Tag Archives: reading

Writing Ritual


I will post a more meaningful blog soon, as things are getting rather interesting around the Stilwell Manor.

For now, I’m struggling to maintain my writing ritual. Because of life getting in the way, I’ve been forced to write a lot of non-fiction, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for my fiction writing. Well, that’s not completely true because any writing is helpful in the practice of writing. However, the ritual I usually have has taken a back seat.

I don’t have a specific writing room, which is something that is on my wish list. I do however like certain smells and music to accompany my writing time, so incense and an mp3 player tend to be common tools that I use. To give an example, when writing about vampires I’ll typically listen to something like Italian opera. Nothing seems to get me in a vampier mood than that, except maybe Gregorian Chants or Enigma. I need for any space that I use to provide the right mental connection for my writing. Thankfully incense and an mp3 player are pretty mobile so that I can accommodate just about any room for my craft. I still want a room of my own one day.

When being creative, what are your rituals? Do you create in a specific place? Do you listen to music? Light candles or incense? Do you create indoors our outdoors?

Take it from me, developing a ritual for creating will elevate your skill by providing dedicated, almost sacred, space/time for your craft. It’s definitely a way to get your mind prepared for the task at hand so that anything will be hard pressed to distract you from your intent.

I look forward to getting back to my ritual and giving your more insight to my current state of mind.

#Book #Sale #Amazon #Kindle


The Source” is $0.99 on Amazon Kindle today through Friday (April 15). Get it while you can and tell me how much you love it. Fang on! v–v

grave

Just in time for Halloween!


Mining the Dark

Y’all have been waiting long enough, so I decided to do a “soft” release of “Mining the Dark” on Amazon‬ Kindle‬. Just in time for Halloween‬!

So what’s a “soft” release? It means that for now, instead of doing a lot of marketing, I’m only letting y’all in the know so you can get it before the bigger release.

And don’t worry, the cover image will be updated on Amazon soon.

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think. I’m really proud of this one. I sincerely believe that “Mining the Dark” goes above and beyond “The Source” in many ways. So, enjoy! And don’t forget to post a review when you’re done.

Fang on! v–v

Losing My Choice


bloody background with a knife

I hadn’t planned to have surgery when we moved to the Chicago area. Unfortunately, my body decided NOW was the time to resolve an issue that I didn’t even know that I had.

A couple of weeks after arriving at my sister-in-law’s, I began having unbearable pain on the left side of my abdomen. At first the pain was just annoying, so I didn’t think much of it. Slowly it became bad enough that I spent most of my time on the couch with a heating pad wrapped around my belly. I began feeling like so much pressure was building up that my body would explode like a macabre pressure cooker. I finally gave in and told my husband that I needed to go to the emergency room (I grew up “learning” that you only seek medical attention if it’s absolutely necessary because healthcare is expensive, yo!).

After almost four hours of blood tests and a CT scan, I returned home with the cryptic knowledge that I had a mass around my left ovary that was three inches in diameter – according to the doctor, “about the size of a clementine orange.” Part of the mass was cystic, with which is unfortunately something I am familiar. The other part of the mass was solid – no telling exactly what it was with only a CT scan. Cue panic. My family has a long history of female cancers, so not knowing what was growing inside of me caused me a great deal of mental discomfort. However, I kept reminding myself of something important – the women in my family are unbelievably strong and always beat cancer. I took a great deal of comfort in thinking of my 11-year-old niece Megan who has beat AML leukemia twice. Yes, we come from strong stuff – if it’s cancer, I’ll beat it!

I had many follow-up appointments, two ultrasounds, and an appointment with an OB-GYN surgeon. All during this time, the pain was so intense that I stayed medicated on pain pills most of the time. Even when I was “numb,” I would lie in bed, roll over onto my left side and feel a hard ball pressing against my insides. To add to this discomfort, the ultrasounds showed that the mass was pushing against my uterus in such a way that my uterus was in an “S” shape, to which I spastically thought, “Hey, maybe I’m turning into Super Girl.” Yeah, not so much.

Thankfully my blood tests showed no markers for cancer which was a shining beacon of relief in my fog of pain and hydrocodone. Still the surgeon laid it out straight – the mass was solid, meaning my body wouldn’t absorb it. I needed to have it surgically removed. Originally my surgery was scheduled three weeks out, but after hearing my pleas about the pain – and having to have an increase in pain medicine – my surgeon arranged his schedule so I could have the surgery as soon as possible.

I was eerily calm about the surgery, much more so than my husband. I’ve had abdominal surgery before, and aside from general anesthesia nauseating me, I had no fears about the procedure itself. As life would have it, what we learned after the surgery was the scary part.

In my surgeon’s words, internally the surgery was “very traumatic.” Before the surgery all we knew was that I had a mass. We didn’t really know what the mass was until he got in there poking around in my guts. Internally very traumatic meant that the surgeon had a lot of work to do. The mass was endometrial tissue  that had been growing outside of my uterus, along with scar tissue that my body had developed in an attempt to protect the surrounding organs. The tissue had amassed so much that it fused with my colon. With the intent of removing all of the bad tissue and preserving my colon, my left ovary and fallopian tube were destroyed. I was interestingly okay with this. In my head I was thinking, “I still have my right ovary and uterus, so all is well.” Maybe not so much.

A week after the surgery I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon to discuss in depth what it all means. The good news, no cancer. The bad news, I have Stage IV endometriosis. Given that my husband and I had been talking about the possibility of having another child, the prognosis is horrible. The surgeon gave me options, none of which are ideal. For temporary relief I can either get pregnant or begin medication that will throw me into menopause. The pregnancy part is risky because given the extent of the endometriosis, I need to get pregnant within six months, and I have only a 10% chance of doing so without medical assistance (such as IVF). The medication that would put me into menopause comes with all of the delightful side effects that “the change” has to offer – hot flashes, mood swings, depression (hello! I’m already mentally ill, don’t need more, m’kay?). These options are considered temporary treatments because after the theoretical baby is born or if I would stop the medication, the endometrial tissue would start growing again every month when Aunt Flo visits.

The last option is permanent and irreversible in that I would no longer suffer from endometriosis pain again, but I would also never have kids – a full hysterectomy. When he told me this, I cried uncontrollably. So many different thoughts crashed through me, all revolving around one main theme – if I have a hysterectomy, I no longer have a choice about getting pregnant. Something about not having a choice in the matter made me feel like I was being psychologically and physically violated by my own body. Unlike other instances, I can’t get away from my abuser because my abuser is ME…well, at least a part of me.

The surgeon wrapped things up by telling me that if I did nothing and just managed the pain, I would likely require surgery again within five years. Not exactly something to look forward to for the future.

Dealing with this has been beyond challenging. I went to the ER on July 21 and had my surgery on August 31 – over a month in pain before I got some relief. I’m still recovering, but the post-op discomfort is a randy party compared to the pre-op anguish. I’m still processing all of it. I foresee more blog posts focused on issues such as this that affect women, and how we deal with them socially and psychologically (because hey, that’s how I psychologically deal with it…I write about it).

For readers of my work, I have been slowing working on projects during all of this, but obviously not as much. I’m also editing and proofreading novels for Booktrope Publishing – an exciting addition to my artistic inclinations. I will post more about those as novels get published. Until then, check out Booktrope’s website for more info on lots of great books.

Blessings and healing to all.

A Taste of “Finding Serenity”


The full moon in the night sky reflected in water

As I wait through the process of review and editing with “Mining the Dark,” I have been working on my Mountain State Vampire novella, “Finding Serenity.” This story is a bit of background on Dr. Rick Allstedt. Here’s a small taste. The tone is a bit different than the other books. Enjoy and Fang on! v–v

“Over several weeks I continued to acquaint myself with her, usually meeting at CBGB or another dank and dark club. Sometimes I just watched. Seeing her move in her world was like witnessing an epic adventure, a heroine navigating her way through the turmoil of the human condition, all while maintaining a dignity and grace that most humans can never claim. I was sleek in my observations, only making contact when the time was right…when she would be amenable to my advances. The last thing I wanted was for her eyes to fill with dread at my approach. Yes, I wanted her to excite when she saw me, a quick rush of blood through her veins, her skin warming a few degrees above normal, blushing her countenance with the anticipation of my attention, my enthrallment. To be sure, I was the one who was enthralled beyond my own imaginings as a vampire. When I was with her, there was no life, no death, no breath, no blood…just Serenity.”