Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Bits for Public Consumption

So as it should be obvious, I abandoned a few things last year. After managing to rescue my 2 novels from complete obscurity and self-publishing them, I just didn't have the time to commit to marketing. I work very hard at jobs that aren't ideally what I want to do, but it pays the bills. The main reason I haven't done the necessary marketing is that I just don't want to. I'm a writer. I enjoy creating. The marketing aspect is so alien to me, and while I know I need to do it, I just didn't want it enough to deal with it at this point in my life. My books are out there, available and people have enjoyed them. I'm writing every day, and that's ok with me. It became another job, and I started hating it. I started writing because I felt I had to, and the product was horrible. I write what I feel. I write what the characters are talking to me. Sometimes, a character will tell me his or her entire story, other times they go silent for weeks and I have to move on to something else. Trying to put out a series and market them was smothering all of the voices. I have to just create for now. Hopefully, once a few things in my life get more settled, I will have the time and energy to put into publishing again.

So, that being said, I want to make sure that while I am distracted looking for changes in my life, that I don't abandon my public writing persona. I'll always write, that's never been my issue. But I want to make sure I do something that keeps me motivated to put out work into the world.  A facebook friend has painted a picture a day for the entire year of 2016, and it gave me an idea. I have horrible follow-through and am easily distracted, so it'll be difficult, but I want to try. Every day, I will post something either here, or on my facebook page. Most of it will likely be on my page, just a few lines of poetry, short quotes from my books or whatever I'm working on. But I want to make sure to stay connected and keep myself motivated to create for public consumption. So hopefully someone reads this and the year of lines to come and gets something positive out of it.

So here is the first little bit for my daily writing. Might be from a book, might be from real life, might be a combination of both. Hope you enjoy this text conversation between good friends.

Olivia: Henry ordered something from a vibrator company...it just showed up at the door. Like WTF, did he order me a vibrator or another chick a vibrator?
Sara: It's probably a flashlight, he's too selfish to get something for someone else.
Sara: *Fleshlight
Sara: Damn autocorrect. I'm talking sex toys, phone. They need to make autocorrect for the dirty minded.
Olivia: Lmao! True.
Oliva: This package has me for a loop though!
Sara: Just pack it with his stuff. Hopefully he finds a place soon and gets off your couch and out of your life.
Olivia: Yeah.
Olivia: Not that I would use a vibrator he bought me to begin with
Sara: Nope, bad vibes...get it? <3Puns
Olivia: Lmao you're amazing

Sunday, July 24, 2016


It's far time I got back to work on this. It's hard to keep up with things in the summer. After working so many hours, the last thing I want to do on my only day off (that I don't always get) is feel obligated to write something. But write I must, because it is what I am. I will make a solid effort for the rest of the summer to be more consistent with posts. That being said, I decided to write about my day off today.

One of my goals of this blog is to really capture life as a local, at least for me. Sundays for me are special. I don't make plans. I don't call people. I do whatever it is I want to do. I don't answer the phone. I don't text. I take a break from other people and their lives. So much of my life is spent caretaking and waiting on people, that what I really need on my day off is a break from them, not the jobs.

This morning I woke up at my usual time, but not being particularly motivated, lay on the couch and watched Maleficent while eating donuts I grabbed from work last night. I seriously thought about going to the beach, and I really wanted to, but I just couldn't make myself walk down there and wade through all of those people. I really need solitude, and while I'd love to lie on the beach and relax, I can't do that with a hundred or more people moving around and making noise around me. So I went to 'my beach.'
The grill nicely supplies shade so I can write on my laptop while getting some sun. Unfortunately today, despite it not being as hot or humid as it has been, after a few minutes in the sun I was feeling sweaty and I just couldn't take it. Every night at work I end up soaked through with sweat and most days I take 2 showers. My laundry is out of control. And I just couldn't make myself get sweaty again when there was no reason to. So I retreated to the shade and comfort of my hammock and wrote an entire chapter of Fluke Chance (book 3 of Cape Cod Cadences series, shameless advertising).

At this point I was starving, and not being inclined to cook or even open my fridge, I looked to see what the special sandwiches are at Sam's Deli. And that resulted in this beautiful thing becoming a part of me today...
That is a Muenster Club, consisting of muenster cheese, roasted chicken, mayo, honey mustard, LTO, bacon and avocado on Focaccia bread. It was absolutely amazing, and if you happen to be on the lower cape and have never gone to Sam's Deli on Bracket Rd in Eastham, you need to fix that problem immediately.

After enjoying that culinary masterpiece, my husband and I decided to go on a Pokemon Go adventure. I realize this has become a controversial topic for some, but I really enjoy it. As we started our drive down Rt 6 we passed Russ and Marie's Marconi Grill. The cooker was going out front and the smell of BBQ was amazing and filled the car for a lovely lingering amount of time. (Another must visit restaurant, btw) We drove a loop through Wellfleet center, getting pokestops (there are a ton down there for those who play) along the way. Wellfleet center is such a beautiful area, it was so nice to just drive around and see everything that I normally don't notice because I am on my way to somewhere or something. After the center, we headed up to Truro to go for a walk I had never been to before.

My husband grew up in Truro, which is not much of a town, really. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just that there are really only a handful of businesses in two locations, and houses, with a highway down the middle of it. I never knew there was anything MORE than the highway in Truro until my husband showed me how many little back roads and paths there were. We went to one today. I won't use the real name, because I loved that it was empty and we didn't see another human being. I want it to stay that way. Apparently, it is locally known as Seventh Heaven. It's a long dirt road with a few houses on it, close to the abandoned air force base. It's a skinny road, and if you happen upon another car, one of you is going to have to back up until there is a break in the trees to pull over to let the other pass. Thank you to the kind people who let us by today, if they by some odd chance they read this.

We parked off the side of the road and headed out for our walk.
It was a beautiful day, and it's close enough to the ocean to have a decent breeze. The Pokemon Go app actually registered the trail as a road, which was greatly amusing to me. My husband told me stories about his childhood in this particular area of the woods, and I love that even after thirteen years together, there are still new stories for me to hear.

The dirt path through the woods met up with a paved section that was overgrown and no longer used (to my knowledge). I don't know the history of the area, but I assume much of what we walked on at one time had to do with the air force base,
I've seem criticism and complaints about Pokemon Go basically along the lines of "So what it makes you go outside, you're still staring at your phone!" Well, in reality, when a Pokemon spawns near you, your phone vibrates, so you don't actually have to look at it, AT ALL, until it alerts you. So I had a lovely walk and looked at nature today. I also got credit for doing all that exercise and hatched two eggs. So basically, you can go out and enjoy nature, and only stop every five minutes or so to catch a critter. And you can even continue to enjoy the scenery through the phone while you catch it!
After the Seventh Heaven walk, we did another pass through Wellfleet to hit the pokestops and resupply on pokeballs and such. (Plus enjoy the beautiful scenery, but I was driving so no photos of that.) While driving through the National Seashore visitor center in Eastham, we came across these little critters (not pokemon, btw)
At the close of the day I decided to go watch sunset on the beach. It was finally cooling off and the wind was keeping the bugs away. There were only about 40 people clustered by the parking lot of Campground Beach, so it didn't take long walk to some isolation. It was a nice walk, low tide. And yes, there were pokemon...

So that was my day today. Lots of walking around, lots of landmarks and good places to eat. And much of what I went out and saw today was inspired my little pixelated critters. I don't think it matters what you enjoy, as long as you enjoy it. Hope everyone had a nice day too.

Monday, June 6, 2016

From the Ashes

I haven’t written anything since the morning I found out my publisher was closing. Not one word. Those who know me well, and there are few of you, realize how startling this is. Since I was a small child I’ve written something almost every single day. Even if it was just a poem or a line to a song, or an idea for a novel, there was something.

I felt lost and a little betrayed by my publisher, though I realize it’s a business and you need profit to make a business work. I know it wasn’t personal, and that there were only good intentions, and sometimes things just don’t work out. But having them announce that they were closing literally the day I was going to hit the publish button on my second novel, was quite a blow. There was no warning. I was preoccupied getting ready for the summer season, trying to figure out which events to try and attend with my books and how to get time off of work. I had so many plans and dreams. And with one statement on the homepage, I thought all of that was gone.

I’ve had some time now to calm down. It was the end of Booktrope, but not the end of me as an author. I have two wonderful books, fully edited, proofed, with amazing covers. Catching Bodel will be re-released as a self-published novel within the month of June. Becoming Grace Divine, will be available either at the same time, or shortly after. It took a lot of doing, and I had help from wonderful people who gave me guidance and encouragement. I might not know what I’m doing as a self-published author, but I’ll just have to figure it out. I’ll be around this summer, peddling my books whenever I have a chance. I am grateful to Booktrope for the opportunity and the connections I made during my nearly two years with them. I am grateful to my two teams of people who worked on my books and made them what they are, and their willingness to stick with me while I self-publish. I’m going to sit down tonight and get back to work on the third book in the series, Fluke Chance. These novels won’t write themselves, or so I hear.

I’ve written this while reclining in my new hammock in my backyard. Its one of my favorite places to write. My perennial garden is finally full and requires no maintenance from me at all. Everything just pops up where I planted it and looks beautiful. I’ve got my tomato plant in the one sunny spot that it will grow. I got home from work today and set up the hammock, ate a leftover amazing sandwich from Sams Deli (roast beef, LTO, bacon, mayo, and blue cheese crumble on focacia bread), washed down with fresh cut watermelon. Then I settled down in the hammock with my laptop. I had to brush the yellow coating of pollen off of it, which was horrifying to me. I realized just how long it’s been since I opened it. Then I opened a word document and started typing, and this is the result.

I’ve been sitting here listening to the birds, the occasional car, and the soothing sounds of my father doing something involving metal and power tools. I say soothing because that was the sound of my childhood summers…some form of construction or car repair overlapping the birds and the wind through the trees. This is the first time I’ve really felt like its summer. I’m not a summer person in general. I tend to hate it, to be honest. But on a day like today, in my hammock, I can remember the things I love about it. Yes, I have to drive through the horrific traffic tomorrow and deal with unreasonable tourists at the restaurant, but there’s always my backyard and my hammock. I’ll just spend as much time here as I can, and it’ll all be ok.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Update

Alas, it has been far too long since I've written here. I'll bypass the usual excuses, but I do have a few really good ones this time. I've been doing the last editing, formatting, cover approving, and overall finagling to ensure that Becoming Grace Divine, Book 2 in the Cape Cod Cadences series, is released in May. It's almost all set, and I hope to have copies in my hand before Memorial Day. I've also been hard at work writing Book 3 of the series, Fluke Chance. I don't want to make people wait too long to read it, so I guess I have to finish writing it. I'll be looking for events and fairs and such this summer and I'll have both books with me, for anyone local. I'll post on my facebook page and twitter wherever I am going to be.

I've been in the garden for the past hour or so, weeding and trying to corral the mint. I knew the mint was going to be an issue, but it tastes and smells so good, its worth it. I just have to remember to watch it and make sure it doesn't become sentient and completely surround and smother the entire house. I ripped most of it up and redirected it to where I'd rather it be growing. I don't think it agreed with the relocation, and I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be relocating it again soon.
I love hostas, because they take little to no maintenance, are pretty, and best of all, take little to no maintenance. I know, I said it twice. They just make me smile whenever I see them pushing their way up through the soil.
Two years ago I planted 3 lilac trees. One of them is white and came from my step-mother, the other two are grown from clippings from the giant bush at my in-laws house. All three of them are doing well this year. Last year I got flowers from the central white one, but not the purple on the sides. I'm hoping to see flowers on all three this year,
I also relocated Rafael, the action figure that has lived in my backyard for the past five years. I have no idea where he came from. He was always my favorite Ninja Turtle, probably because he had a bad attitude and was kind of a loner. So I move him around the yard, from place to place. He's been run over by my truck, hit by the lawn mower, lost in snow banks, fallen from trees, raked, buried, and sun-bleached. He's my buddy, and this year when I found him I stuck him on the tree like so....
So I enjoyed my spring day off out in the yard. I hope you are doing the same. I'm going to post another blog today with an excerpt from Becoming Grace Divine, but I felt it should be on it's own, away from my springy pictures and Raf.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

50 Degrees of Balmy

I saw something on facebook the other day with an image of a thermometer reading 50 degrees and something along the lines of New Englanders "It's summer!" written under it. Of course now I can't find the image, so you'll have to use your imagination. What made me laugh, was that day it was about 52 degrees, and I was outside in a t-shirt. Why? Because that, I realize, is what New Englanders do. Having never lived outside of New England, I can't say for certain what the others are like, but I have to assume, based on images I've seen, that most of the country does not consider 50 degrees to be t-shirt and shorts weather. Here, on Cape Cod, in March, that's downright balmy and it's time to go to the beach.

This could be considered particularly odd, because at least on Cape Cod, it doesn't really get that cold. I mean, we have cold spells at times, but I can't remember the last time the temp was less than 20 degrees for more than a day. And it's rare. For most of the winter, the temperature stays in the mid to high 30's. I was outside in a t-shirt on Christmas Day, and two days later, it was snowing and 20 degrees. Then two days after that, if was in the high 40's again and the snow was gone and it was back to wearing a light sweatshirt over my t-shirt. It's not unusual for the temperatures here to change by 30 or more degrees in as many hours.

I wear t-shirts year round. That's a particular quirk or mine I've only recently started trying to overcome, but I've noticed it's not uncommon for other Cape Codders. Because of our weather, we are layers people. We can go out in the morning needing a jacket, be sweating to death by noon, and cold again after sunset. So sweatshirts are the coat of the Cape. I do own a winter jacket, and I can count the times on one hand that I've actually worn it this year. Most days, its pants, t-shirt, and sweatshirt.

So, why am I rambling on about the weather? Isn't that what people talk about when they don't have anything to talk about? Caught me. I was stumped on what to say today. I spent the past hour or so outside, because it's 53 degrees out. I raked the gardens and collected fallen sticks and generally did  the spring clean up in the yard. I broke a few nails, my feet are filthy (because yes, I was barefoot, and in a t-shirt), and I feel great. I've always loved doing yard work. Any kind of work where there is a clear and obvious result make me happy.
I don't have a before picture, because I don't think ahead and I wasn't planning on writing a blog about this, but use your imagination again. Believe it or not, that is a perennial garden. In another few weeks, it'll be full of bleeding hearts, iris, hostas, and a few others I don't know the name for. I love hostas in particular, because they are big, pretty, come in a variety of colors, and the best of all, they are impossible to kill. They require little to no maintenance. The little circle garden has catnip (which I harvest in the fall for my kitties) and I plant one tomato plant, because that is the one spot in my yard that actually gets sun for a sufficient amount of time to grow vegetables. I made another garden out back by clearing a bunch of scrub and ivy away.
I had to move the boxwood tree on the right because it was farther over, and was being smothered by the cedar tree. It's done amazingly well. I moved the smaller one also, so it was in the garden and not in the yard, but it isn't as pleased with it's new location. It's been the same size for years now. Also, the weird little figurine was originally a cow I believe, but it broke in the store and I thought it looked like one of the angry clouds from Mario, so I paid $2.97 for it. I think it's cute. But I digress...

I tried to make this garden an herb garden last summer, but quickly learned that the fence and the house blocks this garden from the sun about 80% of the time. The two locust trees done help either. Herbs like sunlight, apparently. Here is the tyme I planted the beginning of last summer.
I can't believe it survived at all, and that is exactly the size it was when I put it in the ground. I plan on digging it up and putting it in a pot on the deck, on the corner that gets sunlight. It can hang out with the lone tomato plant and tell horror stories of its life before.

It's always so wonderful when the winter lets go and we get these first 'warm' days of spring. It's time to pick up fallen branches, rake leaves, groom errant hedges, and viciously rip up and cut into tiny pieces any and all locust-tree-seedlings that dare pop up in the yard. Spring and fall are my favorite times of year. In a few more weeks it'll be 'warm' enough for me to go for long walks on the beach again with my shoes off, walking in the tide pools with my pants rolled to my knees. I can watch my garden start to grow (with little participation on my end, I love perennials), see how many babies the chipmunks that live under my deck have this year, and let the tortoise outside to roam the yard (strictly supervised so he doesn't escape. His name is Houdini for a reason)

So if you happen to be one of the crazy people that thinks 50 degrees is balmy, and that's what you've got going on outside, open the door and go out.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

National Seashore Walk Part 3

I realize that I call this a bi-weekly blog, and sadly, that has not really been the case. Last Sunday, instead of writing this, I decided that it would be fun to be violently ill instead. Basically, life gets in the way sometimes and mucks about with the best laid plans. Not that I'm one for well laid plans, honestly. My point, I think, is that I try my best to get this out twice a month, and I truly appreciate anyone who bothers to read it and finds it entertaining.

So, onward with our walk. It's a beautiful day today, but rather than go on this walk, I'll just write about it because unfortunately, the sickness that struck me last weekend is still hanging in and heavy physical exertion is not in my repertoire. We left off at the Love Tree (happy belated Valentines Day btw) and were headed up to the view of Nauset Outer Beach.

I only took one snow picture, apparently, though its all gone now. Snow doesn't tend to last on the Cape. We only had a handful of actual cold days before it was in the 50's again and a healthy dousing of rain melted it all away. But I digress...

These two benches overlook Nauset Beach, the inlet that separates ocean from the sheltered marsh, Orleans Cove, and Salt Pond. The wind is always blowing off the water, and you can just hear the waves on the distant beach. This is an amazing place to be during storms, though it is also a place you are NOT supposed to be during storms, for obvious reasons. Let's just pretend I've never been there when I shouldn't be...

I always stop here and just look for a while. It's at the top of a small hill, so it's a nice place to take a rest anyway. There is a large open field opposite the water (which I stood in to take the pictures) that is also beautiful, especially in the summer when it's full of wildflowers, but I forgot to take a picture of it. This time of year, when it's not covered in snow, its a wash of golden brown dead grass with little tufts of milkweed pods clinging in protected spots. When I was a child, I loved going on this walk when the milkweed was out and I could touch the soft cottony seed pods. We would gather the hard outer shells once they were empty and make Christmas ornaments and other artwork with them, My brother and I might have used them as weapons as well, but that's another story.

After taking a moment to enjoy the view of the ocean, the walk slopes downhill and past a little marsh. I saw a heron in it once and stood watching it for over half an hour. The trail curves back up into the woods and away from the water. Here's another little view of what the path looks like in the better places.
For the next ten or fifteen minutes, its just a quiet, winding trail through the woods. I rarely see anyone else on this part for some reason. I think it might be because most people get to the Nauset Beach view and turn back. And the people who start the walk on the other side tend to do the smaller circle within the larger one, cutting out the woodsy section that I enjoy. I probably love it so much because no one is ever there. Well, someone was, based on the footprints in the snow, but way less people than on the rest of the walk.
The walk bisects the bike path, which always strikes me as a little abrupt, After the quiet and complete woodiness of the past 15 minutes, the slab of pavement always makes me a sad. I cross over it and continue down toward the swamp, and the last little bit of the walk. The return to civilization becomes more evident as the trail crosses a paved service road. Just past the road, there is a choice to go left or right. If you were to follow instructions and read the trail map, it's not really a choice, it's just that I take the long way I'm looking at the middle of the smaller walk. The signs tell you to go left, but I always go right, down the hill into the marsh.

I honestly do not know it's real name, and rather than do the research and find out, I'll just tell you what I've always heard it called: the Blind Trail. The smaller trail goes from the visitor center building in a small loop that only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to do. The entire thing is lined by posts with a rope connecting them, When I was in school they would bring classes of children to this spot, blindfold them, and have them walk it holding onto the ropes, so we could experience what it's like to be blind. None of us took it seriously, we all tripped each other and giggled and peaked through the blindfolds, but I'm very glad my school tried to educate us like that. I doubt children are allowed to miss studying for MCAS long enough to walk in the woods, nowadays.

There are signs throughout the entire area giving the names of trees, but on the Blind Trail, there are informational plaques that talk about the history of the area. They are written in braille as well, seeing as it is the Blind Trail. They mention the Nauset Native Americans who used to live in the area, as well as the original settlers. I never read any of them as a child, but I've since started to take a moment to educate myself as I walk.
Sometimes, I'll close my eyes and hold the rope and see how far I can go without looking. Electrical tape is wrapped around the rope in places to mark where there are steps. Unfortunately, over time, some of the tape is gone, the rope has shifted, and erosion has caused the steps to move. It's a dangerous game to trust the tape.

The last little bit of the walk is a shallow pond that is completely filled with some kind of plant that I can no remember the name of. They are bright red in the summer then turn into sad brown sticks in the winter. Whatever they are, the plaques tell all about them and how there used to be a farm there. A bridge lets you walk out into it. During the summer, its so loud because of the gigantic bullfrogs that you can't even hear the highway, which is not very far away. There are always tons of red-wing black birds there as well, singing.

After the bridge, the trail climbs slowly up a hill back to the visitor center. And that is the walk. It took me 3 blog posts to get it all in there, and I could have gone on, honestly. I didn't even mention the side path that leads to Doane Rock. That's largely because I plan on doing a whole blog about Doane Rock, though I don't plan on walking to it from the National Seashore path. You can drive right up to it, which suits me just fine this time of year.

Thank you so much for walking with me.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

National Seashore Walk Part 2

It's been a while since I wrote Part 1, but if you want a refresher, just scroll down and read that one first. I recently went for a walk the other day after work and got some actual winter-looking pictures. I'm going to end up mixing the ones I took a few weeks ago in, but at least some are more accurate for right now. I'll start with a contrast. These are pictures of Salt Pond taken only about two weeks apart, from close to the same spot.

There is a group of swans and ducks that live in the pond for the winter, and you can easily see them from the highway.

Anyway, so I left off last time crossing over the little bridge, leaving Salt Pond behind. The trail curves and you head up into the woods on a path with questionable wooden stairs scattered throughout in various stages of decay and angle. The picture I have is of the good ones. Some of them have eroded away. Some of them were just built into the ground and are basically glorified jumps. I love it, but this is not a trail for a wheelchair or someone who walks with a cane. It is wonderful to bring 4 to 12 year olds, because they can't resist the running and jumping and it tires them out wonderfully. It also provides the opportunity for skinned knees and filthiness, but those are good things in my opinion.

The next section through the woods is really my favorite part of the walk. It's quiet, and far enough from the highway that you can't hear it anymore. The trees in that section are particularly interesting. Most of the woods in the area are scrub pine, locust trees, lots of cedars, with some oak and cherry. There are tons of vines throughout this part of the walk that have made extremely interesting designs as they weave through the trees.

 One tree gains particular attention. Probably due to the way it grew into a natural seat, people were drawn to it. And they drew on it. Who knows who was the first person to carve their initials and their lovers' with a heart through them into the bark. This was way back before facebook when people had to revert to a knife and tree to share their relationship status with the world. I've always loved this tree. I love to sit on it and run my fingers over the carvings. I've always thought of it as the Love Tree, though I don't think it has an official name. It sits to the right of the path, with a little mini-path leading to it. If you aren't paying attention (looking down at your feet and listening to Pandora on your phone), you might miss it. Even if you were only a little distracted, you might not notice it as anything more than a weirdly shaped tree. If you are going to go for a walk in nature, leave the devices and technology behind so that you don't miss the beauty of the natural world around you.

I'm going to end on this note today, though we are still just shy of halfway through the walk. Just past the Love Tree is an amazing view of Nauset Beach, but you'll just have to read the next blog to see it. Another option is to read Catching Bodel, because Bodel and Zach go for this exact walk on Valentines Day (shameless self-promotion). I promise I won't make you wait long for the next blog entry, and it will be the final part of this walk. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and my quirky little commentary.