Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where did "The Suicide of Time Hall" go?

I'm not above criticism. I think everyone (professionals included) should open themselves up to continual learning. That includes feedback.

I received a thought provoking review for "The Suicide of Time Hall" from a reader on Barnes and Noble.  The reviewer said that the concept was good and I seem to be on to something great but what I'd written was a scene, not a story. And after reexamining the story, I think the reader was right.  So I pulled the story from sale and am setting it aside to explore turning into a novel later.  So if you're looking for it and can't find it, that's why.

Bad reviews aren't always "bad reviews". It's easy to pick the mean ones out (those that give you the impression the reader has something personal against you instead of a viable criticism of the story) and it's easy to pick out the ones that really don't make sense (I've gotten bad reviews for my short stories being... well, short).

I appreciate the reviews that give me a sense of what I can do to improve, whether it be the work itself or in general.  I'm in the middle of the Future Past rewrite so it will be awhile before I have anything new out. In the meantime, you can check out The Influence.

Peace, love, and happy writing!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

I danced in front of Amazon.

My birthday yesterday was spent (mostly) in two ways.

1) I'm finding myself starting to get that cloggy, icky feeling one gets when they start coming down with the crud.  Yesterday was spent sucking oranges and cough drops and begging the powers that be to spare me from this nastiness.  I don't need to battle an illness while studying for finals and getting ready to move.  Someone hand me a box of tissues, please.  The kind with lotion in it, preferably.

2) I spent yesterday running to my computer every hour or so to check the rankings of The Influence during my free promotion.  When I started the promotion, I hadn't even thought about rankings until I saw that #61 in science fiction around 10 something yesterday morning.  Something inside me flipped and I danced.  My rankings shot up quickly for much of the day.  They've tapered off now and for the last several hours I've been hovering around #30 in science fiction, around #40 in contemporary, and overall, close to #700.  Hundreds downloaded my ebook yesterday.
Screenshot of my book on the Science Fiction Bestsellers list. And yes, that's my book above a Star Wars novel!

Now, I'm not sure what all these ranking things mean but on a site with millions of titles, I feel like this is an accomplishment.  To break through the top 50 in two non-obscure categories and to break through the top 1000 overall... it's been fun to watch.

Another screen shot that shows my overall rank. If you can't see it, just click the pic to see the original size.
I'm still running the promotion throughout today so if you haven't grabbed your copy, go grab it now!  If you're reading this after-the-fact, don't worry.  I'll run another promotion sometime either in May or June where I will give The Influence away for free for three days and will include some weekend time in that. Or you can just pay the $2.99 to buy it. It wouldn't hurt my feelings none. :)

In the meantime, I hope your week is going great!

Peace, love, and snot,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! Here is "The Influence" for free!

Every year on my birthday, I always attempt some sort of writing exercise that allows me to look back and explore what I've accomplished or what I've learned over the last year.

But I'm not feeling too reflective today.  Overall, it hasn't been as bad as the year before, but it has still been a rough one.  Things are getting better, though, and as long as I don't wallow in pity and as long as I continue to work hard, I can accomplish anything.

The biggest "Hurray!" this year has been the electronic release of my debut novel, The Influence.  So in the spirit of celebrating another year of my existence on this planet, I'm giving The Influence away for FREE on Amazon KindleClick here for the link to my book on Amazon.  All day on April 18 and 19, you'll be able to download it for free!

As for me, I'm going to celebrate by spending time with my kiddos.  Positive thinking tells me this coming year will be a great one.

Peace, love, and 34 candles,


Monday, April 16, 2012

Writing in 3rd person? Okay, so maybe Pamela will try it.

Now that The Influence is settling in its spot and as we work on getting everything ready for the print edition to come out, I'm left with the stiff question I always end up with when finishing a large project. What now? I always feel a little out of sorts after the euphoria of completing a big project dies. My mind seems to scramble for what I should tackle next.

Usually when I finish something so large, I start working on a few smaller projects. I had planned on starting the next Barrier story and then work on a short story I had stalled on several months ago. But that is out of my head at the moment. I'd even had part of an outline for a new historical novel started. Now even that is on hold.

I'm revisiting Future Past. The last time I spoke about this fantasy novel, I'd been debating whether or not I would take the editor's advice and rewrite the entire thing from a 3rd person point of view. After reevaluating what it would do to the story and after talking with several reliable writer friends about it, I've come to the conclusion that I am up to the challenge.

I've never been particularly skilled at writing in 3rd person. In fact, I've only written in 3rd person on some short stories. I've always had this notion that 3rd person can take a little away from how personal the characters seem. Several years ago, if I would try to write a novel in 3rd person, I always lost momentum with it within a couple of weeks. But I've decided now that I'm going to do it. I'm going to put aside my misgivings and fears and just do it and then hand it to Hadley Rille for a 3rd and final time before I shop around some more.

I guess at some point I knew there would come a day when I'd have to shove that fear aside and grow more as a writer. Writers don't have a lot of options when it comes to professional growth. You can either go for it or not. You can either learn more about your skill or hold yourself back. Is there really another choice for me?

Peace, love, and going for it,


Monday, April 9, 2012

In the end, all is well with the Universe.

There's something strikingly magical and peaceful about putting that final touch on your book. Sure, completing the rough draft is a feat in itself and worth a celebratory glass of champagne. However, every real writer knows that the completion of the rough draft is when the real work of writing begins. I didn't realize to what extent until a few years ago but no matter how hard it is, I still wouldn't trade it for anything. Because when that last piece of the puzzle has been placed, there's a sense of calm, like all is well with the Universe. I wonder if it is the same euphoria across all the creative arts.

The Influence is now complete. I have to give a tremendous shout out to my co-horts at Fiction Lake. Mike, Brad, Tina... you peeps are wonderful for being so giving of your time to help edit, design, format, and all that jazz. I also want to give a shout out to my sisters and (3, 4, 5?) brothers at the MP, many of whom are giving their time to read and review The Influence.

So here's the deal. Be on the lookout here and on Facebook for the announcement of the release of The Influence. It will be available on Amazon Kindle exclusively for around 3 months. Want a really good deal? Then keep your eyes peeled for my Select Freebie days where you can download a free copy right to your Kindle.

If you're waiting for another version to be released, you won't have much longer to wait. I promise. :) In the meantime, you can look to the right, in my sidebar there, and enter your email address to subscribe to my bonafide, official newsletter. Once we've received confirmation of your subscription, you'll be entered into a drawing to receive a free, signed copy of The Influence when it comes out in print in a few months.

Peace, love, and YIPPEE!


Six month post discectomy back surgery update.

(Not my MRI but one that illustrates my problem.)
Every day is a struggle.

That's it. That sums up what it is like six months since the surgery to correct my severely ruptured disc between L5 and S1.

I was released from my neurosurgeon's care in February, him with the knowledge that I was still in pain. Granted, the pain wasn't down my leg or through my backside to my hip like before the surgery but it is still pain, nonetheless. Granted, the pain isn't as severe as it was before the surgery but there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not in pain. Some days are better than others but there is no mistake; my daily activity continues to be hindered by this back pain. In addition, the smaller toes on my left foot as well as much of the bottom of my left foot and parts of my left leg are still numb.

The pain is at the site of my incision and recently, I've started to wonder if the disc isn't bulging or starting to rupture again because the stabbing pain I have in that area of my back is the same as it was when I started having back pain to begin with... back when no one wanted to believe that there was anything wrong with me other than muscle strain. I haven't been terribly physical, just walking. Really, that's about all the exercise I can do anyway.

My doc simply dropped me without any further instructions and that's the biggest thing that concerns me. Should I go to physical therapy? What exercises should I do to strengthen those muscles without further hurting myself? These are questions that I asked but didn't get a definitive answer to. At the time, I wasn't that worried about it. I couldn't have anticipated still having this sort of problem this long after my surgery. Maybe it is because I don't have the best insurance and I owed his office close to $800 (not counting other hospital and doctor fees that my insurance didn't pay). Or maybe he didn't think I'd follow the physical advice. Who knows?

I'm still very frustrated with it. In just a couple of weeks, I'll be 34 years-old. I shouldn't be having these kind of back problems. It terrifies me that I might have to go through surgery again. It is physically the worst thing I've ever had to recover from. I thought I was supposed to get better but I just can't seem to be rid of it.

And it's not just the physical aspect I'm worried about. At this point, we've just paid off all the bills we owed from that surgery. I can't afford anything else to happen. If I go back for another MRI, the cost will eat up almost all of the insurance money we're allowed to use. Then we'll be swimming in bills again. I'm almost afraid to tell my family physician that I'm still in pain. So I continue to live with it and continue to wonder when, if ever, I'll be free of this pain.

Despite all the frustration, I still believe that surgery was my best option. There was no way that the ruptured disc was going to heal itself, especially not with a piece broken off in there. But when will the pain end? Will I always be in pain? If I knew the answers to those questions, I wouldn't be so frustrated. But no one really knows.

I'll keep y'all updated.

Peace, love, and healing,


"The Influence" by Pamela Caves Excerpt

The Influence is now available in Kindle format and paperback through Amazon and CreateSpace. Also, now on Smashwords (many formats available) and Barnes and Noble (Nook). Search for it on your favorite site!  Order your signed print copy here.

It was just passed eight o’clock, dark outside if not for the sporadic street lights. I was worried about Bella. If she wasn’t home before Daddy and Nana Lou made it back, he would go looking for her. Then the worst begin to form in my mind. What if they had drown? What if they had fallen or gotten lost? That’s when I heard something coming from my room. It was a slight knock that I wouldn’t have been able to hear if I’d had the television on. I closed my book and slowly moved to my bedroom down the hall, the tapping becoming more urgent. I also heard something else; frantic grunts.
I expected to see a stranger trying to get my window open. Someone was going to rob us, I thought. My heart was racing as I rounded the corner. I certainly didn’t expect to see what I came face to face with when I walked into my room.
Bella Mae was standing outside the window, her face red and puffy with tears, her clothes dirty and ripped, and possibly the worst sight I’ve ever seen, her hands were covered in blood. Thick red blood was smeared over my window like strokes of paint. There was blood smeared through her hair, streaks down her tear soaked face, and patches of blood on her torn clothes.
At first, I thought it was her own, that she was bathed in her own blood, but that wasn’t quite right. Most people, professional actors excluded, can be read like a book and Bella Mae’s expression was no exception. She wasn’t in pain; her eyes were laced with fear and shock. But if that wasn’t her own blood, then whose was it?
Oh my God! David!
I had the most terrible sensation in the depths of my stomach. My stomach was falling while simultaneously the rest of my body was floating. It made me nauseated. I began to sweat despite air from the AC blowing directly on me.
demon from hell
I was torn between running and calling the police or helping my little sister.
Bella was sobbing and talking indecipherably, her hands unable to get enough traction and shaking too badly to push my window up.
I expected to hear her pleading voice in my head, begging me not to think bad of her but I never did. I supposed it was because she was too consumed with her own thoughts of horror to send anything my way.
In the end, though, I finally helped her, for probably the same reason that a beaten wife keeps going back to her abusive husband. Out of love and fear. It’s funny how the two most distorted emotions of humankind can seem to co-exist so harmoniously.
I slid open the window and because she wasn’t quite tall enough, I had to take her hands and help her over the frame and into the room, with thoughts of the blood getting on me somewhere in the back of my mind. What I was thinking about was an incident several years before; the two year old version of Bella Mae as she ran to the back door, sensing that Momma and Daddy were moving the frog rock, and the back door had flown open on its own. I wondered why she didn’t use that power this time.
Once inside, she grabbed me in a hard hug and began to wail to the tops of her lungs in agony. I sprung tears as well, partly because I hated to see her in such turmoil, but mostly because I didn’t know why she was in such turmoil.
I pulled back, held her at arms length, and gave her a small shake back to reality. Her wail dwindled to peeps between silent tears. The paths the tears left in the blood on her face made her cheeks look ghostly white. She was trembling, not visibly, but I could feel it in both my hands and heart.
Are you hurt?” I said firmly, keeping my own lump of fear down long enough to take charge of the situation. I realized that this was the first time in our sibling relationship that I had taken the upper hand.
She whimpered, and a puzzled look crossed her face as if she thought she had heard me wrong.
Are you hurt?” I repeated, more stern.
She shook her head. I grabbed her hand and led her to the bathroom. We started with her hands and while I got a wash cloth from the linen closet, she began to wring her hands together under the faucet, scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing in places that she had already washed. I had just finished studying William Shakespeare’s MacBeth for my literature class, and I couldn’t help but think of Bella as Lady MacBeth, constantly rubbing her hands together for fear of the blood; the guilt she suffered. It occurred to me then what Bella had done, and the shock of it almost knocked my breath away, as if I’d just had a ball bat swung at my chest.
Bella,” I said slowly, trying to keep from screaming and vomiting at the same time. “Where’s David?”
The peaked expression on her face confirmed my fear. David was no longer part of this world but now living in the next. I wasn’t aware that the wash cloth dropped from my hands. I had to sit down on the side of the bathtub and breathe slowly, otherwise I’d go mad.

Click here to read another excerpt from The Influence.

The Influence is now available in Kindle format and paperback through Amazon and CreateSpace. Also, now on Smashwords (many formats available) and Barnes and Noble (Nook). Search for it on your favorite site!  Order your signed print copy here.

Poetry from "The Influence"

Poem from my novel, The Influence:

For life is always mysterious
The sun, the rain, and the moon
After struggling through the night
The daisies begin to bloom

Something so miraculous
And yet
Something so pure
Can see passed the reminisce
Into life’s dark cure

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

To Protect Her Daughter

*Some fictional poetry ~ Enjoy!

Her hands worked the clay
Long spindly fingers display
The age of the clay maker
Up beyond as the trees

Back in her youth she fell
She was doomed for hell
She took his life
Then stabbed him more

The crime she made
The plan she had lain
It made no matter now
The end of her life was near

Having served her time
They said God would forgive
But how can he forgive
When she'd do it all over again?

Everyone first revered him
Thought he was grand
But in dark closets
He'd forced her daughter's hand

If to see Satan she was going
Then it might all be well
She'd take delight in his burning flesh
Because nobody would touch her little girl
Without going to hell

Monday, April 2, 2012

I want to see a business that doesn't allow whiny adults.

Today's blog post is difficult for me to write because it's hard for me to wrap my head around. But I'm going to try, at least, to convey what it is that is bothering me.

I started this blog post a number of times. This makes my third attempt to say what I want to say without rambling. But it's hard to do when the subject is so broad, you really don't know where to begin. I want to talk about hate. But I'd have to narrow that down because, sadly, there are too many forms of hate in the world. What's on my mind, though, involves the unnecessary hatred toward parents. I wanted to talk about how pregnant women and moms are illegally discriminated against in the workplace. I wanted to talk about how disgusting it is that the nation is trying to use women as a political focal point.

But ultimately, I'll narrow it to the growing trend of kid haters.

It is no wonder that kids grow up hating. I could give several examples of why kids hate and how most of the hate is learned at home.

However, even focusing on parents isn't what I'd like to write about today. This is about non-parents. It's about those who choose not to have children.

I'm all up for people being comfortable enough to say, "I don't want kids." I actually think it is fantastic for someone to be that sure of themselves to know they don't want to reproduce. There's a kid in my psych class who I highly respect for not giving in to societal roles. He knows he doesn't want children and that's great.

What isn't okay is the mindset some of those people (notice I said some!) have that they are somehow more important than the part of society that does decide to reproduce. They are the people who are so self-important, they think their path should be cleared of children. Period. Children are disgusting. They are a nuisance. And if they aren't little automatons, then they are monster children that don't know how to behave. This type of selfish behavior is another reason why more and more kids hate.

And what isn't okay are the businesses who have decided they are going to cater to those people. 

Why wouldn't they hate when adults look at them like they are disgusting rats? Why wouldn't they hate when they are treated as though they are less than human? Why wouldn't they hate when they aren't respected in the same way we would require them to respect us?

Granted, there are parents out there who do not make their children behave. (Keep in mind, though, meltdowns happen to even the best parents, so it's not fair to judge how a parent "is" through one unfortunate incident.) And granted, not every place is acceptable for children. But there's a difference between a place being acceptable for children and simply shutting children out for the sake of getting rid of them. It seems like more and more businesses are subscribing to the "no children allowed" concept and people are cheering them on. (Does that remind you of any other signs that used to be up on businesses in the south around about 60 years ago?) Nevermind that the parents of a baby would pay the same price as the non-parent to fly first class. The non-parent's fragile sensibility is at stake so automatically they are more important.  According to these people, we should be under house arrest for deciding to have children.  We shouldn't leave home because we could risk having our child offend someone. Waaah-waaah.

I feel incredibly sorry and sad for the world at times. People have become so intolerant of anything that might disrupt their little bubble that they've even taken to disrespecting parents and their children. And that's not okay.

If we want the hate in the world to stop, then we need to look to the children, whether they are yours or, if you've chosen not to have any, someone else's. Children are people, too, and should be treated as such. They have their own brilliant ideas, their own likes and dislikes, and they have a way of looking at things that we adults have usually forgotten about by the time we hit our late teens.

Kids learn the most by how they are treated by adults. When kids are shut out, it sends them messages that probably isn't intentional but still speaks volumes. Because to kids, adults are supposed to know everything, right? So what are you teaching the kids around you? Are you shutting kids out of your business for the sake of not offending the selfish, fragile, and whiny adults that might patron your business? Do you really want to send the future leaders of our world the message that it's okay to cater to the intolerant?

Discrimination is discrimination. Whether it's based on religion, sexual orientation, race, or even how old you are.

Personally, I'd like to see a business with a sign that said, "No whiny, snobbish, self-important adults allowed."  Seriously, if you can't handle a bit of whining, you should really just stay in bed.

Peace, love, and more love,