Thursday, June 30, 2016

Indestructible Women My Compass #mirriamstartedit

A little over a week ago a post from Mirriam popped up on my Facebook and blogger feed.

The quote and the post really made me stop and think for several moments. Who are my indestructible women?

Like Mirriam, I chose four, simply because it seemed like a good amount and it fitted what I wanted to say.

These are women who have built me up when I have felt broken down, they have strengthened me when I am in pieces...I am who I am today because of their love....they are my compass.

My North Star,
My Mama is my north star. When I don't know which way to go, or what to do she reminds me of the ultimate goals of life--though we haven't always agreed on the same things, she keeps me true. She keeps me focused, and guides me when I feel lost, I am drawn to her with the magnetic pull of a mother-daughter relationship. She is bright in the sky when things cloud my way, I look up to her as a beautiful example of where I should go and what I should do, of who I can become. Her love has guided me from birth, and I know her example will always hold me pushing towards higher brighter more beautiful things.

My Eastern Sunrise,
Katherine Sophia...Kate...faithful like the sun, bright with hope and renewing when I feel hopeless she shines brightly in my life and keeps me looking for the dawn, even in the midnight moments of my life. When I felt hopeless she threw me a line of hope to cling to, tying our souls together in a forever soul-sister-ship that shall sail straight on 'til the everlasting morn...when I am down she always hold out a hand and pulls me out of my depths, and walks beside me keeping together in step even when our paths separate, we are still together.

My Western Wind,
Ari, like wind, she has challenged me in new ways, she has pushed me forward and made me face things in new ways. But like the wind of a storm, and the wind of the sea, Ari has rocked my boat and she has also blown my worried ship into safe harbors of comfort and rest. Her strength is also her gentleness, she has raged beside me at injustice and pain, and she whispered comfort when I have needed a shoulder to lean on.

 My Southern Spice,
Christi Ella, she is laughter, she is wit, she is brightness and sunny sweet sass and faithfulness  Christi spices up my life with her sense of humor, introduction to snap chat, talented gif conversations, encouraging "little sister," who does cooks off with me, and cheers me on in whatever I do. She looks for the bright side of life, and the funny side of it...even when it's hard to find.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


 June 15th, 2007- June 19th, 2016

Recently I experienced death in a whole new way.

Our beloved nine-year-old puppy died unexpectedly. We knew she was ill, but we thought the antibiotics would bring her back to health. I didn't expect to wake up to my little sister's voice urgently saying my name then "Bridget is dead!"
I woke up in a flash.
And took that soft limp body from my sister's arms and into mine, hoping, praying, wanting, wishing, willing that it wasn't true.
I am not sure exactly what happened next but I was kneeling on the bathroom floor wrapping our dog in a towel, trying to practice the dog version of CPR that I'd seen on a video a few months ago. Saying her name, as if that would make the peaceful blank brown eyes suddenly snap back to life, that her tail would wag, and she'd shake the memory of this feeling in my arms away.
Throwing on a coat, I continued dog CPR as we rushed to the vet hospital. The realization that she wasn't responding, that she would most likely never come back sinking in.
I knew she was gone before we reaching the hospital, she was gone before my sister and I woke up, but I stood barefoot on the cold tile floor of the vets  in my pajamas hoping....that what I knew wasn't true.
The vet tech came out and shook her head before she could even ask us what we wanted to do I blurted out that we had a place for her at our house. I couldn't bear the thought of saying goodbye to her at the vet's cold the sterile place...that wasn't Bridget. That wasn't who she was...she couldn't stay there, and more than anything I wanted to hold her once again. I wasn't ready to say goodbye,  This couldn't be happening. This couldn't be happening to Bridget, our baby...our darling, who had just been cuddling with me the night before. How could she be gone?

Slowly driving home, we were all crying in the car. Shock, grief, disbelief.
I suddenly understood why people wanted clones...why they pay thousands of dollars to ensure someone's survival....
Once at home, we sat crying taking turns holding her.
I felt death taking control, changing her body, turning our cuddly puppy stiff and still forever, and something in me...felt as if it died, the permanence of death was suddenly settling in...and I couldn't hold her anymore, death had taken our puppy away.

Death, as I have always understood it, has come in shiny boxes, dressed in it's best clothes, reserved quiet tears, touching lives that I was coming for...or it could be expected mostly. I've always been able to say goodbye...and it's a passing twinge of pain.

This is the closest I have felt the pangs of death, a chunk of my life suddenly stolen, a hole that I don't know how to fill...not even with words. There were other complications in my life...that made this more difficult.

Last night...we laid our puppy to rest near the woodpile she used to climb to chase squirrels, under the full strawberry moon of the summer was the quietest time of day, the only time of day we could have our privacy away from prying eyes...nosey neighbors, cars driving was quiet. My sister and I tucked little things into the box, not because she needed them...but we needed her to have them for our memories. I tucked in an unpaired sock because she used to steal mine and carry them around the house and even outside, she always picked them up when she wanted something, like being let outside in the morning, it was her bargaining chip to get me out of bed...and it always worked. Suddenly the pyramids in Egypt and the Viking death ships made sense...even though they believed it was for the afterlife. I realize it was more for those who were left behind, these were the things they wanted them to take along...they were going away gifts...a sign of what of what that person meant.

She is gone.

I am learning a lot of things.

How I work through grief.

How my family responds to the same pains.

I am seeing new things.

How God's hand has worked through this whole thing.

It's painful.

It's beautiful. a paradox.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Space Kitties Interveiw with author H. L. Burke

 I am delighted to host H.L. Burke today on my blog! Congratulations on your story in the Space Kitties Anthology 2! I can hardly wait to hear more about your story!

What is the synopsis of your Space Kitties tale?

An alien dinner cruise orbits Earth with the intention of sampling some local delicacies and messes with the wrong sort of critter. It's told from the point of view of a young alien whose mother is trying to "expand his palate."

What inspired you to write it?
I have a vague memory of the TV show Alf, about an alien who "loved cats with salt and pepper." Also there is an odd sort of division between animals we feel it is okay to eat and animals that we get shocked at the idea of eating (I'm not a vegetarian, so I can view this with a detached intellectual interest), and how confusion about this might arise when Human culture is observed from an alien point of view.

How long did it take you to write?
First draft ... an hour or two. It's a really short piece. I did run it through critiques and make some alterations here and there over the next few weeks before submitting.

Was there any music you liked to listen to while you wrote?
Oh gosh, this was so long ago. I can't really remember. Like seriously, I couldn't tell you what I listened to yesterday in the car, let alone what I did while writing almost a year ago. For longer pieces that I'm absorbed with for a long time, I might make a playlist of music and listen to it over and over again (I have a lot of World of Warcraft music in my epic fantasy list. Some Steampunk stuff for my Nyssa Glass series. The soundtrack to Coraline for when I write for kids.), but I didn't make one for this piece, so I don't really remember.

What was your reaction when you found out that your story had been selected for the anthology?
Honestly, I was like, "Oh yay! Wait ...? How do I print up this form to return the contract? My printer is out of cyan ink and it won't print black and white without cyan ink. I hate my printer. I really should get a better printer ... ooh coffee!" In other words, momentarily excitement followed by "but how does this work" befuddlement, followed by immediate distraction by shinies. Oooh, shinies.

Are you a plotter or a panster?
Bit of both. I also find different projects demand different approaches. With a short story I might just sit and think out what I want it to be then just start writing while it's fresh. With a longer work I'll usually write a "to do" list of things my characters have to do and things that have to happen to get to the desired end (I usually know the end, as well as a few major plot points).
For my last few novellas the plot has kind of appeared fully in my head and I wrote down a chapter by chapter synopsis, about a paragraph per chapter, about what was going to happen. Then I stuck to it pretty closely.
But I like to leave room for inspiration if it strikes.

What elements does your ideal story contain?
Dragons (well, I will accept stories without dragons, but we're talking about ideals, right?). Relationships. Humor. Closure.

Has there been an author or non-author person who has influenced your writing more than anyone else?
My kids. I'm fascinated by their play and the way they think. A lot of us forget what it feels like to be a kid, when ice cream falling to the ground brought deep sorrow ... when everything was so intense and fresh. They also turn our set ways of thinking on their heads. A lot of my work, even my work for adults, is trying to capture that "seeing things for the first time" feeling.

Have you written any other books?

I'm currently sitting on a portfolio of seven full length novels, five novellas, four (published) short stories. With the exception of three funny short stories from the perspective of children, all my works are fantasy in someway, but I'm kind of all over the place with the subgenres. I have romantic fantasy, epic fantasy, Steampunk, and fairy tale. I write for both adults and children.
One consistency: most of my books have dragons. I really like dragons. Dragons make me happy. If I can't work a real dragon into the plot, I at least try to include my word. It's like "spot the pineapple" in the TV show Psych, except with dragons. Dragons are a lot harder to miss than pineapples, though, so it takes away some of the challenge.

What stories can we expect from you in the future?
My main focus right now is the Nyssa Glass novella series. Nyssa is sort of a Indiana Jones/Tintin/Nancy Drew character who I can throw into any number of adventures, so she's fun to play with. She also has an amazing sidekick who is a hilarious counter to her pragmatic pessimism. I also have an epic fantasy series I'm slowly chipping away at.
About H.L. Burke
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle
 Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. 

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled "The Scholar and the Dragon," YA/Fantasy "Beggar Magic," and MG/Fantasy "Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon," among others. Her current projects are a young adult Steampunk fantasy and an epic fantasy trilogy.

Next contest:

Giveaway information:
If you comment on any of the blog tour posts, your name will be added to a drawing for an ebook copy of Space Kitties 2.  (If you win the Facebook party giveaway, you are not eligible for the blog tour giveaway.)

June 4 - Facebook party 1:00 - 6:00P.M. Central Time
~ Tour kickoff and cover reveal at E. Kaiser Writes A Blog
~ Interview with E Kaiser at The Splendor Falls
June 5 - Interview with Jamie Mortensen at Lesa McKee
June 6 - Interview with Lesa McKee at Bookworm Reading
~ FB giveaway winner announced
June 7 - Interview with Rachel Harris at Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
June 8 - Interview with Faith Blum at Rachel Rossano's Words
June 9 - Interview with H.L. Burke at Jessica Greyson
June 10 - Interview with Aletha Bakke at H.L. Burke, Author
June 11 - blog giveaway winner announced and tour wrap-up at E. Kaiser Writes A Blog

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