetery in Queens, NY to further explore the subject of one of her stories.

You can read about it here.

The challenge to create a 100 word story using a photo prompt provided by a different person each week has significantly tightened up my writing. For this, I am grateful to Rochelle and all of the Friday Fictioneers. When Rochelle invited me to share my writing process, my first thought was, I’m supposed to have a process? Readers who follow this blog know that I have a predictably random creative process. For anyone who has read my first book, “Summoning the Strength,” I hope it is apparent that my writing has improved.

My writing process when I first began went something like this:

Awaken in the middle of the night, if I’d gone to sleep at all, and let my grief gush into the keyboard until I had no feeling in my left hand. Seriously, this is exactly what happened, and when my book was finished, I went to see a neurologist to determine the damage. I do not recommend that process. However, passion being a lesser vice than indifference, if you must, you must. An interview which clearly shows my nerve naiveté nerve is here.

I am working on a second book entitled Beyond Belief. Although I have received positive feedback for excerpts I have posted, completing it has become a much longer process than I expected. This is mainly due to my priority being the completion of the degree I am currently pursuing at the University of North Texas. I’m also taking my own sweet time to avoid mistakes I made with my first book, e.g. too many characters, too much telling and not enough showing. That’s writer speak I heard somewhere which simply means I couldn’t shut up fast enough. It’s true; I was driven to tell the story of Katherine Doyle and the women who influenced her.

My work differs from others of its genre in no significant way. My life experience drives every word I write. Authenticity is job one, as they say, and if I cannot express my genuine self, I have learned, I dare not try to fake it. There are plenty of topics of which I know nothing, but I know more than enough than to waste my time and the reader’s with piffle they can get more easily somewhere else. I write because to do otherwise is to prove the prophecies of those who ever doubted I could do it, including myself. Of course, what I have to say about most subjects has been said before, and yet, if I die tomorrow I will not have said enough. So, I write.

My writing process today goes something like this:

A sensation akin to heartburn sears an idea into my brain. So, I guess you could call it brain burn. Once an idea is in there, it is hard to ignore. Kind of like a tabloid cover of Elvis and Tammy Faye Bakker being abducted to repopulate a dying planet. Your imagining that now, aren’t you? People like me are called pantsters, as in “flying by the seat of our pants.” But there is a method to my madness. Sort of. A story begins with a spark. If the spark grows past the tabloid stage to ignite disdain for manipulators or fascination with human nature, then I move forward with purpose to turn analysis into action. However, I usually end up deleting three five ten times as many words as I write.

Some things really are better left unsaid.

If an idea doesn’t spontaneously combust to reveal something amazing or at least amusing, I have to accept that I don’t know enough to develop a story. After all, anyone can Google “great loves of habitual liars” and discover a melodrama I could never tell. But I can spin a fine yarn about the deceptive practices of rat bastards. This I know beyond belief.


Okay, the point of this is to share some useful information. So, here goes…

I think. I write. I think it over and write some more. When I get tired of writing, I take a walk and think it over again. For me, there is more process in editing than in writing.  This may not be anyone else’s cuppa joe. I am an over thinker and it works for me. However, over thinking can make even a good writer go bad. For instance, thinking about characters, what they desire and despise, what they fear and fiercely protect, these are thoughts worth thinking. It is when thoughts turn to distribution, marketing, and the many details that go along with storytelling for the masses that a writer can be driven to distraction.

Speaking of distractions, Author Carrie Rubin crafts a story we only think we’ve heard then turns it completely on its head. I couldn’t put it down. The same thing happened when I started reading “No Time For Kings” by Mark Petruska. Another thrill seeker whose writing I enjoy is S.W. Lothian, author of the Quest Series created for kids and adults alike.

Scarab BeetleS.W. LOTHIAN is a funny and cool guy from Australia. His kids call him ‘Phil Dunphy’, because he reminds them of the dad from Modern Family. He isn’t sure whether this is a compliment or not, but he takes it as a compliment. As an imaginative kid he dreamed of creating exciting worlds and funky characters, and thought he’d be the most famous person to ever do this. He loved to draw and was dux of Art in High School. Top of his dream list was to be an animator. He loved watching all those classic cartoons on TV – Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Road Runner, Wacky Races, The Simpsons, the list goes on and on.

BOOM! Reality hit. The dreams were parked as the corporate world beckoned. Then, 25 years later, the long-held dream to create erupted like a jam donut in a microwave and S.W. started writing fiction for kids of all ages. His books can be summed up as fun-action-packed-time-travel-adventures-for-the-kid-in-everyone. He writes stories to excite, inspire, teach and thrill. Stories with awesome edge-of-your-seat fun. Stories that let kids escape to new places, and adults remember the dreams of their own childhood. He is the author of the very popular Quest Series (The Golden Scarab, The Cursed Nile, The Fallen Pharaoh) and the first book in his new series, TIME SQUARE | THE SHIFT will to be let loose on readers in April 2014. His debut novel, The Golden Scarab, was a 2013 READER’S FAVORITE BOOK AWARD FINALIST.

ntfk-coverMARK PETRUSKA is a writer by trade, though he regrets turning down the drumming gig offered by “that Cobain guy in Seattle.” Born in Hawaii, he lived in a variety of exotic locales growing up (Dayton! Rapid City!) before settling in the Pacific Northwest, where his penchant for rainy days and bacon-topped doughnuts was richly rewarded. Mark is married to a woman he met online, but would like to make it clear she was a fellow blogger and not a mail order bride. He is estranged from his two children…wait, that should read “strange to his two children” who, as teenagers, believe anybody over the age of 30 is strange, especially dad. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, indie rock, and all things paranormal. Mark is a published author whose novel, NO TIME FOR KINGS, is available on Amazon. He is hard at work on a follow-up he describes as “a blend of Dickens’ satirical caricatures and gift for allegory, and Twain’s rich narrative and social criticism…or it’ll make a great coaster for your cup of coffee.”

rubin2CARRIE RUBIN is a writer, physician, public health advocate, humor blogger, mother, wife, fitness enthusiast, movie fan, and avid reader. To her, every experience is worthwhile, even if one’s path deviates from where it started. She is the author of “The Seneca Scourge,” a medical thriller, which was awarded Best New E-Book: Fiction in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards. She is currently seeking publication for her second novel and has just started work on a new one. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two teenage sons, all of whom take great pleasure in teasing her.

Check them out, and as always, thanks for reading.

False Evidence Appearing Real


FEAR fills its pockets with day old goods from the corner fakery and sneaks in through the eye. It creeps along the sinus passage and ducks into a trench in the frontal lobe. It selects a path and follows it through the labyrinth, dropping crumbs along the way so it can find its way back and slide down into the chest where it intends to beat the heart into submission. First though, it needs to infiltrate the thoughts. It bores a small hole. Piercing through the defenses, it knocks stuff off the walls. Treasured photos, maybe a diploma or two, some certificates and awards, a lifetime of achievement lies in pieces on the floor.

Suddenly, a noise. Rumblings in the memory bank. A reminder message flashes, lighting up a dark corridor. FEAR quickens its pace and covers everything with hateful graffiti. It kicks over a recycle bin on its way out and rushes toward the heart.

Oh, the acronymity of it all!

In the gut there is a tightening; a surge, specific, measurable, and real. The senses heighten. Blood courses through the chamber just in time. Another flash exposes FEAR for what it really is. FEAR is knocked on its ass. How awesome is that?


I wish false evidence didn’t appear real so often in my life. It is a byproduct of over thinking. Fortunately for me I have a detection system. It is mostly reliable, sometimes needs a reboot, only required a complete overhaul a couple of times. Confidence isn’t my issue. Neither is courage. No, my issue is more like faulty wiring.

Ever replay a conversation and think, why did I say that? Ever choose to change and even put some skin in the game only to wonder, is this a mistake? Ever get a really bad case of the oh my god what if I fail, I can’t do it, there is another shit storm coming, I should take cover now before it’s too late? Well, if you have and you wonder what causes it, you too might have faulty wiring.

I’ll give you the signs to help diagnose this common issue:

First, an indicator light comes on. It doesn’t stay on; it just blinks from time to time. Everything functions per spec, respiration is normal, cognitive function gets you to and from work/school/the fridge/the sofa. You may notice it takes longer as motor function begins to stall. That’s when you need to do some maintenance. Routine maintenance can prevent this from turning into a real issue. You know, the kind of issue that can seriously WiFi things up. Yeah, WiFi is my new swear word thanks to Amy@The Bumble Files.

Second, don’t panic. Panic causes knee jerk reactions. That is the last thing you want. Breathe. That is the best thing to do. Just breathe. Ask, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Next, can I live with that? Here’s how that might go if you find yourself over thinking, say, a decision to pump thousands of dollars into going back to college in your forties to complete a degree that you started before life taught you about failure.


So, as you can see, even people with confidence and courage can be hoodwinked by fear. That faker! It gets inside with its fake ID and vandalizes what we have worked hard to accomplish. It doesn’t care what it trashes as long as it completes its mission. Today I am Summoning the Strength. My reward will be Beyond Belief.




Today’s post is brought to you by spider webs and Hostess snack cakes.
Any ads appearing beneath this post are NOT ENDORSED by this blogger.


The Second Cup


Coffee drinkers everywhere know that first cup of coffee clears away the cobwebs. As the slogan says, it’s the best part of waking up. The merits of fair trade and pervasiveness of trendy branding notwithstanding, this common beverage crosses boundaries, both physical and categorical, helping us make connections wherever we go, no matter where we come from. Sipped in solitude or shared in a crowded cafe, people all over the world know the importance of the coffee break; even those who don’t drink coffee.

Mornings when my motivation is considerably lacking, which are more frequent than I care to admit, it’s that second cup that brings my thinking into focus. Halfway through, synapses begin to fire. Not rapidly but in a sort of rhythm, creating sequences of words that work their way into my writing in the form of a poem, a chapter, or sometimes nothing more than a blog post title. It would be nice to experience a surge of inspiration that I could build a TED talk around, but that isn’t likely. Instead there is slow and steady progress toward completing what I happen to be working on at the moment. In this particular moment, that’s a second book, class assignments, and blog posts.

Writing, for me, has been transformative. What began as therapy is now something more. I’m uncertain how exactly to articulate what that something is. Sharing my point of view isn’t particularly new, and yet, there is a newness in my writing, or at least in the way I see myself through writing. It has helped me develop different types of expression. It may seem as though I’ve been trying to perfect the rant, but it has been Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneer challenge to make every word count that has helped me the most. Comments from each of you have also been a tremendous encouragement.

I’ve been around the block both personally and professionally and for the past five years I have been privileged to volunteer with some of the best not-for-profit organizations around, choosing at the end of last year to go back to school to prepare for what’s next. I haven’t decided what’s next, but for the first time in my life I am executing a plan that doesn’t make me dread mornings. A plan that I believe is going to be good to the last drop.

Who Loves You Baby

Sunday usually isn’t a day I write blog posts, but I figured since my homework for tomorrow is done I’d catch up on email, read a few of my favorite blogs, see what might spark an inspiration to write a bit or take a nap. Decisions decisions! When I went to sign into Yahoo, I saw this ad. What do ya know, a post in the making!

1-1-Fullscreen capture 6302013 85548 AM

Do you think ANY of those women have a hard time finding a date? Yeah, me neither. So, why would they allow their photos to be used in a digital meat market ad like this? Yes, the target demographic for this ad IS men. This may seem like petty jealousy to some people. If you are one of those people, this post is not for you. Move along, there’s nothing to see here. If you met the love of your life on date dot com, good for you. This post is not about bashing online dating sites. Seriously.

So, I shook my head, dropped an expletive on the floor and then singed into my email. Of course there were the same old sure-fire cures for my erectile dysfunction waiting in my spam folder. I always check the spam, I don’t know why. It’s not like I’m going to wake up one day and suddenly be, um idunno, needing penis enlargement to boost my self-esteem. I guess it makes me feel superior to goober heads who work in the spam industry. Yes, it’s an industry. Just like the economy of war there’s an economy of spam. Who knew?

Google Images
Google Images

One of my favorite bloggers, Michelle @ the Green Study has an excellent post today. She always knows just what to say to make me laugh and think and roll my eyes and shake my head in agreement. Today was no different. I share her wish to see articles in so-called women’s magazines with titles like “How to make No mean No: Giving a Beat Down He Won’t Forget” or “Self-Defense for Parking Lots: Keys are for Eyeballs, Knees are for Groins” or “50 Ways to Leave Your Abuser”. Michelle’s humor is right on the mark and her post gets to the heart of not only what is wrong with the thinking behind marketing to women but also what is terribly wrong with how women are perceived “collectively as state property.” Read her post and be enlightened.