Why writers aren’t quitters.

You’re dreams never come covered in the practical stuff – the non dreamy stuff. I was always just going to write and it was, well…romantic, before the actual goal setting and true decision making. Before then it was just the idea of coffee shops and fingers fluid over keyboards, late nights or early mornings and the quiet sound then of fresh pens over rough paper.

But then you set a goal, or maybe better said, you decide, as a writer, to do the incredible thing, and write – something specific. To commit to create in such a way that it must become more than a diary entry here, a poem there, the beginnings of a short story that you’re sure will be good, and say instead, I will build a whole thing, a whole big thing made up of these words and I will say it will not be pieces of me, but it will be (because how could it not), and then I will hold it up for the world to see, wanting to hear from them, be seen by them, all while pretending the only opinion that really matters is my own.

Even that sounds romantic, in a slightly tragic, destined, Poe-ish sort of way when the truth is the holding up for the world part, is completely unromantic – or maybe even unnatural for a writer; building platforms, engaging socially, even if that social sphere is mostly flat blinking screens or running twitter conversations, marketing and asking and reaching, when most writers (this writer) are more comfortable hiding, burrowing, watching, listening to the turns and lilts in their head before finding a way to share that on the safe blankness of a page.

But then you learn the trade off – how those unnatural things, the reaching and platform building, become traction for the magical things, the creation, the world building, the release of stupid stubborn words that become cunning and seductive when laid out straight.

I had a goal when I started typing these words, more shameless plugs, more if you’re reading this I could use your support, more if at first you don’t succeed try, try again, there is always another way, another push – more no time to be sad because my kickstarter campaign wasn’t funded, that I was right back on the horse, new campaign, because why….because writers aren’t quitters, we can’t be, it’s not in our nature. And maybe that goal’s been met, maybe not, sometimes you can’t tell by the words, especially when they’re your own. In every concrete way I guess they will be, I’ll post the link for my new campaign below. And then I’ll go back to the magical and unnatural things, and eventually, probably hold them both up for you to see, wanting to hear from you – pretending if I don’t it doesn’t matter, because there’s always another push, another go. Cause writers aren’t quitters.

and if interested in checking out my kickstarter here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/933574697/still-wrote-a-book-still-hoping-youll-read-it/widget/card.html?v=2

Cinderella Mantras & Kickstarter Focused

No one tells you how all consuming a kickstarter campaign is, it literally becomes everything! 20 days and a fair amount of money left to go, but there’s also this sort of Fairy-Godmother mentality that takes over with this, the whole, it-only-takes-one-person-to-make-a-huge-difference or at-the-very-last-minute-everything-will-come-together mantras that run on repeat in your head. Thing is I really do believe that – that this thing can still happen. That it will be my blessing, so I’m holding on and staying idealistically optimistic – plus, I got new flyers made. The plan is to hand them out at bookstores/cool places in the hopes that folks will be persuaded to support. Let me know what you think, if you saw these flyers you’d pick one up right? Say ‘oh how interesting!’ or ‘this piece of paper makes me want to donate money to a stranger!’ Right? Cause that’s what all brilliant advertising does. Or not, I may be delirious – lack of sleep, mental power spent repeating Cinderella type mantras, so I’m just going to pretending that you’re agreeing with me, that you’re all nodding and saying yes, as I am nodding and saying yes right along with you. Oh and the flyer is below – thanks as always for taking the time to read and allowing me to share.



I know it’s been a long time, but I have some things to share…

First, for those of you reading this, because you’re still checking out my blog even though I haven’t posted in almost 2 years, you are amazing! Thank you for being faithful to this woman who let life get in the way and keep her from posting like she should have. It is beyond appreciated. My hope is that if you’ve stuck around, (or your blog wanderings have newly led you to stumble and land here), that you stay because you love this story as much as I do…and now, for a moment of truth.

If you’ve read the original postings you’ll know that I started And Then There Was One to blog a found story and share it with you guys. Now the truth. It was not a found story, it is my story – actually it’s the very first book I ever wrote. I hope I don’t lose you guys here, my intent was never truly to deceive, it was just after staring at the story for 3 years, after re-writes and revisions, and not knowing if I hated it one day or loved it the next, I was searching for a way to engage with it differently, to approach it as more spectator instead of creator, with the hopes that doing so would make it fun and exciting again, would take away the sort of strain and angst of ‘is it good enough?’ and replace it with the ease and acceptance of ‘Sam (that’s me), just tell the story.’

I hope that you guys as readers can understand that and not hold it against me :), especially since it actually worked. Each of you taking the time to read it, and leave comments with your input and feedback bred life back into something in such an amazing way, that I’m probably more excited about the book now then I was when I first wrote it; even in the face of so many rejection letters all condensed to say the story wasn’t right for them. And that segues to my lead in for the big announcement, (not sure if it’s really big, but when there’s a lead-in I feel like it should always have the word ‘big’ in front of it), I’ve decided to take the leap and attempt to self-publish this book! I’m working through the intricacies of that now, but have also started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the process.

If you’re willing to check it out and lend any level of support it would make my day, especially coming from you guys, who believed in it first. I’m really excited about this! I have no idea what will happen, if I’ll be able to raise the money, if I’m not going to bumbling my way thru this thing from start to finish, but right now all of that seems okay because I’m taking some control back, and I’m believing in myself and my writing again. This is the year that this gets done, and I wouldn’t be anywhere near this place if it wasn’t for you guys reading my little ‘found’ story. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder? Oh and The Promised Next Pages

Okay so first things first, this post is way overdue! I owed it to you guys back in July and it’s now the middle of October. I have no great excuse though I’m sure I could come up with something fantastically entertaining, (or not, since the first thing that came to mind was being abducted by aliens and that’s not at all original). In all honesty I have just been busy, but I’ve spent time with the pages and the reward for those of you sticking with me is a nice long post this time with some enlightening background bits. I hope that you guys enjoy it, and as always thank you for your patience and for sticking in there with me :)


Total training to bear your name only takes three years but when I think of it, it seems as if it was my whole life. As if everything I had ever done was training for what I would chose to become. It makes it seem as if there is some mystical something controlling the process, the changing from normal to traced to cloaked, and that is true and not true all at the same time.

Training is intense but not extra-ordinary. We are not a supernatural order. Persuasion involves no mystical abilities beyond tracing an assignment and the second of marking. Training is simply learning to fight. The strength gained there is a human one. We get better with practice. We can be injured, bleed, even die though once cloaked that is a little more difficult. If anything, without our heightened awareness of persuasion and our work in it, we’d most closely resemble something like a rigorous book club with an intense affinity for physical training. Large group of people with similar interests and a lot to say about them. Guilty of being curious and slightly self indulgent more than anything else.

Still during my training stories of the Taram and Eirum seemed almost romantic. The idea of this thing existing all around us with no one aware and me a part of it. Sara told me the romance would grow old. Told me to train. It’s the same advice I would give now if I could.


On the first day of training I was illuminated. The history of the balance was shared. The telling spoke of the true end. Of the Kachina – one Taram and one Eirum born to carry the burden of souls and at the appointed time fight for the last one. The one deciding the ruling balance. The one deciding the fate of the world.

The Kachina would be the only ones with the ability to be laced by the charges they persuaded. At the moment of marking souls release what we call Ahali. The Kachina would be able to absorb this gaining increased power. Power that would tip the scales of balance until the day they were called to fight each other.  It is a win or lose thing. A life or death thing.

From the first time I’d heard it the story scared the hell out of me.

But it was all mostly legend, our version of bedtime stories, still trainers looked for fabled signs in the newly cloaked. Intuitiveness during fighting, an ability for stillness and an innate aptitude for the teachings. Most assumed if there was truth to the story the Kachina would be a birthright and not a circumstancer. That could be the reason for surprise when it was expected I would be the one.

There really isn’t much difference between a birthright and a circumstancer. Yes being cloaked is most normally a birthright but either way you still have to choose. Taram or Eirum. Once you’ve chosen you’re cloaked, one cloaked you train, make it through training you’re named. Or you can choose nothing. You can choose to be normal and walk away. In the end everything comes down to choice. The main difference with circumstancers, we stumble into this thing. We get caught in the middle before being offered a way out.

Once a soul is marked, claimed for either the Taram or Eirum it is set in stone. That person’s fate is sealed. Cloaks are the only ones who can ever switch the soul mark. It rarely happens but when it does, when a Taram or Eirum disrupts the flow of persuasion by switching their allegiance a riot is called. Riots are the only time we fight face-to-face. Not for the cloaked, but for the soul hanging in the balance. We fight for the person the cloaked once persuaded for one side of the balance and now, in switching their mark, attempts to claim for the other.

During a riot, if the charge in the middle of the fight becomes aware, sees what shouldn’t be seen, Persuasion is no longer effective. That person has new knowledge of the truth and as a consequence is presented with a choice. To fight for one side of the balance or be cleansed. I chose to fight. Without much time to think it had seemed a viable option. I’d chosen a side and like a silly school girl never looked back.

Sara had been convinced from the start that I was Kachina. Her hands are the first things I remember about her. Slender and narrow, pink and perfect they make her appear docile and young. It’d been my own misperception when she’d nonchalantly knocked me to the floor during our first training session. I don’t even think her smile broke during that initial training. I’d barely been able to breathe leaving sweat puddles on the hard packed floor. She’d hummed nursey rhymes gracefully stretching her neck waiting patiently for my next attack. Still at the end of the day she’d said that my skills were surprising, especially for one so newly introduced into the Taram. Circumstancers are expected to lag behind. It isn’t frowned upon just expected. I’d done well in both combat and persuasion attributing it to a life full of what is not good in the world and the need to keep the scales tipped heavily in the Taram direction.

            Maybe more than ability it was interest. I’d wanted to learn. Wanted to fight. During class I’d taken notes in a slim spiral notebook fitting easily in my back pocket. I’d stayed late, arrived early, pushed past soreness and fatigue. I was completely unaware of the other students. I wasn’t motivated to be the best. I was motivated to be motivated. To know everything. I was all the way in. A Taram star pupil.

Sara was remarkably convincing. So much so others started looking at me like I was the one. I’d known it couldn’t be true. There are rules guiding the Kachina the most important being they must love each other. It is a matter of true sacrifice. Not important for ever-after reasons. It is important because love supersedes ever-after. It perseveres, changing, remaining in spite of circumstance. It is all consuming and motivating. Moving in opposition to that motivation, knowing you will have to and choosing to do so anyway perhaps is the real magic, though I hate that word. Magic is either top hats and white rabbits or midnight and caldrons and melodic chants. Love is not magic. It is the opposite of magic. It seems only fitting that at the end love would be smack dab in the center.

I’d met Eirum fighting in battles. I’d loved none. My life before being marked left little room for that. Probably why my decision when the time had come had been so clear. Since training I’d only loved two people. Sara and Josh. Both Taram. My Taram. Making the idea of me being Kachina completely impossible.


            The stories of the Kachina were always the most requested because Essex is much like a regimented boarding school without them. They’d reminded us that what we’d trained to do was no small thing. That we’d signed on as weapons against the apocalypse. A fact surprisingly easy to disregard between combat classes and lunch breaks. We were as I mentioned, not supernatural, devoid of ritual, save for two exceptions: quarantine training and the day of your naming. The naming is like a Taram Christmas day. There is child-like anticipation, a perceptible change in everyone the months before. More laughter. More late nights spent sparring or begging elders to share their stories. When it’s your turn you get to choose your place. Anywhere you would like to be given your name.

            I couldn’t wait for my naming. I’d wanted to be outside. When my life irrevocably changed I’d wanted as many living things as possible to bear witness. I’d wanted sunshine and a perfectly un-cloudy day. Josh said the same plus he wanted to be barefoot in the grass, even better if it’d recently rained so the smell hung in the air. We’d joked it would be the opening scene of the Sound of Music. That we’d play the movie’s song silently in our heads, a little secret during a ritual binding us all we’d manage in the middle to also be permanently bound to each other. I’d been happy to hum the soundtrack from the Sound of Music in my head. I’d been happy to do anything allowing me to be in synch with him.

            The night before the ceremony we’d hung out in Josh’s room. The trainers had been adamant that we each have our own room, though they were small, just barely over 300 square feet. Ironically his had always seemed massive. He’d laid carpet squares on top of the hardwood, a random mix of grey and purple floor tiles extending symmetrically from corner to corner. He’d removed the bed frame resting his full size mattress and box spring directly against the floor. The bed was always perfectly made, grey sheets, grey comforter, 4 large soft purple pillows with 2 smaller grey square ones like punctuation marks in front. A shiny black bean bag slumped in the corner next to a stack of folding dinner trays leaning against the wall. Next to that a small stack of leather bound journals, the only part of himself he’d kept hidden.

            Sometimes he’d written in them while I’d napped in his bed or read a book I’d grab from the bookcases lining his dark grey walls. I’d liked his privacy. Liked that he was comfortable enough to seek it out even with me in the room. Often while he wrote I would lean back arms behind my head staring at the ceiling. On it he’d written in long black brush strokes quotes that challenged him, motivated him. Made him laugh. I’d memorized my favorites;


After all, my erstwhile dear, my no longer cherished, need we say it was no love, just because it perished – Edna St. Vincent Millay


            Poetry is the sacred incarnation of spirits – Khalil Gibran


            Enjoy life, think of everyone who passed up dessert on the Titanic – Anonymous 


That night I’d stretched out on his bed propped against his stack of pillows. He’d pulled his bean bag over leaning the chair against the side of the mattress before settling his back against it. I’d thought for a second he would play some music, or maybe throw on a movie but he’d sat quietly so I’d done the same. Minutes passed before he spoke. “Tomorrow changes everything.”

            I’d turned on my side staring at the back of his head. “You’re so dramatic. Tomorrow changes our name. We already are what we will be.”

            He’d smirked. “Faker. You know you’re excited. Stop trying to sound like Sara.”

            “Yeah,” I’d rolled onto my back eyes focused on his graffiti ceiling, “I’m excited, aren’t you excited?” I’d watched his locs shake softly as he nodded while I tucked my hands behind my head. “Tell me what happens.”

            “Again?” he’d laughed.

            “Yes please,” I’d said, “again.”

            He’d cleared his throat and I’d closed my eyes in anticipation of the sound of his voice.

            “When it happens they’ll surround you. Starting with the elders they’ll fan out in circles with you in the center. They’ll raise hands, not touching you or each other but still connected. Filling the space. Sometimes there are songs if you like, or silence. After, there’s a pause until every breath is one breath. They say you can feel the change. The air slightly shifts when every person gives into the collective.”

            I’d smiled the familiar story lining up in my head repeating the next words out loud with him in unison. “One breath. One thought. One purpose.”

            He’d winked at me over his shoulder before continuing. “You know the rest. Sara will step forward a hand on your heart, the other circling your wrist. She’ll look into your eyes and recite the words making it official.”

            I’d closed my eyes trying to imagine how it would be. “I can’t believe it’s tomorrow. Three years went by so fast.”

            He’d been silent and then spoken so softly I almost didn’t hear. “I’m nervous. I…” he’d hesitated, “don’t you ever wonder how to know what’s right?”

            “I’ve wondered that my whole life, think most people do.”

            “I think we’ll have to wonder more than most.”

            I’d extended my arm, my hand squeezing his shoulder. “I think we’ll have to do everything more than most.”

            He’d reached up to his shoulder his fingers casually intertwining with mine. “Do you think we’ll always be who we are?”

            “Of course we will. Tomorrow seals the deal but even now we will always be Taram.”

            “Not Taram who we are,” he’d said, “me and you who we are. We always say no matter what. We always say forever…forever is a long time.”

            I’d rubbed my thumb across the top of his hand. “I don’t know about forever Josh. I’ve just gotten used to thinking past one day at a time, but for now, right now seems pretty certain.”

            In one fluid motion he’d rolled his body onto the bed resting his head against my stomach. I’d felt the movement of his lips through my shirt yet still his voice had sounded far away.

            “Right now sounds good. Right now gives us something to remember tomorrow.”

            I’d reached for his hair curling the soft locs around my fingers. “Are you sad? You sound sad.”

            “Not sad. Just silent. Reflective, before everything changes.”

            “We can be silent.” I’d leaned to the side flicking off the bedside lamp. “Go to sleep Josh, tomorrow will be a celebration. You’ll feel better then.” I had no idea as I stared into the darkness, his weight solid against my stomach that tomorrow would mean nothing would ever be better, ever again. But I could leave all that behind. Tonight I could go to sleep and when I woke up decide to make the town of Fairhope my life, get a job, find a place to live, make new friends and convince my body that the fighting was over, convice my heart that I didn’t love Josh or push it all down far enough that it wouldn’t matter if it was true as long as I could keep it hidden beneath every new thing I was determined to build.

I am so sorry…but I admit I suck!

I’m sorry guys, I know I’ve promised to post more pages and that is always my intention but life man! Life keeps finding ways to keep me from doing those things I think I’ll have time to do. For those of you who have been sticking with me and are waiting, please be patient with me! I do promise that this is not the end of the story and more will be coming. Thanks for not giving up on me yet!

I am not clever…

I honestly tried to think of some clever way to do this, but I am not clever, especially when it comes to promoting myself, (I don’t even like that phrase ‘promoting myself’ it makes me feel like I should be standing in a shiny dress on a cheesy billboard). But I am just so frickin excited about finishing a website, my first website for my book that currently has agent representation. It’s a website with stuff on it, pictures and words and even a book trailer and I did it all by myself! It took forever but even now the time seems worth it – because it wasn’t easy, it feels more mine, more aptly a part of this journey I am on with my fellow writers to be published and one day see your book in the hands of somebody else. So, all that said to say this post is nothing more than a shameless plug in the hope that you will check out my first book website;


And I hope you will because even though it’s mine and I’m biased, I kinda love it! 

Okay, and now to get back to the business of this blog – I’ll have new pages to post for the story soon, hoping to have enough figured out to get a few pages typed up by the weekend.

Just so frickin excited about my website!!!!!! So excited! I don’t know why but having it makes me feel a little bit more legit, and with the ups and downs that come with being a writer, I’m gonna take every little bit of excitement where I can get it!






Finally the Next Pages!

I know I’m late in posting, I’m sorry but here are the new pages! It’s not quite where it left off, it’s starting from where I can decipher what’s on the pages. It’s a short post but I’m hoping to have more coming soon. Thanks for reading and for hanging in there with me!

I was back at Essex. The sun was setting, I sat on the west side of the rolling lawn. Garden roses bloomed near the house, their heady scent traveling eagerly on the slight breeze. In my lap a basket of deep red raspberries freshly picked their nearness to the earth still pungent on my tongue. The setting sun was lazy, the sky flung with slowly moving waves of purple, orange and rust. I could hear the sounds of training leaking from the house, muffled blunt echoes of kicks, punches, the muted thump of bodies hitting the ground. I readjusted lying on the sloped hill, my back against the green grass. A buzzard flew overhead. Large and black it drew lazy circles against the sky, every third breath blocking the sun casting me in shadow. I popped raspberries into my mouth the ripe fruit staining my lips, tongue, the tips of my fingers bright blood red.

            It began to scare me suddenly. I sat up quickly rubbing my hands against my white sundress leaving behind moist red streaks. The buzzard circled lower, the scent of roses twisted my stomach, the raspberries spilled against the ground, crumbling under my knees, absurdly full of juice leaking raspberry trails down the pristine green.

            I sat on my heels frantically rubbing my hands against my dress. I was crying, tears I wiped with raspberry hands staining my face shades of red. The sun was content to watch resting its elbows on the horizon slowly blinking back the oncoming night. It was cold. Unbearably so, my breath crystallized against the air, visible sobs wafting past my face.

            The sounds from Essex grew amplified, the buzzard flying closer its wings growing near enough to fan my face. The sounds from the house morphed echoing the whisper of my name, the chanting of it filling the air, pushing against my ear drums, squeezing moisture from my eyes. My hands would not be clean, I abandoned my dress rubbing them against grass tinted with raspberry juice flooding the ground like rain. It stained my knees, snuck under my fingernails.

            Sobs shook my body fighting off breath. I brought my hands to my face, blood red juice dripping from my palms, off the tip of my nose, finding its way into my hair. The buzzard landed in the grass, its shiny black claws thick in the earth. It eyed me. Its pointy beak picking plump raspberries from the ground, the juice flowing onto its shiny black feathers. It inched closer, closer, its feet squeezing squishy sounds from the saturated grass.

            I was afraid, fear spreading with each of its steps, fear stretching and moving against the whispers of my name and a sun refusing to set. Fear pushing sobs from me with screams hurting my ears, acting as a beacon drawing the buzzard closer and closer. I covered my eyes with red stained hands, tears flowing through my fingers. I heard the buzzard’s steps, closer, closer, closer, my eyes closed against my hands I was completely stone still with terror. I knew he was there, seconds from me, a raspberry sweet beak against my icy skin. I sat cold, afraid, waiting, waiting.

            And then my mother’s song, softly at first then clear and pure, one she used to sing in the kitchen tying an old apron around her waist;


            Flour goes in the kitchen

            Butter in the pan

            Pickles are good for snacking

            Maybe we’ll have a ham


            Then we’ll have dessert

            A party just for two

            Chocolate and lemon

            One for me and one for you


            I hummed along with the last lines smiling and opening my eyes just as the buzzard flew into my lap.

            Its black face, black eyes even with mine, its beak opening, breath raspberry sweet and something making its way up its throat, shaking the birds body with hacking sounds, something working its way up its throat, pain shading the bird’s eyes, the song started again, my mom’s song. I looked over the shivering bird’s shoulder and she was there, bathed in golden sunset, singing her kitchen song, reaching her arms to me.

            I reached for her, the buzzard tightened its claws into my thighs, my blood mixing with raspberry stains, the bird’s mouth growing larger making room for the thing fighting past its throat.

            “Mom-Mommy!” I called out the words scratchy and tight, “Mommy please!”

            “Shhhhh baby.” She stepped forward one foot in front of the other, “I’m here sweetheart, I’ve always been here.” She stepped forward again and then stopped, hands flat in the air pushing against an invisible wall.

            She pushed as I called out, the bird quivering in my lap straining against what was inside, its eyes closing as the beginning of the thing inched past the narrow opening of its throat. I screamed my voice echoing across the green,


            She pushed against air straining to reach me tears falling from her face, then she was free, free falling towards me, the thing inside the bird breaking loose. A primal scream wrenched from my mouth,

            “MOMMA PLEASE!”

            She fell forward, arms outstretched eyes locked on mine, the thing inside the bird pushing itself forward, birthing sounds escaping its throat, its claws digging deeper into my flesh ripping my raspberry stained dress to even shreds.

            My mom continued to fall as if through quicksand, I strained my arms towards her, our hands almost touching, the thing inside the bird reached a raw fleshy hand around the side of its beak open the bird’s mouth even larger, I screamed – I screamed,


            She reached for me falling through thick air but she was falling short, not gonna reach, not gonna reach, not reach. Panic clouded her face, her eyes met mine,

            “WAKE UP BABY! WAKE! UP! WAKE! UP!”

            I sat straight up in bed, the sheet damp and twisted around me, the echo of my own screams holding in the air. I reached out, seconds passing before I could shake the feeling of my mom reaching for me through the shadows. I ran my hand over my face and it came away slick with tears. My breathing was ragged. I concentrated to pull air slowly through my nose.

            Staring into the dark I felt the grip of the nightmare gradually loosen around me. My back was damp against the cool sheets and pale yellow pillow. I adjusted against the mattress blinking against the nighttime inkiness rolling the details of the dream around my mind like dice in my hand. Nothing to be afraid of, just a dream – and my mom. Even with the edges of the nightmare still quickening my heart the memory of her, sound of her voice, remembering her face brought immediate comfort.

            Willing my mind to shake off the parts lingering with fear I held onto the nearness of my mom, clearer in that dream than she’d been in years. Turning on my side I coaxed my eyes closed snuggling deeper under the covers humming my mom’s kitchen song until I finally fell back asleep.