Man, How I Missed Me

I have some strong feelings about prescription medication right now. I’m taking more than I ever thought I would and I need each one. It sucks, but what can you do, right? Assuming your doctor is competent, he/she wouldn’t prescribe something unless you need it.

As much as I don’t like it, I take my meds and bitch about it in private. However, I don’t think I should keep my recent experience to myself. So I’m going to share. Before I start my rant, I want to state that every person can react differently to a medication. Just because someone has a bad experience doesn’t mean you will too. Don’t let what you read here scare you but do let it remind you to be cautious and vigilant.

I’ve been taking gabapentin since 2016. Six weeks after my back surgery (spinal fusion), my toes were suddenly on fire. Or they itched. Or both. I didn’t know exactly how to describe it. The doctor at a small clinic said peripheral neuropathy. She explained that some nerve damage was common after surgeries such as mine. It could be temporary or permanent. Guess which mine was?

She wrote a prescription and told me to notify my pain management (PM) doctor as he would be issuing every RX for it after this one. My PM guy agreed with the first doc’s assessment, and I added this new med to my pillbox.

At first, I was happy. The pain went away; of course, I was thrilled. I didn’t even have many side effects. I read everything I can find on adverse side effects because I’m often one of those .0000002 percenters who have weird reactions. Luckily I only had weird, extremely vivid dreams. I thought I got off easy.

Fast forward a couple of years. I was always a little forgetful, but I became what I referred to as ‘flighty.’ It got worse as the year went on and I started to worry. I was writing less and less because I couldn’t seem to concentrate for longer than ten minutes at a time. There were days when I had to think hard to remember if I’d taken a shower in the last day or two.

I was feeling down almost all the time. At the time, I refused to use the word depression because I didn’t think I needed to see a shrink. I was a dumbass. As long as I didn’t use that dirty word, I didn’t have to take it seriously.

Brain fog is how I would describe what happened in my head. Anger was my number one emotion. It’s easier to be pissed off than scared.

Dizziness and headaches were frequent. Anxiety reared its ugly head. I cried more often than I ever had. I was restless and at times, unsteady. You know when you get up too fast, and you get dizzy and unsteady? It was like that, but the unsteady would stay for a little while.

Soon I started feeling weak fairly often, and I had trouble sleeping. I was a mess. Most of these symptoms I ignored or just dealt with them. But there were a few that bothered me more.

My lack of concentration was a big deal. I couldn’t write. I could start but never get far. It seemed like I couldn’t access my muse. ‘She’ was locked up in solitary confinement, and I could only wave at her.

Anxiety always sucks but to feel it as often as I did, sometimes with no explanation was horrible. But the worse symptom was the one that started me on the road to fixing this situation: depression.

Everyone has times when they are down, and a lot of people go through depression at some point in their lives. For me, I never stay down for long. So feeling this way for at least a year was strange, wrong. Of course, I’d never been through chronic pain depression, which is what I thought my problem was.

I read all about what prolonged pain can do to a person, and I thought ‘oh crap, I guess I have to live with this.’ I was almost to the point of asking my doctor if there was anything that would help. If you know me, you know that’s a big step I never want to take.

One of the medications I take is Tramadol. It is a synthetic opioid. I react badly to hydrocodone and meds like it so Tramadol is all I can take. Since it’s a ‘big’ pain reliever, I became convinced it was the source of all my troubles.

A lot of the adverse reactions that could happen with its use described my life! Part of me was relieved. I believed I knew what the problem was. However, I was screwed! I couldn’t take anything else, and my only other option is another spinal fusion, which wouldn’t completely fix everything. Well, there is one more drug I can take, but it’s some serious shit. The kind of thing they give you in the hospital after surgery. NOT HAPPENING!

Around the time of all this research I realized I was overdue for a physical. I made a massive list of all the things I needed to talk to the doctor about and made an appointment. I told her all my symptoms and asked if she thought it was Tramadol and if she had any suggestions.

Her answer changed my life! She said: “Actually, I think it might be the gabapentin.”

I’m not exaggerating when I say I almost fell off the table/bed. She pulled up symptoms on her computer and read some off to me. My mind and my heart raced. I barely heard her when she said there were other medication options. She said to talk to my pain management guy and told me to have hope.

I did both.

The next day I was sitting in the PM doc’s office, describing my symptoms while the doctor nodded in agreement. They took me off gabapentin (slowly) and put me on Lyrica (also slowly). It sucked because my toes expressed their displeasure in the form of the weird itch/burn. I was warned that Lyrica could cause similar reactions, but there are a lot of patients who react badly to one of the two meds and fine to the other.

I’ve only been on the new med for a few weeks, but so far it’s incredible. For the first time in about a year, I feel like ME again. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until the symptoms went away.

Brain fog, what brain fog? Memory issues? Well, my memory always sucked, but it’s back to a reasonable level. Concentration? I haven’t gotten distracted once while writing this post, so I’d say I’m okay there. I even know when I’ve showered, lol.

I haven’t felt anything resembling depression. For the first time in a long time, I have hope. Last week I sat down to write three different days, and it worked. I wrote, a lot actually, on each of those days. I’m going to write (fiction) today as well. Hopefully, that writing won’t have as many compound sentences as this post, but words are words, and I’m happy for any that hit the page!

I have no way of knowing if the new medication will cause the same issues, but I figure I have a little time. The gabapentin didn’t wreck me until I’d taken it for two years. I hope Lyrica won’t destroy me too, but until (and if) I start having bad symptoms, I’m going to live my life and enjoy being me again.

Again, I want to state that everyone is different, and just because I had a bad time with these meds doesn’t mean you or your loved ones will. My step-dad and my Grandmother are both on gabapentin and aren’t reacting as I did. In fact, my step-dad has been taking it for much longer than I did and is fine.

I do want to stress vigilance and knowledge. Learn as much as you can about anything you put into your body. Don’t let what you read scare you, though. You may never have the possible side effects, but if you do, you’ll know to talk to your doctor about the medication.

Wish me luck as I get back to writing!

Sidenote: to give you an idea of how different life is for me now, this post is over 1400 words. Even two months ago I either wouldn’t be capable of writing this, or it would take me hours or days. This took about 20 minutes.

Photo by kgrkz on Unsplash


My Writing Journey, Part 2

To read Part 1 click here.

Ah, the teenage years. What a beautiful, crazy, terrible nightmare they were. I could tell a million stories from that time, but I’ll stick to the writing-related stuff for the sake of brevity.

I didn’t often write back then. Like most teens, I was crippled with self-doubt and unexplained fears. How on earth did we all survive blushing almost daily? It was during these formative years that I had a lot of serious upheavals and changes.

When I was thirteen, my parents divorced. This was both painful and welcome. They hadn’t gotten along for years, so we all knew it was necessary. The hard part had to do with being a daddy’s girl. There was a time I would have done anything to please my father, but I was learning that he was human and I didn’t like it.

He was an alcoholic, which I barely understood and probably affected me the least of all of my family since I was the youngest and his favorite. In the days leading up to my mom leaving him, I finally saw some uncomfortable truth. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic, as in he came home, drank a lot of beer and you couldn’t see much change. However, he was an a-hole when he was really drunk, but like most heavy drinkers, it was even worse when he wasn’t drinking.

I need to clarify that I was the one who couldn’t see much change when dad drank. I was young, dumb, and oblivious. My mother and brothers definitely weren’t in the dark. In a way, this lack of knowledge made it harder when I saw the truth.

Anyway, I won’t go into too many details, but the night we left, my dad did the unforgivable. He slapped my mother. I may have been a daddy’s girl, but no one touches my mother. Even worse, in my barely teenaged mind, it was my fault. He was drunk and pissed off because of something I did that my mother punished me for.

I don’t remember what stupid crap I’d pulled, but I do remember I deserved to be in trouble. All she did was ground me, but I was his baby, and I don’t know if he assumed I hadn’t done anything or if he thought she was too harsh. It doesn’t matter, he had no right to do what he did. Hell, he didn’t have the right to be yelling at her for it.

The words and images are fuzzy for me except the look on his face when I screamed at him. The shock and betrayal in his expression are still clear in my mind. Sitting here, writing this I keep thinking ‘he felt betrayed, what about us?’

My mom was smart enough to use the interruption to get the hell out of there. She grabbed me and my older brother and took us to her sister’s house. She filed for divorce soon after.

I need to backtrack a moment. My dad was a good man, once. He treated me like a princess and loved me with everything he had. He treated my mother well too, in the beginning. He didn’t treat my brothers the same, but I don’t know if that was the beer or just how he was.

Alcoholism messes people up, and he’d been that way for most of his adult life. Part of me believes if he’d ever completely given up beer, he might have become the man he should have been. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Once they split up, I picked up a pen again. I wrote about my feelings and then tore up the paper into confetti, every time. It helped. Life settled into a routine for a while. Then my mom started dating someone.

I was happy for her until I met him. His name was David, and I hated him, instantly. This was no teenager issue, though my mom thought it was. No, I got a bad feeling from him. I’d only gotten this feeling with one other person, and it turned out my gut was right that time. So, in all my experience and wisdom I told my mom how uncomfortable he made me. She produced the knowing smile adolescents everywhere hate and kept doing what she was doing.

Everyone assumed I would hate the first guy she dated because he wasn’t my dad. HA! Little did they know my ‘bad feeling’ was never wrong. The guy turned out to be a pig, which is the nicest thing I can say about the man. As a side note, years later, I ran into this man at the local mall, where I worked (I was 18 or 19). He told me how much I looked like my mother, how he missed her, and then hit on me! GROSS!

I occasionally pick on my mother for not listening to me, but my choice in men was much worse for a few years so I keep it to a minimum.

Not long after dumping the jerk, she met my future step-dad. I liked him right away. He was weird as hell, had a dry sense of humor, and he adored mom. No bad feelings cropped up, so I was happy for her. They got married in October 1988, and we moved from our tiny little town to the bigger city ten miles away.

It might as well have been a hundred miles. I wasn’t sad to move, but I was sad to leave my friends. I figured we still see each other often, but it didn’t take long for everyone to move on. I loved and hated my new school. There were so many people! Unfortunately, some were little assholes. Some were amazing. I found the weird tribe and joined. I settled in and decided it could have been worse, then it was.

At the end of December, fifteen days after I turned 15, my dad died in a car accident. He was driving through New Mexico, on he way to El Paso to visit his parents. My brother and I were supposed to be with him, but we didn’t go. He was mad at both my brothers for something stupid and I was mad at him. On Christmas Eve, he yelled at me and told me I ruined Christmas because I defended my siblings. It was all so unimportant and silly, but we didn’t want to be around him when he was a jerk.

As you can imagine, I was a wreck. Grief and guilt consumed me. My relationship with my middle brother fell apart. He already resented me because I was dad’s favorite and was treated differently. Now that our father was gone, there was only me left to take the blame. My mother hardly knew what to do with me.

The years that followed are particularly painful for me, and I don’t want to rehash everything. I didn’t get arrested or do a bunch of drugs or anything like that, but there are some things I’ll never talk about again. I will say that I wrote more during this time than I ever had. I got angry at my mother often back then. She was very non-confrontational, and I am the opposite. It made me so mad when she wouldn’t fight! So I wrote her letters. I wasn’t capable calmly telling her how I felt and she wouldn’t let me yell it, so it was my only option.

Those letters, which she still has, changed my world. You wouldn’t believe how many drafts of each one I wrote. I cared about how well they were written. It bothered me to misspell something or if my grammar was off. I realized how much words mattered. I also learned that I could truly express myself with a pen.

Fear still ruled, but I’d taken steps in the right direction. Years later my mother told me she thought I should write after reading those letters because they were well written.

Remember when I used the word brevity at the beginning of this post? If you know me, I figured there would be some eye-rolls, well deserved.

Certainly, I wrote more than intended but sometimes the words have to come out. Thank you for sticking with me. In part 3, I’ll cover my failed marriages and bad choice in men. Those were the years that almost broke me and nearly killed my love of writing.



My Writing Journey, Part 1

One doesn’t choose to be a writer, it’s in you, but you do have to decide to write. Being a writer is part of me, it always was, but I didn’t always choose to do anything active about it. The road to writing regularly was bumpy, often blocked, detoured, sabotaged, scary, and sometimes impossible.

Even now, as in the last few months, there are times when I write next to nothing. I aim to change that, starting with this post. There are many reasons why I’ve been in what I call a ‘writer’s funk,’ but I’ll get into that in a later post.

For now, I’m going to share with you all how I got to where I am today. I called this post Part 1 because it will take several to get it all out. I don’t know how many but I would rather do this in sections than give you with a ten thousand word post.

It all began when I was a child. I’d like to say I always wrote. I wish I had hundreds of journals worth of childish thoughts and stories, but I didn’t write back then. I was capable of it, but things more powerful than the urge to write ruled my life. Fear and shame. Not fear of life or a person, just fear of baring my soul and shame when I did and was rejected. I tried several times, with diaries. After writing a few lines, I would seize up and put them away.

Opening up still fills me with dread. There was no significant event that started it. It was a mix of small childhood traumas that stifled me so much.

I was one of those kids who liked to make crazy things up. Fantastical stories with me as the star. A few times I tried to share these with friends and family.  My parents didn’t actively discourage me, but with three kids and jobs, they didn’t have time to ‘indulge’ me.

My friends were tolerant but more heavily grounded than me, so not particularly interested. All the girls my age were more interested in love stories, and the boys just wanted to watch cartoons and ride bikes. While I was imagining having a superpower or flying on a dragon, the other kids were busy being normal.

One of my brothers, who shall stay unnamed, but it’s the one I don’t get along with, had a different reaction. He made fun of me. Then his friends joined in. I won’t go into details except to say he liked upsetting me and succeed often. I valued his opinion above all others and he used that mercilessly. It wasn’t too long before I started keeping my stories to myself, even from the people who didn’t mock me.

I didn’t even want to write them down. Hence the started yet never finished diaries. What if someone read them? I would have died before letting anything see how weird I was. Now, all these years later, I don’t know what it was those boys said that made me feel so much shame, I only know the result.

Watching other girls writing their secret thoughts made me so jealous I could hardly stand it. I didn’t care what they wrote, but I wished to be like them. I wanted to be as brave as I thought they were.

I still made stuff up regularly, anytime I had a quiet moment. I kept it all to myself, for years. It took my mom pissing me off when I was a teenager so bad that I wrote her a letter to express my feelings before anything changed. That’s a story for next time.

As I stated above, I don’t know how many posts it will take me to tell my writing journey. I’m winging this one. Some posts may be short, others longer. There is also no schedule for when I’ll write them. I’m in the process of getting back to writing regularly so I hope to be very busy soon.

In my next post I’ll tell you all about how I started to embrace my weird and took a step closer, and many steps back from active writing.

Did any of you guys have problems with other people judging your creativity as a child? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Disappointing/Potentially Dangerous Morning Due To My Own Bad Choices

As an adult, I have the right to make terrible decisions, right? My most recent mess up has to do with Pop Tarts, and I’m ticked off about it. Not long ago I made a choice to start eating a cherry one every morning. Not the healthiest thing, but it was quick, easy, and kept my blood sugar mostly normal.

Besides eating mostly sugar for breakfast, my biggest mistake was assuming something as cheap and bad for you as Pop Tarts are, there couldn’t be real fruit in them. I was spectacularly wrong!

There are dried cherries, and oddly, dried apples in them. Guess who is allergic to berries and most other fruits? Actually, it’s more that I’m overly sensitive to something in a lot of foods – salicylates. I’ve always had issues with them, but until several months ago, when I had a severe reaction to some berries, it wasn’t too much of an issue. I’ve never cared for most fruit, so I rarely had any, except in Pop Tarts.

I learned from my doctor that my sensitivity would grow worse once I had the bad reaction. The problem is salicylates are in so many foods. To break it down a bit, everyone is sensitive to them, as they are basically poison. As we grow and try new things, our bodies build up a tolerance, allowing us to eat them. How else do you think you can eat tomatoes, which are nightshades – poison? People like me are more sensitive to them and can’t build as strong a tolerance, so are likely to have an allergic reaction eventually.

Have you seen Hellboy? Imagine a female version, and you’ll get a good mental image of what I looked like when I reacted to a smoothie containing blackberries and blueberries. I’d avoided these my whole life until that day, apparently for a good reason. My entire body turned bright red, and I felt terrible. I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I took a Benadryl and waited.

So, back to the cherry Pop Tarts. As usual, I ate one today. I was cutting potatoes for a stew I was going to throw together in the slow-cooker. I ended up eating pretty slow, in between potatoes. It took about fifteen minutes to cut the veggies and get everything in the pot. Then I went to my bedroom to change into my gym clothes. On the way, my bottom lip started feeling strange.

It was a tingling that was almost a burning sensation. It was the same with a couple of my fingers. Curse words flooded my thoughts because I recognized the feeling. I was reacting to something. I panicked a little at first because it could only be the cheap pastry or the tea I was drinking with it. I looked at my cup of tea and realized I’d only taken a few small drinks. It had to be the damn Pop Tart!

Claritin is part of my morning pill routine so I didn’t take a Benadryl. All I could do was finish getting ready and take my kid to school. I almost didn’t go to the gym but decided I would because I didn’t really feel bad, the burning, which had moved into my entire chin, wouldn’t stop me from working out. When I got to the gym I checked my face and the bottom half was definitely red. I worried I looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy but I sucked it up and got on the elliptical. The allergy stuff wasn’t going to kick in for at least two more hours so I kept my head down and made as little eye contact as possible. Actually, I do that every time I go to the gym so I wasn’t acting out of the ordinary, haha.

After my workout, I went to the grocery store and picked up something different for breakfast. I came home and looked at the ingredients on the food that betrayed me, and sure enough, it had real fruit. I’m an idiot for not checking this before I started eating them every day, which was two months ago. I can only guess how I was able to eat them this long. With the fruits in dried form, maybe it takes longer to get to me?

At least this will force me to eat something healthy in the morning. I should have been all along. The truth is, I’m a creature of habit. Buying a box of Pop Tarts was an impulse and then quickly became a habit. Plus, I LIKE them. Whatever I choose to eat for breakfast always becomes an everyday thing. I don’t have time in the morning to think too much about food. I certainly don’t have enough time to eat anything that takes a lot of prep.

Now, the Claritin is doing its job. My face isn’t red, and my bottom lip and chin aren’t swollen or burning anymore. I still feel it a bit in my fingers, but it will go away soon. If it doesn’t, I guess it will be doctor time.

The really sad part for me is my tea. I drink a cup every day while I eat breakfast. For all I know, it contributed to what happened. Tea is high in salicylates. I have been drinking it anyway because I did build up a tolerance. I knew eventually it would probably betray me too but I was hoping it would take a long time. Giving up my daily caffeine is terrifying! I may have to anyway.

I hope this time I’ve learned my lesson!


Everything Update – 8/22/2016

Writing: I’m writing! This weekend I went to two different writing things. The first was on Saturday. The leader of the Nanowrimo group in my region sets up a write-in once a month throughout the year so we can all keep in touch beyond November. Sadly, I’ve missed every single one, until this month.

I thought I would have to drag my friend but he wanted to go as much as I did. Sometimes I need a little push and the fact he wanted to go insured I went. I’m not saying I haven’t wanted to go in the past. In fact I would have loved to go but life conspired against me. Severe back pain, a couple of major surgeries and a hellish recovery put a stop to most of my extracurricular activities.

There was a point where I decided the pain wasn’t going to strip me of my writing anymore. So, in spite of the consequences, I went to my favorite writing spot (I’m there now) and wrote for as long as I could. What ended up happening was I was so sore from my stubbornness that I couldn’t handle much in the way of extra outings. As I eventually joined a new writing group and went to it every Sunday, the write-ins were off the table.

Now, all these months later, I’ve gone through physical therapy and while I’m not in perfect condition, I am much better and more determined than ever.

The result of making up my mind was unexpected: writer’s block. For a while I thought it was more writer’s funk but nope, I was fully blocked. I have a couple of stories completely plotted and the writing part should have been easy but the tank was empty. I did write a bit but it was all crap.

I tried changing projects and it didn’t work. I came up with something new but then stalled quickly. Writing prompts were a bust. Even my well of undeveloped ideas gave me nothing.

The new idea was slowly forming. When I say slow, I mean slug crossed with sloth slow. It will probably be my project for November at this rate.

Then something sparked. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt. Within minutes I had the most ridiculous bad story idea. When I say bad, I mean deliberately bad, because it was funny that way, well at least I think so. Click here to read it. It was the first thing I wrote in weeks.

After I was still not coming up with much but tiny ideas were sprouting. I went to the write-in and after bouncing ideas off my friend and listening to suggestions my new story started growing. I’m still not ready to write it but I’ll develop it a bit and shelve it until November.

Yesterday at the writing group meeting the second spark occurred. Someone saved me from having to give the group a picture prompt by offering to post one. I was thrilled because I would have over thought it and agonized about which picture to use. She found a photo and posted it to our Facebook group right away.

I looked at it and was instantly intrigued. I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s a person, somewhat androgynous made of smoke or more accurately: going up in smoke. My muse metaphorically clapped in glee and my first idea formed. Then the second took over. Next the two ideas merged and a story was born. I’ll be working on it today, maybe for several days.

The length of this one is undetermined. At this point I think it will be flash fiction – 500 words or so, but it has the potential to become a longer short story. Perhaps even a novel. It’s hard to know because I’m in love with the idea. For all I know this could be like a rebound relationship after being dumped. People always jump into them and it rarely works out. That’s probably a bad comparison since my muse took me back after dumping me and watching me suffer for a while. Believe me, I appreciate it more than I ever did now!

If the short version of the story doesn’t suck I’ll post it when I’m finished. Wish me luck, I think I might need it this time!

Physical Therapy: Today I told the guy working with me I was done. I’m not giving up, it just isn’t doing anything for me I can’t do on my own. I’ll admit I feel like they were willing to keep me there as long as my insurance paid, which was for an astonishing 30 visits, whether I needed it or not. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t have been bad for me but if it’s not helping then it’s silly to keep milking the insurance.

I said it nicely and the guy was disappointed but understood. He wasn’t my regular therapist but I work with him a lot. He told me he would talk to my therapist and on Wednesday I’ll go in and talk about what exercises I can and can’t do.

Crunches are out of the question and anything requiring I lean back or twist are a no as well. I know I can’t do anything requiring I lift weight over my head, but I can do ones where I pull down. Basically anything forcing me to put a lot of pressure on my lower back needs to be avoided. I’ll bring a notepad and ask a lot of questions.

My biggest concern is I want to tone my arms but some of the best arm exercises affect the back too. I still won’t be able to do a ton of cardio but if I’m patient I can build into it.

I still have pain but not constant. I know what makes me feel better and what doesn’t. Sometimes I might push it too far but I’m learning to live with it. The surgery didn’t completely fix me but it certainly helped. So I’ll figure out what daily life is going to be like now.

Everything Else: There isn’t anything to report. I drew an awesome dragon and I’ll eventually work on coloring it in. I haven’t done any photography related activities since my vacation but I will soon, unless writing takes over (fingers crossed this happens).

I have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal. I was in agony last weekend but they gave me antibiotics so I’m okay now. I’m just waiting on the insurance company to say yes and figure out how much it’s going to cost and how I’m going to pay for it.

If this update had been written while I was still in pain it would have contained a lot more whining.

Shockingly, since I’m a big wimp with pain, I went to my writing group last week even though I was miserable. This new-found determination is disconcerting haha.

I’ll post the story and another update when I have something to report.

Flash Fiction – Tauria

They said it was a legend, but Tauria knew it was real. She saw it once in the forbidden grove. She desperately wanted to tell everyone about it but then she’d have to admit she’d gone to the forbidden grove.

It was beautiful, with a long mane that shone white and it was much smaller than she’d imagined. The perfection of the creature almost made her enter the clearing where she found it but fear kept her in the tree line. For all she knew it was dangerous. In the animal world beauty sometimes indicated menace.

So she watched as it frolicked and seemed to play while it clearly enjoyed the sunlight. She stayed until the wind shifted. The mythical entity must have caught her scent because its head came up suddenly and there was fear in its eyes. Tauria was surprised to also see intelligence when it caught sight of her.

Not waiting to find out if it would hurt her she turned and fled.

That night as she lay down to sleep she felt an unexpected longing. She had to go back. Logic told her the madness had come upon her. Though it was only whispered about, many women in her village had been brought low by it. Now she understood why the grove was forbidden. Still, her heart told her she would return even if only for a glimpse.

It took a week for her to work up the courage. She knew she might not survive the attempt but she was determined.

She snuck off during the noon meal, running as fast as she could. As she reached the grove she slowed and walked as silently as she could through the trees until she reached the clearing. It was empty so she waited.

Within a few minutes she saw movement across the grassy area. Slowly the creature stepped out of the trees. Tauria’s breath caught as she realized it was looking directly at her. Of their own volition her feet carried her forward. Not even her terror stopped her until she reached the beast.

She crouched down, hardly knowing what she was doing, and spoke gently to it.

“Are you a child?”

It laughed. “Of course I am.”

“What is your name?”


“Do you live here in the grove?”

“Not anymore.” It replied and reached out to her.

Tauria allowed the girl to climb on her back, careful not to let it near her single horn, and took her home. As she passed the other females of her village she saw the sympathy and concern in their eyes but didn’t care. She vowed to herself to make sure everyone learned where children came from so they could get their own if they wanted one.


Well, I was supposed to be working on world building but I wrote this story instead. I’m not mad at myself for this distraction!

The inspiration came from Chuck Wendig. His flash fiction challenge today was to use a quote from a list of the random things his kid says. I picked:

“They said it was a legend, but I know it’s real.”

I didn’t know when I started writing the story it was from the perspective of a unicorn. Honestly I didn’t do a lot of thinking, I just started typing and went with whatever my muse came up with. I was down to the last paragraph when it hit me and as I read back through I realized I’d subconsciously been writing it that way all along. Brains are cool! It’s amazing how you can surprise yourself as you make stuff up.

As with all the flash fiction I post this is a rough draft and any opinions are welcome.

A Welcome Change

Remember when I said I didn’t want to switch the story I was working on? Then I said I was being distracted by my trilogy? Well, I’m sure it will surprise no one that I am putting all my effort into my fantasy trilogy. Although it might end up a duology.

I’ve only temporarily abandoned The Order of Life. Since it was still in the plotting stage I only feel a tiny big of writer’s guilt. Also I’m thankful for it because if I hadn’t started world building it, I would have never realized what was wrong with the other story.  As I worked on the culture I kept thinking of the trilogy and finally started jotting down notes.

It took over. I knew it would, even though I fought it. Then I realized it wasn’t a bad thing to want to work on my original WIP. For a long time it weighed me down because it was broken. Now I can see a way to fix it. It’s exciting and encouraging. Now the trick it to make sure no other stories distract me. I have hope I can exercise some discipline. This story is the most important thing I’ve ever worked on.

It’s the story many people tried to stop me from writing. The idea came to me in 2003 on an airplane while on the way to destroy my life get married. My ex-husband pretended to be happy for me and encouraged me to write it at first. Then after a month or so subtly used it to undermine my confidence. Not long after I put it aside. When the relationship ended, less than a year later, I picked the story back up.

There was a major problem though. I wasn’t a good enough writer to write it. I don’t mean I was terrible, I mean I was a beginner. I’d been writing for years but it’s the same story, another ex hated that I wrote and did everything he could to get me to stop. It worked. So when I started this super involved epic fantasy story I wasn’t in a place to be able to do a good job. Still, I kept working on it. If you don’t write, you can’t get better was my motto.

Over the years, people, children, life, etc stopped me from working on it. Let’s not forget fear, a major obstacle for me.

In a way because I associated the story with bad times in my life, working on it was torture. Then I met my husband. He was the only man in my life to want me to write. He encouraged me and meant it. He’s the reason I now write full-time.

So, I’ve got story boards on the wall over my bed for the story where I can see it every day. It intimidated me but stayed in my head. I worked on getting better at writing, mostly trying my hand at short stories. I like to think I got good at it. Then I started writing novel length stuff, still avoiding the trilogy.

Then the back problems started, stalling everything. Now I’ve had surgery and I’m recovery fast and back to writing daily.

I didn’t know when I started writing a new story that the old one would intrude but I couldn’t be happier. I look at this story and I see a challenge and a damn good idea. There are no more negatives associated with it except I’ll have to work hard to fix it and scrap a lot of what I’ve already written. But that’s the gig.

One of my plans to help with it is to write some short stories involving the characters. I wrote four already and three of them will make it into my first draft. The fourth helped clarify some things about a character I didn’t know very well so it wasn’t a waste of time.

I’ve managed to change a two character names that didn’t fit with the culture and the spelling of my villains name, which was a bigger deal than it seems.

There is a clear picture in my head of the various realms in the. I now know how these people live, what’s important to them, who they are. I can envision the desert, the farmland, the tundra, the valley no one is allowed to enter, the pyroclastic volcano used to imprison a god, etc. World building is fun! I hope I don’t overdo it.

Expect to start seeing excerpts posted soon and maybe a couple of the short stories. I’m getting back to work, more updates will be forthcoming.

Anatomy Of An Odd/Bad Day

Today sucked, then it didn’t, but it still does. Sound odd? It definitely was/is. The day started with me waking up early after a sleeping terribly. I was in a lot of pain, the kind I knew wouldn’t be helped by the pain meds I am on. Ironically, it was a good thing because I had a doctor appointment and I had no problem showing him exactly where it hurt.

I took my daughter to school and had an hour to kill so I went to a coffee shop where I defiantly drank tea and worked on my revision. My concentration was off though so I didn’t get much accomplished. I switched gears and worked on plotting my witch story. That went well but I couldn’t concentrate on it for very long either. So I stared into space and imagined what my muse must be doing. She was hiding in a corner sucking her thumb. At that ridiculous thought my logical side took over and I was forced to acknowledge I was worried about my upcoming doctor visit.

There were only a few possible outcomes. One, I would be told I needed another injection. Two, a change of medication. Or three, talk of surgery.

As it turned out, all of those things happened. First, they changed my medication for something stronger. It’s not a narcotic pain reliever, which I can’t take, but it’s close. I’m a little nervous about it but I’m going to do what the doctor tells me to.

Second (and third), I was told I need to have a pain inducing procedure called a discogram. Basically they are going to stick needles in my back, inject a dye into the discs and put pressure on them to recreate my pain to determine exactly which discs are the problem one(s).  They they pump me full of pain relieving stuff and send me to get a CT scan.

The intention is to prepare for surgery. The chances of me not having surgery at this point are slim to none. Spinal fusion surgery. I recently watched my mother go through the same surgery and have a bit of an idea what to expect. As you can imagine my day was going downhill. I almost cried at the doctor’s office, which is weird for me. I never cry in public, ever. My husband called as I was leaving and I almost cried again but luckily was in the car.

I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to be upset in front of my kids so I stopped and got lunch at a grocery store that has a good deli inside it. Big mistake. One thing I’m bad at is hiding my emotions. My face betrays me regularly without me realizing it. I got a few odd looks from people passing me as I made my way to the food counter so I knew what I must look like. Since I couldn’t seem to control it I kept my head down while I waited in line.

A little old lady in front of me got my attention and smiled at me. I half smiled back and went back to analyzing my shoes.  The lady didn’t give up though.

“They have really good food here.”

I was so surprised I stared at her for a while. She had the most patient smile I’d ever seen, and she knew exactly what she was doing.

“Oh, I know. I came across town to eat here.” What? I had no clue why I told her that! The lady behind the counter, who’d overheard, said “Aw, that’s good to hear. It means a lot to us.” She had to the nerve to smile too! It was a conspiracy.

The elderly lady got her food and started walking away. She turned back and told me to have a good day. She looked like she wanted to say more but just smiled at me again and nodded at the cashier before leaving.

This was a typical kind of occurrence here in west Texas. Nothing special or unusual about it, except she made me feel better. Which I think was her intention. Her simple kindness almost made me cry but I’d rather tear up about that then weep like a child about my fear of surgery in public!

I got my food and noticed everyone I passed smiled at me so I must have lost the upset expression I brought in with me. I ate my lunch and went and bought my dogs some new toys because I knew they would be happy and it would cheer me up. Then I headed home and called my mom. She was nice enough to let me vent about the medical junk. She’s been through it all, some of it very recently, so she knew exactly what I was feeling.

Unfortunately when I got off the phone the sad/upset part hit me in the face again. I still can’t concentrate on my writing projects. Hell, you don’t even want to know how long it took me to write this post! I’ll keep trying though. Work will help me get through this but I don’t know how much I’ll be able to accomplish for the next few days with this change in medication. Some of the side effects are drowsiness, dizziness, and memory loss/issues. Fun. The doctor told me to take it at night the first time since it will definitely make me sleepy at first. If it does I won’t complain about real sleep! Maybe I’d better go do the laundry before the memory issues though.

So that’s my roller coaster day, so far. I’ll probably feel sorry for myself for a couple more hours today then on and off over the next few days. I’m the type who can’t stand negativity for very long so I’ll be fine soon.

Hopefully the day will get better fast. I have chocolate, Oreo Thins, and Smarties and I can binge watch Orphan Black so it kind of has to improve.

Sidenote: There is a YouTube channel I subscribe to that shows animal rescues called Hope For Paws. A notification popped up on my phone saying there is a new video. I clicked it but had to close it before it started. Since I almost cried at least three times today I know I better not watch it or I will cry this time.


Flash Fiction – It’s Over!

“I trusted you!” Craig yelled. “How could you do this to me? You always wait until I forget how horrible you are before pulling the same shit again.” He was in full voice now, frustration clouding embarrassment he might feel at screaming for all the neighbors to hear.

“I’ve given you everything. My love, my time, and God knows you’ve taken all my money. And for what? Just to shit on me over and over. Well I’ve had enough. We’re through!” He walked away but soon turned back. He couldn’t leave her there on the street, couldn’t bear the sight of her. After fifteen years it would be hard but he would do what he had to.

Craig called a tow truck to come get the piece of crap, broke down car he’d loved for so long. He felt a sharp pang of regret watching it being pulled away until his neighbor came over and offered to take him to the dealership. He knew he would never find another like her but he figured that was exactly the point.

So this is what happens when I’m having car troubles — flash fiction! At least something good has come of all the knocks life is throwing at me this month.

One Of Those Months

Have you ever had one of ‘those’ months? You know what I mean, a terrible, no good, crappy, problems piling up months. Well I’m enjoying one of those now. It started with physical therapy finishing up and my back problems not any better and shortly graduated to those problems getting worse. I am the biggest wimp I know when it comes to pain so this super sucks.

Then my monitor went out. It was only a few years old and has effectively ended my love affair with LG electronics (although I still swear by their appliances). My husband’s computer started making strange sounds and my phone went a little crazy. Don’t even get me started on the damn laptop issues! Moving on…

A couple of days ago my car started making a clicking noise. It only happened as I was accelerating and between 20 and 30 mph. I know just enough about cars to know this was weird. My ‘oh shit’ meter was maxed out at this point because I have horrid luck when it comes to car problems. I’ve never owned a vehicle that didn’t have something unusual (and expensive) go wrong with it.

My husband and a coworker figured out what was wrong (see picture below). They got a new part and started really working on it, only to find out the part they got didn’t fit, which was the part’s guy’s fault. They went back to the parts place and were told they would have to buy a different part, a $1200 part to be precise. FFS!! I was in no way surprised since this is my kind of luck but holy crap! This car has been so much trouble. (Did I mention I only have it because my last car was totaled when some a-hole crashed into it in the middle of the night and then took off. Great thing to wake up to.) Hopefully we can actually find that part tomorrow, since the auto place didn’t have it, and get the car fixed. I really don’t want to take it to a shop.

Anyway, the point is this month sucks. A lot. But here is where it gets odd. It seems like the more that goes wrong in my life, the better my Nanowrimo prep gets. Pardon me tooting my own horn but this story idea is good! If I do it right then the novel will be great. I’ve been having breakthroughs left and right and for the first time in ages I know exactly where I want my story to go. I’m positive my plan will fall apart by lunch time on November 1st but I don’t care because I can either get back on track or rearrange my handy little note cards and get back to work. I feel like I have just enough planning. It’s like everything belonging to baby bear. Not too hot, not too cold, etc. I really think I can make it work and I’m super excited about it.

Since I’m stressed out, pissed off, worried and all around frazzled I might just say screw Nanowrimo and start writing all the angry, scary, freaky and sad scenes today. Or perhaps some flash fiction that will creep me out.

I go see the pain doctor on Monday so we’ll see how the pain issue goes. If he orders the test I think he will the end of the month will be awful, horrible and almost unbearable since the test is designed to reproduce my specific disk pain. However, if said test goes the way I hope then I’ll be a step closer to surgery, which at this point is what I want to happen.

I’ll keep you all updated. Wish me luck!

20151022_151950  Obviously it shouldn’t look this way.