Excerpt, Excerpt, Excerpt!

maine 1

I am going to kill my husband. Trent squanders millions on some beach investments, and I find out about it through a greeting card. I’ve caught him in small lies before, but not ones with such repercussions as this. His secrecy in the matter is what scares me.

The zeros at the bottom of the card stating the buy-in cause my stomach to turn sour. The postscript states Austin can’t wait. Who is Austin? The card offers a vital piece of the puzzle into Trent’s abnormal behavior lately. Maybe he is going to surprise me with the business and home.

I glance at his busy itinerary hung on our fridge and realize the former intentions are not what he has in mind. It doesn’t surprise me this was consummated without my knowledge. I’m the wife. The silent yet doting woman meant to stand beside her man and support his decisions.

I exhale a heavy breath that reaches the papers, fluttering the lies across the blue laminate island of our rental house. The pungent balsam fir fills the air, flowing in from the casement windows I cranked open when I returned from work. The low New England tide from the wharf carries with it the heavy scent of mud, seaweed, and dead clams dropped from their casings.

We have lived here six long months. I hate it as much as I love it. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine the prickle of heat from the sun’s rays on my skin. They call for me to return to them. My happiness is determined by how far from the equator I am. I’ve wondered every day since he took this job in Maine what his reasoning’s behind it were. Why couldn’t he find something in the nearest metropolis like all of my friend’s husbands? No, not Trent. He has to prove himself. Predictability and tedium have no place in this family.

I place the exposition on the entry table. It’s conspicuous, and Trent will see it when he picks me up tonight. I debated throwing it away. Feign my ignorance and resist the urge to throw him in the sea. It’s possible he sees it and tucks it into his pocket. Nestling the card amongst the golf receipts from this afternoon, which he plans on throwing away in the laundry room’s wastebasket. Twelve hour work days call for furtive five-hour jaunts on the green.

I read the words over again. I assure myself I’m not missing something imperative that doesn’t implicate him with such reckless degree. I’m not so much stuck on the money aspect as I am at the covertness of his efforts. And, the mention of this mystery person, Austin, who can not wait for Trent’s arrival. Ben, Trent’s advisor, and college friend sent the card. My mind wanders through the circle we ran in in college. The name does sound familiar, though not someone we ever hung out with on a regular basis. Ben and Trent must have known him in at our University…..

-Donna

Why Are Llamas Haunting Me?

Ya’ll this post is completely unnecessary. I just have to get it out.

There are two animals I hate most in this world. Frogs and Llamas. Both thanks to traumatizing events my sweet Memaw provided me with twenty years ago on a two-week summer visit my parents shipped me and my brother off on.

First of all, let me tell you the story of why I hate llamas.

My Memaw took me to her brother’s farm down the highway to see the goats one summer afternoon. It just so happened that a few weeks before some of the goats had babies. There is nothing cuter than a baby goat! Especially for a ten-year-old girl. My grandmother thought it would make our day if we could catch a baby goat. The only problem was, the goats were not comfortable with humans because my great uncle didn’t go out to play or feed them on a regular basis. I don’t even know if he had a use for them, however, he threw a huge llama in the field with them to “protect” the goats.

Who trains llamas to attack? Where does this come from?

Memaw knew this but told me it would be okay, that it was only meant to run off other animals from eating the goats. So, here we go running through the field trying to capture one baby goat for me to play with. Nevermind the goats were running for their lives. Their fear of capture was as comical as my kids are when I jump out and scare them.

Memaw corraled one baby in a corner near the old dilapidated barn when the huge beast rounded the corner of the building. The llama turned its neck searching for the predator attempting to kill one of its villagers. Of course, I’m standing in the middle of the field and become the target. I looked to my grandmother for guidance. Her head turning from the llama to me, calculating what’s about to occur. The llama bolted out from behind the barn and straight for me before she’s able to do anything. I screamed and turned to run. Run where I had no idea. I’m helpless in a field; the other side of the fence my only cover.

I remember three things as I ran for my life, sure as a ten-year-old can be of death, I was about to be attacked by a llama. 1. The sun was really hot. 2. The sound of a llama galloping behind me sounded like the beating drum of an Indian tribe about to make a sacrifice. 3. Memaw screaming, “Run for the gate!” I ran for the gate, but not before looking behind me to see how much clearance I had from the trampling llama.

Just like the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis, I shouldn’t have looked back. My heart dropped, I couldn’t breathe, and I knew I was going to go down. The llama’s jaw hung open, saliva hanging from its angry lips. Its eyes bulged out with fury; it did not want me in its pen. My poor old memaw was gaining ground on the llama. She was running, well more like hobbling after us, persistently screaming her directive orders.

I was right at the gate. We left it ajar. I hit the heavy metal bar, swinging it open far enough for me to squeeze through. I turned and slammed the gate shut. The llama’s bulk came to a screeching halt, causing its fur to shake all over its body. Memaw ducked under the bob-wire fence, joining me on the side of sanity. The llama turned its agitated head to the watching goats and to my grandmother ambling towards me.

To this day, when I go to a zoo and see a llama all I see is a charging beast. I’d still pet one, and they don’t seem as big now as it did towering behind me twenty years ago.

How are llama’s haunting me you may ask? Companies seem to think llamas must be the next big thing! I see them everywhere. This past new year I bought some pajamas. When I got home and put them on my husband asked what was on them. I did not pay attention when I bought them because the store was crazy and I was trying to grab what I could and get out. Surely enough, tiny llamas printed all over the fabric.

llama pants

A few weeks ago, I was snap chatting with my kids because they were cranky and snap chat always entertains them. A freaking llama filter was what they found most captivating! ( I uploaded it to youtube because WordPress won’t let me upload a video without purchasing a plan)

Lastly, on a recent Target run, we come across a llama wall mount. Who the heck mounts a stuffed toy llama head on their kid’s wall? Creepy and hilarious, I had to take a picture. Sure enough, my daughter loved it. I did not.

llama

What’s with the llamas? Next thing I know companies are going to start selling frog everything. Then I will have nightmares about cleaning bullfrogs and their flour-covered appendages hopping out from the frying pan trying to take their revenge.

There, it’s out. Maybe now they will stop haunting me.

-Donna

Is It a Journal or Is It Marketing?

get-dot-blog

Blogging is a phenomenon, which began as a way for people to keep digital journals. An online collection of users sharing with the world what most would only dare write in notebooks they keep next to their beds. However, as the digital era has evolved so has blogging. Now, users and businesses use blogging as a way to market their company or themselves.

6.7 million people publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12 million write blogs using their social networks. That is a lot of individuals writing about themselves or their business. Blogging’s Popularity is rising, and those dabbling in social media are forced to ponder what the deal is with these people’s blogs; those not attached to a business.

I’ve got a story, and I want you to read it 

This is probably the most likely reason many people blog. They may be bored. (That’s me. Although, I am running 90 to nothing most of the day) They may have something they want others to read. (Me again. I’m writing a book) They probably want to get in the game. The digital game. I can not count the number of stay-at-home mom blogs I come across, but I get it.  I am one. The amount of boredom one undergoes after 2 pm is massive as well as a lack of productive communication until the husband comes home. There are things people just need to GET OUT!

I’ve got a product or service I want you to be informed of

Companies want to keep their customers up to date with their most current offerings. They want your business! So, they allocate portions of their marketing budgets for blogging. With the increased number of people on social media and blogs, blogging is easily shared, and the content is effortlessly consumed. Everyone has to market themselves or their business to get anywhere. Simply writing a personal journaling blog is marketing. Creating content which provides a solution or entertainment is what sets them apart.

Inserting advertisements and other monetizing agents in one’s blog is for another post. One I have yet to comprehend because I do not produce copious amounts of helpful content.

The best piece of advice ever given to me was, “You have to know where you are going in order to get there.”Goodluck to every blogger! You’re marketing is only as successful as your content is engaging.

-Donna

When Your Load is Too Much, Your Priorities Are All Wrong

donk

 

“God has future Joy for all His people who do not seek to escape suffering but, instead, seek to fulfill God’s purpose in it.”

“Suffering exists because sin exists. Jesus suffered and died to ensure suffering and death will end by righteous means one day.”

These verses can be applied to anyone’s life, at any time in life.

I have sat here in front of my computer for thirty minutes, typing and retyping. My quiet time, writing time, and my me time have been exhausted from my kids and sickness this past week. I have gotten very little work done, no writing accomplished, and after last nights little shenanigans, I’ve lost my legs like this poor donkey.

I need a babysitter.

I need a maid.

 

 

I really have nothing else to say other than, God bless Moms.

-Donna

Writing and Life: Can I Make Rocky Road Out of Vanilla?

image

Okay, I take back the comment on my previous blog about being undeniably weird. I am still weird, however my circle of reference is quite small.

My family took a trip downtown this past weekend. (Note that I have a baby and a semi-grown toddler. We don’t get out much) We came across adults dressed as fairies, young men with waist length dread locks, youngin’s dressed in next to nothing and feeling fine, and generally a group consisting of eclectic Midwesterners.

This makes me feel quite vanilla. That and my first critique on the first 800 words of Within The Cleansing Fire from people other than my family or friends. Which I might add, critiques from them keep me going and make me proud that I’m not too afraid for the public to read my amateur story-telling.

Ouch. Burn. Bleh. I instantly began reading a new novel brought to my attention that has a similar plot. Dead person POV. Wait!! That was my idea! I have read hundreds of books in a limited genre range. I knew there were hundreds of thousands of books in my genre, I just didn’t think it was so similar. Nor did I realize how bland and vanilla my writing was!

So, this kept me up all night wondering. How do I make my vanilla writing into something capable of capturing the audience’s attention. I want the texture, excitement and craving that rocky road provides.

I wouldn’t say my life has been perfectly vanilla. I have emotions and situations to pull from, but in no way am I as different and mysterious as the fellows that frequent downtown after dark. I’m well educated, but spent little time in the English department in college. Reading books and forums is about as educated in writing as I will get these days.

I would say yes, I can most definitely make rocky road from vanilla. I just need to add in a dash of experience, a smidge of humbleness and a handful of approval to get there.

I see members of my family and friends take criticism and failure only to get back up again and continue on. I can too. I may never get published, and that’s okay. I’ll have my vanilla and rocky road stories to keep me company and entertain my friends when they need a good laugh.

-Donna

Where Do You Come Up With This Stuff?

IMG_2206

There’s an overwhelming consensus that I’m the weirdest person my husband has met. (That’s probably the case in every marriage) But he married me, right? His fault, not mine. What anyone else thinks is insignificant, but I am curious. I always thought I just project everything in my mind, don’t hold anything in, and overall think the same as everyone else with the exception that I am more translucent.

Social gatherings, girls nights out…I can get pretty weird. Weird like say awful or shocking things that aren’t quite kosher to say in public. I try to hold my tongue and it’s improved with age. So, this brings me to what the heck is going through my (any weird person or writers) mind to come up with this stuff?

Creatively, I believe one has predecessors which carried the artistic gene, the weirdo gene, or better yet the lazy gene. The last was just a joke. We may look lazy, but our minds are constantly spinning. New ideas, new plots, new products, new medicines! Just kidding, I wish I could creatively make up medicine to save people. Alas, no I only think up fictional stories.

If you are allowed to let your mind wander, you can create any storyline imaginable.  One of my best friends read some of my book and her first question was, “where did you come up with this?” My answer was, “I just imagined if my husband died what would happen?” And the story just trickled in from there. That may be a horrible thing to think about, however I was spending a lot of time alone because he was traveling and I wondered what I would do if he left me alone forever.

I take into consideration all the places we have visited and lived, which gives me the basis for locations and scenes. I am lucky in the fact that we have lived in four different states across the country, so I have a lot to pull from. Many of the emotions my characters experience are easy to emulate from my own experiences. Of course all of the scenes are fiction so most have not happened to me, but some have. I’ll never tell. *creepy voice*

Sometimes I will watch people and create their story, or wonder what their story might be. Everyone walks a different path, everyone experiences different things. Even if two people have experienced the same thing, their perspectives are going to be completely different.

I fell in love with love. Partly because I finally found my love, and he taught me what passion is and what pure compassion towards another means. I want others to be able to feel what I feel, even if for a moment. He’s the most forgiving, understanding  and frustrating man. Therefore, I take out the frustrating part on my keyboard. 🙂 He tells me to stop saying all the weird things I say and just put them in my book, so that’s what I do to save those around me from my eccentric ideas. He’s never read ANYTHING I have ever written, which may be a good thing because he might ask me to stop.

I day dream about the good, the bad, the ugly, the past, the present, the future and eternity. My imagination is limitless, although I do place restrictions believe it or not, and I know I am not alone. Everyone is just as weird as me, they just hide it better.

-Donna

I’m no poet, but here goes

My computer has been in the shop for three weeks and I still have another two before I get it back. Therefore, I’ve been working on short snippets to put somewhere in the book. They turned out to be more like poems. Which I’m not a fan of poetry, so I don’t know where I’ll put them. Maybe at the beginning or end…

He hated what he saw in the mirror so he cut it out
The blade fine and quick through his flesh like words slipped from the tongue
He can’t take back
His heart beat slow wringing out the last pain
The pain replaced by humiliation he accepts his fate

I Wipe Butts and Type All Day

IMG_2183

Today’s blog is written to sir mix-a-lot tunes. If you sing the title of this blog to his song it’s kinda catchy.

Yes, I wake up and the first thing I do is wipe my sons butt. The last thing I do before I lay my head on my pillow is type something for my blog, blogmutt, or social media. That’s my day. So, I thought I’d dedicate a post on exactly what I’ve been doing all day besides running after the kids.

Three years ago I started working for the company Lionbridge. I signed a non-disclosure with them, therefore I can not divulge everything. I can, however let you know how to get started if you think you want to give it a try. I will touch on the blog writing further down.

If your looking for some supplemental income, like computer work, or just want something else to do with your time, Lionbridge is great. They offer work from home Internet analyst positions and center around improving global marketing and search engine results. While this doesn’t sound like most people’s career path, it can almost apply to any field and keeps your resume from having a huge gaping hole in it from staying at home.

As far as pay goes, it’s more than minimum wage, but not enough to keep me around any longer than the three glorious years I spent hacking away on my computer keyboard. Contractors (your not an employee technically because you choose when to work) may work 10-20+ hours per week scouring the internet and rating the results search engines give you. I got paid once a month, on time, every time. I even got a huge bonus around Christmas my first year!

Sounds pretty simple. It is. It begins to get cumbersome though. When my daughter was 5 months old I started the hiring process. I had to study a huge handbook and take three lengthy tests. After each round you pass, you move on, and eventually congratulations your an internet analyst!

It was a great company to work with. All correspondence was done via email and webinars. The company is located in Ireland, I believe, so listening to the webinars wasn’t so torturous. For me, after I had my son it was too much to try and get done with two kids and not what I wanted to do with my time.

Put the kids in daycare and go back to work for my sanity, you say? No. It gives me the heevy geevies thinking about creating realtionships and leaving my kids with someone I don’t know. And since I don’t have to, I’ll figure something else out. I have never excelled at being a conversationalist (something my friends know and my husband loves to point out), nor am I great at building relationships with new people and KEEPING them. My relationship with my keyboard has been great, thanks.

This brings me to current day. Three weeks ago I emailed my resignation to Lionbridge and applied to Blogmutt the same day. God knew my path and showed me the way clearly that Wednesday afternoon. Blogmutt approved my application and hired me as one of their hundreds, if not thousands, of writers the next day. These writers write articles for company blogs which don’t have time or the desire to write.

This opportunity came out of no where and has help me tremendously in getting my writing groove back. I learn new things every day about the subjects I choose to write about. The articles that have given me the most success are marketing related, surprisingly. They have almost every subject under the sun, including salon and property management subjects, which is right up my alley. There are other companies that do the same; Writers Domain, Hubspot, Content Writers, Writer Access. I wish I could write for all of them, but I do not have the time and energy to earn a big fat paycheck at the moment.

Every day I wondered how in the heck was I going to find the time to get back to writing. I can’t take a class. I can’t pawn my kids off on a babysitter. And while my husband has afforded me the ability to not work, I can’t seem to be content with the kids being my sole responsibility day to day. I didn’t grow up with a stay at home mother, so the concept scares me. What am I going to do with my career when the kids grow tiresome of me and don’t need me every moment? I am not sure many work fields I am interested in will accept me being out of the loop for so long.

I know things will work out, with a lot of hard work. I’ve read writing is the poor mans job. Well, that’s perfect because I don’t do it to get paid. I do it beacuse it’s fun and challenging. I’m contributing in a way that satisfies a part of me that’s been missing for so long. If you have any questions about any of the companies I’ve listed comment or message me. I’d be glad to answer any questions I can.

-Donna

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

IMG_2182Pain equals Inspiration.

My first inspiration to write came in Middle school. A young girl died from a tragic train accident when I was 11 years old. I wouldn’t say I was particularly close to the girl. We had a gymnastics class together and went to the same school. She was a grade younger than me so we only really played together in the gymnastics class.

The news came over the intercom, and the stories trickled in. Young minds grasping and spilling the horrid details in animated tales.

There was a tree in my backyard I would climb to sit and daydream. I thought no one would find me there. I gathered some paper and a pen, and climbed the tree later that week. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember not being able to express what I was feeling to anyone. I didn’t want to. I owned the hurt and I didn’t want anyone else to see it. I also didn’t know the appropriate reaction I should have since I wasn’t close to the girl.

I tied my letter to the tree branch as high as I could climb that day, and I sat on my stoop and talked to her. The days and weeks went by and I continued to climb the tree, open my letter, rereading it and talking to her. Until one day I climbed and didn’t see the letter. The ribbon flapped in the wind loosely.  The end of it empty and lonely. The rain and elements took the letter along with my interest to write.

With that being said. The pain was the first emotion to cause the inspiration to write. To focus the anxiety into a story and words.

Joy also creates inspiration, but a different type. It’s not as intense and isn’t as moving in some ways. That’s for a different day.

I do not enjoy the pain. I do not wish for it or wait for it. It comes and goes and leaves me with something I didn’t have without it.

Pain is not weakness leaving the body, but strength collecting in the little crevices it creates. Each pain collected creates a new link to my story.

-Donna

What If..

The devil is in the what ifs. He owns the words and he hands them to us in his beautifully “unmarred” hand, wrapped in sparkling bad juju ribbon.

What if I fail. Everyone fails.

What if others make fun of me? They probably will, but what does it matter. Humans fail each other and hurt each other. That’s enviable.

What if I offend someone? I’ve been told I’m good at that it. They don’t have to associate with me or they will get over it.

The devil is great at keeping us complacent and hidden. Lounging next to us, tapping his fingers on his thigh while telling us, “I told you so”.

It’s hard to put yourself out there and reveal what your passionate about. What you believe in.

What if I help someone with what I do? What seems little to you may mean life or just a moment of happiness for another.

What if I help myself? Great! I surely don’t feel selfish for making myself happy and fulfilled.

I will unpolitely toss the devil’s what if back at him and take back my God given determination to succeed. To succeed at being Me. God’s what if’s are a whole heck of a lot more exciting.

-Donna