Tag Archives: love

By the Time we got to Woodstock

Woodstock note


I was sixteen, pampered and fearless. I took my mother’s car and drove to Woodstock, Dylan’s hometown in beautiful up-state New York, to a Music and Art Fair, an Aquarian exposition. How great did that sound? It was a happening. I folded my coolest clothes, placed them into my backpack, tucked my pillow with its starched white cover under my arm and set off on an adventure.

Anyone who went to Woodstock would probably not describe it as the best time of their lives. It rained enough to make you miserable. The bands were delayed. The sound system was inadequate, guitars probably warped from dampness and it wasn’t even in the town of Woodstock.

The traffic crawled, Leona at the wheel and the rest of us walked along side. I have a vague image of Mom’s shiny Buick passing the poorly parked hippy vans and beat up cars, a blur of happily tie dyed people giving peace signs and policemen who were surprisingly friendly, considering that most of us were openly breaking state and federal drug laws.Woodstock_poster

Miraculously we parked at the base of the hill, slung our back packs over our shoulders and hiked up the path. We arrived as they tore down the fences, gave away posters, the classic ones with a bird on the guitar and the original Aquarian water bearer. If we’d had any brains we’d have taken those precious items back to the car with our tickets intact but distracted by the outrageous level of coolness and the scent of marijuana we moved on.

I do not remember the first sight of that stage that made history. I do remember when my middle-class teenage-girl-mind identified the feeling of hunger and my first sense of lack. There were no burger stands, no ice cream or funnel cakes, no soda. We had plenty of cash in our pockets but, like most of the kids at Woodstock, we were completely unprepared.

A primitive water line assured us we would not die but we had no canteen. So, without food, water or common sense we forged onward, through masses of stoners to get as close to the stage as possible (which still seemed a lightyear away) and we claimed a patch of land.

Richie Havens sang “Freedom” and someone handed me a bottle of wine, I took a sip and passed it on. Someone gave me a gritty brownie I took a bite and passed that on. Magically food appeared from every direction, and magic food it was. One bite made us larger and one sip made us small. Soon a collective level of mind alteration permeated the field as we partook in unknown quantities… mostly psychedelic… and by that time, we didn’t much care.

Intermittent rain of every kind was reported but I clearly remember seeing the stars that first night. Dancing hippies everywhere, young people made love in the open and nobody was offended. Masses of wandering lost found new homes with temporary families.

There were announcements, mostly about our extraordinary coolness. We had closed the NY Thruway, were declared a disaster area and “Welcome to the first Free City in the World!” A Swami had blessed us and helicopters flew over, anti-war messages shouted and everyone agreed politically.


Woodstock Festival of Arts and Music at Bethel, New York, August 1969. (AP Photo)

They flew the bands in, ferried them across the sky. Music was everywhere. It was a night that a half a million young people took a collective sigh and melted into the hillside on Yazgur’s farm. Whatever came our way at Woodstock, we best relax and go with it.

With souls I’d never met I felt loved, cradled in the bosom of dear ones. They fed me, gave me drink. Should anything happen to me, this new family would care for me, tenderly as well as they possibly could… probably not very well but they would care for me… and there was a feeling of belonging to something, something much bigger than myself that made me almost tearful.

I folded my white pillow case and put it away when it rained. My quilt was soaked, my pillow ruined and I carried a bag of very cool clothes which I would never wear.

By half past Arlo Guthrie we realized that the need to pee was of greater importance than our land or this family we loved. We’d lost the people we came with, they’d disappeared into the crowd. Not losing Leona became paramount. She was the only one I knew from home and she had the keys to the car. We said good-bye to our loved ones and wrapped in muddied blankies we set off to find a bathroom and a place to sleep.

Cleary the first problem we faced was to simply relieve ourselves. The port-o–potty’s were soon to become their own disaster areas so we peed in the cornfield and relaxed between rows. I’d piled my coolest clothes on top of me for warmth and Joan Baez sang us into semi-consciousness. Then the rain began again.

To be cont..

Watch next Thursday for “Woodstock, the Dawn of Day Two”



Filed under writing

Never Doubt I Love

Sad blue eyes and a fine even smile, his build bragged of gym dues and vegetables. A friend of a friend, that’s usually how these things start, he said he was recently divorced, forty years void of love. I believed him. If any man seemed starved for affection it was he and if anyone’s self-esteem had been ruthlessly damaged, it was his.

hugBoth over sixty, an odd age for a summer love but astounding beauty like his was a gift. Was my judgment clouded by perfection, my sight blurred by superb? I wanted him and I wanted him to know that I wanted him, and the tastes of his kisses were pastries of sensory delight. I savored each one, found joy in his touch. I devoured this man from each graceful finger to his strong lovely legs, gave him the tenderness he had learned to live without. Freely, without shame I admit to loving this man with all my might.

I guarded him jealously because I knew he would not be mine for long. As soon as he understood what a commodity he was in a world full of women, he’d be gone. Someone younger and prettier would get him that is exactly how it happened.

I got to love that man for only six months before he found her and it was painful as hell when he left. For three full months I cried, spent sleepless nights writing bad poetry, I even considered Prozac till I began to recognize a small spark of joy between each tear. I could be pleased for him because I knew that if anyone deserved happiness it was he. If anyone deserved to be appreciated, if anyone ever deserved to be loved it was this man.

Maybe Rumi was right when he said, The wound is the place where Light enters you.” Or maybe Bob Marley when he said, “Truth is everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” But I clung to one thought, maybe she deserved him.

I am impressed with my heart. It’s still open, still willing to endure injury in order to love. I’m proud that this weird world hasn’t jaded me and no barriers protect from deep feeling. I’m only slightly crazy, I don’t drink… and I’d give all the Prozac in Walgreen’s to have a chance like that again, to help a deserving man grow in confidence and realize he is worthy of love. This was life affirming and there is no experience more existential than skin to skin, heart to heart, face to face contact and sharing vital breath with someone you love.

Then I did the math. Six months of bliss minus three months of melancholy, I’m ahead by three months. Net positive, bliss, hell, ya, I’d do it again. It beat the heck out of crocheting shawls by lamp light.

If you must lose in love, lose to a woman half your age with long gorgeous legs and a doctorate. A large house on acres of land is a plus, an heiress maybe with a sports car or two for good measure. Or to a kind, sincere, loving soul who rescues animals, volunteers with the elderly and keeps a vegetable garden.

I saw them in the analgesic section of Walgreens. I peered through the endcap gaping. She had a fake set of boobs like two fishbowls, her hem was crooked and her eyelashes came from a box. I wished them well (him more so than her). Perhaps he has found the woman of his dreams or an adolescent-like crush on a cheap shiny piece or maybe, just maybe she recues kittens between hair appointments. So goodbye to my handsome, make your life happy… and love… love willingly, love passionately, love with everything you’ve got.

But, damnation, if I had lived forty years of neglect and had a body like his, I’d keep looking. In truth, I’d probably be messing around like Tiger Woods on hell fire.


Filed under writing

Let’s Make It About the Children by John E. Stack

Mary likes to party. Mary likes to smoke. Mary likes alcohol and consumes several drinks a day. Mary likes anything for a buzz. She will take illegal drugs. She will take prescription drugs. It doesn’t matter the combination, as long as she gets a high. Mary is also pregnant, about 8 months. She has never been to an OB doctor, so she’s never had any pre-natal care and really doesn’t know her due date. Besides, she doesn’t want anyone telling her what to do or not to do. To her the baby is just something that happened because she had sex.

When her baby girl is born and drugs are found in her system, DSS will step in and put the child into foster care. Mom will go back to doing all that she was doing before the baby was born, except now, she will have the Department of Social Services watching her. She will be given a plan to work and regular court dates that she must attend. The goal of the courts will be to reunite her with her baby and if possible get her off drugs.

The baby will be addicted to many of the drugs that her birth mom continues to use: cocaine, heroin, the various prescriptions and she will have traits associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Due to these things her heads will be small, her eyes will look different, and her ears will be really low set. These are just a few.

After a while it will be evident that she has ADHD, and is developmentally delayed. She may have seizures associated with withdrawal and will have to take special drugs to help stop the seizures. More than likely the doctors will follow her closely to keep check on her development. She will probably need both physical therapy and occupational therapy. Her mother’s actions will affect her for the rest of her life.

How do I know these things? I’m a foster parent and I help take care of these small ones. We hear the screams of the babies as they go through withdrawal, we spend time with them in the hospital when problems arise, and we get up at night to feed, calm and clean them up. When the therapists show up we are the ones who help the baby progress and make sure they get the exercises done. We also take the babies to see their parents once or twice a week, if they bother to show.

My wife and I love what we do. We feel that God has brought us to this place in life and we can’t imagine doing anything else. But, I would love it if the birth parents were held more accountable.

When children are placed into foster care, it costs the state money. The more problems a child has the more money it cost the state every month they are in foster care. Due to the back up in the court system the average length of stay for a child in foster care as gone from one year to two years. There are approximately 8000 to 9000 kids in foster care in North Carolina. If the state has to pay $1000 per month for each child (foster care payment, agency administration, etc) that is over $9 million per month and going from one year to two years just doubled the budget for this part of social services.

Birth parents are given a year, sometimes 18 months to get their act together. Many take longer. They do not have to pay child support, buy diapers or formula, or provide anything for the child. But the state keeps playing their game. If DSS doesn’t cross every “t” and dot every ”I” then the lawyers convince the courts the birth parents need more time. When do the rights of the child come into play? If a parent can’t get their lives together in 6 months or at least make a real good effort then the courts should terminate the rights. Laws need to be changed and judges need to be tougher.

I feel that if a child is born addicted, the mother should go to jail. If a couple has a child in foster care, they should be required to be on birth control. They should not be allowed to keep having babies if they have any in the fostering system. If someone has a child in the system, they should be forced to pay child support or go to jail. Yeah, the jails are over-crowded but something must be done. If Mary had given her child drugs after it was born she would go to prison, but she can make the child addicted before it is born and nothing happens. When is it going to be about the children?

What is the problem with long term foster care? Both the child and the family become bonded and very attached. It has to happen or the child will not thrive. After a child is removed from foster care either to go home or to be adopted, it takes 2-3 months for each month in foster care for the child to fully bond to the adoptive parents or birth parents. This is tremendous stress on the child and can cause emotional problems. The children can become failure to thrive, lethargic, pull out their hair, scratch until skin bleeds, etc. It usually takes 3-4 months of transition time to move a child from foster care.

These children need a home where they can be cared for – a forever family. People that will love them, feed them when they are hungry, buy them decent clothes to wear and give them hugs. And, parents that will tell them that they are someone of importance.

The truth is that we need more dedicated foster parents. You do not get paid a lot to do the job but you do touch lives, and change them. You get your heart broken, a lot. But, the needs of the next child that comes into your life soon fill that void.

North Carolina is in dire need of foster parents. If you have ever considered fostering or adoption, please take time to check it out. It is the toughest job you will ever love.

***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.


Filed under John Stack, life, writing

What’s In a Word 2 – by Paul J. Stam

More madness with the English language

Foreign Legion soldier at Keelung, January 1885

A bass drum

So there I was with all this Polish furniture to polish. I didn’t know how I would get it all done so I got a soldier to desert his dessert in the desert to help me. After all his help I felt there was no time like the present to present him with the present I had for him. He did not object to the object I gave him, which was a bass drum with a bass painted on it.

English: Short leg cast

Later I went to visit an invalid friend with invalid insurance. He had a leg injury. When I go there his room was so full I was too close to the door to close it. Before I got there the doctors had to subject the subject to a series of tests. He was in great pain but after a number of injections the leg was number. They didn’t think they could save the leg, but how could I intimate this to my intimate friend?

Now unless you are bilingual, multilingual or super lingual, you’re kind of like me in that the English language is what we have to work with. I do the best I can, and I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to find an egg in an eggplant or an apple nor a pine in a pineapple. And why is it sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet at all, are meat? Why is it boxing rings are square and why is it quicksand sucks you down slowly?

And so I leave you with this, not every word is what it seems to be, or is necessarily so, which brings me to my autobiography which I am writing entitled, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and which will probably never be published, but at the beginning of it I give the reader fair warning with this.

An Introduction
To Be Read

It has been said that, “History is written by the winners.” Hell, I said that in one of my books soon to be released by Second Wind Publishing, so it had to have been said before me. I am one such winner in that I have outlived any who might be able to refute the things I say in my autobiography.

However, I will, to the best of my ability, be honest except when it suits me to be otherwise. After all, I am a storyteller, and the important thing to a storyteller is to keep the reader interested, not be honest.

I will also warn you that the things I tell you about me, my family, my life, my loves, my hates, my accomplishments (there’s very damned few accomplishments so I’ll have to make some up) and my failures (do you really think I would tell you about those) are things that interest me, or at last did at the time.

Now, having been warned, let us begin. Please feel free to make suggestions. They will be welcomed and ignored, as is the case with any suggestions from close friends.

There, you’ve been warned, exactly what you have been warned about I’m not sure.

Thank you, and May Only Good Come Your Way.

Copyright © 2015 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved


Final MSS Cover frontMurder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.


Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.


Filed under Humor

Hope In Carolina by Ginger King

I’m looking forward to the release of my second novel, the second in a series called The Lost & Found Series.  I named it this because often times when we feel the most lost, we are about to be reclaimed.  Sometimes we reclaim ourselves, the core person we are deep within our soul, and sometimes it is that special someone, a lover, a friend, a family member who reclaims us, and brings us around to where we need to be.  Each of the stories in this series are set on loving in difficult situations.  Hope finds herself in the difficult situation of really horrible timing, and an enduring love affair with a man she cannot be with.  The reason?  Timing.  Horrible timing and poor decisions.  Who among us has not encountered this!


Timing as they say is everything and even when it isn’t right, perfect or even flawed, love can still exist.  It lives in our minds and hearts as we go through the daily, weekly, and yearly journeys of our lives.  Those we love who cannot be with us are still with us and leave an indelible mark on our lives.  Ask anyone who has lost a spouse.  Ask someone about their first true love.  Yes, we change, and yes we move on, but sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes, the love is just as strong today as it was three, five or twenty-five years ago.  It’s not the basis of my story, but I love to read about elderly couples who reunite many many years after their lives separated.  Just makes my heart happy that all of those folks out there longing to be with their person, might eventually fall back into great timing.  Timing that epic love almost always has.


Here is a little snip-it from a chapter in Hope in Carolina where the memory of someone loved makes the characters feel connected, although that cannot be.

Hope remembers the cardinals

Hope walked away from the door frame after trying the light switch once more. There was still no power so she returned to the edge of the fireplace and stood as still as a mannequin staring into the flames. Her thoughts were centered on the storm, how much more snow would fall. Could she get out to the truck? How much gas was in the truck? Were the icy spots on the long descending drive way going to cause the truck to veer off the side of the hill? Too many questions, so she let her mind drift into the flames once more.

One more impossible situation she said out loud. She had met several impossible situations in her life, over half of them because of loving Drew. Tonight he was very present even though she had no idea where in the world he was. As the soft snow fell and the room turned cold from the lack of electricity, her only thoughts were about him.

She wondered if it was snowing in North Carolina and if he was still living and working with his grandparents at the vineyard. The snow is so beautiful there, she thought to herself. She loved the way the lines of the vines looked draped with the snow, and the way the birds would line up on the ends of the rows where there was just enough wire showing. This made her think of the cardinals at the vineyard guest house.

Her favorite bird had always been the cardinal, for many reasons, but mostly because she had been told they mate for life. It was the first animal that she had learned this about. Even if that was fact stretching, she still liked to believe it.  As a second grader her teacher put up a bird house just outside of the classroom window so the class could observe the birds.  Cardinals of every shape and size would work the schoolyard and tree line then late in the afternoon, a single pair would return to the bird house just before school let out of the day. Teacher had said that these were the mamma and daddy birds. The daddy was the bigger and brighter of the two, but Hope had always favored the nearly pink/grey females. They were good mothers, and they looked excited when the males would return, and stand on the edge of the bird house rail, on guard.

She felt warmer now sitting in front of the fire and she realized that she was getting sleepy, so she set her cup of Earl Gray tea down on the hearth, and pulled the blankets closer to her as she laid her head down on the fluffy pillow from the sofa.

When her eyes closed, she could see Drew standing in front of a fireplace, holding a log in one hand, his muscles bulging from the strain. This brought back memories of the first weekend they knew each other as more than just business partners.

She remembered how they had danced to the hand-held radio playing Lovely As You by Allison Kraus & Union Station. She fell in love with bluegrass music that night as well. Drew made her feel special for the first time in a really long time. She knew she was still special to him, wherever he was, and he to her even though they could never be together. To disrupt his life and his time with his children was not something she was willing to do. He was in the one place that she knew he would always be happy. In their lives, even if things surrounding them were troubled, he would be happier knowing them, watching them grow, and protecting them. Just like the male cardinal on the rail of the bird house.

She longed to be his pink/grey female, waiting for his return to their shared lifelong sanctuary, and loving their babies.  


Hope in Carolina a Lost & Found novel


Filed under fiction, life, writing

Fifty Shades of Jim by Velya Jancz-Urban


My female goddess awakened as Jim tickled me down there with an ostrich feather. I chewed my lips as he salaciously cocked his head to the side and rocked his groin upward.

“Holy crap,” I gasped, about to reach my seventh orgasm of the day. Jim stroked his humongous male organ with a riding crop while he slowly tied my ankles to my elbows with his silver necktie, my favorite necktie, the one that always made me gasp – but first he freed my breasts from the restraint of my black lace bra. He made me repeat our safe word: Fiddledeedee, as he ran his hand over my sex. His manhood pushed against my belly and I bit my lip to keep from crying out. His ginormous tool bobbed as he strode to the playroom cabinet where he kept his toys. He made a low primal growl as he inhaled sharply. Yes, he did both things simultaneously.

“Jump down. Turn around. Pick a bale of cotton,” he commanded. I gasped at his words, my insides liquefying. He was about to push me over the brink once more when he slipped a Delta airlines eye mask over my face.

“I want you upside down on the nightstand!” he ordered.

“That’s a little tricky, Jim,” I answered in a hoarse whisper. “I’m kind of tied up right now,” I purred.

“Do you want me to spank you?” he hissed, his breathing labored.

“Yes, yes,” I begged and murmured. A moment later I heard him open a drawer. I sensed him behind me.

“So you want it rough?” he breathed.

“Yes, oh yes!” my female parts moaned.

His erection trailed across my back as he growled, “Do you know how hot you are right now, Wifely?”

WIFELY??!! My building orgasm came to a screeching halt.

Can you tell I’ve been reading Fifty Shades of Grey? Are you wondering why? A paperback copy from Woodbury Library sits on our coffee table and I wonder why myself. The plot is terrible, the characters are two-dimensional. The term inner goddess is used fifty-eight times and someone murmurs one hundred ninety-nine times. Some people see a story about a man who was abused at a young age and a woman trying to free him from his demons; a man who is afraid to love and a woman trying to show him how, as they mend the broken parts of each other. Some people are disturbed by the materialism and feel if you take away the kinky stuff, it’s just another Harlequin Romance. It’s been suggested the book’s focus on a BDSM relationship appeals to a woman’s desire to be dominated. Could women love the book because it shows a man doing all the right things in bed – without having to be asked?

Jim and I – the real Jim, the one who doesn’t own a riding crop but does have a humongous male organ – were in the shower yesterday afternoon. He kind of half-heartedly slathered shampoo around on my head with one hand and washed his face with the other hand. As shampoo lather dribbled down my shoulders, I turned to him and said, “You know, this isn’t how that Christian Grey guy washes hair.”

“Who’s Christian Grey?” he asked as he soaped us up.

“The Fifty Shades of Grey guy,” I said.

“Why, how’s he do it?” Jim asked phlegmatically (EL James isn’t the only one with a thesaurus!).

“Oh, he kinds of holds the woman’s face in his hands, peers into her eyes, acts like he doesn’t even realize she’s naked, and totally concentrates on gently washing her hair with some exotic jasmine shampoo,” I explained.

“You beguile me, Wifely,” Jim said (no, he didn’t) as he held my face in his hands, peered lovingly into my eyes and slipped his fingers into my nostrils (yes, he did). This is my Christian Grey. He doesn’t buy lingerie or send me erotic texts. Actually, his last text consisted of one word: Great. He’s never heard of Manolo Blahnik’s, doesn’t have an Audi R8 Spider, or a helicopter We don’t have red paint on our playroom walls, he doesn’t lavish me with praise, and we don’t own nipple clamps. In November, we celebrated our thirty-second wedding anniversary. My stomach still flutters when he comes home from work and he’s the first person I call with good – or bad – news. He doesn’t try to control me, yet his is the advice I most value. When I wake up in the middle of the night he’s always worked his way over to my side of the bed. He never panics. He never flirts with other women. He’s always believed in me, even when I haven’t believed in myself. He’s a man of honor and integrity. He doesn’t hold my hand in public, but he’s been at my side for the last thirty-two years. He loves me with his actions, not with butt plugs, handcuffs, or words. Last night, when I told him how much I loved him, he said, “Alright.” It is alright and I’d marry him all over again.

Laters, baby.


Filed under writing

Without All the Love by Ginger King

My series The Lost and Found while not necessarily romance in genre, does contain some romance because the stories are all about loving in difficult situations.  Loving parents, running from a love we know is good for us.  Loving our friends who know us just about as well as we know ourselves.  Each book has a set of circumstances in the plot that are dramatic and thrilling (hopefully) on their own without romance or love.  So I ask myself why do even the best thrillers have some aspect of love and or romance? Is is because it is present even if what is experienced is the exact opposite of love?

Sometimes it is in the form of deep respect, an appreciation for an elder or mentor as in Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector between Lincoln and Amelia.  Perhaps it is friendship and the lifelong bond it sometimes creates such as in the film The Sandlot as shown in the ending scene between Benny and Smalls.  Also there is familial love.  The kind that creates a good kind of crazy that only exists in the family dynamic.  Then there is heart wrenching family love found in books like Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.  So very many stories would be less without all the love.  Even the Love Story is about so much more than the romantic love between Ollie and Jenny but in that story their love is the reason for nearly everything that happens apart from the fatherly love of Phil.  In other books, the love is a result, a complication, a game changer to the plot.  Sometimes it is a large part, and sometimes small, but it is there none the less.

In the first book of the Lost and Found series, Diamond Road the action and plot move along because of what happens to one of the main characters.  Her set of circumstances are neither romantic or driven by romance.  They are driven by her need to survive, to come out of those circumstances whole and happy.  In the second novel of the series (coming later this year) Hope in Carolina there is way more romance than in any of the other books.  It’s strategic.  These new main characters needed to have a bond that they are not willing to lose despite the odds stacked against them.  As their story completes itself in the third book of the series the plot is predominantly a drama and criminal thriller with lots of action inside and outside of a hospital and a courtroom.  But what gravity would all of that have on these two characters without all the love?

If you stop and ask yourself these same questions about your own life, you realize that if we write about humans, the kind we know, the kind we are then you must admit that every story is a love story to some degree.  Here is a short excerpt from Hope in Carolina that is romantic in nature.  It’s about how some of the details of the world around us slip away when we are in the embrace of that certain person who holds our heart in such a way as to make us believe we are one with them.

Hope asked, “I mean have you ever kissed someone and you can’t even remember what you did with your hands? I never knew what my hands were doing, where they were.  All I know was how he made me feel.  One hundred percent his, and I was so totally in the moment with his lips on mine or his teeth gently nibbling at my neck or jawline.  For the brief seconds we weren’t’ joined we were nose to nose with a slight giggle coming from one or the other of us like we knew something, held some prizze no one else could ever possibly understand.  I still don’t recall where my hands were most of the time.  It was like they melted away and his lips were all I knew.”


Filed under Excerpts, fiction, life, writing

Here We Go by Ginger King

Well nerves or not, my debut novel, the first in a series (Lost and Found) is being released in just a little while.  Yes, I’m nervous about how it will be received, especially by my peers, and I promise to do better the next go around.  I have stories roaming around in my head, put down in notes, blurbs and all sorts of ways to remind me of their essence when I return to them.
The craft of writing better and better novels is something I hope to continue working on.  Because I want them to be better and better.  As writers, don’t we all want that?  I suppose its ingrained in us.  There’s a lot to be said for having the right background for being a fiction writer like maybe a fine arts degree but I was told when I started this endeavor without one that as long as I had good stories, others could help me develop the techniques of my craft. So ready or not here we go.  I’m sure I will get all sorts of reviews and I hope to learn from each and every one.  Look for Diamond Road coming soon.
kansas Wheat bale DIAMOND ROAD
Speaking of diamonds, Neil Diamond said, “Love on the rocks, ain’t no big surprise” and that’s so true.  We shouldn’t be surprised by heartache, but inevitably that is what happens.  It’s how we deal with it that can make all the difference.   My husband is an RC pilot and we always say about the planes, “They go up.  They come down, and the descent isn’t always graceful”.  The next book in the Lost and Found series, Hope In Carolina will involve loving in difficult situations and sometimes that’s not so graceful.  This Friday I found out that two friends were getting divorced and Saturday found out another two are getting married.  It highlighted how versatile the heart has to be sometimes, sticking it out or giving up.
There’s just so many times your heart can be broken before you learn how to recover faster than you did the last time.  Sounds cold I know, but it’s realistic.  If you are fortunate you will love a lot in your life.  And please don’t mistake my intention here.  You should never shut yourself off from love, but learning how to land safely when the “falling” is over becomes an extreme value when you find the heart that once soared now leaves you in pain.
SADNESSYou have to teach yourself what to do, what to think and who to spend your time with.  Because you will have to go to bed and sleep instead of tossing so you can actually function at work the next day.  When you come home, even if it’s toast and peanut butter you’ve gotta eat.  And getting your mind focused on something else is  imperative because if you aren’t careful you’ll extend your misery by reliving all of the good and the bad.
And let me finish by saying, I intellectually know all of this.  Putting it into practice, well I’ve never been really great at it.  So I guess here we go again.  Maybe these things will help the character Hope in my next book even if for me not so much.
Stay tuned!


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Sleepless Nights

Have you ever had one of those nights when you could not sleep, no matter what, your eyes popped open and your brain ran a million miles per hour?  I have, I believe we all have them once and a while.  Sometimes I lay in bed, hoping that sleep will come, other times I get up and go watch the idiot box, otherwise known as the television. 

There may be a good film on Turner Classic Movies, but usually they have something really odd airing in the wee hours of the morning.  The other stations are loaded with what they call “infomercials” those half hour or hour long spots that take advantage of their time to hammer the viewer with all the reasons their product is the one to buy. 

My question is: If this product is so good, why do we not see a regular ad on during normal hours when we are bombarded with a plethora of thirty second to one minute spots selling us more rubbish that we don’t need.

So many of the ads, no matter when they air, tell us how our lives are incomplete without their product.  They tell us that we are not enough on our own, or we are not good enough just as we are.  But we need not worry because their product, and their product alone will improve our sex life, make us look more successful or get us into the right circle of friends and business associates.  With their product our lives will be complete.  Many of these ads try to sell us the miracle pill or cookery product that will help us to lose those unwanted extra pounds that are making us miserable and our lives a failure. 

These ads reiterate over and over again the Be-Do-Have scenario.

That translated into ~~ what we should aspire to BE, before we can DO certain things in order to HAVE the life we want, and suddenly, miraculously, with their product clasped tightly in out hot little hands, our lives will be perfect. 

To that I say: Rubbish. 

This belief system is like standing at the train station waiting for the train that will take us to the next stop along the way, and when we get there everything will be wonderful, stress free and perfect.

Life, no matter what, is thick, deep and messy. 

Life is not an easy stroll through the garden.  Life is a struggle, and we are always trying to do better in our lives for ourselves and for those we love.  We are each unique and wonderful people.  We should celebrate and embrace our unique qualities and do the same for others, accept them for the unique treasure that they are. 

So what happens to the BE – DO – HAVE scenario?   

We should aspire to BE is ourselves, just our genuine self with the gifts, loves, joys and shortcomings that make us uniquely who we are.  There is nothing that we need to DO or buy or become before we can HAVE the life we want.  When we embrace ourselves, as we are, there we begin to have the life that is not always seeking something else, something we are fooled into believing will be better.  We need not wait for the train that will never come, because there is no place that will magically Poof us into perfection.  There is no product that can transform us as they would lead us to believe. 

Is the grass greener on the other side?  It may look that way from where your are standing, however, whoever may be on that other side may see that your grass is greener than theirs.  Perspective.

Don’t waste your life waiting for the train, hoping the thing you buy will make the difference, for those are not the things that will bring long lasting joy or peace.  Being at peace with who you are, oh yes, do work to improve, but first love who you are in the moment, flaws and all.  Make the most of the moment.  

All you need to BE is yourself, all you need to DO is love who you are and accept yourself as a wonderful, unique treasure, and HAVE the life you want, because it is right there within your grasp as long as you do not grasp for things that are dangled before you like a brass ring that corrodes once you have it in hand. 

S. M. Senden author Clara’s Wish and Lethal Boundaries and A Death of Convenience and Other Short StoriesWWW.SMSENDEN.wordpress.com

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The other day I was watching the Turner Classic Movie station and they ran an ad where Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore discussed the film Marty and paired it with the film How to Marry a Millionaire and which woman would be a good match for Ernest Borgnine as Marty. The ladies were Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe. Robert Osborne thought Betty Grable might be his best match. For some reason, I didn’t agree.

If you have never seen the film Marty, it is well worth the time to see it. Ernest Borgnine plays a single, Italian man of about thirty-five who works in a butcher shop. He is not handsome, rich or a huge success. He is an ordinary, rather shy man who is overweight and gets tongue-tied around women. His family and customers all nag at him about why he isn’t married and starting a family yet, all his siblings have. The chatter does not help. He hangs out with his male friends and they do the same stuff all the time, bowling, the diner, and just hanging out. One night they go to the dance.

Marty is a shy man, who is reticent but he is a kind person. It is because of this kindness that he finally meets someone. A man offers him $5.00 to take a blind date off his hands so he can go score with a woman he already knows. Marty feels that is cruel and a lie. He refuses, but watches. He feels compassion for the lonely woman the man ditched and speaks to her. They hit it off. Though his friends don’t think too much of her, in the end, Marty feels something special for her, and they begin seeing one another, empowering Marty to come out of his shell.

The women in How to Marry a Millionaire are looking to ensnare wealthy men to keep them in style. Lauren Bacall is a savvy who knows what she wants and goes for it. She does not want to waste time dating the wrong men. She needs a man who will meet her eye to eye and be as strong as she is. Lauren and Marty would never go far. She would give him a look up and down and say; “No thanks, pal.”

Betty Grable seems weary of the chase, and may for a time give a man like Marty a chance. Where Robert Osborne sees her as a good match for Marty, I don’t agree. She may be able to hang out with the guys, be great fun at a party or on a date. She is a good person, also full of confidence. Where does her life really intersect with Marty’s? To me, Marty and Betty want different things out of life, and in the long run would not make one another happy.

Then we come to Marilyn Monroe. Mr. Osborne feels that she would be pursued by men for her looks and sex appeal. It really was the problem she faced in life every day. Yet is that what Marilyn wants? To me, she is a woman who is looking to love and be loved. She is not so taken in by the shallow surface appeal of a sexy body or drop-dead good looks. Marilyn Monroe, though she had an undeniably powerful animal magnetism, she showed her vulnerability. She showed her loneliness, and desire to find someone she could love. To me, Marilyn and Marty would be able to have a successful relationship. They want the same thing ~ to love and to be loved. They could each be vulnerable, open and honest with one another, the basis for a good, long lasting relationship.

It made me stop and ponder; what do we expect from relationships these days?

In writing, creating characters and in my everyday life, relationships need to have commonality on some level or they won’t work. In creating romance for characters, I need to be mindful of their core values, beliefs and desires. A psychologist friend of mine read my books and related to me the depth and intricacy of human relationships I achieved. I even ran a troubled character profile by her, and she was ready for me to refer him to her for treatment.

I strive for relationships in my writing that are able to stand the test of time if they are to last. I construct the relationship with the fatal flaw that will tear the couple apart. I study life, people, their relationships, what works and what does not.

The question that still remains at the end of this discourse is simple. What do you want from a relationship? As you ponder that question, know that the sage wisdom of the ages comes back as well: What you give will be returned.

May your relationships be a blessing to those who know you, because you give of yourself from your heart.

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