San Juan, Puerto Rico; Geronimo Dreams

IMG_1893?w=225″ width=”225″ height=”300″ />I am enjoying the beautiful island of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is my first visit to this Caribbean island, and I appreciate the sand, the surf, and especially the blue ocean. Whenever I find myself along a shoreline, I search for treasure. I pick up sea-glass, shells, or any other treasure that the salt water gives up. I could spend the entire day exploring. However, sometimes when you search, you discover the unexpected.

Outside my hotel window, stands the Fortin de San Geronimo, an old fort built by the Spanish government in 1609 to defend the island from attack. After my first evening, I dreamt of murder, and a Spanish man screaming. I’m intuitive by nature, but my island bliss should bring peaceful dreams. This is a discovery I never intended to find, but when your mind searches, sometimes the spirits answer back. (If you believe in spirits.)

I have asked the ghosts that linger along the shoreline to leave me alone for a bit, for this is my vacation. However, the dream captured my attention so fully, I decided to weave the threads into a poem. Be warned, this Geronimo is not for the faint of heart.

Your screams awake me in the night,

“Secreto, Secreto,” a man screams with fright.

A violent act,

Soldiers hold your arms,

They take a sword and stab straight down.

Whatever your words,

Secrets shall never be sung.

A dagger, bold and sharp, has taken your tongue.

Red blood, spanish wine, a traitor is free,

A life over, they return you to the sea.

Long ago san Geronimo,

Battles were lost and won.

Memories still linger,

And a writer discovers an island son.

2014––A New Year

2014 Goal Wish?w=300″ width=”300″ height=”245″ /> If I owned a magic looking glass, I would gaze upon the coming days of 2014, and discover what my future holds. However, like other mortal souls, I cannot divine the future; so I sit back and contemplate what the year 2014 will bring. Two resolutions written on my goal list include a slimmer body and a completed manuscript. I have a plan to see these priorities become a reality.

I listened to a speaker once, whose name escapes me, but she said that goals without action were just dreams. A goal without a plan is simply a wishful coin tossed into a fountain. A nice thought, but no goals were ever made from a splash. Goals require a stimulus, an action.

I don’t understand why I have been content to live in an over-weight body, day after day, year after year, with this extra fat invading my organs. My first stimulus to address my weight issue––is I want to look and feel better. My plan to get back into my skinny jeans in five weeks includes the following action plan:

  • Count calories using My Fitness Pal app. (I am already seeing results!)
  • Visit the gym three times a week.
  • Walk on non-gym days. (Weather Permitting!)
  • Reward myself with a non-food gift when I reach my goal weight. Perhaps a new pair of Jeans.

Foremost in my mind for the 2014-year is the desire to finish my manuscript, Scarlett’s Beauty. I could sit in my office all day, dreaming about characters and plot, but if words don’t ink the page, no readers will ever discover this gothic romantasy. My plan to achieve this career goal includes the following action plan.

  • Write five days a week, Monday through Friday.
  • Achieve a word count of 1000 words each day.
  • Plan to complete by March 31, 2014.

There is much more I want to achieve and discover in 2014 and I’m excited about the year ahead. I am looking forward to each jet plane that will take me someplace new. I can’t wait to dip my toes in the ocean. I am ready to set dates with friends for a cup of coffee or an early morning breakfast. I am eager to see my children who no longer live in my home or my city. My dogs are already looking at me with anticipation of a daily walk. And there is the simple beauty of each sunrise and sunset or the Robin’s that will return with spring. Life is simply a trip worth taking.

I am excited about 2014. I feel good karma is coming my way and I hope you are equally blessed!

Hope – A Candle in our Journey

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Welcome to the first week of advent and a frosty cold December. This is the week where church families gather to light the purple hope candle. The lighting is special for those that bare witness to this act in the service, as the light that burns from the newly lit wick, symbolizes hope within the spiritual journey. Hope is a candle in our journey.

The Christmas season offers joy to many who wait for December 25th to arrive, but this season also brings sadness. Souls are lost in the darkness, families grieve for members that will not dine at the dinner table, and some don’t have a home where children will find a gift under the tree. The days are shorter, the night lingers, and the sun disappears behind the horizon far too soon. Hope is a candle I have carried in my journey, even when the light burned low.

There are moments in our lives when we have no choice but to walk in the night. Day begets night, night begets day, and we are helpless to change this repetitive ebb and flow. We love the day for its obvious light, and often fear the night for the monsters that might be lurking. We understand that movement within this black velvet space can overwhelm to such an extent that we hide, curl up, and perhaps forget to experience life. I walk into the night and into the black looking for the light, for I know there is a beacon of hope to be found when you have the courage to look. In my life I have been lost in darkness, and have faced loss. Loss helps me to appreciate the life I live and breathe, for those that have past before me can experience life’s gifts no more.

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After the sunset on a warm winter evening, I took our Yorkshire-Terrier-cross named Bella, for an evening walk in the neighbourhood. Bella loves to walk and is not concerned with the lack of light or even the weather. She enjoys a good walk! As we walked, I stopped to Instagram tiny twinkle lights on a bush. In the daylight, the branches would appear barren with the leaves missing, but in the darkness, the tiny lights reflect off the branches with promise, and I find light in the darkness.

I stop to gaze at a Snowman who shivers from the cold. I recall Frosty-the-Snowman from my childhood and remember the television specials that gave me joy. I experienced sorrow during my childhood, but during this walk as an adult, I feel joy as laughter ripples from my lips into the night.

Further around the corner, I gaze in awe at three reindeers clustered in a circle, lit by two spotlights. “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm and all is bright?” As Bella pulls on her leash, and beckons me to follow, I welcome the peace in the silent scene, and find hope in the stillness. “Be still and know,” that there is a hope candle hidden in the dark, but sometimes we need to journey to discover the flame.

I wonder what my neighbours believe when they decorate their homes each season? Do they know that the Christmas lights, or created scenes bring joy? Do they know there is hope found in the light they share?

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As I drive my vehicle into the darkness, I like to go past the Christmas Trees at the mall, just to see the light flicker, cascade, and fall into the darkness. It’s beautiful. I often want to stop my car, forget about the mall and spread my arms beneath their beautiful light. Why do I always drive past? What keeps many from stopping, and standing within the light that is waiting?

This light makes me wish that Christmas occurred all year long, so there would always be a light burning in the darkness. My house will be lit tonight. It’s a small gesture, but as people walk or drive past, I hope they see my candle in the darkness.

Light brings hope, and hope is a candle in our journey.

Words inspired by a Genre Circular

Words inspired by a Genre Circular

A writer’s mind is a provocative vortex into a complex world. I can’t explain the creative seeds that grow within the stories I write, or the character threads that come to me in almost insightful flashes. However, I’d like to believe there is a link between a healthy imagination and the authors who have inspired my handiwork.

As a young girl, I enjoyed the escapism found in the fantasy world of a good book. I developed a fondness for poetry from a young age and especially cherished a Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. The broken spine and worn out pages attest to the fantasy world I once upon a time loved to curl up in and read.

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“Sometimes when my day grew sad,
I would reach for my Garden book,
and dream of Foreign Lands.
Every night I’d go abroad,
And journey far into the Land of Nod.
Armies, emperors and kings I would find,
All carrying different kinds of things,
And marching in so grand a way
I could never see the like by day.”

As a teenager I discovered V.C. Andrews and her first book in a series entitled, “Flowers in the Attic.” I have never been confined, as the characters Cathy, Chris, Cory and Carrie found themselves, but as a child I often felt locked in a world I could not escape from, so found understanding in this child abuse story. I couldn’t imagine that a mother would lock her children away, or attempt to poison them, but of course in the real world, humans do much worse, and I know that thanks to the cruelty I experienced from my father’s hands.

I began reading romance novels as a young adult. I had not met my hero yet, but as I read each happily ever after story, I dreamed my prince might find me. A romance novel is special, because no matter the trials or tribulations the hero and heroine face, love always wins, and the story has a happy ending. My favourite romance is, “A Knight in Shining Armour,” by Jude Deveraux. A woman cries beneath the statue of a Knight, who hears her despair from centuries already past. You would think that this love match was impossible, but anything is achievable where there is love! There is no greater gift than love.

There was a period in my life where inspiration mixed with religion, and I read “The Mark of the Lion” series, by Francine Rivers. It’s a powerful story about Hadassah, a young Jewish woman, who is nursed back to health after she faces an attack by Lions. This story helped me during a time in my life when I needed healing after a loss. It reminded me that no matter how deep our scars, we can find a new dawn, if we only have the courage to wait for the morning light. It saddens me to know that some can’t find their way out of the darkness.

My own writing was growing weary with my manuscript pages collecting dust somewhere under the bed, when I began reading George R.R. Martin’s, “A song of Ice and Fire,” series. After watching the Game of Thrones first season on HBO, I had to know what happened next to these historical characters. I valued the style in which the books were written. I loved exploring the battle between Kings and Queens, all vying to win the game of thrones. The realism in the story is as gut wrenching as the satisfying outcomes, in that bad things do happen to good people.

I began to write my own story, and as the words jotted down onto the page, each novel that had ever touched my life, began to weave inspirational words into Scarlett’s Beauty. I found my story not being set in the Land of Nod, but a Medieval Kingdom I called Velez.

I cannot ever change the punishments or losses that I have suffered, but I can find satisfaction when my characters choices, result in appropriate consequences. Like George R.R. Martin, a character or two I have created has met with sad outcomes, and I enjoyed writing their ill fates. Interestingly, the vilest character in my book has been the most satisfying character to explore. I don’t despair in this, because happy endings are possible when love is at the heart, even when the love seeds are not readily apparent yet.

My writing has come full circle thanks to my own personal journeys, and the creative works of Authors who have inspired Scarlett’s story. Fantasy, historical fiction, and inspirational faith are all twisting together in a vortex of words I have termed Gothic Romantasy. The Genres are circular and I have connected the dots.

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