My #Publishing Dilemma

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I love writing stories and poetry, and one of my dreams is to be a published author.


I retired from the workforce in January 2015 (five days before my 44th birthday) due to my worsening eyesight (coupled with moderate hearing loss), and now live on Social Security benefits as well as my husband’s salary.

Although I consider myself as a writer, I feel like I’m a faceless woman with no true status or identity of any kind.

Why is that?

I desire to write books and have them traditionally published; but, since I’m on Social Security, I’m not allowed to make any money. So, this puts me in a frustrating dilemma.  How do I go about realizing my dream now?

Writing is NOT a hobby for me.  It’s my passion and my life.  Would not making money off my writing put me in the “hobbyist” realm?  Gosh,  I hope not.

What to do?

I could self-publish but if I put my books on “permafree” would people want to “buy” and read them?  Would my books be considered as “inferior” just because they’re for “free”?

On the other hand, being in this predicament is somewhat liberating as I find I have more range to do things differently than many authors.  So perhaps this really isn’t such a terrible thing after all.



The Power Of One’s Imagination

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I’ve met countless writers and creatives from various artistic backgrounds who hailed how one’s imagination and dreams have enabled them to heal from painful and traumatic experiences.

Can a mind be that powerful?

Personally, my answer to this is Yes!

With the number of violent incidents increasing in our nation, I believe that having art of all kinds (music, drama, writing, etc.) included in all schools and colleges.  To go one step further, we should also have Art Therapy in schools.

With everything being so structured these day (structured play-if any, structured classes, structured lunchtimes, video games are also structured, and on and on), for a kid to utilize his own imagination to create play, a new game, an imaginary place or person, is becoming a lost and untapped ability.  An ability that will become crucial at various events of one’s life.  The ability to transfer oneself out of a stressful circumstance and into a place of magic, safety and love.  Even if only for the briefest of moment this will allow one to reset the mind (and emotions) and be better equipped to deal with the current situation.

Meditation. Strumming on a guitar. Singing.  Journaling.  Doodling or sketching.

Children and adults who’ve been abused, or had a traumatic experience tend to heal better through Art Therapy. There’s also Poetry Therapy.  Music Therapy. Journal Therapy.  The list could go on. These types of therapy enable one to express the pain and abuse in other ways where words may have failed.

For me, journaling and writing poetry have been cathartic and healing as I worked through the various losses I’ve experienced.  Without them, I don’t think I’d feel as emotionally and mentally whole as I do today.

What about you?  Have any of these above helped you through a challenging time?



#IWSG: Why I Love #Romance

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Question for this month: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?



When I discovered writing as a girl, my first story I ever wrote was horror.  Ever since then, I’ve mostly wrote horror stories, or dark fantasy, or dark poetry.  Nothing truly had a happy ending.

Was this how I really felt about life in general?

Yeah, for a long time, I did.

But, there was always this other side of me that dared to hope, and dream, and wonder about the magical and beautiful aspects of life; and many times these involved this concept called…love.

I’ve always enjoyed reading both fantasy and horror books.

Romance novels?  I devoured them.  I never could get enough.  It was a wonderful feeling when you get to the end of a book, and there’s a happy ending!

Real life doesn’t always have a happy ending.  In fact, for many there’s only sadness and pain and emptiness.  It’s nice to be able to open up a book and get lost in it, in another person’s life, and be able to feel what they feel, and experience what they experience, and leave your own unhappy reality behind for a while.

These are some of the reasons why I love the Romance genre.  And why I’ve decided to write in this genre for my very first book.

What about you?  Which genre do you enjoy most, and why?

Writing: The Zero Moment

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Gabriela Pereira:

The hardest step in your creative development is the “zero moment,” the point where you go from doing nothing to doing something. The distance between the zero moment and being a newbie is far greater than the distance between newbie and pro, yet rarely does anyone celebrate this pivotal, important step.
Today, I want you to celebrate. Think back to your zero moment and do something to celebrate that incredible leap of faith. Maybe your zero moment was ages ago and you’ve forgotten all about it. Maybe you’re in that moment right now. Regardless of where you are on your writing journey, I want you to pause and celebrate that enormous first step that brought you to where you are now.

Photo Credit: Bellarmine Magazine


I had a handful of “aha” moments when it came to writing.  The first one came when I was a girl (shared this in my How did I become a writer post) when a friend challenged a group of us to see who could write the scariest story.  That was the moment I realized that there was a safer way to channel my imagination, and that was through writing them down on paper.

Throughout high school and most of my college years, I journaled.  It was your typical teenager’s angst and boy-crazed, and trying to figure out what I truly wanted to do with the rest of my life kinds of stuff.   Journaling was a way of dealing with frustrations and disappointments as well as perusing through all the puzzle pieces of life, and trying to see what fits and where.

When I was looking at colleges, I toyed with the idea of either Journalism or English major; but, I’d felt that I didn’t possess an aggressive enough personality for Journalism, and found the course work for English to be too dry and boring.  So, I ended up majoring in Physical Education instead since I enjoyed sports.

I’d envisioned myself working with either professional or Olympian athletes.  I received an associate degree in Physical Education, and went to an University in Virginia to pursue a B.S. in Exercise Science.  I was well on my way to attaining that particular dream.

Then Life intervened, and everything changed.

Between graduating with my A.S. degree, and heading down to the University, I was diagnosed with a progressive eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa.  Because I also had moderate hearing loss, the specific RP I had was Usher Syndrome.

I was slowly going blind.

This shook everything up.  So much so, I practically gave up on all of my dreams.  I stayed in college though as I didn’t know what else to do. From there, I transferred around at least four different colleges, changed my majors several times, but eventually went back to Physical Education and graduated with my Bachelor degree.

In the midst  of struggling with coming to grip with RP, and confusion about my future, I met and married Aaron.  However, with a year left of college, Aaron was in a car accident, and died.  We were married only nineteen months.

I could have dropped out of college, but didn’t.  I decided that since I was that close to graduating, and needed something to keep me busy, I finished out the last year.

Between the diagnosis, and Aaron’s death, I stopped writing altogether.   Misery became my best friend as I holed myself up in an apartment (by this time, living on social security disability).  Those were dark years.

Three years later, everything changed again.

In come Jay.  Jay and I were good friends back at the very first college I attended. Then we went our separate ways.  But, in late May of 1999, we reconnected.  Something more blossomed between us, and we were married in September (same year).  Days before our wedding day, he gave me a gift.  A beautiful leather-bound (with a picture of a cute cat on front) journal.

It was full of empty pages.  Pages that called out to me.

This was probably my true “zero moment.”  The moment when I realized I must write; not just for the sake of writing itself, but for my mind, spirit, and soul.

And, because the price was too high NOT to.

What about you?  Do you remember your zero moment?



Writing: Using Fears as Your Compass

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Gabriela Pereira: “Share an example of when resistance has pointed you toward a writing project that was juicy and high-stakes… and maybe even a little bit scary. Did you face that fear head-on and overcome your resistance? What was the result of pursuing (or not pursuing) that project?”


This is a tough one.  I’ve encountered a lot of resistance to a lot of things for many reasons in my life.

Where to even begin?

There’s resistance due to having disabilities, and feeling inferior in that I don’t feel I will ever amount to anything.

There’s resistance due to experiencing verbal and emotional abuse as a girl, and then some as an adult, and along comes the feeling of not being good enough for anything or anyone.

These usually result in self-sabotaging myself so instead of succeeding in life, I end up failing or being bypassed for  career opportunities.

 I deserve to fail or to be ridiculed or be talked down.  I don’t deserve that promotion, or I’m not good enough or I’ll fail miserably at it.  So, why bother?  Who cares? 

A typical mantra I kept repeating and believing in.

And what did I end up with?

A lifetime of regrets.

Of what-ifs.

I could play the blame game, or a victim, but I won’t.

There are things I want to share with my readers, to let out, but I don’t want to hurt certain loved ones.  So, I thought about writing certain experiences in my fictional stories in hope that it will provide the cathartic healing that my soul yearns for.

So, I wrote dark poetry, and dark flash stories.  I journaled in notebooks now hidden away.  And as the years melted away, some of the pain from the past went along with them.

Now, I’m hoping to write my first book, and already I’m hit with fears and the feelings of inadequacy.  Why?  The book is a romance story with bits of comedy…what do I have to be afraid of?

That I want to be an author?  That I desire to be traditionally published?

That I want to be–successful?

Then an idea hit me.

Why don’t I write in certain subplots that involve abuse in relation to PTSD by using my own personal childhood and adulthood experiences?

Yeah, I think this might just work.

Stay tuned….



The Last Child (Part Four)


As soon as the toboggan halted, the front door swung wide

and out bounded an elder woman, her hair as white as the snow;

but it was the smile that warmed her the most

for it reminded her of a mother she once had.


“Land sakes, Micah!  Get that child inside before she freezes!” The woman said.

“Yes, Ma’am” He replied with a grin.


In moments, she found herself in a plush sofa before the roaring fire

and a bowl of hot soup in hand.


“You must be exhausted, child.” Mrs. Claus said as she sat beside her.


Her mouth full of broth and vegetables, she only nodded.

“We’ll have you in a cozy bed in a jiffy.  It’s Christmas Eve you know.  All the children must be asleep before he can arrive!” Her grey eyes sparkled.

She swallowed before asking, “there are other kids here?”

The woman’s smile softened as she reached out to push a stray strand of hair from the girl’s cheek, “Oh, yes! And you will be meeting them all tomorrow.”


“Everything’s all set, ma’am.” Micah’s voice drifted from somewhere.

“Thank you, Micah. I’m sure Nick will be by tomorrow to see you.”

“I look forward to it.  Good night, and Merry Christmas ladies.”

She turned around in time to see the door to the outside closing.

He was gone, and suddenly she felt sad.


“Don’t you worry, child. You will see him again soon.”


As promised, the woman had her tucked in a large fluffy bed a short time later.

“Drink up this hot cocoa, dearie. It will help you sleep.” Mrs. Claus handed her a tea-cup sized mug which she downed in one gulp.

“I don’t like to sleep.” She said as she laid her head on the pillow.  “Bad dreams.”

The woman caressed her forehead.  “You will have no such dreams tonight.”


True to her words, the first thing she saw once her eyes closed were flying reindeer with Micah leading them.



Interested in seeing this story in a video format?  Click here!

Story Saturday: Santa-Zombie Story

Nearly a year passed since the start of the undead plague

she’s been on her own since

in an empty house, in a not-so-empty neighborhood.



Christmas Eve

she decorated the dead tree with handmade ornaments

made from cereal boxes;

took the last can of Spam as her treat for the white bearded man

and placed the plate on a table beside the sofa.



With a bat in hand, and the sounds of death rattling at the front door,

she fell asleep on the dusty furniture

in front of the cold, stoned hearth.



Rustling sounds awoke her

with a great start,

as she swung the bat through air,

a voice sounded,

a voice so beautiful and warm

it caused her eyes to sprang open;

bewildered, stunned

she stared at the not-so-frightful sight.



A chubby man dressed in a red suit

stood before her;

she blinked and swinted

thinking she’d died already or just dreaming

but saw that this was no dream


he was really real!



He held out his hand,

“Come, let me take you to a wonderful place.”



In a blink of an eye, she found herself

on the roof-top

where a sleigh and eight reindeer stood waiting.



Santa, beside her now, smiled;

a smile she’d thought never would form on her lips again,

she returned with glee.



Note: This story has been renamed to “The Last Child” and a video portion of this story can be found here.






Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

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This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 


Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?




Thursday Thoughts: On Writing Life


Back when I worked full-time in the Banking industry, I used to complain how I never had enough time to write.  I’d get up each weekday morning by 4am to get myself ready first, and then get hubby and son up before hitting the road by 5:45am for over an hour’s drive (in 35 miles) into downtown Raleigh.  I’d work 7am till 6pm (most days).  By the time dinner and homework are done, it’s easily 9pm and by that point, I’m ready to crawl in bed.   Weekends were usually reserved for catch-ups, house chores, and errands.  I’d managed maybe an hour of writing time each week.


With being “retired’ from the work force (am only 46) due to disabilities, I have loads of free time on my hands.   I’ve discovered, though, I waste a lot of time doing pretty much “nothing.”

Nothing being spending way too much time on social media, and watching internet-stream tv shows and movies.  Well, these were what I was doing for the past year and a half before depression hit me hard.

Or, perhaps mid-life crisis?

I found myself looking back, and wondering what did I have to show for being here on this world?  I really didn’t find a career I enjoyed (long story) so ended up in the Banking industry for the last 15 years of my working life basically as a glorified paper-shuffler.

Family put aside, I had nothing tangible.

I wanted more.  I desired to leave a legacy.

At this point, I’ve published several short stories, essays, and poems; but 99.9% are online magazines.

I now want more.

Something solid, concrete.  Something I can hold in my hands.  And smell.

This means I need to get serious, and smart with my time management.  I figure a way to start doing that is by tracking every word I write.


This means less time with social media and other forms of entertainment.

I value my writing gift, and feel I have at least one book within me, enough so that I need to start valuing my time more than I’ve done in the past.

So, this is where I’m at in my writing life.  At a cross-road, and I’ve decided on the path to take.  Now, let’s see where it takes me.

Got to love adventures, eh?  🙂

What about you?  Where are you at in your writing life?  Are you happy with it?  If not, what changes could you make?