Tag Archive | writing

Thankfulness #15: Crunchy Leaves

Today I am grateful for crunchy fall leaves!


The city cleaned out the storm drains or something today (I forget – we got a notice about it) and so they went around town and scooped all the leaves out of the gutters and left them in fantastic crispy piles all along the edge of the street:


As a leaf crunching addict, I was quite delighted to stomp through their lovely piles and crunch my way all around the block while walking the dog. It was not only fun, but also therapeutic as well.

Crunch. Crunch.

Other than that I worked on book covers today. Here’s the lineup of rough drafts:


No doubt they will change greatly before you see them again. Or maybe not. Who can say?

I didn’t do much writing today because instead I concentrated on reworking the plot – I think it will be better to have them there sooner after the action happens rather than coming in cold the next day, but it means moving some things around and I had to refigure times, and do travel calculations and… anyway, tomorrow I should get to work on the rewriting. I’m not deleting words from my NaNo count, though. I’ll cut and paste them at the end of the document, and then write the new ones in their place. I wrote them during NaNo, FOR NaNo, and I’m not dismissing that work.

Dad and I also finished Season 2 of Dark Matter and – AHHHHH! What a horrible place ot end it. I have to say, in the first few episodes of season one I hated Three, but he has really grown on me and is now maybe my favorite character. I still don;t like Five – she waggles her forehead around too much when she talks and everything she says is ultra dramatic – amusing since I think I do the same thing, but hey, that’s the way it goes. I did really like Four, but after… the throne room (no spoilers) I don’t know anymore.

And now it is beddy bye time for me.

Have a crunchy autumn kind of day!

Jo 🙂


Guess Again

No one guessed yesterday’s song, which was Blind by Korn. (click the link for a youtube video)  I shall eat the secret reward cookie myself (I deserve a reward for doing nothing all day) and give you another chance.

I got a book cover sent off, cleaned, and… and…Oh. And set up my wattpad account. I’ve evidently been a member for years but have never done anything on it, so I guess it’s time I did. I have a bunch of short stories I can stick on there. It’s become kind of a craze with authors lately, though no one has shown how the free stories on wattpad translate into sales. Probably because most readers on wattpad are there because they want to read things for FREE – not buy something. But, anyway, if you’re on wattpad feel free to say hi. 

BELDRENI did some work on my Beldren short story. It’s set in 1687 (thanks to previous idiocy on my part) in Virginia. I know pretty much zero about this, so I’ve spent days researching tidbits, which is always fun. The hardest part is not the research now, but the language. I don’t want to be authentic 1600s or readers will gnash their teeth, but I hate, hate, hate historical stories that use 100% modern language, too. So I’m trying for something in the middle. See what you think:

“It is time to take what we are owed,” Matthias cried, and slammed his fist on the rough table.  His German accent lent a learned quality to his words, but Beldren only shook his head.

“What good would come from such an action? What will you do with the goods you steal?” He looked to Duncan and Patrick. “What say you?”

“They could be taken to the frontier,” Duncan said slowly.

“Or kept for ourselves,” Patrick added.

“And what would the frontiersman give us for them? What use have they for fine things? What use have we?” Beldren made an irritated noise. “The promises of such a life were lies.”

“They are only lies if one waits for good fortune to be handed to them,” Matthias insisted. “Those who came before us-”

“Those who came before us were given the things they were promised. Land, money. When my servitude expired I was given ten bushels of corn, a set of clothes and a musket, wished good luck, and told to settle ‘away’. The land owners are unwilling to part with a parcel of their domain, and they desire the competition we would create even less.”

“Yes, yes,” Matthias said impatiently. “It is this attitude that led Bacon in his rebellion, and it illustrates the need for us to take with our own hands those good things which should have been bestowed upon us. And I tell you, I have found just such a mansion, packed full of such wonders as your eyes have never beheld.”

I’ll give you three guesses who owns this “mansion”. Heh-heh. (Hint: They have fangs.)

And since no one guessed yesterday’s song, here’s a new one for you. No googling.

Nailed to the cross, together
As solitude begs us to stay
Disappear in the lie forever

Good luck!

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂

Hiding Out

the original cover concepts that no longer match the series lol!

the original cover concepts that no longer match the series lol!

I’ve been offline for several reasons, one of which is that I am working on Patrick, the prequel novel to the Amaranthine series. This one stars Patrick, Katelina’s friend with benefits who is murdered on page 1 of Shades of Gray (the first book in the series). I don’t know why this guy is such a strong character. I’ve always wanted to write him, and then I did a character interview with him and it really clinched it. I HAD to write him – but the original version had some massive time line issues (which I am resolving) and it wasn’t popular with the betas for a few reasons. One of them was style.

At least in my rough drafts, the character determines the style, not me. For instance Patrick didn’t like descriptions, or even scene set up. The scenes tend to start in the middle, with someone speaking or something happening, and then a brief backtrack to explain anything relevant. It would work great for TV or a graphic novel where the “back track” can be done with visual aids, such as the setting and other characters present, but in book form a couple of betas found it “confusing” and “choppy”. He also likes lots of dashes and a lot of italicized thoughts (I’m leaving those), and he doesn’t really like the sex scenes described (which is funny because he’s kind if a slut. I think his slutty-ness embarrasses him). So, part of this rework is to try to smack it closer to the same style as the rest of the series – add some descriptions, scene set ups, deal with the abrupt openings and closings.

Another complaint was the New Adult drama vibe happening – yeah, there’s a girl playing the “guess who my baby’s Dad is?” for the first 3/8 but she’s a catalyst (and the cause of those time line issues) and pretty much the reason a lot of events happening. Not only that, but that’s the area these people are in. Patrick’s 25, but he’s one of those who are still clinging to being 19 – they haven’t quite given up the idea of being a kid yet even though people around them are growing up, and there are younger people folded into the group.

I could go on, but it would mainly just be a long post defending a book no one is attacking at the moment. And if if it was attacked, I think it’s weak for an author – or artist of any kind – to jump up and defend the piece. It stands on its own and doesn’t need the creator to justify it. If it does, then maybe the attacks have some merit.

Okay. I won’t bore you with a lot of nothing (which aside from Patrick and some book covers is what I have done), so I’ll just say “Happy Tuesday” and move on.

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂

P.S. Some bonus book covers:

Flash Fiction: Lesson Learned

(from July 2008)

This was written for a collab challenge:

Lessons Learned

The cool October breeze ruffles my hair. I stare past the line of naked trees, to the buildings beyon,d and wonder for the hundredth time, “What am I doing here?” But I know the answer. I’m waiting.

I close my eyes and picture memories of days long past. A childhood spent cowering in fear. Mother certainly believed in corporal punishment unless, of course, she was the one in the wrong. She’d beat the shit out of us and dare us to cry, so mad she didn’t make any sense. I used to think, “Isn’t a person suppose to cry when they’re in pain”, but that didn’t matter to Mother. It was the first lesson that I learned: when you hurt, no one wants to know. They want you to pretend that you’re fine, even as they beat you with their fists.

“This will hurt me more than it will hurt you.” That’s what she muttered with each blow, but of course it hadn’t. It had never really hurt mother, in fact she rarely remembered it the next morning when she’d wake from her drunken stupor and demand breakfast. If the eggs were burned I’d be sent back again with a black eye for my trouble. I quickly learned to please people on the first try.

In my teen years, Daddy was always in and out of jail. At 16 I quit school and got a job at the bar. I was only supposed to wait tables but soon I was on the stage whirling around the pole for money – and good money too. That’s when I learned that money couldn’t fix everything and I moved out on my own by the year’s end. Then I met him.

He was everything I’d longed for: brains, brawn and beauty wrapped up under a shock of dark hair. He’d smiled and winked and told me how pretty I was. I believed him, never thinking that it could have been the whiskey talking. From there things went from bad to worse. I had to fight almost every day just to survive. He’d lay on the couch and demanded that I wait on him while he watched TV and told me what a whore I was. I’d heard it all before and learned to keep my mouth shut long ago. A valuable lesson taught by my parents.

But some days it was hard. When I was out of pills, I felt like I could scream, like all the world was closing in on me. It didn’t help that people were constantly causing trouble, like little whinny ass bitches, and they were suppose to be my friends. And then my sister was just as bad, making up lies and belittling me. It got so bad that I’d hide in the bathroom at work and dig my fingernails into my arm until it bled, just to release the tension. And then the day came.

It began like any other, but then there was a change in the wind. Dark clouds gathered in the distance, heavy and hateful. I hurried home, ahead of the storm. With every step I took towards the apartment, I got madder and madder. I hadn’t had my medicine in two weeks, which might have contributed to the anger, or maybe it was just the oppressive weather. As I walked in the front door something hit me wrong. It might have been his sneering face, or the years of anger built up like a boiling pot. Whatever it was, I finally snapped.

He was lying on the couch with a beer in his hand, and I pulled it away and threw it across the room. He sat bolt upright and shouted at me to “take a chill pill” but, there wasn’t enough medicine in the world to calm me down. As my anger raged, I knew I was changing into the creature I’d always feared, but there was nothing I could do about it. I screamed and shouted and beat at his face with my fists. When he fought back I used my shoe, pounding him again and again with the stiletto heal while he screamed. I’d finally learned an important lesson: you gotta take the bull by the horns sometimes, because the shit just keeps getting deeper.

The shoe fell to the floor and he lay still. His beautiful face was ruined but he wasn’t dead, not like he deserved. Regardless, I didn’t have time to waste. I packed my bags as fast as I could and ran from the apartment to the bus station, but the police got there before the bus. The handcuffs were cold on my wrists, still I didn’t struggle. From there life became a blur. A judge yelled at me, a courtroom of onlookers sneered and then I found the days growing longer and longer as the jail sentence passed. I would have been out sooner, but I took my last lesson seriously. Everything had made me tough as nails and I was tired of being knocked down. It was my turn to hit back.

Finally, they let me out and I found myself falling right back into the niche I’d left. A job at the bar, an apartment in the rundown section, another man with dark hair and sly eyes. It was like a never ending circle and that’s when I decided to really learn something and break the cycle. The only way to do that was to let go; let go of all the misery, and go forward into a world of hope. So, I decided to leave this town of pain.

The bus pulls up and I slowly look back as I stepped on it, relief in my eyes. I want to live, to experience how real love feels, to see what it’s like not to be belittled and used. My new life is going to be different and full of promise. I’ve chosen a new path and I need to follow it, no matter how scary it seems, and it does seem scary. The fear of the unknown silently haunts me as I looked out the bus window, getting comfortable for the journey ahead. I can’t help but wonder, will I finally have my freedom, or will the same old life find me no matter how far I run? That life is something I’m tired of, a prickly bush of fear and sorrow, the beauty of life’s rose lost among the pain of the thorns. If there’s one thing I’ve learned at last, it’s that there is no change unless you make the changes in yourself first, otherwise you just drag the past with you. At last, a lesson worth learning.

Hey, it has a happy ending 🙂

song playing at the moment – Control – The Birthday Massacre 

The Leaf

(originally from November 2007)


The Leaf

Cotton candy clouds floated above the landscape, thick and colored gray like something dead. Beneath them trees clawed the sky; naked branches were bony fingers stripped of flesh. A cold wind shook loose the last of the autumn leaves and sent them to mingle with the driving rain.

She stared through the window and watched the heavy drops drip down the glass; each one a tear she couldn’t shed.  Thunder pounded relentlessly and lightning cut through the haze in streaks that left a brilliant gash in her vision like a scar; only it faded much faster.

She lifted a hand to touch the window, but stopped just before her palm made contact. The rain was outside and she was in. Its closeness was only an illusion, like so many others. So many people she thought she was close to but, when she needed them, she discovered that chasms separated them and that she was alone.

Her throat felt thick and she dropped her hand uselessly to her lap. Her eyes followed, but stopped at the empty wine goblet on the sill. The faintest trace of burgundy liquid remained in the bottom in a tiny, sticky pool. It reminded her at once of blood, red and congealing, like the blood slowly running down her arms.

Her eyes flicked once more to the window. Outside darkness gathered, and she wondered one more time where he was. Was he in the arms of another? Was he alive? Dead? Was he happy? God, how she hoped he was happy. She hoped her pain had bought something for someone; that her destruction had been for something.

The glass rattled in the frame and a cold wet leaf slapped against it; plastered flat with its edges fluttering. She traced the intricate lines of the leaf’s underside with her eyes. Each miniscule vein that had once given it life was now empty of chlorophyll, brown, withered and useless.

But even dead the leaf was beautiful: a rich orange with a patina of golden brown. It hung, seemingly suspended in air, dead and yet miraculous. How many times in her life had the sight of dead leaves blowing cheered her? The drifts of bright colors signaled the end of heat and the beginning of the frozen winter when white snow would fall to blanket the world in its cleansing purity.

She lifted her tingling arm and looked at the bleeding gash. She was like this leaf, though she still clung to the tree of life by a sender stem, waiting only for the final wind to shake her loose. When it did she would drift away and leave behind a corpse, paving the way for the next step when she’d go to the great beyond. There her soul would be bathed clean of everything and reborn; whole, pure and cleansed, like the untouched snow.

A soft smile flitted across her lips and she pressed her hand against the window, numb fingers splayed to match the leaf’s shape. She let her last tear fall, and then closed her eyes, at peace with her chosen fate. Yes, she would die and she would be reborn, and the pure white snow on her soul would once again be tainted by the touch of man, trampled by children’s thoughtlessness, the peace and tranquility ruined by the noise of the rabble, but it didn’t matter. Everything had its season and its place and right now she was ready to start the next one – right now she was the leaf.

photo by Sassy Sue – used with permission – All Rights reserved


Fav Song of the Moment – All the same – Sick Puppies

(check out Sue’s blog – http://sassyspeaks.wordpress.com/)

Old Poetry

(from February 2008)

This is an exercise from Shotgun Poetry (which I believe is now defunct, but perhaps not?) What you do is take an old throwaway poem and redo it by changing key words to their opposite, with the intention that it still make some sense in the end.   Well, my PC is down, which is where everything of mine is at from 1997 till October of 2007. Anyway, luckily I have a few things from 1997 (when I was still Joleene Harris) on paper and managed to dig one up! (Yes, I still have notebooks from high school.)

Maturity (August 1997)

Softly echo down the hallways in the caverns of our minds
No where to go, no way to turn, the path to life we can not find
Seeming softly, overflowing memories buried deep inside
Hide the pain and hide the anger, fires burning out your life

Darkness tripping out the daylight, crystals forming cold as ice
Destroying all we hold in silence, revealing yet another vice
Tonight you hold the truth inside you, tonight you’ll tell another lie
Throughout the coldest, frightening anger, hiding from those burning eyes

And so a slave to what you once were, holding on for safety’s sake
Quiet truths entombed in cobwebs, fate has not a smiling face
Down the hallways of your memory, standing out inflicted pain
Remember always what they’ve made you then wash yourself clean in the rain
Knowing that you can not hide or try to shrink away from me,
For I am what you’ve grown to fear and my name is maturity

I have no idea what any of it as supposed to mean. Which is why I gave poetry up for a long time! That and I ran out of depressed feelings!

And here is the redo of it:

Immaturity (March 2008)

Softly echo through the dungeons in the caverns of our minds
No where to go, no way to turn, the path to death we can not find
Seeming softly, overflowing fantasies buried deep inside
Hide the pain and hide the anger, cold and freezing up your life

Daylight tripping out the darkness, crystals forming hard as ice
Destroying all we hold so loudly, revealing yet another vice
Tonight you hold the truth inside you, tonight you’ll reveal another side
Throughout the coldest, frightening fear, hiding from those burning eyes

And so a slave to what you once were, holding on for danger’s sake
Quiet lies entombed in cobwebs, fate has not a smiling face
Down the hallways of your memory, standing out imagined pain
Remember always what they’ve made you, your skin still dirty in the rain
Knowing that you can not run or try to shrink away from me,
For I am what you’ve grown to fear and my name is immaturity


So there you go!  Spiffy, huh? Whole different story now! Not that it makes a lot more sense…..

And now for the Segment I happily call “Random Things from My Pilfered Laptop” I SHOULD have had some lovely snow pics for you but I’ve been too lazy to take them off, so instead enjoy two more horrible poems from my high school years!

Useless Perfection (April/May 98 )

Marbleized beauty in Crystal shrine,
Perfection at their fingertips,
Unclosing eyes, unbending hands
Eternally softly smiling lips

In perfection was she created,
To be the sculptors lover’s dream,
All to be the perfect woman
But perfection isn’t what it seems

Many mortal hearts she’s stolen
Holding them tightly to her breast,
The one that cared the most for her
Found at her feet eternal rest

Her marble arms so round an perfect
Could not hold him close to her
Smiling lips so soft and open
Could not kiss him though they yearned

And so perfection was created,
Standing in its gilded cage
Worthless to the world around her
A remnant of an ignorant age


Stone (January 1997)

I do not feel regretful
I have nothing to regret
I have no painful memories,
I choose to forget
I have no grief and anger
I let none bother me
I have no well know secrets
I don’t let others see
I’ve no history of scandal,
I stick close to my home
I feel no painful loss
I have no loved ones of my own
I feel no pain and sorrow,
For my heart is made of stone
But never will I feel love
Because I’ve made myself alone

Fav Song of the Moment –  Anarchy – KMFDM

Random Acts of Poetry

Another new blog. Holy smokes!

Okay, so I was updating my website the other day (another shocker!) and I thought “I should generate some poetry to slap on there!” because I tend to churn the free flow stuff out in a few minutes (especially if it doesn’t rhyme!) and so it’s an easy update. I didn’t end up using any of it, as it turned out I have some stuff I submitted to a mag awhile back that hadn’t seen the light of day (will post it in the future) but I thought that we could have some interpretation fun!


That’s right. Interpretation fun. I will post three random acts of poetry and you tell me their meaning! There’s no right or wrong answer, so read away and tell me what YOU get out of them!




The rain drips

The canvas crawls

Moonlight steals across the room

So many thoughts betray this wicked mind

A phantasmagoria of sight, taste and sound

Rainbow wishes made of porcelain

That break at the sound

Of the cricket’s




The meaning hidden behind the mask

It crumbles though your fingers like the dawn

Broken shield of your imperfections

In a place where all the dreams were held together

By a rusty colored staple

And a piece of faded twine

As if a child had stored them away

To keep until they grew, like some treasure

Tarnished by the years and stained

With dust tracks of forgotten tears

The taste of empathy still lingers

In forgotten hollows of imagination

And all that once was, is lost

And what remains is just a wrinkled phantom

Still clinging to the illusions

Of yesterday



An eternity of silence drips

Like raindrops from the eaves of time

And drowns this petty room with suffocating tension.

Words have deserted us and left our mouths empty

Fleeing from the scene as though running

From some tragedy replete with flashing lights

And witness statements, too many signatures to count

Now we are just casualties of our own indecision

Injured by our fears and trepidations

All the apologies we should have made

And confessions that we should have spoken

Now to old and heavy to give life to

So there is nothing left to say or do

Except scream silently inside and pray

That someone can see the blood mixed with our tears

And save us before it is too late

And this ever growing silence

Suffocates us both


Did you get anything out of those? or is it just a random smattering of meaningless words strung together because they sound cool? YOU decide!

P.S. Titles would be helpful, too!

Fav song of the moment – 30 Seconds to Mars -Hurricane

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