I seem to always be late to the party. This meme has spread like an LA wildfire on blogs everywhere, but with all the events in our home these last few weeks, I didn't get to it.

So I'm not sure I have anyone to tag, but I'll at least play.

Bookworm Award rules:

1) Open the closest book- not a favorite or most intellectual book- but the book closest at the moment, to page 56

2) Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following

3) tag five innocents [or more]

From Deepak Chopra's Life After Death: the burden of proof:
"He grew up extremely intelligent, and his parents cherished him all the more knowing the curse he was under. They intended to tell the boy his fate in time. Somehow the years passed, and they kept putting it off.

Finally the boy's sixteenth birthday arrived, and still he knew nothing. When he knelt before his father to get his blessing, the rishi said 'I want to you to stay beside me and not leave the house today.' His son was puzzled, especially when he saw the tears in his father's eyes. "

Now, my software for my book (Liquid Story Binder) does not have my book in page format, so I will open something randomly and pick the sentence to begin with:

“Yes, I'm…I'm here to see an inmate, please.”

Josephine opened her purse while she stepped up to the desk, using the moment to take a deep breath and settle her stomach. She wasn't sure if she was more nervous about being in a jail, or about the fact she was finally going to see Michael. She set the cookies she had brought on the desk, [while attempting] to give the guard a calm and confident smile. After a brief search in her purse, she handed over her [driver's license and social security card]. He looked rather grandfatherly to her - kind but serious.

This excerpt even has my correction brackets in it, which tells me to tweak or research that section. Just keepin' it real, people.
This sure looks interesting. Who doesn't need or want a magic wand?
(Thanks to Allison Winn Scotch at Ask Allison for this link.)

I'm on a writer's list for mothers, and a fellow writer mama, Saoirse Redgrave, posted a plug for her story, 13 To Life, at textnovel.com. Check out her blog, where we all get to vote on how the story plays out. Very cool!

I have to say, I was sucked in to this story immediately. This is the tale of Pietr and Jessica. Pietr's a werewolf, and even worse, the 'fresh meat' at Junction High. Jessica, poor girl, has been assigned to show him around...

I haven't intended to be slacking on my shiny new blog.

But one of our family's own, our dog Maya, is in the processing of dying. She leaves behind her partner in crime, Sage - and those of us, the furless ones of the family, lucky enough to have loved her. She has blessed us, watched over us and barked incessantly at us for more than 10 years, and now her body is being ravaged by some unknown illness. In a matter of 2 weeks my sassy rolly-polly aussie became a serene and silent bag of bones.

I'd love to write something eloquent, or maybe funny and saucy (like Maya), but I'm not feeling up to it right now.

Soon enough, the words will come. Breaking hearts need to be expressed, all forms of art and craft seem to help hearts bleed when they need it most.

Well, I went and did it. I was reading a recent post here, at Trish Lawrence's blog, and accidentally found myself committing to a writing goal.


Anyone who knows me is aware that I am nothing of not a woman of my word, so now I have to do this.

I commit to 15 minutes of writing at least 4x a week.

Stop laughing, this is a big deal for me, people.

Write on!
I'm enjoying Nathan Bransford's blog a lot these days (who is your pick to win the SUFPCx2?). I've added him to my blogroll.

So I was reading this entry (full of info!) and this led me here to Jeff Abbott (great post on how to get organized - who doesn't need that?), and that led me to the gold at the end of the rainbow, people! Evernote, where have you been all my life? This looks to be an amazing way to keep track of things online (and if you have an iPhone or the like, offline as well. Alas, I do not.) Check it out! You can track all those interesting tidbits you come across online, and it categorizes and organizes it for you. You can easily, quickly look up via word search what you are looking for. Awesome.

No more searching in my folders and lists for "17th century French fashion" (there's a wee hint about where we may go in my WIP, The Soul's Beloved, for those paying attention). No more banging my head on the keyboard because I somehow misplaced the link to that awesome, strange article that mentioned one specific village that was perfect for my scene, no more searching everywhere for the image that I had intended to save to the right folder for inspiration later...well, you get the idea.

Write on!
I wanted to take a moment to comment on some of the wonderful blogs or sites out there. These are places that move me, inspire me, teach me, or make me laugh (sometimes, all of the above). I plan on doing a 'round up' consistently, maybe once a month (I've got a bit of a list going, so there are lots more in the queue). To keep me sane, I will comment on no more than six at a time.

I'd love to know where do you go online to fill your glass, to take a break, to learn more about your craft? Feel free to post in the comments! Here are some of my current favorites:

~ Sarah Hina. Her words are elegant, her poetry and images are enchanting; and I am certain to be carried off somewhere that is bittersweet and full of longing. Sarah's book, Plum Blossoms in Paris, has just been picked up by Medallion Press. Congrats, Sarah! I can't wait to get lost in this story...

~ Elizabeth Stark's recent post on chunky narrative is wonderful. As a fellow chunky writer I am always looking to tie things together - she offered up all kinds of worthwhile information that I will be using today.

~ Linda Sands always makes me laugh (like, big belly laughs with coffee spraying everywhere, Oh Yeah!). And she helps to feed my shoe fetish. You'll see what I mean.

~ Speaking of laughter - looking for wacky twists to inspire you? Or just want to take a break from stressing on that latest chapter and get a good laugh in? Overheard Everywhere.

~ Here is a great site for all you mama writer's out there. In fact, it's invaluable: Writer Mama Riffs. Run by Christina Katz, author of The Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids and Get Known Before The Book Deal.

~ And to wrap it all up, let's end with an agent's blog: Nathan Bransford is having a first paragraph contest.


I was reading Linda Sand's blog, and thought her post was hilarious. Wanna play?

"If I had an assistant..." this person would do the dishes before I could pick up the toast, rice and assorted fruit off the floor (thrown there by the Wild Card). They would love - love! - to sweep and mop at least 2x a day, all the while picking up the toys scattered about with a happy sing-song voice. They would hem all the pants I have that I cannot wear because I have not gotten around to doing it myself. (Hmmmm, this assistant is starting to sound oddly like... Cinderella. Note to Self: must get out more.)

Oh, wait. Maybe said assistant could help with more important things! They would organize all my bookshelves, dusted and alphabetized. They would back up all info on my laptop daily, they would transcribe, and organize!, all the pertinent notations I scribble on the nearest flat surface whenever the muse hits me (napkins, receipts, business cards...nothing is safe. And often it is written in crayon. I have no shame). They would never complain, interrupt or question my authority, and would always politely ask for juice. Er... I mean their break. Wait, what break?! This is my dream assistant, right?

They could mow the lawn, do 3 loads of laundry a day - and put it all away! - and then be ready to crit any lengthy dribble of writing I tossed their way. They would exercise FOR me. They would exercise the children for me. Cook dinner, shop for food, make beeswax candles (What? if I had the time I would love to have some homemade ones!).

They would wash windows, re-finish my hardwood floors. Paint the bedroom walls and sand my fabulous old Redwood door and convert it to a headboard (not a great image, but awesome bed! From craigandwhitneys.blogspot.com)... they would... well, they would be doing all this so I could finish this post.

Gotta go!
I was surfing around this morning for author's blogs and came across the Red Room (interesting). There is a virtual treasure chest of author's blogs there, including this recent post from Elizabeth Stark. Stark is the author of Shy Girl (1999), as well as an editor with The Paris Review, and published in countless magazines (and that's just a few highlights from her bio!).

This entry is particularly excellent for those of you out there, like myself, who are writer mama's.

Write on!
(Where I live, people collect 'heart stones' from the nearby rivers. There is one house that has quite a huge collection of them. I was driving past the other day, thinking how I'd love to have one. I never seem to find the huge ones that this person does, only little tiny ones. It occurred to me, what if someone wanted them badly? What if they made someone's heart ache, to look at all that love on display in their front yard? What would they feel, what would this mean to them? ... feel free to comment or crit, this is my first effort in awhile!)

Heart of Stone

They litter the front yard of her neighbor, like relics from capsized lovers.

Well, to call them litter would not be fair, would it? The stones are somewhat carefully placed - from the smallest to the largest - creating a path that leads to her neighbor's front door. Even more of them are arranged lovingly around that Fruitless Mulberry tree; she always checks for the Sweet Violas clinging in between. There are some rogue stones here and there that spill over onto the lawn and suffocate the grass - and no doubt, she imagines, there are brown spots flourishing underneath. Hidden from view, no one knows that the heavy hearts are killing the sweet young grass. No one sees the slugs and snails that cling to their dark, stone bellies.

At night in her own house, alone in her room, she envisions what it would be like to have one all for herself. All right, not just one... all of them. One for each shipwreck in her life. She knows exactly where she would put every one of them. In her sparse garden, the pearly moonlight would spill across them with wild abandon.

Once, each of these stone soldiers were whole, complete. She wonders if they miss the river they came from; if they felt the slow pulse, the pressure of the current breaking them down. Before the constant, unyielding violence that is water cut away the deep V's that caused them to become Hearts of Stone.

She goes to that same river every weekend. She walks the pebbled banks over and over, taking care to be surefooted (have you ever twisted your ankle on rocks? Her ankle will never be the same), looking for one - just one - to call her own. She returns to her small home every time with weightless hands. Maybe her neighbor has stolen what the river has to offer.

She entertains sneaking down the street and moving them all... scattering them down the sidewalk and across the fields behind the houses, spilling them out onto the road. Freeing them from their exile in the garden museum. But then it occurs to her that someone may not see them in the road. They might hit one of the larger hearts, and it could cause an accident. Besides, it isn't freedom, just vandalism. Cruelty. She doesn't want anyone to be harmed because of her. She's not cruel.

If only she could ignore them, stop looking. But despite her efforts, she calls out their names in her mind as she drives down the only road leading into town, right past that house. It overwhelms her to realize that every single one of them has a name, a unique event and person that haunts her. The sheer weight of even just a few - well honestly, those five particularly large ones on the West side of the front door - would be like an anchor. Yes, that's it. She would stop wandering at night, the rooms in her mind reliving every storm weathered. She would stop going to the river, always looking for a berth of her own but never finding a single one. Nowhere to rest.

She would come home for good. She would lay in the wild abandon of the moon's shimmering light, wet with dew on the cool young grass. Alone. Free. Untethered.

(c) 2008 K.A. Cole - may not be used without permission
For some odd reason I've become rather obsessed with discerning just exactly where my book fits in. (Hmm, there's a life-lesson in there somewhere ;>).

The Soul's Beloved began as a memoir, based on events in my life when I was a young adult. But there is a twist - and this twist, arguably, is fictional (because it involves past lives, and the opinion of a somewhat irascible soul. And I say 'arguably' because I realize that reincarnation is considered a theory by some. Clearly, not by me).

Anyway, so it is not a memoir. It is not straight fiction, nor is it clearly non-fiction. I thought it may be Visionary Fiction, but ...eh. Am I talented enough [gulp] to pull off Literary Fiction? I sure like the definition, from Wikipedia:

In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more on style, psychological depth, and character, whereas mainstream commercial fiction (the page-turner) focuses more on
narrative and plot.?

Well, that would take care of my current issues with plot. [brushes hands to signal 'done with that!'] Is it Narrative Fiction? Who knows...and is it technically even in the Genre arena?

Right now, it's subtitle is: A Novel Based on a True Life.
I love quotes, I also collect them with passionate abandon.
Every week there will be a new quote and then I will transfer it here to this post for archiving:

Week ending Dec 5:
We could never learn to be brave and patient,
of there were only joy in the world.
- Helen Keller

Week ending Nov 28:
- At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night.
H. P. Lovecraft

Week ending Dec 19:
The world is not respectable -- it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever, but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter,and in these, the spirit blooms. ~ George Santayana

Week ending Dec 26:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
--- Leonard Cohen

Week ending Jan 3rd:
Life does not accommodate you.

It shatters you.
It is meant to, and
it couldn't do it better.
Every seed
destroys its container,
or else there
would be no fruition.
- Florida Scott Maxwell

Week ending Jan 9:
"Live so that thou mayest desire to live again - that is thy duty - for in any case thou wilt live again!"
—Freidrich Nietzsche

Week ending Jan 29:
A key to a vital life is an eagerness to learn
and a willingness to change.

- mary anne radmacher-hershey

So, real quick I just want to post that I'm planning on having little 'highlights' of my characters now and again. Right now I plan on putting them in the sidebar, then maybe archiving them in posts later.

I'm not sure that the one up right now (Janus Speaks) truly makes sense to a person who doesn't know what this story is about. I'm working on not only a synopsis, but a tag for the book. It is such a complex story that trying to distill it down to say, a sentence, has been really hard for me (I now join a long line of writer's that come before me, yay!). And if I can't briefly convey what my story is about... well, that's a problem. I'm from a business background; I am well aware that the elevator pitch is not some mythical beast. And it applies to the publishing industry as well as any other kind of promotion business.

So, if you stop by and read the sidebar, what do you think? What does it convey to you?


edited to add link, commentary

Ravens love the pretty: shiny, flashy objects to collect and horde in their nests. They can't help themselves, and I relate very well to such urges. What would be I in my nest?

Words, of course! I love words. The way I talk and write is loquacious. And sentences; I love long, complex ones, even when they are badly executed, which mine tend to be. To show you what I geek I was - am - I used to make lists of words when I was in High School, and I enjoyed looking them up and writing out their definitions*. Circumambulation was my favorite word for over a decade. And a thesaurus? Makes me weak in the knees, my friends!

My problem with such linguistic hording is that my writing can become rather verbose. So I love reading a book where the author can convey his or her point in a sentence, in a word. It makes me rather green with cupidity; I choose to make envy my fuel, yet another incitement to write. And when I do get the chance to work on my book, the rather consistent prattle in the back of my mind is this: "Keep it simple."

Write now I am reading Alice Hoffman's latest, The Third Angel, (and yes, I know she can become rather formulaic at times, but the woman can convey an image, invoke a memory like nobody's business!) and I am swooning again and again over her talent for brevity. (Hmmm... "with", or "for"?).

Makes me want to chuck EVERYTHING I have written in my WIP so far, and start afresh.

*of course, I don't do that anymore. [cough]

Image used with permission, from Lara Stefansdottir
I get sucked into watching porn. Calm down, I mean TREE porn. (Sheesh, what kind of woman do you take me for? ;>)

Don't say I didn't warn you. Hilarious! Thanks to Spiritual Cowgirl.

The Ubiquitous "About Me" Information:

The Formalities: I hold a Liberal Arts BA, Magna Cum Laude, from John F. Kennedy University and have over 20 years of experience in the business world; I also owned a small retail/wholesale business for 7 years, which just closed this Jan of '09. I am a clinically trained herbalist and have a background in dream work, various alternative healing modalities, as well as mysticism, shamanic healing, meditation, trance work and ritual. I live amongst the Redwoods of Northern California with my loving husband and two daughters (and an awesome dog-friend).

The Fire Within: Where I come from may be interesting (best told fireside, with some wine and chocolate), but who I am becoming is what fills me with a passion, finally, for being here.

Because of events I experienced as a young girl, I have grown up with an unshakeable faith that we are spiritual beings having a human experience -- and that this is merely one of many, many lives. This at turns tortured and sustained me through years of existential blues.

I spent years trying to numb this awareness, then even more trying to prove it to myself and others, then, finally… I am reveling in it. I am a devoted wife and mother, a sister, a friend and comrade, a reverent Fool of the Mysteries that hopes to help others ignite their inner fire, to embrace and know that this very human world is a profound gift to be cherished and used for all it’s worth. That, and that Death is only a pit stop on the road of Consciousness.

My Writing: I am currently working on a novel, THE SOUL’S BELOVED, which chronicles the challenges of being human for a certain, somewhat irascible, soul. The characters in this story, each in their own way, struggle with what they are willing to do in order to experience life in it's fullness, to embrace the truth -- and the Universal Law -- of Love. They struggle with their own sense of being, and what sets them afire. And yes, it is in part based on events from my own life.

I also write short stories and memoir-based fodder, and hope to try my pen at magazine articles and who knows what else. Dream big or go home, I always say. Thanks for stopping by!

What's In A Name?
The title for this blog comes from one of my favorite books, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. This book in essence was a study of the 'unbearable lightness' of the human life. I wish I could write some snappy little ditty here, without any intense existential navel-gazing. But the Writing Gods won’t be ignored, so here comes a long-winded explanation about the name of my blog…this is best read after a glass of red wine (or two or three) and some dark chocolate. Just in case you were wondering.

From wikipedia, a great synopsis about Kundera’s book:

The book centers on the idea that existence is full of unbearable lightness, because each of us has only one life to live: Einmal ist keinmal (once is nonce: "what happened once might never have happened at all"). Therefore, each life is, ultimately, insignificant; every decision, ultimately, does not matter. Since decisions do not matter, they are light, they don't make us suffer: they do not bind, yet simultaneously, the insignificance of our decisions — our lives, our being — is unbearably light, hence, the unbearable lightness of being.

I loved Kundera's book not for it's characters (hardly likable, in actuality) - I loved this book because I do not agree with the above premise. And yet I adore how the author explored and expressed it.

I don't agree because in my world, nothing is insignificant. Every blossom inspires awe, every moment an opportunity to come alive, to discover the truth of why we exist. Here on Earth, we are unbearably heavy from the suffering and joy of reality and its lessons.

And I don’t agree because ever since I was a small child I have believed – because of uncommon connections with strangers, because of dreamtime visits and whispers in the woods - that we return many lives over to learn what only the grace of being human can teach us. Life, like a stack of Russian dolls, is a magical chrysalis that we constantly fumble our way out of again and again.

The Creator's (respectfully insert your chosen title here, mine is Goddess) gift to us, reincarnation, is a constant chance to get it right. This is how we are tempered and thrust forward in evolution. This is how we are measured and know our worth, not only as individuals but also as a part of the collective consciousness of all beings. (Another swig of wine may be good here.)

In my mind, there are two absolutes in this world: no one escapes the laws of Love and Death.

But it is all the ways that we desperately attempt to that conjures up the Fates and gives life meaning. We can hide behind any mask we find; but from up on high, looking down upon our world we are all angels and devils, pawns and players. Drafted into the game again and again, until we have mastered our Selves. In this endless dance of reincarnation we are given the privilege to attempt, time after time, to 'get it right'. That fascinates me.

Every moment counts, every heartbeat matters, adding feather after feather, pearl and stone to the scales over and over. Therefore, life – Being - carries a weight of the ages with it. It is after death when we rest in the halls of Heaven (in my book, The Soul's Beloved, I call this place the Other World) that we experience the lightness of Being. The more we live, the more we release.

For every time we die, we break a chain, we release a feather, we throw a stone, we leave a kiss. We are slightly lighter than before the life just realized. We stretch our awareness farther, deeper, towards the horizon of consciousness. The corporeal world becomes less and less our anchor, and the Other World is revealed to be more and more our true homeland.

That is the core of what I want to write about - because I simply can't keep it all in my head, it needs a release somewhere because it makes my heart so damn heavy. In all its mutations, in all it's pathos and folly, with all the appraisals and awe of human existence, each and every moment counting as something and adding to the priceless weight of collective lifetimes... the attempt to live for me is awesome, gorgeous, overwhelming – unbearable in it’s raging beauty.

Hence, the name of my blog.

(edited because I inadvertently put the wrong title on this post. Barg!)