Aya Walksfar, Author

Hard hitting, in-the-news murder mysteries

WHAT IS REAL?

Novels represent the intersection between reality and fiction. What really happened? Is this novel a thinly disguised autobiography of the author? A biography of another person? Did those events actually occur?

Authors of literary fiction are more likely to be asked this question than authors of sci-fi, murder mysteries and fantasy. Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, the Qatar author of An Unlikely Goddess, was asked if the events of her novel actually happened to her. I, too, have been asked if my literary novels are autobiographical. Though we would like readers to focus on the issues in the story, such a question is truly a compliment. People have connected to the novel on a visceral level.

It was once said of the western writer Louis L’Amour that if he wrote of a stream in a certain place, the stream existed. The Law and Order series on television boasts of ripping their episodes from the headlines. In my mysteries, I use extensive research to present reality in a fictional milieu. In Street Harvest, I take the very real issues of human trafficking and the danger in which street children live constantly and blend it with fiction as a way of highlighting these current issues to allow people to connect on an emotional level.

Reading a powerful book can change our lives.

somewhere dif Good Intentions

Since I write to not only entertain, but to also enlighten and empower; and to ultimately make a positive impact on our world, it is important for people to emotionally connect with my work. I love hearing such comments as “I want Grandma Greene for my grandmother.” The greatest compliment I have ever received was from a young person who said Good Intentions helped him to deal with being adopted and to forgive the fabrications of his adoptive parents.

A good writer knows that verisimilitude–details that lend the appearance of being true or real; what has happened to real people–increases the authenticity, the believability of her work. As such, it provides a more satisfying read and, in some cases, tidbits of knowledge.

While the cities and mountains and issues are often ripped intact from real life, the protagonists, antagonists and other characters within the novel–the good people and the bad people–seldom resemble any one person, living or dead. An author gleans characteristics, traits, eccentricities, and manner of facing life from a wide variety of people then builds the character from specific ones that will allow the story to unfold in a logical and entertaining way. The reader is guaranteed to “see” Uncle Jack or Aunt Milly in at least one of the characters, and therefore more likely to connect on a visceral level with the novel. In the end, it always returns to the reader–what will enhance the experience of the novel for the reader? What will give the reader the most value for her/his time and money?

The fiction I most enjoy reading incorporates reality with fiction to provide entertainment, enlightenment, and empowerment. It is also the type of fiction that I write.

I have tackled the tough, and sadly all too real, subjects such as family secrets, homophobia, racial tensions, hate crimes, betrayal, loss, grief, pedophilia, rape, domestic violence, street kids, human trafficking and much more in both my literary and my mystery novels. Yet, in each novel I have shown how people can triumph over horrendous circumstances and rise to live worthy and good lives. Much of my inspiration comes from real people I have known; people I have admired. Those people were ordinary people who quietly lived extraordinary lives.

So, what is real? The reality is that authors draw from real life, whether we write sci-fi or literary novels. We take what’s real and shape it into a novel. We write of love and hate; joy and sorrow; triumph and despair.

Do you identify with the characters in novels? Would love to hear! Please, comment.

Don’t miss the next post. Subscribe.

Mohana’s An Unlikely Goddess (ebook) is on sale for $0.99! Go to http://www.amazon.com/An-Unlikely-Goddess-Mohanalakshmi-Rajakumar-ebook/dp/B00FVSP82Q

To see a list of my novels go to http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

Share

4 Traits Authors MUST HAVE

Traits of an Author

What traits does a person need to become a successful author? (First, the person needs to define what she considers successful.)

I wish I could claim that it requires complete and total brilliance (because I could happily travel along that logic line. I am an author; therefore, I am completely and totally brilliant. Wah-la!). Seriously? Not.

The very first thing an aspiring author should ask herself is: do I really, really want to do this? Is this so important I am willing to focus my entire being on achieving this goal? siab focus

Like most pursuits, becoming an author (I’m talking about writing something better than mindless drivel) takes a huge investment of time. Are you ready and willing to give up those late night television movies; that extra time with your homies?

I don’t find time to write; I make time to write. Not a prob when to write is as necessary to me as the oxygen I breathe. It’s just all the other stuff that I’m not especially thrilled to do: like reading tons of material on the proper use of commas; or the many books on character development that make me want to scratch my eyes out from boredom; however, if I want to be an author, these investments of time are as critical as the hundreds of hours I spend writing a novel.

That brings me to the second trait an aspiring author must have: an open and inquiring mind. UdoReading(1) Though dry textbooks are a trial, I have been blessed to learn from experts in various fields, such as law enforcement, the law, and recently–two more wonderful connections: a firefighter and one of the people responsible for the Canine CODIS at UC Davis–a database to help law enforcement prosecute people involved in dog fighting. These connections teach me more than dry facts (such as how to preserve a crime scene); they give a face and a heart to cops, firefighters, lawyers, researchers and many others. This perspective allows me to create characters that resonate with readers because those characters feel real.  Yet, making connections is not an overnight occurrence, nor is it always easy. I have to step out of my comfort zone. I have to ask millions of questions. I can’t give up, even when I feel overwhelmed and tired and discouraged. light in darkness

That brings me to the third trait aspiring authors must have: persistence; sometimes called determination or tenacity (sometimes known as pure mule-blooded stubbornness). Determination Image QuoteI cannot allow myself to throw up my hands and walk away from the unfinished book, the necessary connections, the studies, or any of the million things that go into writing and marketing a novel. More than any other trait, the difference between success and failure is the attitude that says: I don’t know the word ‘quit’. It’s going the extra mile when you’re footsore. It’s speaking to the next person, though you’ve experienced ten rejections in as many hours. It’s the fifteenth rewrite of a novel because your beta readers said……..

There you have it– what traits an aspiring author must have.

  1. First and foremost: focus. You are focused on this goal and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. isisrunning(1)

  2. The commitment to make the time to learn, to write and to get that novel out there in front of readers.

  3. An open and inquiring mind that thirsts for knowledge, for understanding why someone did this instead of doing that.

  4. Persistence/determination/tenacity/plain mule-blooded stubbornness. isisButt(1)Going on when stopping makes more sense; trying when throwing up your hands would be more comfortable; doing what needs done, regardless of the pain and the effort that requires.

If you have these traits, and you have a deep desire to be an author; if you are willing to focus on that goal, then welcome to the ranks of Writers in the Night!Writer in the night. And, let me know when you release your first book. (After you’ve had it beta read and edited, please!)

Don’t miss the next post. Subscribe to this blog.

Share

6 Internet Places You Should Visit

6 #Internet Places You Should Visit

largest madrone Giant Madrona, Road to the Lost Coast, Mattole Valley, California. There are many beautiful places, if we take the time to see.

The internet can be entertaining, enlightening, empowering and fun. Let’s start with enlightening and fun.

  1. Tianmen Mountain scenery is spectacular and scary. As an author, I troll the net extensively. Sometimes, I discover wonders I didn’t know existed. The first link will give you some history of Tianmen Mountain and the second link will take you to more photos of the longest cable car ride in the world and a very scary road to the mountaintop. Not to mention the glass bridge that hangs out over empty space.

http://www.travelchina.gov.cn/tirms/front/en_US/spot_77.html

Tianmen Mountain

  1. 15-year old Kira Taylor is a Cystic Fibrosis Warrior. I met her on the internet some time ago and never cease to marvel at this young woman. She is fighting a deadly disease, yet her beautiful voice doesn’t carry any self-pity. She uses it to help fight bullies everywhere and to enlighten people to what this deadly disease is all about. Listen to this wonderful voice.

http://contest.nobullchallenge.org/video/74167-bad-day-contest      Kira Taylor Cystic Fibrosis Warrior

  1. I’ve known good #cops; and, I’ve known bad cops. My series, The Special Crimes Team, is about misfit cops who bend the rules. Here are some other cops who go beyond the letter of their jobs.

http://www.news4jax.com/news/st-augustine-officer-rescues-4-baby-raccoons/31096156

http://fox59.com/2015/03/30/impd-officer-saves-dog-hit-by-a-car/

 

  1. One of the things I love about writing is learning what my characters have to say. They often surprise me.

https://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar/what-the-characters-say/

 

Hard Road Home, Cas Redner

Hard Road Home, Cas Redner

  1. Molly Greene writes cozy mysteries that make excellent evening reads. I’ve read several and enjoyed them all. She is also an accomplished blogger and blog trainer. I have learned many interesting and helpful things through her blog posts about social media. So, whether you are a writer, or not; a business person, or not; or if you simply love to makes friends through social media, Molly has some helpful tips for how to make the most of social media. She also has a reader’s club; think about joining.

http://www.molly-greene.com/10-tweets-you-should-never-send/

http://www.molly-greene.com/readers-club/   Gen Delacourt Mysteries

  1. Many people ask me why I write. Read my answer, and other entertaining and enlightening posts, on Women and Words blog:

http://womenwords.org/2015/03/31/the-socially-conscious-writer-by-aya-walksfar-plus-a-couple-of-free-books/

The first five people who comment on this post will receive a free download from Audible of Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team. All of the Special Crimes Team series can be read, or listened to, as stand-alones.

If you enjoyed this post, add your email so you’ll never miss one. Visit me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar or my fan page at http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

Share

YOU PROMISED!

I just read an interesting thriller; true, there were some commas missing and a few words that were either wrong or missing, but all in all, a solid story. Since I’ve recently read a couple of very well-known authors who also had commas and words missing, I decided to give the errors a pass. After all, I was still interested in who won.

All the way up to the end, that is. The end that wasn’t the end. A non-ending. A favorite ploy of some authors. A surefire way to discourage me from ever again reading anything they write.

The sad thing about this book and its author: the author didn’t have to do that to get me to purchase the next book. I wanted to know what happened to these people and there had been enough doubt thrown on their happily ever after to make me think another adventure might be in the cards. If only the author would’ve stopped with the couple happily ensconced in their new home.

The last few pages that made the ending a non-ending would have worked remarkably well as the beginning of the next book–the book blurb could’ve drawn the reader in with the knowledge of this couple’s peril.

When I pick up a book, I am making a contract with the author: here is my time–very precious–and my money. In return, I expect a novel that has a distinct beginning, middle and end. Not one that says “to be continued.”

Such a ploy makes me feel that the author has no faith in their own writing being strong enough to pull the reader back to them. Or perhaps they don’t believe in the strength of the characters they’ve drawn; that the challenges faced by these imaginary people would keep a reader interested enough to put out more money to read the following book.

There are many ways to do a series. Kay Hooper does a great job in that each book is a complete novel with the requisite beginning, middle and end. However, she has constructed enough interest in the people who populate the Bishop series and the Haven series, that I am willing–and happy–to put out money for the next installment on their lives. Each book of Ms. Hooper’s Bishop series can be read as stand-alones. In fact, I first discovered the series with the fifth book in. I went back and purchased the other four books.

Patricia Briggs’ wonderful Mercy Thompson series allows the option of reading the books as stand-alones. They are, however, more fun to read from book one to the latest release as the characters develop over the different books.

In my own series, The Special Crimes Team, each book can be read as a stand-alone–each one has a distinct beginning, middle and end. A new reader can start anywhere in the series as each book supplies the necessary backstory–much along the same lines as Ms. Hooper and Ms. Briggs– to fill in where needed. It is, however, more satisfying to read the series starting from book one and continuing to the latest release because the characters change and develop from one book to the next.

When I release a novel, I am implicitly offering a contract to the reader who picks it up: In exchange for your time and money, I promise that I have written and delivered a complete story.  Holiday bazaar 008

If an author wishes to release a book that is not complete, then it should be designated as Part One; or, perhaps in the description, the author could write: “this story is to be continued in Book Two.” With such a simple device, the author could uphold their implicit contract with the reader: here is as much of the story as I am going to give you right now.

When an author does this, however, it would behoove them to have the next book ready to be released within months. If I am willing to give my time to read part of a story, then I expect the next part, and the ending, to be forthcoming quickly. A few months is all the time my patience will allow. Also, as I read up to five books a week, the storyline would soon be forgotten amid other storylines. I would have little interest in re-reading the first part simply so I could read the next part and have to wait for the ending, yet again.

Do you, as a reader, feel shortchanged when an author has a non-ending? Would appreciate your comments. Please, comment below.

Don’t miss the next post. Subscribe to this blog by filling in your email address in the box on the right side.

COMING THIS JUNE! BACKLASH, BOOK 4, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM  This week I will release the first draft of  the Backlash cover on my facebook. Come on over and check it out! http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar    or  http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

Share

Is She or Isn’t She?

Ever wonder if that reclusive neighbor is something….different? Read on and get the real scoop!DSC09897

From the Archives of the Matriarchs

At the beginning, Great Goddess was. She is the Alpha and the Omega. She is Creative Force of all that Was, Is and Ever Will Be.

From Her Very Soul, she ripped pieces and formed the Goddesses in her own image. In blood and pain and sacrifice she gave birth to them. Their names are Mother of Magick who came to be called Hekate, Athena who was first known as Mother of Wisdom and Learning, Warrior Woman and Protector who came to be called Artemis, Woman of the Sun who refused any other name, and Woman of Fierce Darkness once called Amanirenas. These were the first five. Companions and co-creators with Great Goddess.

When their souls demanded them to create, she warned them that creation must come from ripping pieces of their own souls loose and implanting those pieces in the new creation. She told them that Creation could only be done amidst blood and pain and sacrifice for such is the nature of creation. Still their souls demanded for them to create and so they did.

Together they created all the universes, all the worlds, and all that lives within them. Except the Earth. Mother Earth was endowed with a strip of the soul of Great Goddess. From different parts of that strip of soul came the mountains, the valleys, the lakes, the oceans, the plains, the volcanoes, and all that make the body of Mother Earth.

Woman of the Sun took a piece of her soul and Created Father Sun then set him in the sky to warm the Mother. Amanirenas placed Grandmother Moon to shine when Mother Earth needed a rest from the strong rays and the warmth of Father Sun. Grandmother Moon fostered the quiet, the time for contemplation and feeling. Father Sun fostered action and growth.

Then Great Goddess took pieces of her soul and made the trees, the grasses, the flowers, and all that clothe Mother Earth.

Hekate, Athena and Artemis took pieces of their souls and made the animals, the creatures of air, of water, of earth. And because each piece of soul was unique, each creation–be it tree or be it tiger–was unique.

Great Goddess called together her companions and co-creators and they shared the worlds and universes they had created–each beautiful in its own way. Yet, when they gazed upon Mother Earth, in spite of all they had Created, they felt something was missing. Some essential element still needed to be brought forth. They Dreamed long and finally decided. This was a world where they could place small images of themselves, to watch each one grow and develop; to watch as they came into their creative powers. And so it was that Woman was Created. They let their Creative Powers rejoice and out of this celebration came the many colors and shapes and sizes of these replicas of Great Goddess and the Goddesses that Great Goddess named Woman. In a great burst of joy, they also created almost-replicas of themselves that Great Goddess named Man, for he was not fully a woman.

They Gifted Woman with a small bit of their own Creative Power. In her, new life could grow, but only in the image of the female. So it was that tigers gave birth to tigers and humans gave birth to humans.

Man begged to feel closer to Great Goddess and the Goddesses, begged to become more like them. And so, it came to pass that Great Goddess Gifted man with a seed that could assist in the creation of new life. Man rejoiced to be so close to Great Goddess, to be a part of creation.

Great Goddess created almost-replicas of the Goddesses and called them gods. They, like the almost-replicas on Mother Earth, could not create as the Goddesses did.

For millennia, all grew and prospered both in the Heavens and on Mother Earth. Woman and Man took only what they needed to live and they gave back as much as they took. So the balance continued.

After many millennia, the gods became restless. Unbeknownst to Great Goddess, they incited human males to anger and envy of the human females’ ability to create life. They filled the weaker male minds with thoughts that were subversive to all that Was and Ever Had Been.

Eventually, human males who followed the gods enticements were named Caine by the gods to distinguish them from the ones that followed the Way of Great Goddess. They named those Abella, as the leaders were always females.

During the Dark of the Moon, the followers of Caine rose up and slaughtered the unsuspecting followers of Abella, those who held tight to the Teachings of Great Goddess and the Goddesses. Millions died. That period of time came to be known as The Great War.

Because each living being held a piece of Great Goddess’ soul or a piece of the souls of the Goddesses, and therefore were given freewill, Great Goddess could not allow interference in The Great War, could not allow the usurpation of Freewill.

There came a time, however, when Artemis wept and threw herself at the feet of Great Goddess. Those the Goddesses loved had been reduced to small groups and even then the Children of Caine hunted them. She begged Great Goddess to allow her to save the remnants of their people, those who were known as the Children of Abella.

And so it came to pass that Artemis bestowed upon the Children of Abella certain powers. Among those powers were enhanced senses, enhanced strength, and near-immortality. The other Goddesses gathered close and they, too, bestowed certain powers upon the Children of Abella. In return for the many powers, Artemis demanded that the Children of Abella adher to the Purpose set by Great Goddess Herself.

The Children of Abella must never kill without reason, and must seek to help the Children of Caine overcome their blood that had been poisoned by envy, greed, hate, and needless violence.

So the Children of Abella would never forget their connection to the Children of Caine, Artemis decreed that in order to live, the Children of Abella must drink the blood of the Children of Caine. To remind the Children of Abella that none are free of fault, they were afflicted by sexual lust. The only way to be free of the Lust was to find their True Mate, be that mate a Child of Caine or a Child of Abella. Not all would find a True Mate.

Because the root of human male envy was the human females’ ability to create life, among the Children of Abella only the female could create life. To more tightly bind the Children of Abella to the Children of Caine, only a liaison with a human male would result in a child.

Because males brought about destruction, only females could hold power over the Children of Abella. Born females received Powers upon their 24th birthday. Before the receiving of power, they were brought to the House of the Head of their Family and watched over as the Power Came Upon them. Not all survived the Coming of Power. Born males never received powers nor were they able to impregnate females of either species.

Both Born male and female could Create new Children of Abella through a controlled bite and sharing of blood. Only females were allowed to do so without explicit permission of the Head of the Family. Created males were a lower caste than Born males. They could aspire to the Born male caste through accomplishments.

Huvams–those children born to a Vampire mother with a human father–became the leaders of the Children of Abella. Created females could aspire to leadership through their accomplishments.

A World Council of Five Matriarchs ruled all the Children of Abella.

The world was divided into regions and each region was headed by a Matriarch. Within the regions, First Councilwomen ruled the Heads of Family. The Heads of Family were responsible for all Children within their extended Family.

Over time, the Children of Abella came to be called Vampire. The Children of Caine came to be called Human and mostly forgot that the Children of Abella still lived.

Don’t MISS the next post! Enter your email and follow this blog!

Share

#3/22/14: When the Mountain Fell

light in darkness

On March 22, 2014, at 10:37 a.m., the side of the hill above the #Stillaguamish River gave way suddenly. It crashed into the river, scooped up the river’s water and became a mud tidal wave that crashed against the far shore and swept away the lives of 43 people and numerous wildlife and domestic animals.  The wide spot that had once held the town of Hazel, Washington and more recently had been known as the Steelhead Community had vanished under tons of earth within minutes. Friends and family had been lost. The community of #Darrington devastated.

To make matters worse, the major artery between Darrington, Washington and “down below”–all points to the west of Darrington–had been severed. It would be weeks before traffic could resume use of Highway 530.

For all intents and purposes, the small town of Darrington was isolated. Yet, in this small town everyone from Cub Scouts to one hundred school-age young people to Senior citizens rallied to create the infrastructure necessary to field, outfit and feed multiple volunteer teams of local people dispatched to the mudslide. (Local volunteers arrived minutes after the slide hit and though most of them had no prior rescue experience, they were the leading edge of the rescue efforts.) A road was punched through to reach the far edges of the slide. Chainsaws growled, heavy equipment grumbled, people called to each other. As the days piled one on top of the other, young people stocked food banks, elders cooked, some people took care of the home bound, others took care of those affected physically and emotionally, cots were set up, information streams established, and still others made sure that supplies kept coming in for the teams and for the town.

The byword was ‘hope”. Every where you looked yellow ribbons spelled out that brave word: #hope. candle in dark We each became a candle that glowed in that great darkness. Together, we lit the way for each other, and for our town.

During those days and weeks, I learned what made Darrington such a special place. I saw people drag in to check out from their volunteer positions after nine at night and saw those same people back in front of me to check in for work at six the next morning–day after weary, heartbreaking day. People stopped in the middle of the store, in the middle of the street, and gave support and encouragement to each other; hugged each other. We had each others’ backs.

Darrington still epitomizes the word “hope” to me.  We still have hope. I think this town lives and breathes hope. Now, it is the hope that we continue our healing as the first anniversary of the day when the mountain fell approaches.

Be kind to one another. Hope lives in each of us. We can heal each other, and ourselves. I send a hug to each and every one of you.

imagequote sunsets prepare for new day

Candle photo courtesy of geralt, all-free-downloads.com Other photos courtesy Deva Walksfar.

 

Share

BACKLASH, BK 4, COMING SOON!

BACKLASH!

Chapter 1

On the day that Ellen Delaney’s carefully constructed world shattered, she crossed December first off the desktop calendar, signed off her laptop and placed it in its black leather satchel. With the satchel set to one side, she removed the Gucci handbag from the deep drawer on the right side and pulled a small hand mirror and a tube of mauve lipstick out of the makeup tote.

Lipstick carefully applied, she dropped the tube back in the tote. The reflection staring back from the mirror showed dove gray eyes looking back from a heart-shaped face. For a woman staring at forty, she had aged well. A few light laugh lines at the corners of her eyes and a few silver strands threaded among the fall of midnight wavy hair. Her five-foot-five slender body moved with grace and style, whether clad in business suits, workout clothes or designer jeans.

A chill rain tapped lightly at the office window as she put the mirror away. A glance at the diamond-studded wrist watch had her slipping into the suit jacket hanging on the high back of the deep-red leather office chair. A quick look around assured her that everything was tidy.

The obsession with tidiness grew from the untidy things that had happened to her; the same things that had made her choose a career in Women’s Law. Such things happened to women all the time. The law could be used to tidy up a woman’s life; to make it easier; safer.

Purse and laptop satchel shouldered, her heels clicked a staccato beat across the high gloss floor. Keys jangled in one hand though a keycard worked the lock on the office suite. She strode across the carpeted reception area, stepped out of the beveled glass door. An alarm keypad hung unobtrusively on the wall to the left of the door. Code punched in, the green light flashed.

Redundant locks–the office suite, the elevator stop on the sixth floor, the exterior door to the building and the security guard at the gated garage entrance–enhanced a feeling of safety. During this past year, a sense of safety had become critical.

The law had a few drawbacks; some shortcomings. It could only function within a set parameter of evidence and argument. If only she could obtain incontrovertible proof….

The rustle of her suit and the tap of heels on the hall tiles echoed in the silence of the sixth floor at six p.m. This close to the Christmas holidays the occupants of the other offices in the ten-story Bell Town building had left earlier than normal.

The elevator hummed to a halt and its doors swished quietly open. She stepped inside the glass and chrome box and fed the keycard into the slot then hit P1 for the parking area.

Keys in hand, finger on the button of a canister of pepper spray, Ellen left the confines of the elevator and started across the well-lit parking garage. A couple of feet from her Cadillac ESL she thumbed the key fob. Headlights blinked signaling that the doors had unlocked. She swung open the driver’s door, set the laptop satchel and purse on the passenger seat, slid in quickly, clicked the seat belt and drove to the exit.

Since she owned the building, she’d set up the security routine. The high-risk occupants of the offices–wildly successful attorneys who landed on hardcore hate lists, a hard-hitting journalist whose name had made the drug cartels hit list and others whose careers increased their jeopardy–appreciated the extra layer of safety.

Simon Getting, retired Marine sergeant, walked around her car, shining a light in the back seat and peering in the front. Finally, he stepped to the driver’s side rear quarter panel and waited for the trunk lid to be opened. He inspected the trunk, slammed the lid and walked back to the security booth. “Have a nice evening, Ms. Delaney.”

She eased out of the gate and onto the street. Tonight a drive to Olympia and a late dinner at the Governor’s Mansion with Governor Andrea Marleton. A smile crossed her lips. Governor Marleton–she’d been so proud when Andrea took the Governor’s Mansion.

Andrea’s insistence on meeting tonight had impinged on other plans, but it had been for the best. What had she been thinking? It was dangerous enough that he knew about her friendship with the governor; that had been inevitable. At least, a circle of protection surrounded Andrea.

No one else’s life could be put in jeopardy. Dinner with Andrea to discuss the Notable Women in Law Award that she’d won made a good excuse to break the date with Celeste. Tomorrow the next step–dropping her gym membership.

At a time when she should be reveling in her achievements, planning future successes, she knew there would never be any future successes. Not unless she found a way to stop him.

Bittersweet that her greatest achievement had so enraged him. She’d never dreamed of winning such an prestigious award; a white trash girl from the wilds of Montana. No one would ever know that part, though. Those Libby, Montana roots had been deeply beneath stories of a head-on collision that allegedly–and conveniently–killed her parents right after she graduated high school.

They remained deceased to everyone, including herself, except for one day each year. One day that she drove hours to experience. What would happen if she failed to show this year? She forced the troubling thought away.

The mansion would be decorated for the holidays. She enjoyed that sort of thing, but had no desire to do it. For a moment, she wondered why Andrea had never married. Must not have found that special someone.

She’d given up on finding a special someone; accepted that one-night stands would fill the years. A short, bitter laugh burst out. Two years ago, everything she’d ever dreamed of had been within her grasp. Within months the dream had been shattered. She’d had a taste, though; enough to feel the ache of losing it.

Several times she’d come close to confiding in Andrea. Each time some hand of caution had clamped across her lips. Too bad that same caution hadn’t been there with Celeste. Determinedly, she locked away those melancholic thoughts. I will savor these hours with my best friend. I will not think sad thoughts.

Two point three miles from home while she hummed along with the haunting sound of Enya, a dark van shot out of Kelly Road, one lane of hard-packed dirt that served two houses back in the hill. It smashed into the back quarter panel of her car. Airbags deployed as the car spun. The steering wheel whipped in her hands as she fought it and the airbag. The front tires left the asphalt and bit into the soft side of the ditch, wrenching the wheel free from her white-knuckled grip. For a moment, her heart pounded with hope as the car teetered on the edge of the ditch. Then the wall of dirt gave way and the car slid sideways. It came to rest tilted nearly perpendicular to the roadway above. Groggy from being hit by the air bag and jerked this way and that way, she reached up and touched her forehead. She pulled her hand down in front of her eyes and stared blankly at the slick red on her fingertips. Her mind felt as sluggish as molasses on a bitter winter’s morning.

Blindly patting the passenger seat, she searched for her handbag and cell phone. The driver’s side window burst inward, sprayed her with rounded bits of shatterproof glass. An arm reached in and clamped a stinking rag across her face.


Ellen rolled to one side just in time to heave. Yellow bile spilled in a small puddle on the rough plank floor. Eyes cracked open a slit, the dull daylight caused her head to pound. She squinted her eyes and tried to scan her surroundings. None of it made sense.

She inventoried herself: black ski jacket, faded blue flannel shirt, no bra, black ski pants with a rip in the right knee where blue denim showed through. A faded black sleeping bag lay beneath her. She wiggled her toes. Felt like they were encased in wool socks within the heavy leather boots that had cracks across the toes. A little bit itchy, but she felt grateful to have the socks. Her breath clouded in front of her.

Then she saw the shackle. A dull steel chain anchored to the floor snaked across the sleeping bag and latched onto the dull steel cuff snapped around one leg just above the top of the boot. Where the hell am I?

Heart pounding, she forced herself to scan the space around her, though spears of pain shot through her head. A room. Not a very large room. Some kind of opaque white material over the only window. Light seeped through, but no way to see through it. No furniture. What the hell happened?

The last memory was… a truck of some kind roaring out of Kelly’s Road. Then… bile rose up the back of her throat. She swallowed hard. Black, someone all in black. Couldn’t see anything, except his light colored eyes. Oh, God! What kind of maniac has me?

Chamberlain, it had to be Chamberlain. Nothing else made sense. Why didn’t I see this coming? Should’ve known he’d pull something like this. There had been plenty of warnings. Why didn’t I pay more attention? Why didn’t I do something! For Christ’s sake, why didn’t I simply leave? I had the money to leave, to start over, but no, my stupid pride refused to let him chase me away from my home, my practice. Now look where I am.

Her stomach heaved again and she barely cleared the sleeping bag before the bitter bile spewed out. Flopped back on the sleeping bag, arm over her eyes, tears leaked down the sides of her face, leaving icy tracks.

None of it had mattered. None of her work had made any difference at all. She’d gone full circle. Back to what she had fled.

 

See all of the Special Crimes Team books at http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

Check out places mentioned in the books at http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar

Share

4 Ways Journaling Heals

light in darkness

With the first anniversary of the Highway 530 Mudslide looming ever closer, emotions are intense.

Words are powerful and can help us deal with emotions. This is why keeping a journal can be a healing process. By writing down the feelings we are experiencing, we can begin to deal with them rather than allowing them to eat away at us on the inside.

This can be especially true of grief. In your journal:

  1. Write a story about the person you lost
  2. Describe a happy memory with that person
  3. Write a conversation you wish you could have with that person. Try to include what you think they would tell you
  4. Describe your feelings
  5. List two ways you can honor the memory of your loved one

No matter how dark

Another way journaling can help us heal is to reduce negative self-talk, increase positive self-talk and help us recognize achievements.

  1. Write down the negative self-talk. (ie: I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, and so on)
  2. Now write down five positive things about yourself ( ie: I’m a good person, I help others, I do my job well, Yesterday I phoned my parents because they like hearing from me, I like my hair (or whatever physical attribute you think is positive) and so on.
  3. Write down two ways you will use to improve yourself. Make these very specific and have a deadline for implementing or achieving. Do not use such things as I will lose ten pounds this month. Instead list it like this: I will make three healthy dinners this week. I will not eat bread for five days. I will read one book every month.
  4. On a clean page, at the end of the deadline, write down what you achieved, why you didn’t achieve the entire goal and how you intend to approach it now. BE SURE to INCLUDE ANY progress toward your goal, such as: I fixed two healthy dinners this week. I failed to schedule in enough time to fix the third dinner. This week I will write up my menu for three healthy dinners, go shopping for the ingredients at least the day before the dinner, and I will put the dinners on my daily schedule.

Memories capture moments in our hearts. By briefly recalling a memory, we can help heal ourselves.  When you journal, you can capture your impression of the moment. The way your heart lifted when you watched the sunset; the way the brownie your sister made melted on your tongue; the sweet chocolate taste that flooded your mouth; or the warmth you felt when your spouse embraced you. Life can be rough at times and being able to return to a journal, leaf through it and recall these moments in poignant detail has the ability to pull our souls up from the darkest times, if only for a moment. Just remember:

imagequote sunsets prepare for new day

Journaling helps in the healing process.

  1. We can capture a moment in time; how we saw and felt at that moment
  2. We can release negative emotions in a healthy manner and brainstorm better ways to handle situations
  3. We can increase positive emotions on a daily basis or whenever we need to
  4. We can accept our grief, validate our feeling of grief, and begin the process of healing.

One last word: I am NOT a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, medical doctor or other professional helper. This article is NOT medical advice or even professional advice. I am an author and have found ways to use writing to deal with emotion.

If you are feeling angry, depressed, unable to motivate, suicidal, or any strong negative emotion that lingers, PLEASE contact a professional. Depression is a common illness. It appears in many disguises such as a shortness of temper, a feeling of not wanting to get out of bed, a feeling that life isn’t worth it, not having an appetite, wanting to sleep a lot. It comes to all of us, just like the flu, at various times in our lives. It is a normal feeling, just like when a cold attacks you. However if it won’t go away, just like if that cold or flu lingers, you need professional help to rid yourself of the illness. DO NOT hesitate.

One of my favorite actors was Robyn Williams. But, Robyn Williams was unable to seek help to get through a particularly rough spot in his life, and a bright light left our world with his suicide. Do not remove your bright light. Believe me, you DESERVE help, even if you don’t think so right now.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

  • you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
  • you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
  • you feel hopeless and helpless
  • you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
  • you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
  • you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)

To read more about depression:  http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish

 

Share

Through The Fires of Hell

Every story that I tell is rooted deep in my soul. I pull them from the years of growing up with the cramps of hunger and the queasy feeling of never knowing when the next meal or the next blow will come. I rip the scent of blood and the fingernails-on-chalkboard screams of pain from memories that no number of years can ever smother.

But story roots grow deeper than the darkness; deeper and wider than the despair. The smile of being able to share food scavenged from the railroad yards with neighbors who are hungry, too; the heart-wrenching sweetness of a guitar played late at night; the wonder of a wild flower pushing up through concrete and blooming in the shadows of crumbling brick buildings–these, too, are the roots of my stories.

These are not my stories, but the stories of many. I have the obligation to give voice to the voiceless; to hear and tell the stories not yet told.

And so it is with Hard Road Home. Though my coming of age novel is fiction, what Cas Redner goes through is real. It is that reality that nurtured this novel. It is a novel of loss, pain, betrayal of the worst kind; yet it is triumph and love of the highest degree.

Kahlil Gibran once wrote: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

In every story I write this is an underlying theme: the very things that cause great sorrow, also prepare us to face horrendous obstacles with courage. It is those obstacles that allow us to grow into our deepest selves.

It is through the fires of hell that we find our way to heaven.

Hard Road Home 2 14 Collage

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Road-Home-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00TLCRUFQ

Enter your email and don’t miss future posts. Be sure to sign up for JUST FOR YOU monthly newsletter filled with special offers, announcements, short stories, inspirational quotes and more. Please be aware that the blog and the newsletter are separate sign ups, at this time.

Check out more of Aya Walksfar novels at http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

Share

1 GREAT REASON TO #PROOFREAD

We’ve all been there. Settled into a comfy chair, hot cup of tea on the table next to you, #e-reader or novel on your lap just waiting for you to open it. You sigh, kick back and open the book. For the first ten pages, it’s great then there’s a misuse of the word “their” when it should have been “there”. You shine it on. No one is perfect. A few pages later, #commas are lacking where commas should be. You are forced to read the sentence three times to make sense of it.
At this point, you may put the book down and never pick up another book written by that author. The best reason to #proofread and #edit is it will increase your earnings.

I have read books that are as bad or worse than the following “interview.” Just for fun see how many mistakes you find in this short piece then leave a comment below.

THE INTERVIEW

Interviewer: As an author, do you have any pet peeves?

Author: No, but I have several dogs.

Interviewer:  Oookay. You said you were thinking of traveling. Are you going to book signings?

Author(shakes head and smiles): No, no. Its my councilor. He told me I needed to fly the coupe for a while. I asked him if I should go to the dessert for a few days, Sunday and Monday. He said, “No, the dessert is too hot. You would be dyeing of heat strokes.” I told him I wanted to insure that I didn’t get too overly hot, so I won’t go to the dessert. It is certainly a factoid that desserts can be very hot.

Interviewer: So where will you go?

Author: I decided I would go further away, up into the mountains. My councilor asked me what I would do all by myself up there, and I told him I wanted to write a nonfiction book about dragons. I figure I can flout my intensive knowledge on the subject. In my book I will explain about all the folderol assimilated with dragons. One piece of folderol that I will talk about is how a young dragon’s voice is in the fortissimo range, so high it actually hurts you’re ears. But, a dragon’s song can be historical, and sometimes, I laugh so hard I can’t hardly catch my breath!

Interviewer: Would you mind if I ask our readers to give us some feedback on your interview?

Author: Oh, I love feedback. I am always looking to improve my writing.

Author leaves. Interviewer shakes head.

According to Nikolas Baron at Grammarly.com they proofread over four hundred freelancer profiles from eight categories for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. They only selected freelancers with four stars and above. At the end of that study, they could correlate earnings to how well a piece of writing had been proofread and edited.
grammarly jpg
Simply said: When your work is proofread and edited you make more money.
To read this entire article go to  http://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check

Be sure to leave your email so you won’t miss future posts.

For special offers, inspirational image quotes, announcements, free short stories and much more, SIGN UP for e-newsletter, JUST FOR YOU. You will receive an e-copy of Dead Men and Cats, a novella, when you sign up for the e-newsletter.

If you want to receive notifications of blog posts and the newsletter you will need to sign up twice.

Drop by my facebook profile to see some great videos. http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Love photographs and images? Visit me at http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar   See where members of the Special  Crimes Team have lived, check out some of the sites where the novels take place, and lots more!

 

 

Share

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: