Exposed

Hours of enjoyment, that’s what was waiting for me in this boxed set. A Romantic Suspense collection.

Off the top, I have to say – I appreciated the clean-ness of these books. I find that when it’s less than clean (for me anyway) it’s like going to a party with a spot on the front of your favorite outfit …..  it takes the shine off the whole experience. I love an awesome,  distraction free, tale of mystery and intrigue.

These books were well written, with interesting characters, and a fresh slant on the idea behind the stories. I’m a fan of all three attributes but fresh slant is my favorite.

It seemed like before I knew it, I was finishing the last book. I’m a chain smoker when it comes to books. Finish one and light up another. I think I’ve mentioned I’m an addict.

I’m always sad when a story comes to an end. For a few seconds anyway.


Speaking of addictions: that reminds me……. of a idea I’d better save for the next post.


 

So….. back to books

Exposed

Exposed

A Boxed Set Book Bundle Collection of Romantic Suspense with seven great books

Hallowed Ground – Mary Alford …… Erin is devastated when Blake, her CIA partner, is killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan and she’s grateful to have the support of Blake’s best friend and fellow agent, Jax.  The team is sent to Afghanistan on a mission to find  Blake’s killers but it’s a set up. This realization set in when their unit was attacked and  none but two survived.  The details of their deployment could only have come from their superiors. With no idea who to trust, they carefully start digging and uncover more lies. Did Blake discover something he shouldn’t? Or was he part of something worth killing for? Working with Jax to find the truth has Erin realizing for the first time, Jax is a good man.

Fire – Lynette Bonner …. Kyra is a teacher by trade but helps out with manicure’s on the side. It’s a shock, on the first day of school, to see a new student in her class, looking much like a younger version of the good looking guy in her shop on Friday, the one who asked her out. Case Lexington is just as shocked to see Kyra and is living with fear she will blow his cover. He’s posing as a student, to help umcover the source of the drug supply killing local teenagers. Kyra wants to do her part in this search, motivated by the drug related death of her brother. Case is attempting to discourage her, afraid for her safety. A mere student has no credibility so, as a last resort,  he chooses to keep an eye on her by working with her. Not an easy thing to do. It’s been a very long time since he met a woman who could catch his interest, and she thinks he’s a student. The next shock is the source of the fatal drugs.

Jill Came Tumbling After – Lesley Ann McDaniel …. Jill Martin, a single mother of two, is looking for a job, after finding the courage sever ties with her alcoholic husband. Jobs are scarce but there is a new factory in town and, in spite of her obvious lack of skills, they hire her, effective immediately. Working to get the offices up and running she begins to see things that don’t seem quite right.  She is smarter than expected and  manages to figure out they are planning something that will be a hazard to the whole town, She’s torn between the need to tell and the need to keep her job. If they notice her discovery …. will she even live to tell?

Deadly Exposure – Lisa Phillips …. Bradley Harris comes home from deployment to discover his sister, a US Senator, has been abducted and the FBI suspect Alexis, her best friend and former aide. The whole town holds Alexis in contempt, but, knowing her as well as he does, Bradley has doubts about the accusations against her. Once he uncovers the truth behind her fall from grace, he wonders if any of them will survive the fallout.  Getting his sister back and saving Alexis too – seems like an impossible challenge.

Dead on Arrival – Angela Ruth Strong …. Peruvian Princess, Maritza Rosado and her father land in Washington DC and instead of the usual presidential welcome, they are  greeted with a gun battle that kills her father and his body guard and has Maritza running for her life. Hiding out in a soup kitchen is not going well, she’s been recognized by Levi Parker, fresh home from a mission trip to Peru where he learned of her.  Terrified to trust him, she does anyway, and venturing they discover someone has taken over her country. Not only that, they killed her father and want her dead. Devastation is finding out the betrayal is at the hands of someone they both trusted.

Termination Dust – Alana Terry …. Kimmie is afraid to move away from her abusive step father after the death of her mother. She is old enough to leave and make a new life for herself but she is afraid she would be forced leave her little brother behind, and he  would pay the price, in escalated abuse, for her actions. The family has lived in isolation and secrecy for so long, she can think of no one she can turn to for help.The local State Trooper suspects the truth of the situation and is trying to offer acceptable support,  encouraging Kimmie to leave before the abuse escalates. It happens, before her plans are in place, – she is forced to grab her little brother and run for her life.

For Love or Money – Virginia Vaughan …. Amy Sullivan left everything  behind with the lure of a family connection. When an aunt she didn’t know existed, contacted her  requesting a visit, it seemed like a dream come true. While finding a family connection is important to Amy, it’s not easy learning to love a stranger. Inadvertently she discovers there  is more to the situation than she has been led to believe. Her aunt has been hiding the fact she has terminal cancer. Amy was there for her mother and is determined she won’t be shut out now. Despite the growing closeness in those final days, it’s a shock for her to learn she has been left with a sizable inheritance. It’s an even greater shock to   discover someone wants it enough to kill her to get it.


‘Til next time – Happy Reading!

Here’s hoping you are also experiencing many hours of good reading. I don’t want to be the only one finding exquisite treasures, not when there are so many to be found.

 

Some things need to be talked about

I am convinced there are some things that need to be talked about. There could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe someone shares a similar experience and needs encouragement. Maybe  someone feels lumped in with the abusers and needs reassurance. Maybe someone has the false impression that all abused women hate men and need to know that’s not true. Or, maybe it’s just to help me figure out some things. It could be for any number of reasons that haven’t even occurred to me yet. Whatever the reason, I feel pretty confident there will be some good come out of a discussion.

This post is a continuation of some things I have shared recently, regarding men and my trust issues. Men have been both a blessing and a curse in my life. In spite of the good, I’m still left with trust issues that creep up on me in a way that makes no sense sometimes. Although, maybe it would make sense if I could uncover the old memories triggering these reactions and deal with them somehow.

Today was one of those days. My niece has the sweetest young husband and I met him for the first time. They stayed over night with me as they are travelling back to Western Canada, they were easy to have around. We found lots of interesting things to talk about, it was a great visit. In the morning though, when it was time for them to leave, it was awkward. I wanted to hug them both good bye but I just couldn’t bring myself to initiate a hug with him. I cannot explain to you why that was, there was just something holding me back.

I am still beating myself up over it.

He could have hugged me and I would have responded, but he didn’t know that.

This is an ongoing issue with me, it happens all the time with my son-in-law, whom I love dearly. I want to hug him like I do the rest of the family, but I just can’t. He could hug me but I sense he has some of the same trust issues I do. It seems we end up hugging with a look.

So, getting back to the initial thinking behind this new post.

There is a question I have been asking myself for the last couple of weeks – how can I have empathy and distrust all at the same time? It seems like it should one or the other. Black or white.

For a short while, I was worried there was something emotionally wrong with  me, and that was distressing because I didn’t want it to be true. The concern over this idea was quickly relieved when someone shared a video on Facebook about a five year old brother comforting his little sister. In a flash, it struck a deep cord with me. I realize I learned to love at a very early age, even while I was learning to distrust.

I am the oldest of three with two brothers. There are five years between the oldest and the youngest and there has always been a strong bond between us.  Until now I have never really questioned why that is. I can see that I need to start asking more questions.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, living with my grandparents, I was asked to babysit, briefly, for several families with young babies. These were people I had never met. At the time I wondered why they would consider me, but it didn’t occur to me to question why I felt like I could do the job. Now it occurs to me to ask the question.

Why did I feel confident I could comfort a crying baby or change a dirty diaper? Why did  Grandma have enough confidence to allow me to take the job? There were no babies in our life with her, any experience I had with them would have come from another time.

At this point, looking back on our family dynamics, I can see my mother pressing me into service with my youngest brother. I’m sure Grandma would have been aware of this fact. I have no memory of any of it, but then, I don’t remember a lot of things. It turned out I did indeed know how. I still do.

me and Jax may 2017 WPG

My youngest brother’s great grandson Jax. We’ve just met for the first time (a year ago). His mother took this picture.

There’s more….

Lately, I have been having conversations with my older brother about our life in the early years. He remembers some things I don’t (my mind has buried all of the painful parts) and hearing what he had to say tells me – life was even worse than I imagined. Among other things, he said Dad was not a nice man.

He told me a number of things about those days but there was one story that shook me.

It was about Dad driving on the railroad tracks running behind our property, he was playing chicken with oncoming trains. I had heard these stories for years  and used to laugh, thinking it was something my crazy risk taking father would do. What I didn’t  realize at the time – my brother was with him, scared out of his mind. That’s one of the reasons why Dad did it, it was his perverse way of trying to force this kid to grow some courage. It finally stopped  when my 10 year old brother made up his mind he wasn’t going to let his fear show anymore. I’m horrified Dad would do that to a kid.

We also talked about another time I do remember. It was Dad beating my brother with a piece of hose, in front of all of us. A tool was missing from his work shop and he was convinced it was my brother’s  fault. I can still remember the distress of watching this happen. I could never understand why Mom did nothing to stop it.

One thing I’ve learned, by first hand experience, boys suffer from abuse as deeply as girls. That is the genesis of my soft heart for men, surviving life alongside my brothers, recognizing the pain in their life.

My oldest brother is the reason I’ve left denial behind and have taken ownership of the abusive early years in my life. He adamantly insisted that I must, even if the memories were shadowy and I couldn’t remember the actual events. He wanted to know why I thought I would be the favoured one, to escape abuse.

All three of us have blocked painful memories, but deep inside, we will never forget.

Our story does have a happy ending in spite of the terrible years. All three of us have grown into well adjusted, productive, loving people. We’ve left behind the bitterness and rage. A miracle, really.

One thing I’ve loved about this process of discovery – the heavy load of old baggage seems to grow lighter with each breakthrough experience.

 

 

It’s complicated…but I feel better now

It really is complicated, and it’s causing discomfort – like a pebble in my shoe. The pebble moves around a bit and there are periods of relief, but lately it’s been sitting in a tender spot and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on.

This latest state of discomfort started with a conversation back in December, just before I left on my winter road trip to British Columbia to spend Christmas with family.

I was telling a friend about some of the people I hoped to see along the way, including some of my work clients I’ve never met in person. I was startled by her quick response – but you are still married.

My instant reaction was an emotional – what’s that got to do with anything? I felt like I was being wrongly accused of something.

I haven’t been able to get this conversation out of my mind and it has become the proverbial pebble in my shoe.

There are two things troubling me about the conversation – the thought patterns behind her comment, and the trigger behind my reactive response.

My weak and ailing marriage fractured more than two decades ago and I have been on my own for at least half that time. The relationship is dead and buried. Divorce is not a reality only because I have been reluctant to address it, (the reasons behind that need to be explored, another day) so I am not sure why she thinks the lack of a divorce is a relevant issue.

Also, as I’ve shared in other posts, I have major trust issues with men and have been actively avoiding any chance of another relationship. My friend knows this too, so – where is her thinking coming from?

I feel bad about my reaction to her because it is not one she has ever seen from me. I expect she felt a little like she’d been punched. That’s the trouble with triggers, reactions to them are unpredictable and often painful to the person on the receiving end.

As I think about all of this, I am reminded of similar conversations with other people in other settings. Conversations that were distressingly perplexing because I couldn’t figure out the reasoning or motivation behind them. In every instance I felt like I was being wrongfully accused of something. And, in some cases the conversations became quite emotional.

Maybe that’s the trigger, feeling wrongfully accused. I will have to think some more on this, at a later date.

Now, after a week of letting all of these thoughts simmer, I expect my friend has moved on and forgotten all about this brief conversation, and I need to do the same.

The exercise of thinking and writing my way through this issue has been more than beneficial. The proverbial pebble in my shoe has ceased to be a bother. My original thoughts on this subject have been replaced by today’s much more coherent offering and I am left with new, and healing,  insights into both sides of the conversation.

It occurs to me that the thoughts expressed by the other party in these conversations may have stemmed from the space they are in personally, and had little to do with me at all. Maybe I need to stop making everything about me. Maybe I need to pay more attention to the pain of others and give greater consideration to things going on in their lives.

The benefits of understanding have also been reinforced. Understanding why seems to take the heat out of certain thoughts and emotions and allows me to move on to a healthier place.

This has been a productive exercise. It looks like I will be doing it again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harassment?

Two weeks ago, I got back from a 5,500 kilometre road trip. It was a lot of fun, at least it was from my point of view.

I live in the middle of Canada, there is a marker on the TransCanada Highway at a point west of me saying Longitudinal Centre of Canada to prove it. I was  planning to take a month and go as far as Vancouver Island on the West Coast.

I’m originally from British Columbia and have family and friends there. It’s a few years since I’ve been back and I had big plans to visit a lot of people, in a lot of places. The places part worked out.

The trip went surprising well, in spite of the fact it is winter in this cold and snowy land. There were a few rough spots along the way but they usually had more to do with wrong turns and trouble finding addresses.

Like in Regina Saskatchewan, the first night. I’d planned to go farther but major highway construction with detours made for confusion and the wasting of some hours. Thank goodness for cell phones and Google maps. My daughter bailed me out and figured out that I’d better go back to Regina for the night. The light of a new day, and a different angle, made all the difference and it was easy to find my way to Calgary Alberta.

I was excited to be stopping in Calgary for a few days, I was going to meet clients in person for the first time. It didn’t turn out quite like I expected but my time there still worked out well and I was looking forward to the return trip when I would spend another work week before heading home.

Armstrong, BC was the first stop on my continued journey. It’s famous for it’s Armstrong cheese, and Highland Grog flavoured coffee – at least in our house.  Roger’s Pass through the Rockies was interesting. I love the mountains in the winter. From there I went south to White Rock, via the Coquahalla Highway. The Coq, as it’s known locally, is a 6 lane highway through high mountains, with a speed limit of 120km. It was an icy trip, but at least it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen.

White Rock is a popular resort town on the ocean, south of Vancouver. It’s small in area but beautiful and fun to visit. Nothing else around it is small though, the growth since I was there last is amazing, the city is closing in.

While there, I also had the opportunity to make an overnight trip to Victoria, BC’s capital, to visit family. And as always, the ferry ride was beautiful, so was the city. If you enjoy travel I hope you will Google these places and see for yourself , you may even be tempted to visit one day.

The highlight of my trip was time spent with family and friends, I loved every moment.

Roger’s Pass is the usual way to get to Alberta so the return trip followed the same route.

While the trip itself was long and challenging, it wasn’t the biggest hurdle I had to face. The bigger hurdle was in the mental/emotional area. And it turned out surprisingly well.

I’ve mentioned before that I have major trust issues when it comes to men.

One of the side effects of my current lifestyle is the near complete lack of interaction with men. There are sightings now and again but not much else. Add to that the magnification of my trust issues caused by truths I’m facing on the journey to wellness and it’s double trouble. So, there were two parts to the angst I was feeling about the nearing end of this wellness journey, and the possible/probable interactions on my trip.

How in the world would I ever become comfortable around men again (since there are none anywhere in my life, except family), and how would it work to be out-and-about if I couldn’t manage it.  Then, the more immediate question – will my triggers make an in-person meeting awkward? We have a comfortable working relationship on the phone but I’m worried about seeing this client of mine in person.

As the days of the trip went on, my confidence grew, and I was ready to be more relaxed about things. I didn’t see Bill (not his real name) until the second week I was there. By now, it seemed like everywhere I went there were male people. It was like being thrown into the deep end of the pool…… and I found I could swim.

Bill was a major player in my second week there, as he arranged the use of one of their empty offices for me. Their office staff was four men and one woman. Out numbered everywhere. It was a comfortable stay and I think we parted with pleasant memories of the week. At least I did anyway. They were very kind.

Back home, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my experience and to think about the reasons for the confidence I’ve found.

I think the biggest change in me has been centered around the thought that I had to stop expecting men to change how they treated me. Instead, I needed to decide what I would or wouldn’t allow. The result of this process was a clear set of hard and fast boundaries, in my head, and it has been a freeing experience.

There is so much more that could be said, and maybe should be said, with all the conversation over sexual harassment these days.

For now I will just say this. There are many things we, as women, need to do to keep ourselves safe but the most important thing, I’ve found, is to have set boundaries. It has changed the way I act and react.

Predators are looking for the weak. Boundaries give us confidence, and with confidence we appear strong. When we appear strong, men tend to change direction and back off.

Boundaries have allowed me to lower my protective walls (the ones that keep everyone out) and it feels good.

 

A Listening Ear, Connection

There are several things I hope to talk about, in regard to the month long road trip I finished two days ago. The one foremost on my mind right now, has to do with conversations, and time spent, with several people I had never met before.

The first one was a man, a client I have been working with, from a distance, for a few weeks now. He is a self-professed Chatty Cathy, has gotten carried away in phone conversations a few times, and invariably said I don’t know why I am telling you all this as he shared about his job history, family, health, and whatever else came to mind in the moment.

This connection has been both interesting, and concerning because I have major trust issues with men, issues that have been growing steadily over the last decade or so as I face the deeply buried truth of my early life (a conversation for another day). It’s fairly easy to be relaxed hiding behind the anonymity of a telephone conversation but a face to face conversation is another story. Would my triggers create an awkward situation in the meeting I knew would happen soon?

Thankfully, he was as respectful and easy to talk to in person as he was on the phone. I felt relaxed and our conversation was honest and natural. He was still a Chatty Cathy and still had occasion to say – I don’t know why I am telling you all this. It would do my ego good if I had the idea he shared because he thought highly of me, but I knew that wasn’t it. I think the truth simply was – I was willing to listen.

The second person was the waitress in a Husky Restaurant. It was a small town on my way home and it was getting close to closing time when I stopped for lunch. There were several tables of local boys having coffee and the rest of the tables were empty. I took a seat at a table near them and after a time of quiet, their conversations returned to the easy relaxed way of friends. The seasoned waitress seemed to be the instigator of many conversations, that was her thing.

Usually I have my protective walls firmly in place and don’t easily engage in conversation but things have changed on this trip. As I went to the cash register to pay my bill I decided to attempt a few comments, to open the door a little, and what followed was a full on conversation about the town,  her family, jobs, commutes, and the first trip in 40 years to the next big city. We would have talked longer but she had to finish closing up.

The last person was the desk clerk when I stopped for the night. It seemed to be a slow night for her and she wanted to talk. We talked about her weight problem and all of her concerns, which were many, around that subject.  I learned a lot about her family and their health issues. We talked about living in the country while working in town and the things you have to do to make that work. The last subject we explored had to do with recycling and the inventiveness of her father in using everything and anything as building material. Other guests were looking for her attention several times and I finally took the opportunity to slip away, I had to go – if you catch my drift.  I came away from the conversation feeling bad, and I still do, because she obviously didn’t want me to leave, and seemed to feel deserted when I did.

I can relate to the way she feels. It is not often we find someone willing to take time to listen to us. Many of us seem to be starving with the need for a listening ear.

Then, there are two little people who come to mind in regard to connection. I’ve noticed their unique need many times over the years and make a special effort when I meet little ones. Probably because I remember being that age, somewhere in the buried memories.

The two little boys are 4 and 6. A great nephew and a grandson, visited in different towns. Eye contact seems to be the key to connection for kids, they don’t do deep conversations but have a need to know they have been seen. I had a good time connecting with both of them.

micah and I train track

He has my undivided attention while we are trying to give mommy space to get some things done. It was an unconventional layout for a train track but, hey, we were having fun. Pretty much everything in the room has a function, he remembers what it is all for and explained in detail as we explored one of the bins. The mattress behind him is his dual function trampoline/punching bag. Grandma got to hold the punching bag upright while he practiced his Ninja kicks and chops. It was a challenge but I managed to stay upright myself through it all.

Writers, and reading

To reach full potential, writers need to take reading seriously. This idea isn’t original with me. I am hearing the same thought from many different sources.

I seem to be fixated on promoting reading for writers and I think it is because the group of writers I hang out with show embers of interest about writing but only one or two give off  bright flames of  excitement or of strong motivation. We (as the steering committee) want to find a way to fan the embers and see them burst into flame.

We’ve brainstormed and come up with a few ideas we’d like to try.  Here’s one, sparked by the description of a book read this week by a member of our planning group. It was a book that drew her in to the story and made her forget about the mechanics of writing, even though that is usually the first thing she notices. We are going to encourage each member of the group to make a special effort this month to find a book like this for themselves.

Challenge – go to the library and sample as many books as you need to to find one that totally captures your interest. Before check out, read a bit to see if they seem like good possibilities and add only the good possibilities to the pile you are going  to take home. Make that a big pile. At home – if a book doesn’t totally capture your interest within a short time, move on to the next one. Keep doing this until you find one you can’t put down. If nothing in this pile does this for you, go back to the library for a new supply. Keep doing this until you find the book. This may sound too simple to be bothered with but trust me, it’s not always that easy to find a book like this. It is possible though, There are some amazing ones out there and we want to help you find them.

Now that you’ve found this captivating book. Stop and examine the way it feels, then consciously commit it to memory, as a measure for all of the books you will be reading soon.  If you already know this feeling, you are ahead of the game, and the search for qualifying books will go faster.

If you are serious about writing, you need to be serious about reading, and if you are serious about reading , you need to be serious about what you read.

Reading time is precious, you can’t afford to spend it reading books that don’t measure up to the new standard. I mean, you could, but not if you seriously want to write. I find myself following this rule more and more, now that life holds more for me than just reading, as a pain killer.

Reading only those books meeting the new standard will reset the internal measure for your own writing. As you write, and read aloud what you have written, you will view it all with new eyes and there will be a noticeable difference in your work.

You will be influenced and inspired in a new way. And hopefully the flame of your interest and passion will be burning brightly.


Some books for you

The Nick Kismet AdventuresThe Nick Kismet Adventures Volume 1 – Sean Ellis… I’ve read the first book, the Shroud of Heaven, it is a middle eastern adventure involving historical artifacts and struggles for possession. It was a good story but it was like an action movie, full of car chases and gun fights. I was telling my grandsons about the book, that there were too many chases for my liking. My son-in-law thought it sounded like a pretty good book. This is one for the guys!

 

The Inn at Ocean's Edge  A Sunset Cove Novel – The Inn at Ocean’s Edge book 1 – Colleen Coble …. When Claire makes a visit to the luxury hotel in a beautiful resort town, repressed memories begin to surface. Claire disappeared from her 4th birthday party at the hotel, reappearing at the same hotel a year later, and no one knew where she had been. She didn’t even know she had been missing and her parents seem to be discouraging her from remembering. Her friend Luke’s mother also disappeared that weekend. There must be a connection somehow.

Mermaid Moon  A Sunset Cove Novel – Mermaid Moon book 2 – Colleen Coble …. Mallory hasn’t been back to her hometown in fifteen years but when her dad dies on his mail route she has to go back. Kevin, the local game warden, is warily helping her solve her dad’s murder, Mallory broke his heart the day she left.

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens  A Sunset Cove Novel – Twilight at Blueberry Barrens book 3 – Colleen Coble …. Kate has shouldered the responsibility of her families blueberry farm but when the crop fails she has to look for a new way to make ends meet. Renting out their cabin when Drake and his nieces show up looking for a place seems like a solution to her dilemma. It’s even better when he needs a nanny for the girls while he spends time looking for his brother’s killer. Life would be good for Kate except someone seems to be stalking her.

Winter's Secret  Northern Intrigue – Winter’s Secret book 1 – Lyn Cote …. Someone is vandalizing during a record winter, targeting empty homes of senior citizens. Wendy, their public health nurse, is always the one to discover the break ins and seems to be the common thread between all of them. Rod is the new sheriff in town and the opposition to his appointment is not helping his investigation. It seems this town has secrets.

Seek Me with All Your Heart  A Land of Canaan Novel – Seek Me with All Your Heart book 1 – Beth Wiseman …. Why would the Amish move to Colorado leaving their friends and family behind. For Emily and her family the reason is personal. They are trying to start over after her devastating attack. David’s family has moved for reasons he doesn’t understand and he wants to find a way to go back to the home he loved. An attraction blooms between Emily and David but they each have a secret that makes a future seem impossible for them.

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast  Finding Love At the Oregon Coast – a romantic novella collection – Angela Ruth Strong, Christina Coreyell, Heather Woodhaven, Lisa Phillips ….. when a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related novels.

Untangled Michele PillarUntangled: The Truth will set you free – Michele Pillar …. The personal story of a successful singing career derailed by tragedy and bad choices, and how facing the truth of her life and choices, gave her a second chance at a career and more. Truth brought freedom to the tangled mess that was her life.

 

 

I don’t feel like writing….

I don’t feel like writing… and the reason for this is not good. A blogger I follow is going through a rough patch and it is his pain that started mine. Empathy. I sense pain in others and take it on as my own. I don’t mean to, I know it’s not healthy – taking another’s pain as your own – but sometimes intentions aren’t enough to stop empathy.

This blogger is a young man and I am neither young, nor a man. He writes in a general way giving very little detail about his personal life, yet there is something in his writing that leaves the impression of much more below the surface.

I am drawn to reading his posts but I am an introvert, and there is the age/gender thing, so I am trying to stay hidden. Not an easy thing to do as his audience is still small.  Regular visitors stand out rather dramatically. With view stats he would see activity from my country only, but with likes and comments he would see my identity. So, I keep likes to a minimum, and avoid making comments. Eventually his curiosity about this person reading all of his posts has him trying to coax me out into the open. I steadfastly refuse to rise to the bait, until he shares a post revealing some of his pain. The encourager in me can’t help but respond, and I think this is where the trouble begins. But I could be wrong. It could have little to do with my response and much to do with the aftermath of his revealing some of his personal pain.

The trouble with wounded introverts, in my experience, is they over examine every interaction and then flog themselves mercilessly.  I can see signs of flogging going on. There is the unusually long silence and then today’s post indicating deep pain, with the probability of no more blogging. That would be a shame, on so many levels. I expressed this in a comment. I hope he hears and is encouraged to keep in touch.

I have been focused on what I imagine to be his pain paying little attention to my own pain based behaviors. Recognizing the resulting depression in me is the reason for this blog post …. forcing myself back into community, avoiding the tendency for withdrawal.

There is something therapeutic about the attempt to express thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense. It helps defend against depression. And, community feed back  from posting is a bonus.

I hope my blogger friend will stay in community and keep writing. I know he will discover others who have travelled roads similar to his and will cheer him on, and he will discover growth in positive new insights about himself.

It’s working for me tonight, I would like to see it work for him too

And the pressure is off, hiding is over, no more avoiding comments and likes. Nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lots to be excited about

This week was the first meeting of the season for the writer’s group I joined in the spring. It has been an amazing experience because I’ve never joined a group and bonded  so quickly. I was ready to make some new friends and finding some with similar interests is a bonus. I am pretty excited.

The purpose of the group is to share and critique our writing. This week I was slated to share for the first time; something I have been reluctant to do, mainly because I don’t see myself as a writer. It went much better than anticipated and I am excited. I shared a couple of passionate posts from this blog startling everyone, this side tracked us into talking about some things and we ran out of time for critique. Actually, it made me pretty happy because that’s the main purpose of writing, for me anyway, to generate thought and conversation.

Then, there was another unexpected happening; the member responsible for our small library is leaving us for a year and someone will need to take over the task. The books ended up in the trunk of my car, as a temporary measure, and now (since I am a reader at heart) my head is filling up with ways to promote the reading of these neglected and mostly forgotten books. My excitement is growing by the minute. Several of the ladies are slated to come over for coffee in a week or so, to help check out the books…… maybe  I can infect them with my enthusiasm.

On a more serious note, all of this has been like salve for my soul. Writing has been a blessing and connecting with like minded people has too. I highly recommend both.  Writers groups seem to be popping up everywhere and we all have a story to tell. If there is a spark of an idea in your mind, go for it. I think you will be glad you did.


Now for a few books

The Claudia Hershey Mystery Series – In the Spirit of Murder book 1 – Laura Belgrave Claudia transfers to a small town police station to find a quieter professional life, for the sake of her daughter, but murder seems to follow her.  Dead psychics and citizens with secrets to guard are not conducive to a quiet life.

Turner Creek Ranch Series – Treasure Me, Cowboy book 1 – Debra Clopton   rumours of buried treasure, a researching historical writer,  well meaning but interfering brothers, a cowboy with a ranch to run and issues with all of the above……  an entertaining story

Paths of Grace –  Such a Hope  book 1 – Sondra Kraak     Washington Territory 1871, Anna has spent her whole life travelling the countryside in the wagon of her freighter father; now he has died and left her to fend for herself. She knows how to do the job but things are not the same for a woman alone in a man’s world, especially when her father has made financial decisions without her knowledge.

Nothing stood out as special this week, instead it went the other way – there were books read that didn’t make the list to be shared. On the bright side, the less than great books make the great ones stand even taller when they do show up.

I hope you have found your share of great books to read this week. And, I hope you have found the courage, and the means, to tell your story to someone who cares.

Happy reading! Inspire a friend to read too!

 

 

A favorite book this week

This week is about books, some I loved and some…I didn’t.

Generally, I don’t like to talk about books I dislike in a blog post (I save my rants over pet peeves for in person conversations not caught on camera) Putting dislike into words in a blog post just feels too much like a written rejection letter.  I would rather stick to the positive and  tell you about the books I liked and let the negative be shown subtly by the book’s absence from my list.

But, there’s a downside to positive only comments, it gives the impression I am an  indiscriminate reader.

So, I will give you a reason to believe I have opinions about what’s good and what’s not. There were a half dozen books this week that didn’t survive past the first few pages. There were two in particular, though, that caused a high level of disappointment. I had great expectations for them because they were written by popular public figures with something to say. I kept reading longer than usual, wanting them to get better. They didn’t

The first one is an allegory, I’ve read other books in a similar style and loved them, I expected to love this one too. The first off putting thing was, the hype overkill at the beginning of the book. How many endorsements do you really need! The second off-putting thing was, the story didn’t live up to the hype. It was disjointed, hard to follow, and the symbolism didn’t marry well with descriptions and actions, which was frustrating.

The second book was also similar in style to several other books I’ve read and enjoyed  recently. My expectations were high because I’ve not seen another book address this particular topic, at least not from this angle. The introduction gave me hope because it talks about how the book came to be, and how it was originally longer but they pared it down significantly. It could have been pared down even more, in my opinion. How many ways should you say the same thing?

The major downfall I see with both of these books; they had something worth saying, but the process of writing is not a strong skill for either of them. An experienced editorial team would have been a great asset.

I give them kudos for trying though because writing a successful book is not as easy as it looks.

 

So, having mentioned books I didn’t like, it’s time to mention some books I did like, enough to stay up reading half the night in some cases.


Kiya Trilogy – Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh book 1, Kiya: Mother of a King book 2 – Katie Hamstead …… this is a fictionalized story of King Tut, an excellent read and my favorite this week. I’m looking forward to reading book 3

Detective Madison Knight Series – Deadly Impulse book 6 – Carolyn Arnold …… I enjoy Carolyn Arnold and this was another good one from her, lots of believable twists and turns while  looking for the killer.

Bridge to Haven – Francine Rivers ….. this story starts when an abandoned newborn is mercifully found by a tender hearted man, under the bridge at the edge of town. Sometimes the sad places of our lives cause us to make devastating decisions. This is a book of second chances. Francine Rivers has been one of my favorite authors for many years and still is.

A Riley Paige Mystery – Once Gone book 1, Once Taken book 2 – Blake Pierce ….  a brilliant female police detective with a broken past that makes her more than a little prickly. Blake Pierce is a new favorite author of mine.

The Kate Lange Thriller Series – Damaged book 1 – Pamela Callow …..  Suspense…. recovering from the death of her sister and a messy break-up, Kate finds herself with a new law firm, embroiled in a dangerous mystery.

Skye Cree Thriller – The Box of Bones book 3 – Vickie McKeehan …. a serial killer, dismembered bodies, and not much to go on. This was  believable too, a mystery that keeps you guessing to the end, the best kind.

The Retired Gardener – Gideon Williams ….. this is definitely not your usual thriller, a retired gardener who always seems to side step away from harm directed at him.  A new slant on thrillers.

As always, I hope you will be on the lookout for good books, there are so many out there waiting to be found.

Happy reading!