Making a New Map

How does one get unstuck in life?

How does one deal with being so lost that they have finally gotten tired of throwing their hands up in the air? Of starting all over once more.  Of staring at the end and knowing how much work it is going to take to make it a beginning. If one is a writer, you write.  You talk about it with people and then you write some more.

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My to-do list will always exceed my can do list.

This is me doing just that.

This is me working it out.

Today, I crossed off 11 of the 14th things on my to-do list off.

I did good, today.

All and all, it was pretty spectacular for someone who has been sleeping through much the last month of her life one of two sofas.  My living room is a mixture of items I have been given over the last five years.  There are only a couple of items in the room that I purchased. A lamp shade I purchased with an ex-boyfriend  from Ikea that looked vaguely like one of the chocolate oranges you see around the winter holidays. It is absolutely hideous.  And fits perfectly.  It works in the space.  It adds something to it  The rugs and one of the bookcases as well as the TV make up the rest of the items that I purchased.  Well, beyond the books which even some of those were passed on by the dearly departed.

There are a lot of things in my home that came from death.  The death of a friend or loveIMG_8514 one has filled my living room with furniture.  My favorite lawyer bookcases and the desk where my TV sets all came from a friend’s parents.  They gave me these things after her death because I needed to furnish my new home and they were moving. It was too much for them to stay where she had died. So much of the last two years of her life were spent with them watching her.

I wear a set of rings they gave me everyday. These belonged to my friend. It is my way of remembering her. Of honoring her. I feel naked without them. If I forget these things then I will dash back into the house.

Death and the past are constant companions. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time mapping out my future direction. So much of the home I cherish has come from the past. When you walk in my house, it is clearly that I have an affliction for darker things.  I stopped repacking the entirety of the Halloween decorations years ago..  My living room, the first room, that you see has seven skulls in it.  One witch, two bats and a couple of dragons. The only room without a skull or something Halloween in it is my bathroom.

Then there are the books. Lots and lots of them.  A great deal of them are histories from around the world.  Scattered among these are the skulls and various nick-nacks.

My house sometimes scares my landlord. I have been a good tenant for the last five years which combined with being a writer as well as teacher has ensured the good will of the landlord.  Thus he has learned to humor me. I may be odd, but I pay my rent on time and don’t cause trouble.

Drapped in death and the slightly macabre my home gives most visitors a sense of peace. What is more peaceful than death?  The long sleep.  The goal for me in decorating has been to create a place that is inviting.  So far,   it seems to be just that.  I have worried in the past that my collections and love of skulls would turn people off, but as far as I know I haven’t scared anyone away.  And if I have then I have no problem with it since they didn’t tell me they were uncomfortable.  I can’t fix what I don’t know is a problem.

The map I am trying to layout currently is going to take me away from this place sooner or later. This is the second place that has been totally mine in adulthood.  I have lived here longer than anywhere else since I graduated college.  Before that I lived with my birth father after my mother and I lost our home.  I would spend the next three years living like a guest in his house.  My picture rarely made the wall of family photos and when it did, it was only for a short time.  If you walked into my father’s home, you would never know that I was his child. There is no evidence of me there at all.

The house I live in now is home. I love the idea of the life that I have built for myself.  I am proud of  how far I have some in the last couple of years.  And then there is the shame I feel for not having gotten farther. Why don’t I own a home? Why do I live so close to the edge?  Truth be total, my family won’t allow me to fall too far. They have always been there to save me from rock bottom.

Another truth be told, I have been coasting for the last couple of years.  I am smart.  This isn’t a bragging. It took me a long time to realize that I am in fact intelligent.  My mother and sister are genius so being an intelligent woman runs in my family.  I am not a Mensan like them. I haven’t bothered with the test or like my mother has suggested on more than one occasion when I as in therapy had a psychologist sign off on the paperwork.  She believes in me.  She has always seen the intelligence that has been bouncing around in my head. Years of being talked down to by my birth father, grandparents and the rest of my siblings taught me that if I wasn’t as smart as my sister and mother I wasn’t smart at all.   So I never pushed myself academically.  It was either sink or swim.  I am good at floating.

My mindset was that I only had so much intelligence. There was no way I could be as smart as other people.  Talent was something I lacked and could not develop.  Psychologist Carol Dweck calls this a fixed mindset.  I didn’t really see that I was coasting a great deal of the time just below success. I honestly thought that if I was meant to be successful it would just happen.  I never quite got there but I am never far off from it,

Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard.  Sometimes I work too much.  But that is mostly to make up from having coasted. Or when things really need to get done.  Or when I get the energy. Lack of energy has been the theme of the last couple of years.  Truth be told, I believe that I burnt out before I ever became a teacher.  Ironically, teaching is where I finally began to believe in my own intelligence.

I have been working since I was 12 years old.  Given the nature of the employment,  I worked long days and made little money (75 to 100 a week), which at twelve was big money since I didn’t have any money.  I saved pretty much every penny I yearned for either school clothes or my college fund.  I made it through college and went where life and opportunity lead me. I didn’t explore much. Kept waiting for a sign or something.  The course catalog was the sign I missed.

Kept waiting dreaming of that door to open. Kept dreaming of it.  Didn’t know how to manifest it.  People kept telling me I could do this or that.  I didn’t believe them. Seriously, I thought because  of my learning disablity (dysgraphia)  that I would never be a writer. Mmm, who was an Amazon Best Selling Author? And who is going to continue to write no matter what? Me.

I follow some very talented people online. Some of whom I am friends with and the thing about their talent. The secret to that talent is that they work at it. They keep working on it, made mistakes and kept working on it. They do the work.  (Thank you, Lisa from Halfmoon Creative Works  for reminding of this. )

I wrote Blood Child in a heart beat. I did the best I could. I got help from professionals and friends to make  and after months of hard work, there were mistakes.  There are always mistakes. No matter how hard you work there will always be typos and things you can do better.  You have to learn to do them better fix them the next time around.

The next book is coming slowly, but it is coming.  It is going to take more energy and way more work.  It is time for me to take the skill I have and begin to refine it.  I just need to shake things up and make a new map for myself.  One where I am growing.  Get out of the comfort zone and back to my happy.  My happy often comes from learning new things, traveling and having conversations.  Things that my depression and anxiety nearly robbed me of.  Things I can’t always do from where my life is right now.  From where I have directed my life.

IMG_8493Happy isn’t easy.  Happy doesn’t always mean that you feel well happy. There isn’t a glow to it always.  My happy maybe more of a flow.  When I am flowing, I am growing I moving with my life and better able to see opportunity when it presents itself.  I think though for me it is a little bit like the lamp in my living, not always pretty by itself but given a chance a thing of beauty.  The trick of manifesting that thing of beauty is seeing the potential, not listening to doubt and doing what is necessary to make it shine.  The lamp shade, didn’t natural fit the lamp.  The lamp itself had to be taken apart and reassembled.  It is still a little wobbly when bumped.

My new map is going to be made day by day.  Word by word.

 

 

 

 

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A Book Out and A Short Story on the Way

Blood Child

Coverart by Steven Warrick

February 13th is fast approaching and with it comes the one year anniversary of Blood Child‘s release.   Over seven hundred people have it in their hands and on their devices.

Thank you, because thanks to you, dear readers,  I made it on an Amazon Best Seller list.   For those of you who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy, it is .99 cents for a limit time on Amazon.

“This is an amazing book! As the story progressed and more pages were turned I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be part one and I’d have to wait for a second book to find out what happened but then right at the end it all came together and was an ending I never saw coming. Excellent work Lucinda! Can’t wait for your next work!” – Amazon Reader

“Blood Child will keep you on your toes until the very end. You will not want to put it down. Grab a refreshment and cozy in for a good read.” – Marie Arminger

“Excellent. Grabbed my attention from beginning to end. I devoured it and now I’m craving more.” – Amazon Reader

I have begun work on the next book, Blood Ties, which is set to take place five years after the first book.  I won’t say much as it is very much a work in progress.

What I can talk about is Shadow Cat which is currently in the hands of my lovely editor, Zee.  It is a short story about a rather spectacular specter of feline making his rounds on All Hallow’s Eve.  ShadowsTale

Here is a brief taste of that Shadow’s Tale has in store for you.

The Florida air on All Hallow’s Eve isn’t crisp or chill, but muggy and dank giving way to a proliferation of minuscule costumes for all ages and sexes, although the ubiquitous robe with accompanying mask are still a favorite for the adolescent crowd. In days past, every neighborhood had houses with their porch lights lit declaring their intention to pass out candy.  But neighborhoods change.  City ordinances restricting teens from roaming the streets left some parts of the City Beautiful virtual ghost towns with only a few hearty souls daring to search out the few houses dispensing confections. The streets of these neighborhoods are far riper with ghosts and ghouls than one would imagine, but that is really neither here nor there since they are also well-suited to a black cat slinging his way home when all the good little kittens are tucked into bed or sleeping on people’s heads. A black cat not on a mission from some demeaned witch or demon, but one who has a story to tell.

3 months (April Page 13)

A new day. April 13th. Two months since Blood Child came out and I have three five star reviews, which is awesome. As of today, nearly two hundred copies of Blood Child are out in the world. It is weird, wonderful and still completely surreal.

The book is selling.  My book is selling.

I am a published author.

The reviews are good. There just aren’t enough of them, yet. It is the bane of every author’s existence. You write a good, maybe even great book and the reviews just aren’t there. It doesn’t take off.

You lose hope.

But you are a writer. So you keep on going. And going.

I am working on my second book.

My second book and it isn’t easier than the first.  It is hard to manage everything I have going on in my life. I want to be able to write for a living and the more I think about how things are going the more I know that I need to make some sacrifices. Stop working so hard on maintaining my income and do what I love.

I love writing and telling stories.  I love interacting with readers and working on this blog.

The only way to get better is to write more and put myself out there more. The only way to sell more books is to write more of them and perfect your craft.

Do what you love. Find a way to be happy today and don’t wait for tomorrow, because all we have is today.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

Moving Manic Mondays

My whole house seems so much brighter than it did a couple of hours ago.  This week my normal manic Monday has been replaced by a gentle and well deserved break. I woke up with a book besides me and went out onto the porch to read and drink my morning tea. It was the perfect dreary day.

11051906_663114840460500_2886341314953390785_nThen a story idea stuck and I let it take me on a three hour journey.

Now my house is a bit cleaner and I am contemplating a nap.  Life has been really hectic this year and there are some big changes coming in my life. Changes I am making willing and some unwilling.  I have come to the conclusion that I need more days like this where I am free to write and not being pulled in three or four different directions.   I am still working three jobs and writing whenever where ever I can.  Blood Child is still selling and reviews are slowly but surely coming in.  (If you have had a chance to read it then please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Every review is helpful. )

The thing that I can do to help myself the most is not working until my brain is numb.  This past week I worked seven days in a row and barely had the brain power to string together a complete sentence let a lone a paragraph.  I can’t continue this pace.  It simply isn’t health. My mind and body know it.

I have also come to the conclusion that all this work really hasn’t done me any good. I am only marginally better off than I was a year ago. Financial things are a little better and for that I am grateful. It is time though to think about what I really want. Eight years ago, I thought that I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life. I was excited about all the opportunities in front of me.  That dreams was one that sustained me for so many years of self-imposed stupidity. I was going to do something with my life. I was going to give back and teach.

I had put an order dream aside.  A dream I thought that I was unworthy of.

Being a writer.

Now, I know that I can do it. I just have to be willing to do it. Willing to crave out more days like these for myself. 10367787_10155402717575397_8913494460226026793_nWilling to give up some income so that I can write and really work on the craft of writing.  I saw this image on Alethea Kontis’ Facebook page and realized that I have known what it takes for years, but have been afraid.  Afraid to give up what I have for what I want. I may never be a full time writer.  Still I am happiest when I am writing or teaching. It is time to do more of what I love instead of acting out of fear.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

The Pages So Far

1554406_504872652960925_1373652490_n (1)Thus far 2014 has been going smoothly, my resolutions are still in tact and the first storms have been weathered. Pages are flowing together and life is moving forward. There is another storm on the horizon as Luke will need to go back to the vet this week.  A week ago he was attacked and injured by another dog.  He was doing great, but has developed a cyst.  So back we go.  The first visit pushed the production of Blood Child back, but regardless of that happens on Thursday, Blood Child will begin the formatting process this week.

This week is actually a great week for me to work on book production. It is exam week so my classes are winding down and there won’t be many papers to grade.

Work on my second book, My Dragon Friday, has been moving slowly. I start back on the manuscript and then stopped, edited and repeated the cycle. In the last month, I have only added a page or two to the text, but it will be finished. Not sure when but I will finish it. I just need to get back into my writing groove. I know that I spent too much of the latter part of 2013 working to work  and didn’t get the writing I wanted done. The quest to be debt free isn’t one that I can accomplish over night and sacrificing my other dreams for that one goal.

There are a couple of blogs and articles that have really helped me see some of my thinking errors.  The first was on Cracked.com entitled 5 Things That Have to Happen Before You Fix Your Crappy Life. Now my life isn’t crappy, but there are things that I have been trying to fix for a long time this article helped drive home the point that things really aren’t going to get better overnight.  I have been holding on to the paradigm that one day a miracle is going to come along and fix this or that and even though things have been getting better they still aren’t fixed.  I felt trapped in a never ending cycle of failure because no matter how things were improving they weren’t fixed. Somethings can’t be fixed quickly and life doesn’t have a finish line.  The second was by one of my favorite bloggers, Middleagebutch, called Getting Unstuck.  I have been stuck in my writing life and her blog helped me get over the idea that I am the only one stuck. The only one not writing.

The pages of this year are coming together and as the plot unfolds, I can’t help but smile. 

Plans Are Meant to Change…

This weekend, I was tremendously excited because I had arranged to see one of my favorite people on this earth.  Friday, as the title suggests, plans changed.  Saturday wasn’t meant to be.

Which as it turns out was a blessing because I was sick all day. Not horribly so, just enough to make the day not fun.  So I slept, did some chores and slept some more. I missed seeing my friend, but I would have been horrible company. Really horrible company.

Luke taking care of me as I slept this weekend; keeping my feet warm was an essential part of my care.

Luke taking care of me as I slept this weekend; keeping my feet warm was an essential part of my care.

The day was not without its fun. Another friend came by to help me out and I ended up taking his pants. They have been torn for months and every time I saw them I wanted to fix them. Finally on Saturday, he let me. It took a bit of time to do it right, but while he was wandering my house in boxers he gave me a great idea to promote Blood Child and offer to help me. Suddenly, there was sunshine again.

One of the things that has been weighing on my mind is how to get Blood Child out into the world.  It isn’t the only thing. Not having a roommate, my impending observation, the taxes that I still have not done and my unfinished grad school application  also weigh on my mind.

Another nap, a short walk and it was back to bed.  I awoke Sunday morning feeling better and took Luke for a longer walk. Something he was grateful for, at least for the first fifteen minutes.  I made progress this weekend on one of my long term goals of being published.  And it all happened because my plans changed.

Thank you, Universe. I needed my plans to change.

Blood Child – A Preview

Dear Readers,
 
Below is a preview of my novella, Blood Child, which I am working on finishing by the end of this month. The story began with the first line and the image of a woman stalking away from an open door.
 
Enjoy and let me know what you think, please and thank you. 
 
Love,
 
Lu
 
 “I am not drueyesnk enough to talk about it, now.”
 

The interview I had lobbied over six months for just turned on her heels and walked back into the shadows of the house, leaving the door wide open giving me an excellent view of her curves. My appreciation was short lived as cool air slapped me as I hesitated before the threshold trying to take in the house’s details. The ten foot walk from the car to the house, however, had broken me out in a sweat making it difficult to concentrate.  It wasn’t even May, and already Florida was managing to melt British tourists and small yippy dogs into smelly sticky puddles. British born myself it was only being raised in the U.S. that kept me from disintegrating.

Watching the current Countess Bathory return with a fresh glass it occurred to me that she was nothing like her infamous blood bathing ancestor. She had no aura of power or authority. She was, in fact, a wino, judging from the bin overflowing with bottles on the front porch.

Albeit, an incredibly attractive one. Technically, she wasn’t a countess having renounced the title, but not the money.  Only people in fairy tales give up both and usually that is for love. As far as I knew, Ms. Bathory, was single.

Nothing about Emily Bath made sense. She was richer than Donald Trump and had more degrees than Neil Degrass Tyson, yet she lived in a tiny orchid colored house with floors that creak with each every step in a mismatched Orlando neighborhood and taught high school.  She could have done anything and willing chose to work in high school hell.  Literary since she didn’t work in a regular school, but an alternative one for students who had been kicked out of other schools.

The interior was modest, if not a little old fashion for a twenty-something heiress. There was no TV in sight just bookshelves and seating. All the furnishings looked like they were hand-me-downs from someone’s long deceased grandparents. The sofa engulfed me in patterned floral pillows.  The countess smirked as I struggled to right myself.  At least she had a sense of humor.

Still nothing about the home spoke of the mounds wealth she had; it was all understated and sadly normal.  I expected more, craved it to be honest.

Emily Erzabet Bath was the survivor of modern day murder mystery.  Nine years ago, she and her three older brothers spent the weekend at their late father’s estate in upstate New York. They died along with twenty three other souls As the ten year anniversary approached interest in the case was reemerging; making this an interview priceless. And I was the man who landed it; the first and only person to speak to the reclusive Ms. Bath.  Persistence, charm and just a bit of cyber-stocking had won the day; being unemployed finally had a benefit.

The manor had been drenched in blood, literally. It dripped off of tables, pooled in puddles on the floor and had un-artfully spattered the walls. The first officers on scene inched their way around the edges of each room as they searched for survivors. They weren’t trying to preserve evidence no one wanted to step in that much blood. And with that really weren’t expecting to find anyone alive. Pieces of victims were carried out bit by bit for nearly a week. It was a forensic nightmare.

The officers who found her had to break into the room after following a blood trail to the door, only to find her cloistered in the back of the closet beneath a bunch of old musky coats stained with her blood. The combination of the smell: musky fur, stale blood and human excrement remained with the two men. Their stomachs emptied upon seeing Emily broken and begging for help with her eyes. Even mentioning her or her condition made the two turn green. They thought she was dead until her emerald eyes opened.  Severely dehydrated with deep bloody scratches which had turned her flesh into ribbons; her wounds would seep blood for days after her rescue confounding the medical staff. It was months before she was released from the hospital.

Emily allegedly had fled to her room and hidden there until found. She couldn’t explain how she had gotten there or what happened that weekend. Many believed that she was at least partially responsible for the deaths of the twenty three people in attendance. Especially the media who kept the story alive even after the relatives of the deceased pleaded with them to stop.

No evidence was found linking Emily with the deaths according to the investigators’ report in my satchel.  It had cost a pretty penny.  Now, I was wondering if the expense had been worth it.  She was just so ordinary.  So painfully plain.