Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Unborn (first teaser)

Hello minions! Book three comes out in March/April. Here is a snippet. The Unborn is written a little differently in that it’s divided into three sections. Section one: Rachel. Section two: Gavin. Section three: Rachel. Here is a little sneak peak from Gavin’s section of the book. Merry Christmas!

Snow had begun to fall on the journey home and with wet wings it was harder to fly. It took more effort but the thought of facing the intense pain that awaited him upon shifting back kept him in his crow form all the way home. Normally he would stop and rest at least once, but not this day. Finally, scoping out the backyard from the air and realizing he was home gave him no choice. He glided smoothly to the ground landing safely in front of the door of the small rebuilt toolshed and quickly slipped inside.

            Gavin dressed quickly with the extra set of clothes he always kept inside and was halfway across the yard to the backdoor when the weight of his conversation with Rachel started to sink in. The grief and anger consumed him and he decided to go for a walk in the woods instead. Alexander was inside and he knew he was going to disappoint him. He had promised to bring Rachel back but he didn’t know exactly how to break the news to his brother.

            Alexander still wasn’t speaking but in every other way seemed perfectly fine. He pined for Rachel, however. Almost as much as Gavin did. He missed her, probably because she was the only person who could truly communicate with him. He could of course write notes, but he seemed to very much dislike that and seemed lonely for her company. Alexander longed for the company of someone who could converse without being verbal.

            Gavin turned away from the house and made tracks toward the woods in the five or six inches of snow that had fallen in the last couple of hours. The familiar emerald of the woods with its tall pines and evergreens had been transformed to white by the snow that was still falling in large flakes, blanketing the ground and adding to the silence. Out here he could find peace.

            The sun was beginning its early winter descent and Gavin walked on, looking for his usual spot. He was soaked from snow but didn’t care. There was someone out here who needed him anyway, and if it could ease his own pain to ease that of his friend’s at least there was that. Sharpening his vision he crouched low and listened until he heard what he was after. There was a rabbit about twenty yards off, scurrying along, probably trying to make its way back to its burrow when he stopped, detecting Gavin.

            The two stared at each other for a moment, and then in a flash Gavin pounced, grabbing the small creature and snapping its neck. It was important to him that the creature didn’t suffer. He hated killing any living animal, but was wise enough to know nature’s way and so tucked the kill under his arm and headed to see his friend.

            Arriving at his usual spot he leaned up against the tree observing his friend sleep. He called out to him with his mind, waking the creature from its slumber and watched as the big cat stretched and yawned. The bobcat rolled over, locked eyes with Gavin and twisted his nose up, smelling the fresh meat. Gavin held the offering up and spoke slowly. “It’s for you. Come on now. You have to eat. You’re getting weaker.”

            The cat stood and limped its way over to Gavin, pain radiating through his old body with every step. Gavin could feel it and moved a little closer, meeting him halfway and sparing him any further discomfort. When the cat got close enough Gavin put the rabbit down and sat with his friend while he chewed on his dinner. He stretched out his hand scratching him behind the ears as he began to purr and chew at the same time. At one time Gavin knew he must have been a magnificent animal. His paws were the largest he’d ever seen on a bobcat and his coat, once beautiful and thick was now thinning. He ran his hand down the cat’s side, feeling ribs as he did.

            “At least someone listens to me,” he said, scratching him under the chin like a housecat when he’d finished his meal. “I’m afraid you’re not long for this world, my friend. I’ll miss you when you go. You’ve lived a long time though. As much as death is to be feared, you should fear a life without end even more, especially if you have to spend it alone.”



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It’s a Wonderful Life

Every year when the wrapping, baking, buying and prepping is done, my husband and I sit down together, take a few deep breaths and watch, It’s a Wonderful Life.  For anyone who hasn’t seen this movie (which I don’t imagine is very many people, but just in case) it’s the story of a man named George Bailey (Jimmy Stuart) who is so despondent that he finds himself on Christmas Eve standing on a bridge ready to take his own life.

As the movie opens one of the first things we hear is the conversation between Clarence, an angel who has yet to receive his wings, and a senior angel who is getting ready to send Clarence to George in order to help convince him to live.

The senior angel tells Clarence that a man on earth needs his help, to which Clarence responds, “Splendid! Is he sick?”

The senior angel then replies, “No, worse. He’s discouraged.”

George is absolutely certain that the world is better off without him and so Clarence decides the best course of action to convince George Bailey not to end his life is to show him what the lives of everyone else around him would have been like had he never been born.  

George is someone who, as a young man, had big plans to do big things but like so many of us, fell into the trappings of day to day life. George thinks he has lived a very small life and makes a difference to no one. However when he’s shown a world in which he had never existed he realizes that one doesn’t need to do ‘big things’ to have a big impact. The ripple effect from his life had a massive effect, and all who had come into contact with him were better off for having known him.

I dearly love this movie and one of my favorite scenes is close to the end when George’s brother, Harry (someone who has just been decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor) raises his glass to his brother and says, “To my brother George, the richest man in town.”

You’d have to watch the entire movie to get why that line is so poignant and if you haven’t seen it I don’t’ want to rob  you of the moment that will surely (if you have a heart at all) give you what Oprah likes to call, ‘the ugly cry’.  I ugly cry at that moment every year even though I know it’s coming.

I really feel this is one of the most profound movies ever made. Not just because it’s a holiday classic, but for its basic truth. The truth that every life matters. Wherever you fall on the socio economic scale or how you fit into this weird, baseless class system we’ve developed. Every life matters.

YOU matter, and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t.  Think about all of the people you have ever come into contact with. You may have helped people in ways you didn’t even realize. You are too important to exit the stage before your story is finished. If you are thinking of writing ‘the end’ before it’s time then think again. Think of your impact. Think of good old George Bailey.

I know things are difficult at times. I’m right there in the struggle with you. We’re not perfect. We fall, we fail, we lose our way. But never think that you don’t matter, because I assure you that you do and if you can’t see it right now, my Christmas wish for you is that you’ll at least hang on for one more day until you can.

Merry Christmas.

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Something is wrong…

Something is wrong…

That’s the feeling I’ve been walking around with for weeks now, and really, honestly for years. Something is terribly, awfully wrong and something horribly bad is just about to happen.

That’s what depression can feel like and what I’ve felt like for the last few months. I feel like something is wrong.

I go to the mall. Christmas is coming. I love Christmas. I love everything about it (except perhaps for the spending money I don’t have to finance it, but that’s no different than any other year). I love the lights and the decorations. The way everything is special. Everything changes. Even coffee cups change to look more festive and beautiful. I love it…I want to love it…but I can’t because something is wrong. There’s a gnawing, nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that radiates through my entire body telling me that horrible things are coming. Something is wrong.

Maybe I just need to go to the gym. I like the gym. I used to go all the time, and I still go fairly regularly. I’m there about three to five times a week and do an hour on the elliptical. Maybe just putting the music on blast and getting the blood pumping will help. I go…I want to enjoy it…I used to enjoy it…I’m still forcing myself to go because I feel like I’m just not trying hard enough. Studies say that exercise is good for depression don’t they? They do. Well there must be something the matter with me because for all the sweating I do, it hasn’t done bupkis for how I feel lately. I look around at the people there. They seem to be feeling better as they walk out the door…but I don’t…because something is wrong.

Maybe I just need a night out with the bestie. I have the best bestie in the history of besties. If there was an award for bff’s she’d win. Am I too old to use those terms? Meh. I don’t care. She’s mah bestie. J We go out for our weekly stroll around Costco and Walmart (I sometimes think if our teenage selves could walk into the future and see how excited we get over appliances they’d be deeply, deeply ashamed). We yak, we chat, we laugh. I try my best to be present in the moment with her but I’m never fully 100% there…because something is wrong. Something that feels like horrible, wretched guilt is eating away at me moment by moment. I haven’t done anything I need to feel guilty about, but there it is. And because of that I miss out on truly enjoying this night…because something is wrong.

Hey look! It’s my husband of fourteen and a half years. He loves me to pieces. He tells me all the time. We’ve had our ups and downs sure (after seventeen years total together it only makes sense) and we’ve survived it all and are closer than ever. We still get on each other’s nerves but he does lots of nice things for me…but I can’t fully enjoy or appreciate them, because something is wrong.

Did I mention I have two amazing kids? Yep. They’re fourteen and eight years old. They talk to me and I try to listen. I don’t feel like I ever fully do because as they talk, sometimes their voices fade out and the only thing I can think or feel is that something is wrong. I feel like I want to crawl into a hole and hide from the world and everyone in it. My children are getting older and I’m missing out on enjoying them the way I should…because something is wrong.

I wish I had better words to explain it, but that’s truly what it feels like for me, all the time. It feels like something is horribly wrong. No matter what is going on my brain just can’t see its way clear to letting me feel good. And all of those things I described above, those are on a GOOD day. During the bad days, forget it. I do crawl into that hole and say in bed for days, sometimes weeks.

So while I might look perfectly fine that’s quite far off the mark most of the time.

Yes I know others have it much worse. Somewhere out there is someone sleeping in a hut and using plastic bottles for shoes. But you know what? That doesn’t seem to help me feel better. It doesn’t make me feel better any more than it would cure me if I had cancer. It would be ridiculous for someone to say, “Oh you have cancer? Think about all those people who have no shoes. How dare you have cancer.”

And yet we pull this kind of bullshit on people who have brain disorders all the time. It sickens me.

Anyway, it’s 6 a.m. I haven’t slept. I’d like to sleep right now but I won’t fall asleep until I’m absolutely and completely physically exhausted. Why? Do I even need to tell you at this point if you’ve read all the way through?

Because something is wrong…



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Dear Suicide Shamers


Perez Hilton had something that caught my attention a few days ago. It was a picture of a young actress from a popular TV show. I stopped because I recognized her and was shocked when I read the blurb above the photo. Apparently she attempted suicide a few months ago, supposedly over financial troubles she had been facing.

What was even more shocking (or not shocking sadly, given the amount of internet trolls out there) were the comments. Within minutes there were dozens of people who were all too happy to say how ‘stupid’ she was for attempting suicide over money, or for any reason at all. One person even called her, ‘a waste of a human’.

This got me to thinking. Why do we shame people for this? If this girl had died no doubt people would be saying what a tragedy it was and how she was too young to be gone. Sure some of the internet garbage would rear their ugly heads and call her stupid and say how happy they were that she was dead because she was so ‘ungrateful’ for all she had, but largely, the posts would have been respectful. Instead the comments from having survived an attempt were mostly hate filled.

It just goes to show the stigma that is still in existence when it comes to suicide. Sadly a lot of people have experienced this in their own lives. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who has attempted and lived to tell about it. It’s not uncommon to be left with less friends and family support than before. While people will show up and cry at a funeral, they’ll scatter like cockroaches instead of having to face the living. So I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to the people who shamed this young woman. No doubt it’s not their first time doing something so unfeeling, but just in case it might reach someone, I wanted to say it, so here goes.


Dear Suicide Shamers,

I’m asking you to stop, but not for the reasons you might think. Likely a celebrity will never see your mindless reaction (although they very well could) to their attempt, but this is the age of social media. Do you have friends and family you love and care about? I’m sure you do. When you shame one person for attempting suicide or having suicidal thoughts you shame us all. And yes I am putting myself in that category. I have been pretty open about my struggle with mental illness on this blog and had a very serious attempt when I was about nineteen years old.

Imagine for a moment that a suicidal friend came to you and told you how they were feeling. If you were to react with vitriol and hate the way you do on social media they would not only be very hurt but they would also never talk to you about it again.

Because they opened their mouth and got disgraced they likely will not talk to anyone else either. This is bad. The last thing you want is for the ones you love to hold that in and keep silent about it, leaving it to fester until one day they can no longer stand it.

Let’s say we’re friends and I saw your post on a Perez Hilton’s Facebook page calling someone else ‘stupid’ or ‘ungrateful’ over a suicide attempt and I was having similar thoughts. I would most likely NOT talk to you because now I’d be afraid of your reaction.

I can hear you now. “Well I would tell them they were stupid. Suicide is stupid and there’s no reason good enough to do it. If you think so then you are stupid.”

Hey, you’ve got a right to your opinion. Opinions are good. Would you risk the life of your loved one to express it though? You saying such a thing to someone at such a time only serves YOU! It does NOT repeat NOT do anything for your friend. Even if your bashing convinces them not to go forward in the moment there’s a good chance they’ll feel that way again in the future. Guess what they won’t do next time? That’s right. They won’t talk to you. Even if you tell them, ‘you can always talk to me’.  You can spout those words all you want from that point on…I’d never risk taking my feelings to you again.

So the question becomes, “Do I want to serve myself, or do I want to serve the one I love?” Think hard about that before your gut reaction to explode on them (or anyone else publicly) comes spilling from your lips or your fingers online. Once words are said they can never be unsaid. Do you really want to play Russian roulette with their life to satisfy your ego? If you consider yourself a good and loyal family member or friend I hope the answer will be no.

Life is hard. Money isn’t everything and despite what a person may appear to have, please remember, the brain is a powerful organ and can bring people to their knees. If someone you know is depressed telling them that other people have it worse is also something you say to satisfy your ego. It makes the subject about you, and how much better you are because you see things more clearly.  Don’t do that either!

Hey, we’re all just looking for a little understanding. We all just want to be heard and valued. If someone you love comes to you and lets you know that they are depressed and/or thinking of ending it all, please know that by confessing this to you they have given you a precious gift. They are literally turning to you and handing you their life, their trust. Trust is like a very thin pane of glass. You need to handle with care and put that person’s life above your own high minded moral notions and get them some help.

An appropriate response is something like, “I am so sorry you are hurting so much. I had no idea. Let me take you to the hospital/doctor. The only thing I want is for you to be ok and I will help you do whatever you need to do to make it ok. I don’t want to lose you.”

Sometimes that’s all it takes. It’s very easy to spout hate or be pompous on the internet, but think before you do. You don’t know which of your friends might be watching and what their reactions might be. Really, would it kill you to be compassionate? Simply holding out your hand in kindness could save a life and you should extend that understanding to everyone. Everybody, famous or not, is someone’s loved one. Every life matters whether you believe it does or not and the actions of one person can touch many others, especially when technology has the power to carry your words so far and so fast.

Shame is wrong. Shame hurts. Shame kills.



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