A memory of Christmas

For as long as I could remember, the nightmares came nightly.

A whirlwind of darkness engulfed my dreams as my pillow turned to stone, night after night. My body fought for sleep, my eyes heavy, they would no longer stay awake. I relaxed into the softness of my bed as the day melted away and then it would happen. My inner spirit floated to the ceiling as I watched my body lay in the bed below, asleep, lifeless.

The room slowly started to spin around, faster, and faster until the room turned black, then stopped. Streaks of light filtered through the dark room from the light of the moon outside.

Off in the distance I faintly heard a child’s laughter. I looked around and things began to change; a sense of wellbeing surrounded me as I saw a small girl. The room brightened.

Happiness and joy, love, and comfort at the beginning of each nightmare. They were frightening, traumatic, and haunting, even during the day.

I floated above in a room unlike mine. It was soft, white, like a fluff of cotton, warm and soothing. A dim light shone through the bedroom door; a glow cast against the large poster bed with its white and pale blue comforter. A little girl who looked to be about three years old was dressed in red plaid pajamas. She climbed up on the overstuffed chair that sat squarely in the corner, a book, and eyeglasses teetered on the arm of the chair. Strong woodsy cologne lingered in the air. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. Held it in, then slowly exhaled through my mouth, calmness surrounded my soul.

A man, with his dark hair slicked back stood before the little girl. He loosened his tie as her big eyes looked to him with love. Her world was safe in his heart.

I heard her say, “Merry Christmas, Daddy!” He bent over and picked her up from the chair. Her curls bounced against his face. He kissed her cheek and tossed her on the bed. Giggles filled the room as he tickled her bare toes. A woman entered the room and flicked on the light. She unfastened her hair clip, tossed her head back, and shook down her long soft strands of gold. She looked elegant in an ivory satin gown with her small figure and rounded belly. A smile spread across her face. The little girl had the same beautiful infectious smile. I felt the love from this family.

“You two are silly.” The woman said as she joined the girl on the bed. The girl jumped into the woman’s arms. “I love you Mommy.” She giggled.

I wanted to be that little girl in her mother’s arms. Feel the warmth of her love and smell the clean scent of her perfume. Oh how I longed to have a mother like that.

“I love you too baby doll. It’s time for bed; it’s been a long day.” The woman said.

The little girl scrunched her nose and let out a long sigh, she protested with a sad face, and then blinked her eyes at the man.

“No, sweetheart don’t look at daddy like that you know you melt me with those big blues.” The man with his deep eyes towered over her as he unbuttoned his shirt, exposing his broad chest. She puckered her lower lip out more.

“One story from the book Santa brought me, please?” She held up a tiny white book.

The woman gave in to her plea and fluffed the pillows on the bed as they all settled together. The man cradled the girl in his arms. His legs stretched across the covers, I realized how tall he must be as his feet nearly hung off the end of the bed. The woman propped the small white book against her swollen belly.

Relaxed I watched the family nestled in the overstuffed bed. My body descended to the floor.

The little girl pulled a bear to her chest, its fur worn in places, I was sure it must have been her favorite toy.

I watched from across the room and then closed my eyes, took in a deep breath as the cold of winter melted away from the comfort and love, the woman began to read.

“This is love that we walk after his commandments. II John 1:6.”

I opened my eyes the girl smiled and hugged her bear tighter. The woman patted her stomach and said; ‘“Look sweetie, the baby likes the book too.”’ They watched for a minute as the baby moved inside the woman. The book fell from her belly. Laughter shook the bed as the girl picked it up and asked for more.

“Okay then it’s off to bed,” the man softly whispered.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrew 11:1. Without faith, it is impossible to please…” The woman’s voice trailed off.

“Honey did you hear that?” She sat up and looked towards the bedroom door.

The man, almost asleep, heard a crash come from the hall. I, myself was startled. I held my breath and put my hand over my heart to steady it. The hair on my arms rose as my bones chilled. I knew this was a nightmare, yet, night after night I never prepared myself for what was about to happen next.

“Sweetheart, stay with mommy I’ll go see what it is.” The man told the girl as he placed her next to the woman. He got up off the bed and walked towards the hall. But before he reached the door, a tall dark figure appeared followed by a shorter fuller one. The little girl jumped off the bed and hid behind the curtains. What happened next no child should ever witness.

 

In a split second, I saw my motionless body lying in my bedroom asleep, and the little girl hidden behind the curtain, the feel of comfort gone. Pressure restricted my chest, heaviness. Screams, yells, and laughter hit my ears. The little girl pressed her face to the cold window and plugged her ears with her tiny pudgy fingers. The sounds muffled.

It hurt to breathe. I became dizzy, light headed. The room spun out of control. I watched the little girl, her eyes pleaded with a man outside the window, but he didn’t see her. I tried to scream for help; nothing came out. My body shivered. The room became icy, gray, and dull. Goose bumps covered my body like a spineless snake coiling around my neck. I felt helpless, weak. Nothing I could have done.

“Look up, look up.” I tried to yell while I pounded my fist on the glass. Why didn’t the man look up?

My voice silenced by fear. Tears blurred my vision. Panic, don’t panic. The little girl needs me.

I held my head to stop the spin of the room. The little girl saw me, her face frightened. She held her hand out. I tried to touch her when a hand reached through the curtain, and grabbed her. Screams pierced my ears.

Overwhelmed by fear; the room became bitterly cold, and dark, only the light from the hall shone in. My heart raced as I walked to the bed, my body covered in a sticky substance. The taste of salty tears streaked my face. I looked around in horror. A thickness in my throat consumed my air.

Where did the little girl go?

Wetness soaked my feet. I looked down as the man’s dead body stared up at me. A scent of rotted flesh filled my nostrils. I covered my mouth and nose with my hand as my stomach turned. I wanted to vomit.

A long silent scream came from within as I looked around at the blood spotted walls and felt trapped in a nightmare of darkness.

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Copycat writers? -The thief of a novel

As I was reading some articles yesterday, I came across something interesting. A guy shared his secret to success. He wrote about how he produces a novel a month and makes boo-coo bucks.

I read on. He explained how he goes on several top selling book web sites, such as Amazon, B & N etc. He finds the top selling books in all genres, (because this is what people are buying, right?) He buys the kindle version, changes things up a bit. (Characters, race, places, title, some background and a little bit of the storyline.)

Then he turns around and sells the books as his own with paid reviews to boost his books to the top where people will see them. BOOM, Bucks roll in.

WOW, what a genius right? NOT. I’d call him a thief. Most likely, the original Author will never see this copycat novel unless somebody points it out and calls out the guy. I know I have read several novels by different Authors with similar storylines. Umm, I wonder, could one of them been a mock of the other?

Writing From The Heart

Writing from the heart There was a lot of hesitation, by me, when asked to write the story of my daughters married life. For one I don’t know much about abuse, another, this is my daughter.

Never did I see signs of abuse…hindsight now when I think about the excuses she used, falling up the front steps, cutting vegetables in her hand, the miscarriages, the weight loss. There were so many signs I didn’t put together. I loved my son in law. We never know what goes on behind closed doors.

A few years ago, he was diagnosed with several disorders, hospitalized for a brief time, and put on meds, which he refused to take. He also was a ‘closet’ cutter. It was the day my daughter came home from work and found him bleeding in the bed holding their one-year-old daughter threating to cut her throat and take her to the grave with him that she decided it had to end and end at that moment. She was stabbed while grabbing the baby but was able to get outside and call 911.

She did go back to him. Two more children and 3 years later he left them homeless on the side of the road. It was November. Still she kept all this from us. By Thanksgiving of that year, she had moved in with us as a ‘separation.’ Of course me thinking it’s just a little spat and will blow over encouraged her to work things out. If I had known….

My daughter has kept a written journal of everything. She, in so many ways, has become an inspiration for me. She finished college with a degree as a paralegal and has taken on the justice system to fight for her rights as the sole provider of her children all while working a full time job. She turned her pain (although I don’t think it will ever go away) into a strength and motivation for others.

I couldn’t read past the first page of her journal, it was harsh the stuff he made her do to prove her love to him. I wanted to vomit. She gave me permission to write her story but asked if I’d write it as a fiction/nonfiction novel. A story people can relate to whether man or woman, child, or aged adult. She doesn’t want it to be preachy of course but to bring the awareness to those who are taking the brunt of the abuse and know they have choices.

I have tried to this point not ask her about details other than what she has already shared and what I had read; it brings on a lot of emotion.

I can do this. I have to do this.

 

 

 

Characters are rude

When the characters in your head take over and pick an argument with someone around you only to get a rif so they can use it in their own story. Does it happen to you?
I was so involved with writing yesterday that I allowed one of my characters to stay with me through out the evening (I just wasn’t finished with her when I had to start dinner) she poked and prodded my brain until I briefly snapped at my husband, so dumb. Yet afterwards I turned and had a grin of content, my eyebrow raised I quickly wrote down the reaction, emotion and words to put into the next paragraph. Yes she was content and satisfied. I was feeling bad for my husband. Lol (All and all the evening turned out good.)

Karma and the horse that nearly killed me.

Karma.

We all know the word and I’m sure some of us know the repercussions of it. I wonder, as a writer, how many people have realized what they have thrown at another person has actually came back to them in a karma fashion.

Here’s a little story of my own of a horse I bought that nearly killed me.

Karma comes back to those who sin.

Six years ago, I met “Jack” who dealt with horses. I’m an experienced rider and have trained a few horses so it wasn’t as if I had never been around them, I had been riding since I was 7. Fast forward 38 years….Jack told me he had just the right horse for me.

Now I knew a friendly horse is a good thing, a pushy horse is not and a shy horse is one that may or may not have been abused. So caution is always the first and foremost important trait in searching for the right horse for the right rider. I also wanted a horse that was experienced around young children.

As I got to know Jack over a few weeks he showed me a very large stallion. WOO he was huge, a bit bigger than I was looking for but I fell in love with him. He nuzzled into my neck, licked my fingers, and had eyes that any momma would coo over.

My first red flag should have been he was too friendly and Jack was too eager to get rid of such a friendly horse for almost nothing.

He even threw in the saddle, bridle, lead, and comb. A comb? Really oh boy. Lol We saddled him up that day and I hopped on, he was a bit edgy with the saddle on (red flag #2) but soon settled down and I rode him around for a few minutes.

It was a done deal. I actually walked him home, we lived that close. I introduced him to my much older mini and they got along great. Days went by and the two were like brothers. I named my new (no name) horse Legend. (He soon lived up to the name.) So Outlaw and Legend became great friends and I doted on them both.

At 17 ½ hands tall and 1100 pounds Legend soon began to show signs of being pushy, rearing up and nipping at Outlaw.

I had no choice but to become more firm with his behavior, letting him know real quick where the boundaries are and my space verses his. Playful as a pup his nuzzling large nose flared with huffs but was soon blinking those eyes of, “I’m sorry.”

Over the next week I worked with him on reining and saddling, he still wasn’t comfortable enough with the saddle and rider so I had some work to do.

As I lead him out to the pasture one day I turned to pet his nose before releasing his alter. He reared up. I backed away and thought WOO. No biggy. I walked away to show him I wasn’t impressed.

The next day I saddled Legend and climbed aboard. We walked around for a while then he did it, he reared up. There I sat on top of what felt like a mountain. I leaned forwarded, petted his mane, and said, “Well I’m so proud of you now down because I’m not getting off.” He listened and went down on all fours.

What he did next almost killed me. And I know this story seems long but truly, I’m getting at the karma.

It was the first warm spring day after what seemed like weeks of cold rainy weather. I hadn’t worked with either horse in almost a month. I brushed and saddled both horses, walked them around and fed treats. I decided I’d work a little more with Legend and take him for a walk around the property, something we often did.

Two and a half weeks later, I woke up on life support in ICU. I thought it was another writer’s nightmare; I was in one of my horrors, one I couldn’t wake from. I had tubes in my throat and nose so I couldn’t talk or move my body. My eyeballs were the only thing that moved. My daughter understood my blinking and she put my glasses on my face. In huge letters on the wipe off board, I saw the date, two weeks of my life had vanished. During that time they said it had snowed, my daughter miscarried her baby and spring had fully sprung.

Sounds of alarms, machines, and air pumped into my lungs made it all become a reality that I was truly in a bad place. (And I mean bad by this was not a nightmare but real life)

Questions started pouring through my mind of how I got there, what happen, who did this to me and what was the outcome going to be. Did something fall from the sky? Did the earth open up and try to swallow me? What?

Then I hear my daughter ask if I wanted her to paint my toenails. I felt the wetness of a tear drop from the corner of my eye. My son said he had to leave as he bent down to kiss my cheek and my husband held my hand. Awe my hand I felt his in mine, I can feel his warm touch.

As the next few days went by, I motioned to be taken off life support. I made my decision not to live like a vegetables for my family to visit on weekends and holidays. The doctors hesitant said I was already a miracle and taking out the tubes would be harsh and couldn’t be put back in if I couldn’t breathe on my own. I motioned again with the only arm I could move. By the next morning, I was sitting on the side of the bed waiting for help to go to the bathroom when my husband walked in. Shocked he was angry at the doctors for not waiting on him to take the tubes out yet crying at how happy he was that I was alive and sitting up breathing on my own. A mix of emotions we wept together and knew it was going to be a struggle. I’m a person of determination and wasn’t about to settle for a hospital bed, or death.

Now as months went by, painful as they were, I learned to walk and talk again. It wasn’t easy. My spine had been snapped in 2 places, my shoulder blade broken in half, my lung punctured, 12 broken ribs, my spleen, and left kidney had exploded and I had some brain injury with memory loss. In time, I remembered the last thing I was doing before waking up in ICU, walking Legend.

Yes, that huge baby nearly killed me. With the injuries I had, we figured out what happen. On the day I walked him I did a no-no. I put my left hand under his chin to lead him in a circle. Thankfully, I had gloves on otherwise, I’m sure I would have been missing a finger or two. As I walked him he must have reared up, his new habit, he took me up in the air with him, snapping my back and shoulder blade in half and knocking me unconscious. When he came down my body like a rag doll fell to the ground like a jackhammer to concrete, my hand still hooked under his chin. His chest pounded my body into the dirt. My husband found me lying in the pasture and then a helicopter took me on a lifesaving ride. I don’t remember any of that of course, a good thing because I’m afraid of flying.

Now you’re wondering what the Karma is right? Well remember I said the guy Jack was too eager to get rid of the horse? Well come to find out a year later he knew the bad habits of Legend but it didn’t matter to Jack. If he could make a buck over what he could get from the slaughterhouse than he’d sell any horse to anyone. Yes, I said slaughterhouse. Jack was a poseur. He talked the talk of being a straight up cowboy who would never sell a tainted horse to anybody but what he really did was steal horses and sell to the slaughterhouse for money. This horse though he hadn’t made up the fake papers yet to sell on his next load. I came along and fell in love with what seemed like a perfect well-behaved horse. I also didn’t know that when I went to look at the horse Jack had doped him with a calming shot. The same that vets give horses before they float their teeth.

We of course had gotten rid of Legend before I came home from the hospital, making that decision was difficult but Jack was willing to take him back and put him out to pasture. Retire a young stud.

Jack, well almost one year and two months after my accident he was found dead in his truck on the side of the road next to the pasture where he hid his stolen horses, Legend stood nearby.

Was it the Karma of Jack’s deceitful life that killed him or the curse of Legend?

Why Writers Should Use Twitter (and HOW to USE It Effectively)

I don’t get Twitter but I’m learning. Great advice, thanks.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.51.29 AMFor the last couple posts, we’ve been talking about how to use Twitter effectively. Too many writers are like Stormtroopers—lots of shots fired  tweets that hit NOTHING.

I can admit, when I got on Twitter (when it was invented) I didn’t get it. I would—KID YOU NOT—freak out when people I didn’t know followed me. WHAT? Are you, like, a stalker? Yes, I was missing the ENTIRE point of Twitter. Hey, we all start somewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.32.45 AM

Do you have to do Twitter? No. No one will take you to writer jail because you didn’t. Is it wise to use Twitter? ABSOLUTELY.

I strongly recommend Twitter for two main reasons. First, couple Twitter with a good/consistent blog and this is your best formula to go viral. Secondly, Twitter helps us find READERS (and helps readers find US).

Going Viral

We will rarely go viral from Facebook because the nature of…

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How the title for The Eye of Lies came about

So I talked about writing the book, The Eye of Lies,  and how it came about, but there’s a story of how the title came about too.

I love to sketch. I carried a drawing pad with me everywhere, so while waiting in my car one day I picked up the sketchpad, and pencil, and started to draw an eyeball. I had no plans for it but I liked where it was going. (As you can tell I never have plans for things, I go with the flow)
Over the next few days, I doodled with it. When I felt it was finished, and yes, I was in the car again, I held it up and looked at it at different angels. I noticed a shadow from the car window cast a pale green hue across the cheek area, like a veil. I loved what I saw so I snapped a picture with my little old cell phone and tucked it away. Forgotten for nearly a year.

While scrolling through my phone one day I came across the sketch and the words, eye of lies, struck me. Um, that was weird. I looked at it for a long time wondering why I’d think that.
To me, the eye had a story to tell. A story of a young girl who saw something maybe she shouldn’t have. Something sinister. An act of rage, violence, murder. I saw in my mind’s eye a story to tell. One about a girl who believed in herself enough that even the most hateful of evils couldn’t break her faith and spirit. She was a strong person. Behind that eye of lies, lays a woman of strength. Everyone tells a lie, once in a while, but when the eye of a storm is strong enough to create destruction, then the eye of a lie must be just as devastating.

But again, I tucked it away and forgot about it.
Until that writing class and the short story of those 100 words . I thought of the drawing and again the words eye of lies, came to me. So with those words, the drawing, and that of my childhood dream the story was written and I titled the book, The Eye of Lies.