Tag Archives: writer

Debtless & Cheap – Dumpster Diving for Writer’s

In keeping with the cheap theme written in recent posts I dedicate this one to starving writers everywhere. To all of us who make a conscious choice to live on the cheap in order to support our obsession with the written word.

I think the average writer is like me, a dreamer. Logically we know how expensive a the craft of writing is. One needs to be rich or hold down a “real” job to pay for it. More often than not we are just working stiffs and after paying the bills there really isn’t much left
over for educational pursuits.

While our brains speak logic, our hearts speak passion.

“I love writing, it is my dream,” we say. It is the hope that keeps us going on those boring planet earth days. “I need this, I need the education, I need to become the next great writer,” our hearts tell us. So how on earth can you afford a University level education? The simple answer is you can’t. Or at least not at this time.

However, thanks to the internet you can continue to study aspects of the craft without investing a dime with the exception of an internet charge.

In my pursuit of becoming a better writer I have found some great online resources, all free. Several reputable colleges offer entry level literature and English courses free on their websites. A simple Google search can net a wealth of cheap and free studies. Also online there exists unpublished indie authors who write very well and share enjoyable stories free of charge. I have had the pleasure of reading some of these excellent authors and wonder why they
remain unpublished. Yes the stuff is that good.

Think of the internet search as dumpster diving for writers. Yes, you will have to wade through a mountain of garbage to find the gems, however if you are afflicted with the writing bug, you know you’re willing to do almost anything for the craft! So plug your nose
and dive in. Free stuff awaits!

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Copy Cat – No really, copy the cat

I’m frantically typing a million new writing ideas over coffee this morning. The cat wanders over and plops herself down in my lap. I lift my arms so she can snuggle in and keep typing over her. She nuzzles my fingers clearly wanting attention. This is an
argument I am not going to win.

SAM_0223 SAM_0224I stop typing and pet her. She arches her back and laps it up. “I have so much to write about this morning,” I say out loud. Did I say that to the cat? She looks up at me  through lazy eyes. It reminds me to take a moment, relax and breath. My mind slows down, a sense of well being tingles up and down my spine, hunched shoulders droop and I am at peace.

She helped me let go for a minute, and I found focus again. Her little reminder to take a moment and share some affection in the midst of our busy lives.

This post is dedicated to our pet friends who remind us to be easy about it,
smile, relax and have fun.

One of Those Days

You know those mornings, the ones that spin off of sleepless nights? Those days when it’s cold outside and you have to drag your sorry butt from the bed? Ya, me too. I may love to write about hearts and flowers but the reality is sometimes we have to deal with weeds and headaches.

When feeling that way I usually try to soothe myself and say it’s o.k. Then I start to think about the day. Who I will be interacting with, work to do and writing ideas.

When all else fails I view images of lovely places around the world. This morning I stumbled upon this one.

writingdesk
Can you imagine sitting at that desk over the water and writing How awe inspiring it would be? It looks like heaven and now I feel a little better.

How do you handle, “one of those days?” Do you stay in bed with the covers over your head? Maybe go about your day in a half sleep? Share the misery with others? Give yourself a pep talk?

The image above was found here:

https://www.facebook.com/MostBeautifulPicturesOfTheWorld

There are literally thousands of amazing images from around the world and I highly recommend it to beauty seekers.

Hunting The Humor Falling From The Sky

In search of the next great writing prompt, I surfed my way over to this blog: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/make-em-laugh/  Clicking around I ended up on a page that offered advice on crafting humorous blog posts. Since I am incredibly
boring and know how important laughter is to well being, I read on.

“Get out there and participate in life because the funny is all around us,” is the advice that jumped out at me. As a recovering negative recluse this challenge is the PERFECT mission for me.

The phone rings, it’s my husband. For a week now we have been bantering back and forth over a T.V. commercial. The scene, a woman running on a treadmill tells her friend that a tree falling in the forest does make a sound. Hubby agrees with her, I say it
does not.

After hanging up with him, the phone rings again. It is a client calling to schedule delivery. He gives me the address I write it down and sign off.

Continuing with work I idly fiddle with the piece of paper I wrote the address on. Grabbing a cup of coffee I sit back down in my chair. In front of me on the desk is the address.

“1009 Fallen Oak Place.”

Laughter bubbles up, hubby wins. It seems trees do make a sound when they fall. Actually they use mobile’s too!

Because this was such a fun and delightful exercise, I am going to dedicate this weeks NaBloPoMo to life’s little humours. I will keep a close eye out for the funnies and write about it here. Please join me in sharing the laughter and joy by telling your own tales of humor either in comments section here or on a blog. Let’s make it a week filled with more laughter!

10 Things I Believe…

Here we are day 3 of the NaBloPoMo challenge. Yesterdays I wrote about my favourite character of all time. It can be read here: https://ariescottrell.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/my-favorite-character-of-all-time-a-vampire/ or from the side bar link. For today’s post I am using a writing prompt I found through a Google search on this site: http://www.kludgymom.com/idea-bank/

10 things I believe.

1. We live in an engineered world. Yes that’s right. I am a doubter of the evolution theory. The reason I doubt evolution? When I think of something as simple as vision I am unable to believe random chaotic evolution is responsible. Imagine the millions of optic nerves bundled together behind our eyeballs and leading to the brain. Each responsible for a tiny pixel of data we see. Now imagine the brain putting each fragment together inside the mind and translating it into an image. It is impossible for me to accept as a rational person that this complex system or any of the others inside the human body are a result of random evolution.

2. We can achieve our goals if we are willing to do the work and pay the price. This one’s a no brainer. We often believe due to circumstances we are somehow handicapped from realizing our goals built from dreams. That somehow we are fated, or destined not to succeed. My goal is to write enjoyable stories for others to read and make a living wage at it. In order for that to happen I spend every spare moment reading, writing and studying the craft. It is the only proven method writer’s use to realize their dreams. Doing the work and putting in the time is the only way for a writer to succeed. It’s more than a belief that’s a fact.

3. If we eat well and exercise regularly our bodies and minds are healthier. This needs little explanation. When I eat nutritious food daily and have scheduled exercise times it improves my brain and bodily functions. I have more energy and a deeper sense of well being. Enough said.

4. We generate love to ourselves when we share it with others. When we practise a state of loving and supporting ourselves and others, we generate that type of energy. Basically I believe if we share love there is an energetic response that comes from our mind and emotions. This energy translates into a magnet that will attract more of the same toward us.

5. Anything we tap into and pass around will come back to us, negative or positive. When I was younger I loved to ghost hunt. What I discovered from those experiences is tuning into that spooky paranormal stuff generates the weird and seemingly inexplicable feeling of being haunted. Now some would say it was just in my mind. The imagination working over time based on the information it received and in some cases that was true. However I have also had experiences where someone unaware of my spooky little hobby has seen things in my home after one of those trips. I don’t find those things as easy to write off.

6. People can change. I’ve known people who were nice and changed into someone not so nice. As well as people who were mean and learned to be kind. Don’t think I need to explain this one further. It is possible for us to change and it happens all the time, period.

7. Seeing the good in others at all times helps them see it in themselves, and us. This one goes back to surrounding ourselves with the type of energy we generate from thoughts and emotions. If someone is acting in a way that will create energy that is unlovable, we can choose to hold steadily the image of that person at their best. In this way we counter the negative effects of the unlovable state with the more pleasing energies of self worth, love and support. It has been done for me many times. When I was at my worst someone reminded me of the best.

8. We are stronger than we realize. This is an easy one to explain. If we keep going, that is strength. It is only in the choice to give up that we are weak. Real strength is a thought that carries us forward. We are all strong when we keep going.

9. We live in a world with a precise set of laws. This one also ties in with my belief that our thoughts and emotions generate energy. Loving supportive thoughts and emotions tap into that universal principle (law). Same thing with negative energy. The law is made up of many types of energies all at play in this world and available for our use.

10. Love and support is a two way street. Actually I no longer have this belief. Love and support is an ever flowing source. While it is nice when the person we offer those qualities to repays us in kind. It is just as nice to encounter a helpful and supportive stranger. It is an ever flowing river, not a rebound effect.

Those are some of my basic beliefs. I hope you enjoyed them and will share some of yours in the comments sections. Also feel free to debate, debunk and have fun with mine. My shoulders are broad, I rarely take offence and would love to hear from you.

Blog on!

My favorite character of all time – A vampire?

My favorite fictional character of all time lives on the pages of the vampire novels written by Anne Rice. His name, drum roll please, Lestat The Vampire.

O.k. take a deep breath. I know some may be scratching their head wondering how I chose  “him”.

Here’s my explanation:

Lestat is a lost soul (like most vampires) wandering the earth in search of the answers to life’s big questions. He is in fact more human than most of us would care to admit. At one time or another I believe we all wonder why we are here and what might be unseen in the universe that surrounds us. Lestat goes through this process in the same way do. The only difference, he does so on the pages of Rice’s novels.

His humanity like the rest of ours is a mass of choices dealing with fate. Sometimes he makes good decisions and at other times not so much. He doesn’t intentionally hurt others, well at times he does, but that’s another story, but he does make mistakes. He is driven to eat and feed off of the life force of those outside himself as we are driven to do. Then suffers guilt and conscience for following basic human instinct. Those wrong decisions have consequences and his life is not always pleasant. Lestat is a supernatural character however, the reality of his situation speaks to real life experiences. This makes the reads worth my time and appreciation.

The second thing I love about this character is his desire to ponder the bigger questions in life. He wanders through situations where he considers the existence of God. This is done on many stages both earthly and heavenly, as well as in different countries and cultures. He enters into dialogue with God, others and himself. The discourse mixes the serious with humor in a balanced and intelligent way.

Finally he has the courage to face the loss of loved ones through their death or departure. It hurts him as it would any of us and he must deal with those emotions and find ways in which to carry on. The books deal with loss honestly, it is far from sweet endings. Lestat’s heart gets broken just like the rest of ours. The situation of loss is real, painful and difficult. Much the same as we experience in life when someone dear to us departs from our
sphere for whatever reason.

I appreciate the character Lestat’s style. While I enjoy the supernatural antics he finds himself in, it is well balanced with realistic seasoning. Just enough so that I found myself loving this character when reading the books and wondering about him while doing other things. He is a hauntingly beautiful example of what I think a vampire should be.

The Cat Lady

The Cat Lady

Tired of her noisy little urban apartment, Tammy Lawrence, a single woman in her mid 30’s purchases a house just outside the tiny town of Peaceful River. Getting away from the city has always been her goal. She finally saved enough for a down payment on a country home and is about to make that dream come true.

Moving day arrives and a few of Tammy’s close friends, Amber and Nelson, help her with the unpacking. While they are busy putting dishes away in the kitchen, Tammy cleans the windows. Each swipe of the cloth reveals the yard and landscape beyond.

The lawn is cut short, the gardens well tended. An old wrought iron fence along the back property line looks out of place against the modern side fencing. Beyond the fence stands the remains of an abandoned cottage. Its stone walls have survived the tests of time and the elements, however the roof sags and is dangerously close to collapse.

Everything unpacked and the windows sparkling the trio sits down to eat pizza. Nelson wipes a spot of sauce from the corner of his mouth. “How did you get this place so cheap?” He asks.

Tammy grabs a slice of pizza and floats it through the air toward her mouth. “Because people are way too superstitious.” She answers. “Something happened out here,” she says nodding toward the back yard. “You know that shack behind my property?”

Nelson and Amber nod.

Tammy takes a bite of pizza. “Someone died in there. Afterwards I guess the people who owned this house decided to move. It was on the market for awhile until they found a new buyer. The realtor told me those people didn’t last very long and the place went up  for sale again. That’s when I came along”

Amber takes a sip of water. “But what happened to the cottage?”

“Unable to find any family or heirs, the place fell into ruin,” Tammy replies.

“Did you research how the person died, in the cottage I mean?” Amber asks quietly.

Tammy looks at her. Amber is a fan of the paranormal and can discuss the stuff for hours. Tired, Tammy shrugs and allows the comment to drop. Amber doesn’t push it.

After hugging her friends and thanking them for the help she watches as they walk down the front steps toward the car. With a final wave she closes the door turning back toward her new home. The quiet house settles with creaks and bumps around her.

“The noises will take some getting used to,” she thinks, “and with a week off work it should be plenty of time to settle in.

Changing into comfortable pj’s, she lights the fireplace and reclines on the sofa with a book. The warmth and crackling sounds mixed with a great story relaxes her.

The clock on the wall chimes, she looks up, 11 o’clock. Putting the book on the table she checks the locks before heading upstairs to bed. Turning back the quilt she gets in and snuggles under the warm blankets. In a matter of minutes she is asleep.

3 AM she rolls over and sits up. A cat is howling outside somewhere behind the house.

Snuggling back under the comforter, she giggles. “Sometimes my imagination is just plain silly. It’s only the wind.”

In the morning Tammy sips tea at the kitchen table. She looks out the window toward the iron fence. Most of it is covered in trees and bushes with the exception of one barren spot. Through the opening the decrepit cottage is clearly visible. A cold chill sends her upstairs for a nice hot bath.

After breakfast she visits the local nursery. It is late in the season for planting, but she manages to find a beautiful 6 foot tall willow tree on sale. She arranges delivery for the following day. Two men arrive at 8 AM. She directs them to the empty spot along the fence and watches as they plant the new addition.

“Hey lady,” one of the men say. “Can you grab us a garbage bag?”

“What for?” she asks.

“Looks like you got some animals bones back here. We can clean em up and take it away if you want,” the man says.

The men collect the bones and finish planting the tree. After tipping them generously she watches the truck drive away.

The sound of a wailing cat wakes her that night. She pulls a pillow over her head and falls back to sleep. A few minutes later the sound is back only this time it is closer to the house. Just as she pulls the pillow over her head again something scratches at the back door.

“What now,” she wonders

She looks out the bedroom window in an attempt to see the back door. The view is blocked by vines growing up the side of the house. Her gaze turns toward the willow tree. A pair of eyes illuminated by the moon light stare back.

“Really,” she says.

Grabbing a book she climbs back into bed.

“No more sleep for me tonight. Cats, rats, maybe racoons… what else?”

The morning sun brightens up the dull horizon. Tammy gets up and throws on a bathrobe. She walks through the kitchen and opens the back door. It is unseasonably cold for this time of year. She looks down at the bottom of the door. There are 3 scratches in the freshly painted facade. Her problems with cars and city noises now replaced by wild animals in the country.

“Just great,” she thinks.

Tammy spends the day shopping in town and seeing the sites. That evening she is washing up after a meal. The setting sun streams through the window. Something shiny catches her attention in the yard.

There’s nothing there,” she says out loud in an attempt to calm the nerves beginning to unravel.

Intent on sleeping that night she reads until 1 AM and if very sleepy by the time she crawls into bed. She dreams someone is whistling. Her eyes open, this is no dream. She gets out of bed and creeps towards the window. Opening the blinds a crack she can see the yard. A woman is standing dead center of the lawn. Her form, filmy, and transparent. The ghostly apparition is holding something in her hand. It glints off the full harvest moon. Bringing two fingers to her lips the thing whistles.

Tammy’s mouth slackens and falls open. Terror turns her stomach and a wave of fear induced nausea forces bile to rise in her throat. “Get a grip” she tells herself, “this is not happening.” She closes her eyes and rubs frantically. She reopens them. The apparition is gone.

Before fear can destroy common sense she runs downstairs, through the kitchen and turns the latch in the back door. Yanking it open she can see the yard is empty.

Her mobile phone is on the table, she considers calling Amber. In no mood for witchcraft mumbo jumbo she stands at the window over the sink looking out, instead.

The clock on the wall ticks.

“I’m loosing my mind,” she thinks.

Too terrorized to sleep she turns on the T.V. in the living room. The shadows from the screen flick across her face . An hour later her eyes close and her head falls back against the couch.

The sound of metal scraping against metal startles her. Exhausted and disoriented she gets up.

The sound is coming from the kitchen.

Tammy isn’t a big fan of prayer but tonight that doesn’t matter. She puts her hands together and prays. “Please God make it go away.”

With legs like dead weight she walks toward the kitchen determined to get to the bottom of the situation. She see’s a shadow in the kitchen. “Get out of my house,” she screams, “I’ve got a gun.”

The woman’s figure appears in the kitchen doorway more solid and clear than when she had seen it in the yard. Her frame is frail and thin and in front of her she holds a pair of gardening sheers.  The blades are open in front of her face. The long metal knives frame the apparitions face in a menacing v shape.

Tammy screams; the sound slices through the silent house.

The morning sun beams through the kitchen window and onto the floor where Tammy fainted. She gets up and tries to cling to regular routine. She stays busy with chores and cleaning glancing repeatedly out the window and passed the fence where the abandoned cottage sits in ruins. The hours tick by. It will soon be nighttime again.

“Enough,” she says out loud.

Jamming her arms into an old sweat jacket she stomps down the porch steps and toward the dilapidated shack. Her intentions to prove the place is empty and there is nothing there.

She walks through a gate hanging from its last screw and into the yard. It is a mess of overgrown weeds and shrubs. The front door of the cottage is missing. Holes in the sagging roof allow sunlight to illuminate the rotting interior of the structure. A gust of wind blows a shutter back. She hears a scurrying noise inside. Rational thought vanishes and fear gets the better of her. She jumps, turns, and runs back home.

“I’m loosing my mind,” she thinks for the second time.

Dropping to the steps on the porch she covers her face and starts to cry. Eventually the tears subside. She picks up the phone and calls Amber.

“Are you o.k.?” Amber asks.

Tammy breathes deeply trying to slow the thudding pulse in her temples. “What are you doing today?”

“Oh my god your scaring me, what happened?” Amber demands.

Tammy fiddles with the phone. “Please just come over, we can talk when you get here.”

Over lunch Tammy explains the noises and sightings. Amber listens intently with an understanding smile.

“Listen,” Tammy says, “you might believe in this stuff but I don’t. I think there is something wrong with me. Like in the brain I mean.”

“Before you go all psychiatric,” Amber says, “why not search the archives see if there’s any information on the cottage? We can go right now if you like?”

They finish lunch, clear the table and drive to town. The libraries parking lot is empty aside from the librarians car. Inside the place smells like musty books. Tammy breaths deeply, the aroma comforts her. After a brief chat with the librarian and directions to the archive section they find an old newspaper report. It provides the gruesome details of the death which had occurred in the cottage.

According to the article,  a woman had been found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in the cottage. There had been a bitter dispute between herself and the then owners of Tammy’s house. The old woman who lived in the cottage, Mrs. Brown, had cut down a tree in her neighbors yard. The woman tried to explain to the former owners of Tammy’s property that she needed to give her cats a quick escape route home in the event they were being chased by coyotes. She tried to explain how several of her cats had gone missing and she suspected coyotes in their disappearance.

The neighbors were unsympathetic. Mrs. Brown, frustrated by this, threatened to cut down all the trees surrounding their property. She had left the couple standing on the main level of the cottage and gone upstairs to collect her gardening sheers. The man and his wife, a young couple, became concerned for their safety and turned to leave just as the woman reappeared at the top of the stairs. Her foot caught on the carpet, she tripped. Tumbling down the steps she landed at the bottom impaling herself on the long metal blades. The couple were investigated for her murder but no proof of foul play was found. Mrs Brown’s death was ruled accidental.

Tammy looks at Amber. “Oh my god, there’s a cat lady haunting my property!”

Amber drives while Tammy babbles incoherently about ghosts and spirits.

“Calm down honey,” she says in a quiet soothing tone. “We can protect the house and you with some simple herbal spells. See how that works out, o.k.? I won’t leave you alone here until it stops, I promise.”

What else was left for Tammy to do? She accepts the offer. The duo stops at a local grocer to pick up what Amber needs for her spells and return to the house.

Amber bangs around in the kitchen preparing concoctions in a pot over the stove. Once it is ready they immediately begin the work. The house cleansing takes several hours and by the time they move to the backyard it is starting to get dark.

Amber stands in the middle of the yard, says a few words and scatters the herbs freely around the property.

“Amber” Tammy whispers, “do you see it?”

She follows Tammy’s gaze toward the willow tree. Something white and misty floats behind it. Amber’s eyes adjust to the dusky early evening  and she can see the the long thin figure of a woman. She is holding something that looks eerily like gardening sheers in her hand.

“Ignore her, the cleansing must be working. I think she’s trapped behind the tree.” Amber whispers.

Tammy keeps a close eye on the ghost. Amber closes her eyes to complete the spell. The apparition vaporizes with the last line, “So mote it be.”

She opens her eyes and looks at the tree. “That seems to have stopped her.” Amber says.

They turn and walk toward the house, Amber is in the lead. The cat lady appears in front of her. Startled, she stumbles backward, falls to the ground hitting her head against a rock. She lies still.

Tammy covers a scream with her hands. The cat lady turns to face her. In a shaky weak voice she begs the ghost to leave them alone. The ghost floats toward her.

“I’ll move the tree if that’s what you want,” Tammy cries out in a moment of panic. “I’ll do anything you want, just stop this, please.”

The Cat lady stops. The whisper of a smile appears softening her angry, bitter face.

Amber moans and gets to her knees. She shakes her head attempting to clear the dizziness. Tammy kneels down to offer her friend a hand up.

“Where did it go?” Amber asks.

After ensuring Amber’s OK, Tammy explains what had just happened. They sit uneasily on the back porch in some wicker chairs.

Tammy’s back straightens. She notices a twin set of long sleek misty forms coming through the yard from the front of the house. They skim the ground floating toward the willow tree, slide up over the iron fence and disappear in the mangled yard of the cottage.

Amber and Tammy stand up in time to see the cat lady at the front door. She bends down and scoops up the two little balls of mist. She nuzzles each against her cheek then disappears through the door.

Amber and Tammy take a moment, allow what they are seeing to sink in.

“Is that it, are we done?” Amber asks.

“Ya,” Tammy says, “I think we are. Time to get some sleep. I need to move that tree first thing in the morning, wanna help?”

Amber wipes a tear from her eye. “Sure.”

The next morning Tammy and Amber uproot the tree and move it to a new spot in the yard. As they work a tiny mewling sound catches Tammy’s hearing.

“No please, not again,” she says.

They both stop and listen. The sound is solid not like the unearthly wails she had heard nights before. Tammy carefully steps through the gate separating the cottage from her home moving about the yard investigating the sound. Something on the front stoop catches her eye. There amongst the trash in ruined floor boards is a tiny kitten. His orange coat matted and dirty. Tammy reaches a hand toward it letting the frightened kitten sniff her. The little orange puff ball gets to its feet and nuzzles her fingers against his cheek.

“Well hello,” Amber says coming up behind Tammy. “Who might this be?”

“Amber grab me a towel from the kitchen please, I think we need to take this little guy inside and clean him up.”

Tammy continues to live in Peaceful River with her new feline friend. The cat lady was never seen again.