Everything Hurts and I’m Dying

It’s three AM and I’m awake. Let me clarify, I’m still awake. I’ve got a headache and my eyes are tired but my pulse is elevated, I’m drowning in my own sweat and I can’t friggin sleep.

I know what’s wrong. It’s the steroid shot they put in butt at about 4 PM yesterday. Probably combined with the oral steroids I swallowed some hours after. The muscle relaxer and the codeine-enhanced cough medicine are no match. I’m wide awake.

What the heck is wrong with you?

Well, I’m glad you asked, friend. After feeling a general sort of malaise for two days, I woke up yesterday morning with a chest cold. Again. I hopped in the shower to ease some aches and congestion and then about five minutes after I got out, something went horribly wrong with my back. Suddenly I couldn’t bend over, or move in certain ways, or take a deep breath without severe stabbing pain and muscle spasm in my left shoulder. The spasm literally stopped me in my tracks and pulled me back from whatever activity I had tried.

My husband was in Kansas City for work (a four hour drive). My kid is 17 months old. My family is at least a two hour drive. My dogs were insulted or mad and acted like complete assholes.

It really was kind of the worst day I had had in a long time.

I haven’t really gotten an explanation for what is wrong. My ribs were out of place probably from coughing although my coughing had been minimal. My doctor honestly seemed a little perplexed as he watched me try to “take a deep breath” and as I jumped and gasped when he touched a small area near my shoulder blade. The nearest I can come up with is that I threw out my back which usually happens to a different area. It’s weird. It’s unexplained and it’s horribly painful.

Which has kind of been my life for the past seventeen months.

I’ve been in pain since she was born. It’s been a long journey of trying this and that, bloodwork, and chiropractic care, and massage therapy, and specialists, and nerve conduction tests. We have arrived at what I am calling “probable fibromyalgia” but guess what, that diagnosis could change within the next two months since I finally got in to a rheumatologist.

I’ve debated sharing this because I often feel like my blog doesn’t have much of a “niche” however, I was inspired by a fellow writer who came back into the world to announce that she had been struggling with chronic illness, Bisky. It feels important to talk about pain disorders because it feels as if pain has become less understood than depression. When I was blogging before, it was often in the constant fight against the stigmas of mental illness and suddenly we are saturated with science and anecdotal accounts in the media. Celebrities have come forward, books have been written and now the layman understands that someone who is depressed is not just sad. We still have a ways to go with the less popular illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar but it’s been a huge leap forward. We need this for chronic pain. So here I am, adding my voice into the din.

This Time Of Day

I love this time of day. It’s the hottest part of the afternoon, before the kids get home from school and turn the curl-de-sac into noise. There is the chug-chug of trains in the distance and the soft in and exhale of breath.

The dogs are puddles of fur on the couch and they look like angels. The baby probably shouldn’t be napping this late–she will be up all night–but I don’t care. I carry her to my bed and stare at her eyelashes. Everything is tinged pink because the sunlight filters through red curtains. The air conditioning kicks on–a gentle stir of wind–and I pull my bare feet up under the covers.

I’m tired too and my body aches but I take the time just to watch her. To rest my lips against her forehead and breathe the smell of baby lotion. Her little heart thuds against my chest as my thoughts turn to verse. The rhyme drums through my head:

You are the reason the stars wink at night.
You are why birds have wings
and why horses once had flight.

2017 Goals Month 2 Check In

February went by really fast for me. I hope your Valentine’s Day was great, or if that isn’t your thing, I hope you have plenty of love in your life.

If you have just tuned in, my resolutions for this year were just to read and write more and in order to keep myself accountable and visualize my progress, I’m doing these check-ins.

So reading: Actually I’m pretty much sucking at reading this year so far. I didn’t finish the book club novel. To be fair, I found it a little boring. And my concentration suffers from pain flairs which I haven’t talked about here yet. I’m setting An Ember In The Ashes aside and hoping that our next read is more my speed.

Writing I have split up into two categories poetry/short fiction and my novel.

I still have not managed any short fiction. But I did edit and improve a previous written poem that I had published on my last blog. It’s a new piece now. I have also been working on one of the poems I had started last month but I still am not satisfied with calling it finished.

My novel. I don’t think I wrote my current word count for last month so I’ll start today. I’d like to see how I’m doing on average.

current word count: 4,575

That’s still pretty pathetic considering how long urban fantasy usually is.


With Teeth: chapter 3

With Teeth: chapter 3


11 years earlier

Bryn awoke from a dreamless sleep being carried by her father.


He set her down by the garage door, where her mother, Selene, slipped white snow shoes over her socked feet and zipped a pink parka over her faded butterfly pajamas.  Bryn yawned as her mother smoothed her long black hair out of her face.

“One more thing,” she said softly and pulled heavy mittens over Bryn’s hands.

Bryn couldn’t help but rub at the sleep in her eyes as her father buckled her into the backseat and her mother climbed into the passenger.  Lovell drove.  Everything was hushed by the snow and her parents stayed silent.  Her mother kept glancing over her shoulder and smiling close-lipped at Bryn who drifted in and out of consciousness, blinking to stay awake.  She knew she was up past her bedtime and the curiosity of it pulled at her eyelids.

They rolled up to a familiar house which stood raging with yellow light against the darkness.  There were many other vehicles parked in the round driveway in front.

“Why are we at Rowan’s house?”  Bryn asked, although to say that she was not pleased would be a lie.

Continue reading “With Teeth: chapter 3”

With Teeth: Chapter 2

With Teeth: Chapter 2


Bryn grabbed a greasy square piece of sausage pizza and went to sit in the cafeteria in their usual corner.  She caught the eye of her human friends across the room, broke into a large smile and waved. Melanie, Melissa and Tim. The Terrible Two and their Token Gay.  They waved back, Melanie putting her hand up in a “call me” sign.

“Who are you signaling?” Rowan asked as she shrugged into the seat across from Bryn, dropping her tray with a clatter and her backpack with a thump.

“No one,” Bryn said and Rowan released the subject having known perfectly well who Bryn had been saying hi to.

Rowan swept her long red hair over one shoulder and flipped the bun off the top of her cheeseburger. She picked at the patty and then sighed.  “Well done.”

“I’m not even sure mine is real meat.”

“This school has a serious lack of respect for carnivores.”

Continue reading “With Teeth: Chapter 2”

With Teeth: Chapter One

With Teeth: Chapter One


Bryn squinted up at the sky, trying to count the stars.  The full moon was rising but had yet to reach its zenith and she was bored with the waiting.  And cold.  Januaries in Montana were bitter.

But it wasn’t much of a bother to the rest of her family and the Pack, who had stripped down to underwear or merely skin in the silvery clearing.

With a sigh, Bryn shoveled off some of the snow on an outcropping of rock and sat down. She tightened the laces on her gray running shoes with numb fingers.

“I wish you could feel this,” her best friend, Rowan exclaimed breathlessly as she jogged up to the rock.  Her russet hair hung to her ribcage in a thick, razor-straight pelt, her skin ivory in the moonlight, her freckles pale.  Bryn stared at Rowan’s polka-dotted underwear, embarrassment bringing heat into her cheeks. Other people’s naked bodies had been shoved in Bryn’s face for six years now—ever since puberty hit, but the older she got, the less comfortable with it she became.

Continue reading “With Teeth: Chapter One”

My Process: Long Works

My Process: Long Works

writing-1560276-640x480Sometimes I get these ideas for entries and start to write them down and wonder if I am boring everyone to tears. I have to step back and think, well would I be interested in a post about another writer’s process? I would. I mean, especially the successful ones, or the ones I really admire but even those who I have never heard of, I’d read their blog entries. I think it’s interesting and I can usually find something I can try or even adapt in my own processes. And then, when I see someone who does it just like me, I feel less quirky/weird/alone and I think we all need that validation.

So, my process for long fiction works (novellas and novels):

*Daydreaming and brainstorming – this part can go on for years. I do a lot of listening to music and watching my characters dance to it. Most effectively, I start to jot down ideas/impressions in a notebook (or digital file).

*Construct character/setting/plot sketches – I literally make up those kind of bios that you used to see on MySpace and such places for my characters.

*Any necessary research – I like to base my settings on fictional versions of real places. I prefer to use places I have actually spent time in, but if not, I will research the crap out of it. I also do a lot of mythology research and often history. You see how my ideas/impressions from above are slowly being fleshed out.

*Write out some scenes. – As you can see, I am some weird hybrid of plotter/pant-ser. When I start to write in actual paragraphs, I am learning more about my characters and discovering a plot. Or at least how to get from one point A to point B.

*Skip the boring parts. – some people would advise you not to HAVE any boring parts. But a lot of times, these are just places where I get stuck.

*Listen to music and daydream some more.

*Write more scenes.

*Cry – ah, I see we have arrived at the dreaded “middle of the novel”

*Write the boring parts. – suck it up, buttercup

*Piece together scenes in a logical order. – fill in the blanks. Try to fix the holes. An actual product is coming together, folks.

*NEVER FINISH A DAMN THING – I’m kidding! Kind of … I know authors with shelves full of finished but unpublished manuscripts but that just isn’t me. I’m slow and life likes to interrupt.

So all cheekiness aside, this is what works for me–a kind of controlled chaos. I like to use the Scrivener program because it seems like it was built for my process and I don’t even use half of the features. What about you? What does your process look like?