🧠The Brain Drain–A writer’s first venture into The Artist’s Way, and how I almost became a quitter.

My writing group, Writers’ Mastermind, Has started the creativity enhancement program designed by author Julia Cameron, called The Artist’s Way. The program is really a twelve week course, but do to most group members’ busy schedules, our wonderful admin decided we would stretch the program out over the course of the next twelve months. Great idea. I’d taken a peak at all the end-of-chapter assignments, and there’s quite a lot of them. More than the modern day person would want to cram into their schedule each week. 

I got a digital copy of the 25th anniversary edition of The Artist’s Way. The book is a little dated, because she mentions things like record stores and books on tape. And does Five & Dime even still exist? However, being dated doesn’t make the helpful words of positive wisdom and tips on how to improve your creativity any less relevant. I read the Forward, the Introduction, and the first chapter, and they were all very inspiring. 

One of the main topics she talked about in the first chapter was getting in the habit of doing a little thing called morning pages. You find an empty notebook for this exercise, and treat it kind of like a diary by not letting anyone read it. Don’t even let yourself read it until later on in the course when reading back on what you’d written is part of an assignment. Cameron says to wake up a half hour earlier than when you usually start your day, and write three pages of whatever, in longhand. It doesn’t matter what it is. As long as your hand can keep up with transcribing all that your brain craps out, write it down. It’s not exactly a daily journal, but it could be if daily journaling thoughts are what pop in your head before anything else. 

Don’t put conscientious thought into what you write either. If it comes out like a bunch of A D D sounding disconnected thoughts, if it’s a boring list of the day’s mundane tasks, if it’s a bunch of winy, repetitious rambling, don’t pay any mind. Just keep going. What comes out on paper comes out on paper. Even if you go on and on about how you don’t know what to write, and you hate mornings, and this assignment is stupid. This exercise is for boosting your creative brain power. Not for practicing writing skills. So as you write your morning pages, DO NOT read back at what you’d written, and start fixing punctuation and spelling mistakes and stuff. 

Morning pages are to help clear your head at the beginning of your day, so your mind could make room for new ideas and creative inspirations. Cameron also calls it, “the brain drain”. 

The book mentioned people she knew who she had gotten into the morning pages habit. Not only had they learned to clear their heads of excessive useless thoughts for better creative focus, their minds became more easily cleansed of worries, anxieties, rumination’s, and other mental blockages of concentration, allowing their creativity to flow more quickly and easily. New ideas unexpectedly came out onto the morning pages. The author herself even experienced this. One morning while doing her morning pages, a story idea just popped out on its own. Then her morning pages blossomed into the rough draft of a manuscript. 

I admit, I came close to skipping out on this part of the course and just doing the assignments featured at the end of each chapter. It just wasn’t working out at first. 

Waking up a half hour earlier was the first problem. I mean, who wants to do that? Good thing I get up early anyway, but alarm clocks make me anxious. Scheduling things in time slots make me anxious. Scheduling to-dos within big, hours’ long windows of time is okay, but only during the day. 

One thing that sucks about being middle aged is both falling asleep and staying asleep takes patience. So nightly sleep needs a bigger, more relaxing time window. I go to bed at 10:00, and the iphone alarm clock was originally set for 6:30. Eight-and-a-half hours was plenty of time to gather up a full night’s rest after waiting about an hour to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, and then struggling to fall back asleep after each time I got up to pee. Even though I would always wake up a half hour or an hour before the alarm went off, setting it ahead to 6:00 shortened the time window and made me anxious. If I got up to pee later than 4:30, it was impossible to relax and fall back asleep, just knowing that the alarm was going to go off a half hour earlier. Not looking at the clock and not knowing exactly how much time is left makes me even more anxious. The unsettling anticipation of being interrupted at any moment kicks in. Then came the anxious, rambling thoughts, which kept me even more wide awake. Maybe I should just get up now and start the morning pages. No, if I get up now, that would only leave me with a few hours of sleep, and what if it catches up with me later on when I’m trying to work on book 3. I hate when I’m trying to write and can’t stop yawning. And I end up taking a nap like an old lady, which leads to only getting a few hundred words done, and not getting enough writing done in a day feels like shit. I hope I don’t take a year-and-a-half to write this book, like with book 2. Sleep, stupid body, sleep dammet. Seriously?! It’s 5:35? I’ve been laying here for an hour already? Why, God, why! 

Then there was the worry that adding another to-do in my daily schedule might take too much time away from my precious book 3. Every day, there’s reading, writing, and social media to do. Now I also have health shit to keep up with. Then top it all off by adding time for morning pages? In the past, I’d learned the hard way that the less additional things there are to tackle during the day, the better my mind could concentrate on the next adventure on Planet Velva Leena. So I thought doing the morning pages might be more of a hinderance than being anything helpful. 

Last of all, I can’t write longhand. There’s barely much vision left in the old, disfigured, ocular orb. I thought of typing the morning pages into a Pages doc on my Mac Book, but was iffy about that idea. Even though this isn’t really a journal, it’s still a lot like one. I didn’t trust myself with writing entries. In the past, every time I tried starting some kind of daily journal on the computer, I’d have too much fun writing the entries. Then hours would unintentionally fly by, and it wouldn’t be long before journal writing took up too much of the day, leaving not enough time for real writing. 

I thought of writing the morning pages in braille. I have three junky old braillers to write with and tons of unused braille paper. However, the clickety-clacking of their keys is so loud, the sound carries through the whole house. I didn’t want to give my parents such a rude awakening at 6:00 in the morning. 

So I decided to dictate the morning pages into my phone’s Notes app. Anyone who uses voiceover and doesn’t have a Bluetooth keyboard would know that typing three pages on a touch screen manually would be mental. You have to one-finger double-tap each and every character and space. What I liked about the Notes app was that any type of journaling could be easy to organize, making each daily entry a new note which the app already adds the date for you. 

Doing the morning pages this way worked out great for two mornings. 

Dictating is quicker and easier than typing, but I’m a writer, not a talker. Telling the phone my thoughts felt weird and uncomfortable. The writing process was also slowed down because voiceover reads back every single thing you dictate. Then there was the issue with the way sound carries through the house. It’s not just my loud-ass braillers. The house’s interior walls might as well be hologram projections that only appear to look solid. I hated the thought of my parents hearing me talking to my phone in gibberish, first thing in the morning. Kind of embarrassing. 

My last resort was to just give the computer a chance. Wow, did it work so much better than I’d expected. Since this is not a regular journal, and the key is to write without putting conscientious thought into what you’re going to say and how you want to say it and caring about whether it makes sense, the thoughts came spilling out effortlessly. 

Yeah, the change from dictating to typing temporarily gave it a new feel, which threw my concentration off at first. I began writing about how I don’t know what to write. Then the first few disconnected thoughts came. Once I released them into the text, I was able to let the mind relax, and release all thoughts like relieving a full bladder. I’m an extremely slow typer when conscientiously thinking about what I’m writing, but take that restriction away, and my hands went crazy dancing all over the keyboard, like a couple of epileptic spiders.  

I set two morning alarms, limiting myself to one hour of brain draining. For the past few days since switching this exercise to the computer, I’ve been typing more than the scheduled hour, but only by twenty or thirty minutes. This quazi-journaling didn’t turn out to be a time management garbage disposal like I’d thought it would. Amazingly, each session of morning pages really does induce a strange but calming feeling of mental relief. It’s like the brain really needs to get all that excess thought cloggage out. Like a cerebral detox. It’s pretty awesome. I would recommend this mental exercise for anyone and everyone. Not just those who are, or who aspire to be creative. 

So far, adding morning pages into the daily routine hasn’t put a damper on my book 3 WIP. Maybe it’s been helping with my writing. 

The way morning pages calms my mind helps calm my mood. I no longer get so anxious if I wake up less than two hours before the alarm goes off. Sometimes I can fall back asleep, but if I can’t, knowing that my morning starts with a mental exercise that helps put my anxiety-prone mind at rest puts the insomniac side of my mind at rest too. If sleep doesn’t return before 5:30, I just get up and start the thought dumping and not worry about whether or not if I’ll get tired later on. When this happened, so far, I hadn’t needed a nap yet. It seems that helping calm the mind early in the day helps prevent mental and physical tiredness at an inconvenient time. Or maybe this one effect is more on the psychosomatic side, and I feel more awake and alert all day, because this winter cold front has been making my room get freezing-ass-cold. 

This part of the morning routine just started a few days ago. So no unexpected ideas or inspirations came popping out yet, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens after doing the daily brain drain for another month. 

…And that concludes my first inner adventure into the magical world of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way

Love you all! Post you soon!                 

Come write with me in the Writers Mastermind!

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We’re doing The Artist’s Way together this year!

This post goes out to all you struggling authors out there. (Yeah, I think that’s most of us.) And all of you who love to write, but could never quite get your wonderful writerly shit together, and get a book published already. Get your creative butts over to the Writers’ Mastermind writing support group, and let’s i’ll join forces to not only help one another shine, but to also bring out the best in our own potential as authors. Our group has reinvented itself for 2022, starting with this busy-schedule-friendly version of a very enlightening program. Check it out.

“All too often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to center stage.“ Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way After running the Writers …

We’re doing The Artist’s Way together this year!

💊💊My Favorite Medication Side Effects💊💊

If we were all granted the privilege of reincarnating if we wanted to, in my next lifetime, I want to have the most boring medical records possible. Just the basic required shots, an injured pinky toe, a cracked tooth, and maybe a minor car accident. Boring would be awesome. 

In this lifetime, each decade brings forth some kind of new dam medical drama. Many of such issues forced me to go on prescription drugs. Bleck. 

Not meaning to brag, (Ah, bullshit, I’m bragging.) but I’ll never get addicted to prescription pills. My stomach refuses to hold down any pain reliever that’s stronger than extra-strength Advil or Tylenol. I don’t like feeling too calm or too happy, because it makes me lazy. Having too calm of a mind isn’t cool either, if you’re a writer. 

One of the worst things about prescription drugs, of course, is the side effects. Some of the side effects I’d had through the years were gross, embarrassing, or scary. The other worse thing about prescription drugs is—yeah, you know what I’m going to say—the drug names. Oh, the names! How exactly are drugs named? 

They all sound like pharmaceutical companies have their drug designers jumble the letters of their mother’s maiden name, the name of their first pet, and the name of their favorite Asian cuisine, and add “zine” or “zol” or “zapan” at the end, and it’s a drug name. The more new types of meds these pharmaceutical companies crank out, the more ridiculous the names keep getting. 

I don’t know how to spell this, but it’s pronounced (lah-tooda) LahTooda? Seriously? That sounds more like the name of a French stripper! LahTooda will help stave off your depression. Oh, I bet she will

Here’s another one. I don’t know how to spell this one either, but it’s pronounced (sky rizzy) To me, that sounds more like a rapper. Sky Rizzy helps treat psoriasis, but didn’t he do a single a while back, with A$AP Rocky and Lil Durk? 

Out of all the medication treatments that came and went throughout my life, every once in a blue moon I would be put on one with good side effects. 

I was put on a pill for some dumb fuck stomach thing I had going on in my twenties. I forgot what this stuff was called. Meinchowzapan or Johnspotsonzine, or something along those lines. The treatment was one teeny tiny pill, twice a day, twelve hours apart. Potent stuff. As long as I took this pill, mosquitos didn’t want anything to do with me. How cool is that. Who wouldn’t want such an amazing side effect? 

The first time I noticed this was when me and my sister were taking her dog for a walk one evening. I was wearing short shorts and a short sleeved shirt, and I didn’t think any mosquitos were even out there until Gina complained about how badly bitten up she was getting. I was walking close beside her and holding her arm, because she was my sighted guide,. And the mosquitos were actually going around my hand to bite her arm! My blood must’ve really stunk to them! How toxic could a drug be, if it could make mosquitos think you’re repulsive? I didn’t want to worry about that, at the moment, because having the power to self repel bugs while living in Florida was THE BEST! 

Come to find out, yeah, that stuff must’ve been pretty toxic. Not long after I stopped taking it, it was pulled off the market. 

This latest medical drama with my ugly, bloated, disfigured lower extremities was prescribed a pain-in-the-ass, high maintenance treatment regimen. This includes—yep, you guessed it—prescription meds. However, this is another rare medication where I’m getting a side effect that’s actually pretty cool. Not as cool as being mosquito repellent, but still pretty cool. 

I take one pill in the morning, every other day. Both nights that followed the days that I took this drug, I had the deepest, trippiest dreams. The connection between drug and dream is two coincidental to not be a side effect. 

*** 

In the dream after the first pill day, I was a middle-school aged kid again, but I still had a cel phone. I was on a field trip at a park that looked more like an endless, green grassy field. My school and a few other schools were having this massive picnic party. There was a DJ, and we were promised a grand fireworks show at the end. All kids and school staff parked themselves on the grass, on picnic blankets and beach towels, and had a great time just chit chatting while enjoying the music and tons of junk food. Everyone except me, that is. 

I stood by myself in an empty part of the field, far away from the party, and stared at the sky. It was cloudy, but a weird, unearthly looking overcast. The clouds were all different shades of gray and white that swirled together in a marbled pattern. 

Time speedily fast forwarded as I stood in my cloud-staring trance. The next thing I knew, our field trip was almost over, and the fireworks show had started. The picnic DJ commentated the fireworks over a loudspeaker, announcing to the cheering crowd which type each one was as they were being shot. The overcast was dark enough to allow us to see them, but all the fireworks were completely colorless.  

“Look out! look out! Here comes the big one, ladies and gentlemen!” the DJ announced. “Bombs away!” 

A noise that sounded like a god-sized jumbo jet rumbled and shrieked over the excited screams of the crowd, as I looked up and watched a white fireball sail across the sky. The fireball looked small and non threatening, but when it hit the ground in another part of the field, the boom was louder than any explosion I’d heard in my waking life. The power of the sound made me lose my balance and stumble for a moment. A blaze of white fire erupted over that whole part of the park. I was getting scared, and wondered if that could’ve been an actual bomb. Then the fire shrunk and stopped glowing. As it did, it turned a bright red orange, and looked more like a moving illustration of fire. The illustration fire then sprang from the ground and began flying directly towards me. I jumped out of the way of its path and noticed that a bunch of other people had moved to my secluded part of the field. I yelled at them to get out of the way, but none of them listened. They talked amongst themselves as the flying fire headed for them next. It zigzagged and circled through the small crowd as though trying to decide who to burn. That was the end of the fireworks show, and it was time to get on the bus. Us students got in our seats and waited for our teacher and the bus driver, who were lingering outside. 

The kids at the back of the bus suddenly started a shouting commotion. I looked out the window and saw that the marbled overcast clouds were swirling around, and thought, maybe those kids were in awe of this.  

One of the boys in the back shouted, “Shooter! There’s a shooter!” 

That’s when I realized that they weren’t awestruck, they were scared, and now so was I. 

“Everybody get down under the seats!” I shouted. Then we all dropped to the floor and curled up beneath the bus seats. At that same moment, there were gun shots. I saw silver-white flashes as bullets shot through the sides of the bus. A few bullets hit my legs and feet, which were sticking out in the aisle, but strangely, I felt no pain and wasn’t bleeding. The bullets felt more like mild zaps of electricity. I bent my legs and curled up tighter beneath the bus seat. I contemplated pulling my phone out of my pocket and calling mom and dad one last time, to tell them that I love them and might not be coming home. Then the gun shots stopped, and the dream froze and went silent, like an app that’s about to crash. A peaceful feeling filled the frozen scene as the dream faded. 

***

The dream after my second pill day started off with my sister, Gina, and our author/editor friend from England, Jo. Gina and my brother-in-law for the past ten years divorced, and Jo’s wife died for some reason. Then the two of them started dating long distant. At first it was a rebound thing. Just something to fill the void of loss. Then to everyone’s surprise, including Jo and Gina’s, things took a serious turn, and he ended up coming to the U S to meet up with her. 

When I found out about this, I went to my grandma’s former house, which she hadn’t lived in for two-and-a-half years, to perform witchcraft. No one was home, and it was the wee hours of the night, but I didn’t bother turning on any lights. 

I went into the kitchen and made a pot of toasted almond flavored coffee in the dark. Then I sat down in the dining room and began conjuring up a spell to cast onto Jo and Gina’s relationship. Gina’s two marriages didn’t work out, and I didn’t want this third relationship to fail too. I paused from spell casting for a second to take a sip of coffee and discovered that my magic made the coffee form its own thick cloud of whipped cream on top. 

Then it was suddenly afternoon, and I was sitting at my bedroom desk in the apartment that I lived in, ten years ago. It was 2012 again, or so I thought. My mind was in a state of delirious confusion and partial amnesia. 

I came out of the room and headed for the kitchen, and was shocked to see a humungous freight truck driving right through my apartment. Then another freight truck came in through the front. I hollered at the intruder, waving my arms around and cussing the driver out until he maneuvered the truck into a slow and awkward turn before driving away back through the front. My delirious mind didn’t grasp that the room where those trucks had driven through was far too big and spacious to be part of my little low income studio apartment. The whole front of the apartment was gone too, replaced by a wide open entrance with a weird looking, knobby metal gate. One section of the gate was open.

Once that truck was gone, I thought I could have some peace and quiet. So I went back to my room to write. Minutes later, there was a racket of multiple Diesel engines outside of my room. When I came back out, all these freight trucks were pulling into my apartment and getting ready to park. In front, more sections of the knobby metal gate were open. I saw a man who looked like a life-sized Ken doll opening up another section of gate to let a freight truck through. I yelled at him, at the top of my voice, hoping he could hear me over all the diesel engines. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I demanded. “Get these dam trucks out of my house!” 

“Uh… ma’am,” he replied. “This isn’t a house. It’s a parking garage.” 

We got into an argument about this until part of my disoriented mind came to. I realized it was 2022, not 2012, and I wasn’t in my old apartment. The room I thought was my bedroom was the parking garage office. However, I still had no idea how I got there, or how to get home, or where I even lived. 

“Do you think you could help me find my apartment?” I asked Ken. 

“There is an apartment nearby,” he said, not the least bit concerned that I obviously wasn’t in my right mind. “Maybe it’s yours, but I can’t help you. I got things to do.” 

I pleaded for his help, letting him know that I was blind, alone, and lost and confused about everything. He begrudgingly stepped away from the gate and had me follow him to a door that was right next to the office door. “Look in there, and see if that’s your apartment,” he said. “If it’s not, I can’t do anything else to help you.” 

“Whatever.” I said, walking up to the door, which was unlocked. 

The door lead to a large, octagon shaped kitchen with Barbie-pink walls. The air-conditioner in this place was cranked to an arctic blast. This kitchen didn’t look familiar, but I assumed it must be mine, because it was cluttered. Institutional fluorescent lights flooded the room when I flipped a switch. Also like an institution, this room had a tarazo floor, but I couldn’t complain. It was a generous sized kitchen for being part of a low income apartment. It had tons of counter space, and a narrow, but very spiffy looking marble topped island. 

For no reason, I burst into singing Micheal Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”, and went crazy-dancing all around the room. 

“Attention please, will Tia Wojciechowski please report to the Home Ec room…” said a voice over a PA system. “Tia Wojciechowski… Please report to the Home Ec room.” 

I stopped singing and froze, recognizing that voice. It was one of the teachers from the Daytona rehabilitation Center for the Blind, an adults-only school I’d attended seventeen years ago, mainly for computer training. The teacher paged me again, and a third time. That’s when I realized that this was all a dream, and it was neither 2012, nor 2022. It was 2005, and I was asleep in my dorm room. The sound of the teacher paging me in real life was bleeding into my dream. I had overslept and was late for first period. Now I didn’t want to wake up and face the embarrassment of getting reprimanded or lectured for my negligence to show up for class in time. This center didn’t put up with grownups acting like irresponsible teenagers, and they had the right to boot you out, if they didn’t think you were taking the program seriously. I dreaded that at any moment, one of the dorm staff was going to come barging into my room to wake me up. Then like at the end of the school shooter dream, everything went silent, frozen, and peaceful before the dream faded, and I was back in 2022. 

*** 

Okay, maybe those were not exactly the sweetest dreams, but they were so awesomely vivid. The sensory stimuli within them was so off-the-wall realistic. (Did I just make an oxymoron?) I could vividly hear and feel every firework explosion, and smell that unforgettable school bus interior smell. The inside of my grandma’s house looked and smelled just as I remembered it, even in the dark. I could clearly hear the diesel engines and smell their exhaust. And I felt the warm, afternoon air circulating through the parking garage, and how freezing cold that Barbie-pink kitchen was. Throughout these dreams, my eyesight was so clear, it seemed I had 20/20 vision, which I never had in waking life. Pill day seems to expand my mind to a whole other realm, dude. And that’s only with half a dose. 

How far into the  subconscious cosmos would a whole dose have taken me?… 

Maybe my altered mind would’ve been able to make prophecies, connect to the universal brain, and understand things my regular brain could never comprehend. Like theoretical physics, algebra, Shakespear, and yes, those ridiculous drug names. 

Love you all! Post you soon! 

Come write with me in the Writers Mastermind!

Check out my book on Amazon!

🏨Hotels Never Existed/ Velva-pedia #1

Hello beautiful, amazing, fantastic, best-people-in-the-galexy, readers of this blog. 

This is the very first Velva-pedia post. I mentioned some blog posts ago that I decided to no longer include appendices in my novels, after having such a hell of a time finishing what was going to be book 2’s appendix. So from now on, facts and bonus stories about the faraway, pre-industrial planet, Velva Leena will be a blog series. 

For centuries, and in many countries all around the world, hotels have been providing travelers with a comfortable place to sleep, eat, and get rejuvenated before its time to head off to their next destination. Us Earthlings could take such facilities for granted. If we traveled to Velva Leena and went looking around a village for a hotel to stay at for a few nights, we would be in for an oh-shit shock. Hotels don’t exist anywhere on that planet, and they never have. They have shops, restaurants, arcades, parks, you name it. They even have tourist attractions—But no hotels. No hotels? What the…?! You won’t find any motels, lodges, Innes, B&Bs, or hostels either. Here is their reason why. 

*** 

Like us, many vervetts and grungols have jobs that involve constant traveling, and many travel at leisure too. However, nobody ever thought to come up with a place to stay in over night—or over day for traveling grungols—where a room could be rented that includes the comforts of a home. Instead, traveling Velva Leenans set up camp when they need to stop and rest between flying from one destination to the next. 

Their tents are made of two layers of animal skin with a collapsable framework made of a rubbery type of metal in between. The framework allows the tent to spring up on its own, which makes it a quick and convenient source of temporary shelter. The animal skin is treated with a formula of plant resins to make it sturdy and durable against inhospitable weather and intrusive creatures. So to them, sleeping in these tents feels just as safe and comfortable as sleeping indoors. Sleeping bags haven’t been invented here either. Travelers sleep on makeshift beds they make out of the same sheets, blankets, and pillows as they use at home. When it’s time to wash up before bed, they have travelers’ hygiene products that work just as well as what they would use at home. Then when it’s time to pack up and move on, the tent can fold up and become a sturdy, stretchable tote for all their things. 

Like how Earth’s travelers go from city to city, most Velva Leenan travelers set up camp for the night in a village on the surface. Or they camp for the day in an under-village deep underground. However, their campsites aren’t like the kind of camping we’re used to, with a surrounding woods and a place to make a camp fire and stuff like that. They simply set up their tents on the streets or in public yards, and even on the front or back porches of buildings.  The Guardians—the hierarchy race on Velva Leena—make it mandatory for travelers to set up camp on public grounds of a village or under-village—the East and West Sections—and not in the residential areas—the North and South Sections. This is out of respect for the residents’ privacy and personal space. This is also better for the travelers’ convenience. 

If someone arrives at their destination when the rest of the village or under-village is asleep, There are usually always some restaurants in an East Section and stores that sell groceries and other necessities in a West Section that stay open later than the rest. And all water stores are open non stop. If all places in a village to eat or buy certain necessities are closed for the night, a vervett can hitch a ride on a grungol’s back and have them take them down to the under-village where they could get whatever they need. The same goes for grungols who set up camp later in the day. They could simply burrow up to the village above where everything is open at that time. Another food option is the public yards. Travelers are welcome to help themselves to fruits and vegetables, and anything else edible that grows around East and West Section buildings. The Velva Leenan mentality is, if it’s on public grounds, it belongs to the public. 

If bad weather strikes a village during the night, that is too dangerous for the sturdy tents to be of any protection, grungols take the vervetts down to the safety of the under-village. Those camping beneath the ground at night get taken to a secluded area in a public yard that’s far enough away from the noise and bustling of the nocturnal under-village. 

Because of these comforts and worry-free conveniences while traveling, nobody ever found it necessary to think of a better way. Although, I could picture the invention of the more cozy and luxurious hotel being an innovative way of traveling, and a world-wide success. However, I don’t think Velva Leenans would call them hotels. They would probably call them something that would translate to English as travelers’ houses. Especially the hotels that have a huge public pool and a restaurant. 

*** 

Want to get to know this bazaar and beautiful, but unfortunately catastrophic planet a little better? Come to Continent 15 and hang out with Artheena, Mell May, Audry, and the rest of the cast in HECCTROSSIPY book 1  The Legend of the Land, available on Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Amazon CA. HECCTROSSIPy  book 2  The Will of the Dark Creator is now ready for beta reading. 

Love you all! Post you soon! 

Come write with me in the Writers Mastermind!

Check out my book on Amazon!

🌝🎸👨‍🎤 I usually hate when people post links on WordPress, instead of writing a blog, but you got to see this. This guy kicks my ass when it comes to the gift of imagination!

www.patreon.com/posts/59899477

🔥🔥How Misfortune Lit A Fire Beneath My Slap-Happy Ass🔥🔥

I’m only 42, but for whatever reason, my legs and feet have been starting to act like that of my 89-year-old grandma. Mom said that they’ve been looking puffy for the past several months. Then within the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that the swelling has gone down to my feet. It fluctuates, but sometimes they’re swollen to the point where the tops and sides of them have bulges that feel disfiguring. When I squeeze the bulges, it kind of feels like there’s play dough under my skin. The strangest and most concerning symptom happened this month too. There were a couple of times when my legs were bright red. I didn’t feel any pain or any heat from inflammation, and I didn’t see the redness because my color vision is going to shit. So it didn’t seem like anything was wrong. It was mom who pointed out this symptom, and we were both quite shocked and disturbed about it.

I’ve had issues with ankle swelling since I was 25, but didn’t pay much attention to it. It was just a result of being overweight and consuming too much sodium, like the typical American. But it’s not like I was ever 500 pounds and loading up on bacon, potato chips, and Campbell’s soup every day. The swelling would either go away, or go down enough to where it wasn’t noticeable. I never had any problems with blood pressure, and according to various examinations I’ve had that related to other minor health concerns, my veins and vital organs are perfect. So 17 years went by without a worry about the swelling. 

Even when it looked bad, I just chose to not be concerned. Man, do I hate diet programs, or lifestyle changes, or whatever you want to call it. How about, the floodgates of Hell. That’s a better name for it. I’ve been overweight for a good majority of my life, and had tried numerous programs to correct this. Aside from the trusty old self starvation, throwing up on purpose, and a program that involved $100 a bottle weight loss pills, the more sensible and traditional diet and exercise plans didn’t do much. They were 95% work, frustration, and torment, and 5% reward. I eventually decided, do I want to be happy? Or do I want to nearly kill myself in order to be 5 or 10 pounds less chubby, and up the antie of torment to keep those pounds off.  

The last weight loss program I was on was a little harsh, but it worked wonders. No meat, dairy, grain, or junk food of any kind, and alcoholic beverages were drunken very sparingly. Just tons upon tons of fruits and veggies, proteins from beans, nuts, seeds, and things made of soy, and carbs from root vegetables. It was the purest form of veganism. I lost 30 or so pounds. My mood had improved, and so did my sense of focus and concentration. This success also came with a vitamin B deficiency that made me get sores around my mouth, like a crack whore. 

Fuck no, I didn’t do this to be healthier and extend longevity. I just wanted a slimmer figure to look hot in front of the camera, while doing interviews and photo shoots to promote my book. 

To be health conscious is to be aware that no matter how healthy your eating habits and lifestyle are, you’re always doing something wrong. You know how it is. Health researchers would discover that this and that vegetable promotes longevity and has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin K and coenzyme Q-10. Then a few years later, those same vegetables should be avoided, because researchers have found traces of rocket fuel and other harmful chemicals in them. Remember when wheat was good for you? Now it’s become the devil’s crop… Fat is bad and should be the most limited thing in your diet… No, no, fat is actually good for you. It’s carbs that are the enemy!… No, wait, some carbs are good, like brown rice. It has more fiber and nutrition than white rice, because it’s less processed… Brown rice isn’t that much more high in fiber and vitamins than white rice, unless you get this certain specific brand of organic brown rice that’s triple the price and not available at normal grocery stores… Oh, yeah, and just about every food, clothing fabric, electronic device, and every other product sold in stores among human civilization might cause cancer, or is endangering your health in some other way. And don’t get me started on the comings and goings of exercise fads. Ugh! Reading health articles and listening to the experts on TV and social media is more like putting yourself in the line of fire amidst an infinite argument. It’s as bad as politics. Every new diet and exercise plan is the way and the light to ideal healthy living, and the old way of doing things is all wrong. 

Then along came bouts of lobster legs and play dough feet. OK, OK, body, I’ll start caring about my weight again and getting plenty of exercise. (pain in the ass) 

Yeah, there’s no denying it. I’m fat, but nowhere near being 500 pounds. And I sit too much, but hey, writing novels requires a lot of sitting. However, could these new symptoms have to do with the care-free eating, novel writing lifestyle? The thought of going on another dam program was dreadful enough, but then I did some internet research about my symptoms. 

There were quite a few health problems that matched my symptoms, but it was easy to narrow them down. I’m not taking steroids, or any other prescription drugs that could cause swelling. I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t have any leg pain, and it doesn’t hurt to walk or move around. So it’s not a circulatory issue, or blood clots. During the two bouts of lobster legs, there was no pain and tenderness, and they didn’t feel hot. So it’s not cellulitis or Thrombosis. I don’t think it’s a liver malfunction either, because don’t liver problems also make the skin turn yellow? And I haven’t gotten laid in two years, so I’m most definitely not pregnant. 

The possible answer is narrowed down to a problem with the lymphatic system, which I already have, the beginning stage of kidney disease, or the beginning stage of heart disease. The latter two gave me an unsettling chill. My 89-year-old grandma’s feet and legs are swollen, and they sometimes turn bright red too. She has both heart and kidney diseases. 

Maybe this was stupid, but I brushed these concerns aside for the month, because of the holiday season. Making sure all the Christmas shopping was done and baking lots of cookies from scratch were at the top of the priority list. Who the hell wants to deal with doctors’ appointments, or being health conscious during the holidays? How depressing. 

Then it was over. 

On the morning after Christmas, thoughts of my internet research popped into my head, bringing me back to my crappy reality. While washing up in the shower later on, my feet felt disfigured and play doughy again, reminding me that this issue wasn’t going to go away on its own. 

The possible beginning stages of heart disease? The possible beginning stages of kidney disease? It didn’t make sense. I had a physical and got my blood work done at the beginning of the year, and everything was fine, except for being overweight and having a little too much LDL cholesterol. How would a heart or kidney problem kick in within such a short amount of time. If that was actually the case, the only thing that might make some sort of sense is, maybe the Pfizer vaccine was a little rough on the organs. I got both Pfizer shots in April, and the booster shot in the beginning of this month. 

I hang on to the belief that this is only a lymphatic issue, which could be corrected with treatments like, a strict diet and exercise regimen (Yikes!), compression socks, Epsom salt baths, and lymphatic drainage massages. Still, just the very thought of the possibility of having something wrong with my heart or kidneys that could trim some years off my life makes me realize how much I want this dream of a writing career to happen. How deeply, how passionately, and how seriously I want it, and so do all the characters. Not only the characters in the Hecctrossipy and Dark Admiration series’, but also the many casts of characters among my future book backlist. They’re demanding, louder than ever, for me to tell their stories to the world, and stop being so goddam slow at it. Stop dawdling and letting my mind wander too much while writing. Stop letting myself get distracted by things that aren’t important, like browsing on-line stores and reading other authors’ book reviews on Goodreads. Stop taking for granted that I have plenty of years to finish the Velva Leena saga, because you just never know. No more letting my blindness and nearly psychotic level of synesthesia be a setback to building my author brand. 

In a previous blog post, I was too accepting of my situation. Too “Oh well, lah-dee-dah” about the idea of being a writer and not an actual author. Deep down, that post was part bullshit. I kind of wanted to allow my disabilities to be an author brand building setback, because it’s easier that way. I didn’t want to keep wrestling with my brittle sense of focus and concentration from having a disruptive, overworking sensory perception. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having to search far and wide for a virtual assistant who isn’t too expensive, and who’s not all intimidated and uncomfortable about working with a blind author who uses voiceover technology. Yes, the more I let novel writing take over my life, the better the story comes out, but I just didn’t want to try harder to make mental room for concentrating on the other important tasks of an author. 

Like how I chose to relax and enjoy food and accept my stubbornly bulky body, I wanted to be just as care-free about writing. I didn’t want to worry about anything else but creating compelling and imaginative stories. Secretly, I was willing to accept my novel writing as a very pricy hobby. It felt liberating to let go of all hard-to-reach dreams, and just write for the joy of writing. Secretly, I felt that as long as I had enough funding to pay my editor, I would feel perfectly content writing my life away, whether if anybody buys the books or not. 

Not anymore. 

The mere possibility of having endangered health really lit a fire under my lackadaisical ass. HELL YEAH, do I want this. I want to get out there on social media, and stay out there consistently. No more once or twice a month Facebook interactions. Or fleeting Twitter participation spells, every other year. Or the ever-so-sporadic, catching up on followed blogs. I want to connect with other authors and readers, especially ones who are also into Sci fi and Fantasy. I want to be more involved with supporting other writers, reading their work and giving them one-on-one feedback or posting reviews on their books. I want to do book review-for-a-book-review exchanges. I want to dive headfirst into the tedious, head-grinding, unkind, goddam visual, visual, visual cyber traffic congested shit-storm of book marketing! Woooow!

Yeah, I’m blind with a severe sensitivity to sensory stimuli, but people like me aren’t helpless. There are so many resources out there for helping people with disabilities make their way out into the digital world: apps, accessibility technology support groups, online accessibility tutorials. My author/blogger friend, Clennell Anthony, is a member of a group for blind writers called Behind Our Eyes. (Yo, I’m having déjà vu here. Didn’t I mention this stuff in some other blog post?) Well, NOW it’s time to quit yammering about this stuff and actually get out there and put it to good use. It’s time to put longer, more diligent hours and effort into pushing against the odds and making this writing career happen, ONCE AND FOR ALL! Just in case time might be more valuable than it used to be. Hecctrossipy and Dark Admiration WILL happen! People WILL know who Artheena is, and Leeandro Paul and Mell May and Audry, and the rest of the Velva Leenan cast! 

Phew! Now I’m pumped. 

How about your health? Have you ever had a health scare that was a major wake-up call? It’s OK if you leave uncomfortably graphic details in the Comments section. TRIGGER WARNING: The Comment section below may contain graphic content that may not be suitable for some viewers. 

Speaking of health, I heard that coffee enemas have fantastic health and energy boosting benefits. Afterward, do they make your farts smell like mountain grown deliciousness? 

Love you all! Post you soon! 

Come write with me in the Writers Mastermind!

Check out my book on Amazon!

🎈🎈🌮Aliens In The Nude

Am I the only odd-ball who doesn’t feel like writing a holiday related post??? 

I have a really annoying habit of thinking way, way ahead of things. The second book in my YA Sci fi & Fantasy series isn’t going to be out for another few months, and I just started working on the third book. Yet I’m already mentally planning how the storylines in all three Hecctrossipy books will be combined together and adapted into a movie. Yeah, I know, ridiculous. 

I’ve already made mental notes of what parts of the story to keep, and what parts would be either tweaked or edited out. (Stop wracking your brains, honey, you’re a million miles away from getting a movie deal. Out-sourced employees make more money than your book sales.) I envision the movie to include lots of breath taking tropical scenery, the scenic beauty of the grungols’ underground civilization, and scenes that show a lot of the characters’ rustic and pre-industrial, but very alien way of village and under-village life. Only the most visually stimulating, action packed, and emotionally intense parts of the story will be allowed in this movie, and there’ll be some macabre scenes in the mix too. 

There’s only one problem with making this dream movie come true. (Aside from the fact that there’s no movie deal.) Velva Leenans aren’t modest about their bodies. Being that there was never any strict religions on this planet, they have no concept of shame or indecency being associated with nudity. 

Earthling movie goers won’t be offended by seeing naked grungols. This nocturnal race, who look like two legged, four armed puppy people, are covered in thick, wiry fur that hides their no-no spots. Their fur is dirt-proof, which allows them to actively burrow to and from their under-village at night without it being any hindrance to their hygiene. It also protects them from surface elements, like wind and wet winter humidity. So grungols never saw a point in waring clothes. Clothes would also get in the way and be an annoyance, while they’re traveling through the ground. 

Naked vervetts, on the other hand, are a different story. Aside from the turtle-like, jeweled half shell on their backs, their bodies are anatomically similar to humans. They even have the same types of skin color as us. On Continent 15, the tropical paradise where the story takes place, the vervett men and women have some sexy tight bods. Even the old people. 

Their sexy tight bods are a result of the Velva Leenan pre-industrial way of life. No conveniences like cars, or even horse drawn wagons exist. If someone needs to turn in a library book, or pick up some groceries, or if they’d rather go out to eat instead of cooking, they travel to those places on foot. Many of which would be a torturously exerting journey, according to us humans who have inferior strength and stamina. Many vervetts raise their own domestic crops and animals, and hunt and fish for their own meat. All of their everyday tasks in their homes or places of work are either done manually, or by machinery that is mostly powered by muscle. 

Vervetts also eat much healthier than us. Things like processed foods and chemical additives don’t exist. All foods are home grown or fresh from the wilderness, and all recipes are made from scratch. Even their junk food is wholesome and nutritious. 

Vervetts aren’t nudists all the way. They do ware clothes for the most part, but clothes are more of a personal preference than a necessity. These people had evolved from warm blooded but turtle-like aquatic animals that existed millions of Velva Leenan years ago. These ancient ancestors’ shells covered up the whole back of their torsos—from midway up the back of the neck to below the butt—and the front of their torsos were protected by leathery  armor plating. Eons after evolving into a race of people, their instinctive preference to keep their chests, abdomens, and bottoms fully covered still echoes within their subconscious psyche. 

All the books in this series have clean language, and non descriptive love scenes that are at a PG13 level. But they also have scenes that include naked vervetts, especially book 2. But 99% of these nude scenes have nothing to do with anything sexual. Still, I could picture Earthling movie goers—mainly parents and Extreme Christians—getting all bent out of shape, claiming that the movie version of the Hecctrossipy series is way too inappropriate for its targeted young audience. Knowing how people are, and how anti-female America and most of the world’s other cultures are, the naked vervett women would most likely be the bigger public offense. 

Not only do vervett women have a much lengthier pregnancy than women on our planet, its common for them to have twins. So their hips further accentuate their busts and their slimmer-than-human waists. To Continent Fifteeners, this is how normal, healthy vervett women are supposed to look. To human eyes, their figures might make them look too sexy and pornographic for viewers under 18. Young adolescent boys might be inclined to see the Hecctrossipy movie, just so they could see some naked, half-shelled alien babes, which is something that would ruffle the feathers of many moms. My apologies in advance. The vervett women featured in the story are just trying to get through their trials and tribulations, with no deliberate intentions toward giving Horney perv male Earthlings a woodro. 

Here are some examples of vervett nudity that might make humans get their panties in a wad. (No sexual pun intended.) 

In one of the chapters in the up-coming book 2, my main character, Artheena, and her dad came into the kitchen and took off all their wet clothes, and then stood naked together in front of the open oven. 

They were searching for a missing child, and got caught in a deadly summer storm which drenched them in freezing cold rain. They came in through the back door, which opened to the kitchen, and the oven was right there. Artheena and her dad had just barely escaped death, and needed to get warmed up as quickly as possible. Still, humans might see this as creepy and icky, and feel that father and daughter should’ve went to their separate bedrooms and changed into dry clothes first, before warming up in front of the oven. 

While Artheena and dad were thawing out, mom assisted a young woman named Olzenbeth who was the missing child’s grown niece, and who had joined dad and Artheena on the search. While trudging the storm, Olzenbeth had gotten wrapped up in clingy vines that ooze sticky sap. After mom cut and unraveled all the vines, she removed Olzenbeth’s sap soaked clothes. I could see people finding this kitchen scene disturbing, because all this stripping went on while Artheena’s five-year-old brother was in the room. Even more cringe-worthy to some people, As Olzenbeth was getting stripped, little Willberry was watching and laughing. But he wasn’t laughing because he could see her hiney. Everyone in the room, including Olzenbeth, thought it was funny how, when mom pealed off Olzenbeth’s sappy clothes, it gave her a shorts and shirt tattoo. 

Nothing sick and perverted was going on here. This is just how things are in a world where there’s no moral hang-ups about nudity. 

The kitchen scene is a highly emotional one. The village is going through a crisis. One vervett had already mysteriously disappeared, and his remains were found the previous night, in a place that made no sense. Then Olzenbeth’s kid uncle mysteriously disappeared before the storm started picking up, and she and the others couldn’t find him. They eventually had no better choice but to get back in the house, or die. Velva Leenan summer storms are like Earth’s hurricanes with roid-rage. There was nothing more they could do about the missing child, but have faith in their good entity that he was able to call on a grungol to bring him down to the under-village where he would be out of harmful weather’s way. So nobody in that kitchen was giving Artheena’s, dad’s, and Olzenbeth’s nakedness a second thought. Still, I could picture Hollywood directors either editing the kitchen scene out completely, or altering it to meet humans’ moral standards. Artheena and dad would either be fully clothed, or have blankets wrapped around them, and mom would take Olzenbeth into the bathroom to get her out of the clinging vines and sap soaked clothes. 

In another part of my up-coming book 2, Mell May was supposed to have been staying at another family’s house for a while. Then Artheena’s grungol friend, Audry, found Mell May wandering around in the forest, in the middle of the night, with no memory of who she is. The Mell May crisis drama carries on for another few chapters. Why was she living in the forest all by herself, and for how long? What happened that was so traumatic, it gave her amnesia? Did somebody try to kill her, and dumped her deep in the forest? Should they take her to the hospital? Will Artheena’s gifted abilities help them find answers to what happened? Artheena brought Mell May home, and tried to reunite her with her family, which she sadly had no memory of. Through this whole drama, Mell May was in the nude. She had been living among wild animals for some unknown amount of days. Animals don’t ware clothes, so in her erased mind, she didn’t know any different. Audry, being a grungol, of course had no spare clothes for Mell May to borrow, when she found her. A few chapters after Mell May was found, Artheena finally gave her a comfortable nightshirt to put on, before tucking her into bed. 

Later on, Artheena showed Mell May a picture of their old celebrity crush, Leeandro Paul, with the hope that it would help make some of her memory come back. 

In the picture, Leeandro Paul was giving the picturizer a seductive smile, while posing nude on a beach. Artheena had to bribe another fan of his for that picture. That fan, to humans’ possible disapproval, was a twelve-year-old girl. “A child possessing pornography?!” Earthlings might think. However, in a world with no moral hang-ups about nudity, nobody ever thought of inventing the bathing suit. Every vervett goes about naked when their swimming and sun bathing on one of Continent 15’s sunny coastal beaches. To Leeandro Paul’s young female fans, and to those fans’ parents, a picture like the one Artheena had would be no different than a picture of him posing in swimming trunks. Maybe in the movie version, the picture would show him in a pose with his legs crossed, so no one would see his extra terrestrial boinker. 

When the first three Hecctrossipy books are adapted into a movie, I hope to keep the naked vervett scenes. Not to sexually promote my characters, or encourage interplanetary perversion. But to keep the movie version as authentically alien as the books. If us humans really did get acquainted with another race of intelligent beings from another planet, it’s very possible that there would be things about these beings’ lifestyle, beliefs, and culture that would make us uncomfortable. Heck, how many times throughout the history of the human race has one culture been uncomfortable or offended by another culture’s way of life? Probably no less than a few million times. 

Vervetts are physically and temper-mentally humanish, but not 100%. I would hate to humanize them even more, by making them shy and self conscious about the healthy bodies their good entity gave them. 

Maybe Hollywood directors would agree to keep the scenes with naked vervetts, but just show the men from the waist up, and the women, no lower than the tippy top of their cleavage crack. Heaven forbid if anyone sees their space nipples. 

Whatever the case, I won’t be giving the movie rights to Disney. 

Love you all! Post you soon! 

PS. Does this link work?                           

Check out my book on Amazon!    

🤞🤞

Earlier today, Clennell sent me a short promo for her latest soon-to-be-published book, via emailed attatchment, and politely requested we fellow writing group members to spread the word on our social media platforms. My first choice of platform is, of course, this lovely one. 

I thought I was doing everything right with following the simple steps to sharing an attachment to WordPress. First I opened the attachment and hit the “Share” button. This took me to a list of people and apps to share with. I tapped “Wordpress”, and it opened me up to an empty title text field and ridge text field. I assumed that this meant I was supposed to write something about the attachment I was sharing. Just like Facebook offers you a blank text field to say something about a link you’re sharing, before you post it. So I wrote about Clennell’s books. 

I found it odd that the title and ridge text fields, and all the writing attribute options looked like the old classic editor style of post. The attatchment wasn’t anywhere on my phone’s screen either, like how links are, before you share them. But I trusted that my Iphone knew what it was doing. After I wrote my little two cents, the only options I was given was to publish, or not to publish. So I added tags and published. Then was surprised to see that WordPress only published what I wrote, but it didn’t share Nel’s attachment! 

Any of you have an idea of what I might’ve done wrong? 

It was embarrassing. I appreciated the 4 likes my incomplete post received, but it really showed how faulty my computer skills still are. It could just be a glitch, and not me. 

Later on, I made a second attempt to share Nel’s attachment to WordPress, but this time I tried the “More Options” option on the sharing menu. To my annoyance, that only lead me to another menu with the same options. What the…? When I told Nel about what happened, she suggested I try the “More Options” menu. Aaarrrggg

Here is my second try at getting Clennell Anthony’s promo out there. This time, I’m doing it from my computer. It’s been saved into the computer as a Pages doc, and then copied and pasted into WordPress. 

Eh hem. Let’s start this over. 

I had read Clennell Anthony’s first book, The Circle multiple times. It’s a short but intense love story with beautifully poetic prose, vivid nocturnal scenery, and who doesn’t love a love story about two young people who won’t stand for being controlled by their feuding families. The second book in the series, The Cursed will be available on Amazon soon. If you’re into witchcraft, family drama, and demon drama, trust me, you’ll get sucked into this series. 

The following book is one of a different genre, but it doesn’t need witchcraft to be magical.

***

COMING SOON to AMAZON.COM

Dark Brilliance by Clennell Anthony

Be Surprised! Experience a Bit of Trepidation & Fear! Fall in Love! Be Empowered! & Above All Else, Enjoy!

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Dark Brilliance is a series of short stories that will have you struggling to catch your breath one moment, sighing with pleasure in the next one, and feeling powerful by the end. Don’t miss this work of love and endurance by a new author you won’t want to miss! Clennell Anthony is also the author of The Circle and is currently working on the 3rd book in her Circle Trilogy, entitled, The Convicted.

12 More Things That Authors Do That I 🥰Love Or 👿Hate

Hey, people who are reading this! 

It’s time for a second batch of things authors do that I either love or hate. 

As I said in last week’s post—if you’re an author reading this, and you feel that I’m making fun of your way of writing, never mind what my opinions are. Just keep doing what you’re doing and be proud of it. So here goes… 

*** 

1. I HATE WHEN MODERN DAY POETS USE OLD ENGLISH, BIBLICAL SOUNDING WORDS 

Oh, here I go again, picking on the poets. I did quite a bit of that in last week’s post, but don’t get me wrong. I am NOT a poetry hater. I do enjoy poetry. I’m just a lot pickier about it than with books. 

One of the things that further exacerbates this pickiness is that it really irritates me when writers in this day and age use words like, “thine” and “thee” in their poems. I’ve seen this mainly in love poems or poems that have to do with personal growth and nature, and all that soul stuff. I guess they do it because they think it sounds prettier than the modern versions of those words. 

Whenever I see that, I’m like, seriously. What are you, freaking Amish? This is the 21st century!! Pleaseth stoppeth!

2. I LOVE EPILOGUES 

Epilogues are awesome! They’re the ending after the ending. I especially love when they go into how each character’s life turned out years later. They’re also great for patching up lose ends. Sometimes, if well written enough, they could even redeem the offensive abrupt ending. I wish all fiction novels and novellas had an epilogue. 

3. I HATE WHEN STAND-ALONES HAVE ABRUPT ENDINGS 

Some months back, I once reblogged one of my sister’s Let’s Get Published posts which featured an article by our author/editor friend, Joseph Sale. His article talked about the end of the ending. How endings that don’t fully complete the story have been becoming more and more common. **One of these days, dear readers, I’ll learn how to insert internal links in my posts, that lead to any past post I’m talking about.** Anyway, this article made me feel very unsettled about buying more stand-alone novels in the future. I dreaded the thought of having one compelling book blurb after another allure me into buying the books, and then I’d find out too late that I wasted money and irreplaceable hours of my life on a book with a shitty abrupt ending. As much as I love to read, I am an ending nazi. Lazy endings, abrupt endings, endings that leave behind loose ends—They all should be wiped out of existence! The only time an abrupt ending is forgivable, is if the book is in a series where the story continues on in a following book.  

A few years ago, I’d read Somewhere off the Coast of Maine by Anne Hood, and it was my first encounter with the shitty abrupt ending. The dam book didn’t even end, it just stopped all of a sudden. Some of the story arcs were wrapped up in other parts of the novel, but the ending made it seem like the author DNFed her own book. This pissed me off, after I spent $11 on that unfinished jip of a book. An unimaginative ending that’s been done to death would’ve been better than the story just stopping all of a sudden. It was more like a quitting than an ending.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville is another example of how authors shouldn’t short change their readers. This book was pure genius! Mieville’s trippy but often sick imagination, His world building, and his descriptive prose had me awestruck. I laughed, cried, and got grossed out through hundreds of pages of awesomeness. Then the ending made the book go out like a wet fart. It wasn’t as sudden and abrupt as Anne Hood’s quitting, but it was still a quitting. This book is the first in a series, which got my hopes up. But then I read the blurbs for the other books, and was disappointed to see that book 1’s story wasn’t continued. 

I used to read a fellow blogger’s stories, which she serialized in her posts. Some of these stories would extend to 10 or 20 posts long. I got sucked into them, and thought they had potential to be published as real books. That is, until I got to the ending. All of her endings were quittings. Each story left me disappointed and regretting the time I’d invested in religiously following her story posts. However, I still gave them a chance.

One day, after yet another story came to a quitting, I politely and constructively pointed out to her that her ending didn’t really end the story. She responded by sticking up for her quitting. Saying how there’s no need for a complete ending when nothing ever really ends. 

Jo’s article also pointed out this way of thinking, which empowers the end-of-the-ending trend. When something ends, it’s never an official ending. Not even when it’s someone’s life that ends. After their death comes a funeral, the aftermath of how their death effected others, how those others move Along with their lives, and the cycle of no official ending continues. 

It’s only human nature that, in the back of my mind, I wished that blogger would’ve decided instead to abide to my way of seeing how a story should end. Then after reading Jo’s article, I realized that her abrupt-ending writing style is probably more “with the times”. So her books might do just fine on Amazon. 

Despite the end-of-an-ending trend, I do see quite a lot of book reviewers complain when a book ends too abruptly. So it gives me the hope that this trend will soon die off. Maybe it has already. 

Publishing companies focus so much on how much the beginning of a book should hook readers in. They should put just as much focus into making sure the ending of a book is complete and satisfying. So nobody who bought the book would feel short changed and regret investing their time and money. Or worse, be discouraged from wanting to buy any more books by the author. 

That’s kind of how I feel about Anne Hood and China Mieville. As for that story serializing blogger and her quittings—I still follow her blog. I just stick to reading her cutesy poem posts. 

4. I LOVE WHEN NON FICTION AUTHORS WRITE IN A CASUAL TONE 

Why, oh why, oh why are non fiction books written in dry, flat, scholarly writing styles? Who in the world would really be like, “Ugh, this book sounds too much like a human wrote it. It’s putting me to sleep.”, or, “Man, I love me some collegiate jargon and repetitious conjunctive adverbs.” It amazes me how people can retain any knowledge from dully written books. I sure can’t. 

That’s why I love, love, LOVE non fiction books that are written in a casual way. When the author can teach you something, while expressing their personality by mixing anecdotes and corny puns within the facts. I love to learn and am curious about nearly everything. When educational books are written in a casual, more conversational tone, it makes the subjects they teach seem even more fascinating and easy to delve into. I can retain knowledge better from such books. If it’s a teacher or College professor who shares their written expertise with color and sass and humor, it makes me wish I could take one of their classes. 

I’m currently reading the audio book version of The Big Book of Mars: From Ancient Egypt to The Martian, A Deep-Space Dive into Our Obsession with the Red Planet by Marc Hartzman, which is an awesome read so far, and it’s narrated by the author himself. It’s about how the red planet influenced civilization and pop culture throughout the millennia. The author jumps back and forth through history a little much, but a lot of the history is so crazy and ridiculous, you got to laugh. That, along with his witty little remarks makes me feel like I’m listening to a presentation at some kind of quirky convention for eccentric space nerds. I could almost hear the laughing, shuffling, and coughing among the audience—And yes, I’m learning a lot. 

5. I HATE WHEN MEMOIRS GO LOOP-DEE-LOOP 

What I mean by this is when the memoir is not only out of chronological order, the author keeps jumping back and forth, and running rollercoaster loops through time. Like when they tell a story that happened closer to the present, and then jump back to something that happened in 1992, and then in 2011, and 1996, 2003, 2019, and back to 1992 again. Even if the stories they tell have me sucked in, this writing style drives… me… nuts. I like stories to be in order. 

When a memoir goes all over the place, it reminds me of getting stuck sitting next to one of those people who are telling some rambling story, and they can’t get the order of their story strait. 

“We did some site seeing on Wednesday, and Thursday we spent the day at the mall—Oh, yeah. Before we went site seeing, we went out for chicken and waffles for breakfast.—Oh, no, wait, that was on Friday. Wednesday was when we went out for old fashioned flapjacks. Our vacation technically started on Tuesday, when we arrived. So anyway, on Friday and Saturday…” 

Yes, you know the type. We’ve all been stuck sitting next to one of them on a bus or a plane, or in the dentist office waiting room. Were you also screaming at them, from the inside, to either get their dam story strait or shut up. 

Oh, those loop-dee-loop memoirs. As much as their stories held my attention, I wished they would’ve taken some Riddlin before writing their books. 

6. I LOVE A GOOD CRAZY STRAW PLOT 

I absolutely, positively love a good twisting, twirling plot. One that keeps me guessing and fools me until the end, almost every time. I especially love when there’s sub plots that intermingle with the main plot, which often makes the twists even harder to predict. Add in multiple secondary characters and more than one antagonist, and the mystery becomes one big beautiful brain-fuck. Now that’s good writing. 

7. I HATE HOW AUTHORS ALLOW THEIR AUDIO BOOKS TO BE ABRIDGED 

Do authors have control over this problem? If they don’t, why won’t they fight back? What the hack? It’s butchery! 

It’s almost as much of an insult to a book as an abrupt ending! 

The first time I came across a poor audio book that had been abridged, was back in 2001. It was superstitious by R. L. Stine. I had a paperback copy, which I’d read several chapters of, but eye surgery complications prevented me from finishing it. So I checked out the audio book version from the local library. 

Back in the day, they were called talking books, and they weren’t a big thing like they are now. Mainly read by the blind, like me. They also used to come in the form of these strange ancient artifacts called cassette tapes. 

I used to listen to talking books on cassette all the time, as a kid, from the Daytona Talking Book library for the blind. They never, ever abridged books because, thankfully, they couldn’t. People volunteered to read physical copies of books out loud in the library’s Recording studio. 

So when I started listening to Superstitious on cassette tape, starting from the beginning, I was horrified to notice that whole sentences had been chopped from each chapter. The chapter titles were gone too. So one would have no idea what chapter they were on, if they lost their place after turning off the cassette. “What the hell did they do to this book?!” I wondered. Then once again, Superstitious was DNFed. 

I won’t eat only part of a candy bar for a snack. I don’t bother watching a movie, if I tuned into it more then ten minutes past the beginning. And I most definitely will not read a book with some of the writing snipped out. Even though abridging only eliminates mere sentences and maybe a paragraph here and there, all while still allowing the listener to get the gist of the story—It’s not the author’s complete work! 

Come to find out that talking books were abridged to save space. Why have a book take up ten cassettes when it could be a more compact and convenient four cassette book. seriously? People were bothered by having to listen to more cassettes? And bothered by talking books that took up a mere extra few square inches of space? I guess there was enough book listening folks out there who sweated the small stuff to make talking book editors and producers feel that abridging was necessary. 

Now that talking books on cassette or CD had evolved to digital audio books that only take up invisible space, WHY is this mutilation of books still happening?! According to what I’ve seen while browsing through audio books, the mutilated versions aren’t even cheaper than the true whole ones. So what’s the point??? 

The only thing abridged audio books might be good for, is for kids who hate reading, but are obligated to read a novel as a school assignment. 

8. I LOVE A GOOD HOLY-SHIT TWIST AT THE END 

Like the crazy-straw plot, I can’t get enough of the good old big twist at the end. The bombshell. The whopper. The big jaw dropper. What book fiend doesn’t love that? Sometimes—depending on how the book is written—a simpler plot that ends with the holy-shit twist can make that twist even holy-shittier. 

I love when authors have the gift of making an idiot out of me. When they drop bread crumb hints or slight foreshadowings throughout the book that go right over my head until the shocking end. Then everything adds up in my mind, and I’m like, “Duh! How did I not pick up on that?!” 

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine was one of those books that got me. Sure, it’s not the most well-written book, and not all that realistic in some parts. A lot of the dialogue is a little on the basic, generic side too, but I couldn’t help getting sucked into the feud between Piper and Joanna. Guilty pleasure. A lot of reviewers saw the twist coming, but I didn’t. Especially not the twist about Joanna. I realized that there were little hints about her, lightly sprinkled throughout the book that went right over my head. Some of these hints were disguised as plot holes. These hints went right over reviewers heads too, and they stupidly complained about what they thought were plot holes that the editor shouldn’t have overlooked. Or maybe they had zoned out, or were multitasking while reading the book. Both women had a few screws loose, and both were playing victim to the reader, through their narratives. It was weird that only one chapter of the husband’s narrative was thrown in at the end, but readers needed him there to set the record strait because he was the stable, right-minded one out of the three. Not only did that silly little book have me fooled, it kind of creeped me out. The message I got from it was—Parents better be careful how they treat their children, or else they might turn out like Piper and Joanna. 

9. I HATE DARK AND DEPRESSING ENDINGS 

I really don’t know what’s worse, the abrupt ending, or the depressing ending. Being one of the judges for the Let’s Get Published short story contest twice, I’ve read more than enough entries with dark endings. Endings where the characters end up dead, or evil wins, or the character fails in life. Yuck! What’s up with that? 

While exploring random blogs on WordPress, I learned from one of them that there is a bad-to-worse style of storyline. I’ve read some classics before that were like that, and wondered how such awful stories ended up getting published. How much would a person hate the world and hate themselves to actually enjoy reading that type of stuff? 

Sure, the doom and gloom ending may be a lot more realistic than happy endings, since our dear world is crawling with negativity. But how many of you book lovers out there would honestly want to curl up with an action packed downer, or a feel-bad romance? 

When I read a book with a dark and depressing ending, it gets me bummed out for the rest of the day, and I end up ruminating about how much I hated how the book ended. Hell, it took me a whole month or two to recover from reading Chief Joseph by Bill Dugan. 

10. I LOVE BIG FAT BOOKS 

500 pages or more! As someone who reads for escapism, there’s no great joy like a huge feast of a book to dig into. Yummy. I consider books that are 200 pages or less to be thin. 

Even better than an extremely obese novel is the blessed book bundle. Digitally, book bundles are like one massive, overweight book giant on steroids! Whether its a bundle of series starters or a series box set, I happily dive into them, like Thanksgiving dinner. Book bundles where each book is over 500 pages—Jackpot! 

11. I HATE ROMANCE STORIES THAT END WITH THE COUPLE NO LONGER TOGETHER 

When it comes to reading romance, I’m a happily-ever-after purest. I hate, hate, HATE those love stories where the romance isn’t the real moral. The type of romance with the tear-jerker, bittersweet ending. Where the real moral of the story is the important life lesson that the relationship taught the main character, or the lost lover. Or how much the lost lover helped the main character learn about themself, and learn how to be strong and see their true self worth, and all that noxiously sweet disappointment. 

I saw the movie versions of Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe, and hated them both. After that, I don’t think I’d want to be within less than a hundred feet of a Nicolas Sparks novel. “Tis better to love and have lost, than to never have loved at all.” Oh, please. I would rather reincarnate as an asexual nun with no clitoris. My own love life has been nothing but one crappy life lesson after another. I would’ve rather found the right life-long partner, instead of learning and growing spiritually, or whatever I was supposed to get out of it. So the last thing I’d want to read is a book about someone else’s depressing “growing from love” experience. 

I prefer the dreamy, happily ever after kind of romance, as cheesy and unrealistic as they sometimes are. Romances that have the couple’s names as the subtitle are usually my first pick, because it means that the couple will be together at the end. 

The only exception to this personal tabu was Bittersweet by Nevada Bar. This was a lesbian love story that took place in the mid 1800’s, about how two women independently made their way out into the world together. The fascinating descriptions of how rugged and hostile life was during that time, overruled the sad ending. Most stories I’d read that took place in the pioneer days romanticized how life was back then. This book pointed out how unapologetically chauvinistic American culture was, how bad hygiene and poor sanitation was the norm, and how much more insect infested the world was. The romance part was so clean that I didn’t feel any romantic love between the two women. At one point in the book, I thought I might’ve misunderstood their relationship, and thought that maybe they were two spinster friends who were roomates instead. Not feeling the romantic connection made the ending tolerable. I cried more over the execution of their pet coyote, Moss Face.      

12. I LOVE WHEN A BOOK HAS ME ENTERTAINED 

Whether it’s a fast paced thriller, or a relaxed paced classic. Whether an author’s writing style is light and simple, or intense and poetic with lots of vivid detail. Whether a book is mediocre or a work of brilliance. Whether it’s fiction or non fiction, sci fi, new adult, young adult, erotic romance, clean romance, historical fiction, or a horror story anthology. The all-around, most important thing to me, as a reader is, if the book is entertaining! 

I read a little of every genre, and find that most books are entertaining in one way or another. Even the ones where the author does the things that annoy me. I just love books, and love the fact that human brains had evolved enough to have created written languages that grace the world every day with millions of stories and countless wealths of knowledge. 

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PHEW, was this a long post! That concludes the twelve more things that authors do that I love or hate. I hope that you, as a reader, were entertained. 

Love you all! Post you soon! 

P S: I apologize for posting links that didn’t work, last week. Not cool. It seems I might’ve done it in a way that confused the block editor. Let’s give it another try… 

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