Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tanka

Here is another poem I did in my writing class. It's a tanka, similar to a haiku. I'm not sure I did it properly; between the subject matter and strict form, it was a difficult task. Nonetheless, I'd like to share it, if only because it resides in a place deep within me and I'd like to let a little light in on it.


Tanka

The message should have

been spoken, not sent by text

Wiseless words be damned

Sister means heartbreak and pain

And it means leaving, like Mom

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sonnet Poetry - Purpose

Part of my writing class took me into a world of poetry that I had once ignored. I have now learned varying styles, word usages, and more which has opened me up to an entirely new way of viewing my poetry.

The below poem was created for an assignment. We were to write a sonnet. The typical theme of love was optional, as was the structured iambic pentameter (though my professor said she would give us "mad props" if it was in iambic pentameter). So I didn't do the iambic pentameter; I'm not even sure I'm able to identify it by simply reading just yet. I did, however, do a twist on a love theme. My first draft was a bit different than what you see below; my professor knew that the even numbered lines were actual scenarios taken from headlines so she suggested that I change it to read like headlines. I like this version much better.

In any case, here is my sonnet for your enjoyment or scrutiny, whichever you choose. :)

Peace, love, and rhyme,

Pamela

Purpose
 
I don’t understand the world. Why would I?

Five Children Murdered by Their Own Father

I can’t often see beyond my own eyes.

27 Dead in Mass School Slaughter

I glance outside with weariness of heart.

Journalist Beheaded by Terrorists

A slick and gliding fear within me starts.

Domestic Violence Takes a Fatal Twist

Out my window, life is horrifying.

Gay Teen Tweets, “Dad, love me,” Then Shoots Himself

I cover my ears; it doesn’t blind me.

Insurance Lets Man Die: No Wealth, No Health

There’s no doubt; I could have died with this view.

But I learned real Life when God sent me you.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving, Creative Writing, and Sudden Allergies

Hi everyone!

I'm taking a few minutes to update because I don't want y'all to think I've abandoned this blog; I've just been busy as of late, which I'm sure many of you can understand and relate to.

Thanksgiving is naturally a time of reflection and I've been reflecting about how absolutely imperfectly perfect everything is! Thing is, something huge happened just a few weeks back; my closest sister moved away. I won't go into detail but it has affected me (and obviously continues to affect me) in a big way. It affected Thanksgiving as well.

Though it still bothers me to a degree, I came home from all the family goings-on and understood that I'm okay. I got to see all my step-children over the holiday weekend along with those precious grandbabies, several in-laws, nieces, nephews... the list is long! So even though there was an obvious dark space in the day, I didn't dwell on it. The next day, my hubs and I spent Christmas shopping and basking in each other's company sans children. Saturday and today have been spent catching up on minor housework, getting the Christmas decorations out, and studying. I have lots to be thankful for but will sum it all up by saying that I'm thankful for life. Crappy things are going to happen sometimes but I can't let it bog me down. Nothing is ever going to be perfect but they can still be great.

I hope y'all have had a great Thanksgiving as well. :)


In the meantime, school is going along swimmingly. The new college has been an adjustment but overall, I feel I'm doing pretty well and it's made me all-the-more excited about my upcoming teaching career. By the time I graduate, I'm pretty sure I'll be bursting at the seams with excitement.

I mentioned some time back that I would be taking an official creative writing course. Prior to this, I've never taken a professional course in writing (if you don't count other college English courses or short workshops). I have to say that it is just as much a challenge as I thought it would be. I've both loved it and hated it and at times I've been frustrated to tears with it. Any writer knows, though, that I've just described the art of writing in its entirety so that's how I know it's working like it is supposed to. It has forced me to think about varying styles and approaches to poetry and storytelling that I wouldn't have had otherwise. At this point, I feel like taking another level writing course would be a great next step. I can't wait!

And onto the next "thing" to crop up... I've somehow developed allergies to... well, I don't really know. I've spend the majority of the last few months trying to keep my nasal cavities from closing on me, keeping the humidifier full, and taking different allergy meds to try to find relief. It hasn't worked too well. My doc says allergies can develop over time so something I might not have been allergic to before, I could very well be allergic to now. I understand that part of it, I'm just annoyed that my chronic back issues apparently aren't enough for my body to deal with, so it has to add this. Imagine sitting with a student during a tutoring session and suddenly your face flushes, your eyes swell and leak, and your nose closes completely so every word comes out numbed and breathless. Then imagine having to assure the student: "No, I swear it's allergies! Your paper isn't making me cry, I promise!"

It's crazy but I'll deal. I'm just curious if others have had a sudden onset of allergies like this. I sometimes feel like I'm out of my mind.

Okay, so it's time for me to close. If I don't chime in around Christmas or New Year's, just know that I'm busy prepping for the future. I haven't forgotten about my readers. I am thankful for all of you and hope that your holidays are fantastic even if they aren't perfect.

Peace, love, and achoo,

Pamela

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Atlanta


Atlanta

I'd rather have my stars
I'd rather have that dream
That air
That open space

Atlanta: she moves with the speed of a turtle
Though her very name suggests fast-paced
Her arteries are clogged
As we trickle forth within congested veins
With others on our way to nowhere

Vibrant, promising, pride
Alive, unhealthy, though

Yes, I'd rather have my stars.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weird Al's "Word Crimes"

I love this and fellow word nerds will love it too! :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'll see y'all in two years!

So maybe I exaggerate... but not by much. It's going to be difficult for me to pay much attention to this blog for anything more than story-related announcements because for the next two years, my focus will be on school.

A few months ago, I applied for several different scholarships. Any scholarship would do but I held out hope that I would get the one I wanted, a full-time academic scholarship from Athens State University. When I applied, I felt the same way I do every time I make a story submission. I eagerly anticipated the reply but through my many years of submitting, I've learned to keep a healthy amount of skepticism inside me so I won't be too crushed when I get that rejection letter. Last Friday I received word that I'd been selected for the main scholarship I wanted! I can't remember the last time I danced in the middle of the road or I cried over the mail before then.

However, now I must anticipate the amount of hard work I'm going to have to put into this. I have to take full course loads during the spring and fall semesters, and almost as much during the summer semesters for the next two years and top that with good grades. The risk of getting overwhelmed and burned out scares me but I know I can do this. I'm lucky to have a job where my superiors understand the importance of education and a family that understands what it means when I go into a room and lock the door behind me.

And some more great news: I have signed up for a creative writing class next semester and I'm so excited to be able to take on some new writing challenges. In the meantime, I have a son going into the 3rd grade and another going into the 1st grade. I hope I'm sending them an important and lasting message as they watch me push my way through college.

I hope your summer is going great! It's hard to believe it's almost over.

Peace, love, and hard work,

Pamela

Friday, June 27, 2014

Barrier 3: Supersede by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords (in many formats)! Look for it on your favorite online book retail site!
 
I.
Sky Legend
 
It had been the longest damned day of my entire career.
Wait... let me think on that a moment. Thirteen years of military service under my belt; yes, still the longest day.
But I hadn't known just how much longer it would really be.
I’d spent two weeks planning today’s events: the execution of the preparedness trials for General Hashan Zatokitan, the leading military general of the United Alliance. It was an honor to host such a guest but also a tiring burden. I was ready for a nice, hearty supper with my husband and my wonderfully soft bed (husband optional since our bed seemed smaller these days).
On the way to my closet, I happened by my full-length mirror and couldn't help but take pause. I was only thirty-three weeks pregnant but felt, and dare I say looked, as huge as a house. It was weird, though. I thought at the beginning of this journey that I'd mind the changes in my body but, honestly, they didn't really bother me. I felt my sons move and grow and it filled my heart with awe and love. Austin still found me attractive and my twins and I were healthy. Nothing else mattered.
I heard the front door to our apartment open. I left the bedroom to find Austin hunkered over the control panel.
"What are you doing?" I asked. I took a few more steps forward and was surprised to see his shoulders heaving with labored breathing. He was creating a new override code for the front door lock. "Austin?"
A gasp escaped my throat when he suddenly jumped up and ran toward me. He took one of my hands and lightly ran the fingers of his other hand over my protruding belly. Sweat glistened over his forehead and his eyes were laced with worry. "Sky, I love you."
"What is going on?"
"I want you to know that I'm sorry. I never meant for it to happen like this."
I swallowed a ball of fear and felt tears welling in my eyes. "You're scaring me."
"I love you and my sons more than anything. Please know that."
I jumped when something from the outside hit our front door so hard that a vase on a table nearby fell over. A series of heavy knocks followed.
"Chief Legend! Come out now with your hands up! We'll take you by force if necessary!"
I tried to ask again but the words refused to come; the horrified expression on his face was enough to stall my words. I breathed heavy with him and tried to keep the bile down.
"Whatever you do, please don't believe I had anything to do with it."
"I don't understand..."
"Jackson will explain..."
The code on the door didn't hold long. As soon as the door came open, a security detail rushed inside. I didn't know what I expected to see given that my husband was the head of security for Special Services Division 32, but I didn't expect a security team from General Zatokitan's personal staff.
One of them grabbed Austin and threw him to the floor, not an easy task given his muscular frame. When I screamed, another one grabbed my arms and pulled me away. I struggled but the security detail begged me to calm down for my babies’ sakes. Austin didn't seem to want to struggle at all, as if he knew he was defeated.
"Get your hands off of her!"
Jackson Montgomery, Austin's assistant and our long-time friend, came around the corner. At the mention of me, Austin tried to wiggle around as they cuffed him, yelling something I couldn't decipher.
"I don't take orders from you," growled the officer still digging his fingers into my bicep. I wanted to punch him, or, at the least, kick him in the balls, but I was afraid he'd hurt me in turn.
Jackson marched up to us, anger spreading across his face in one red swipe. He removed the officer's hand from my arm and proceeded to stand between us. "You just made me the acting chief of security by arresting my superior and this is my base, so yes, you will listen to me."
They pulled Austin up from the floor and began leading him out without so much as a word of explanation. This was ludicrous. Maybe this was my preparedness trial. Maybe this was a fake scenario designed to see how I would react. I grasped at this little lie and anything else that would help me make sense of what had just happened.
"Wait!" I yelled and started after them.
One of the general's officers stepped between me and the door.
I whirled around to Jackson and the officer who'd left his finger imprints in my arm. "What the hell is going on!?"
The officer barely glanced at me. Instead, he smirked at Jackson. "I'll let you have the pleasure of telling her about her traitor husband."
"Wh… what?" I stammered.
He finally addressed me. "In the meantime, you are to clear out of your apartment right now. We're commencing a search."
"On whose authority?"
"General Hashan Zatokitan."
Jackson put his arm around my shoulders. "Sorry, Sky, but we need to go."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" I wasn't one to curse, but there it was. That's how ridiculous this entire scenario was. "Where am I supposed to go?"
"It will only be a few hours. We'll figure it out, okay? Please, just come with me and I'll explain."
I stood there a moment longer. Maybe to glare down the offending man? I didn't know. He'd already busied himself with something else, my shattered world apparently of no interest to him.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

A look at the new Mathemathics, Science, and Engineering Technology Center at Northeast Alabama Community College

The new building on the Northeast Alabama Community College campus has been under construction for quite some time. I am pleased to have gotten permission from Dr. David Campbell, the college's president, to take some photos for this post.

The Alpha and Beta math labs that were once in the upper level of the gym will now be housed in the in the new Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Technology Center close to the lyceum. In addition, many of the relevant faculty, whose offices were either in the gym or the old math building, have moved into new offices on the second floor of this spacious, beautiful structure. I'm sure they are super-excited. As an added bonus, a tornado shelter is located in the basement.

The dedication for this new addition to NACC will be next month. In the meantime, classes will commence in the new Center this summer. Thanks to Dr. Campbell for allowing me to tour and take photos. It was a joy to see the new addition. Almost makes me wish I was taking classes again!

I am proud to be a former Mustang student and even prouder to be an employee of this wonderful college!






















Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Opening Pandora's Sandbox

What you should consider before putting a sandbox in your yard.

My husband has been talking about putting a sandbox in the yard for a few years now. I have been resistant to the idea because I have a hard enough time cleaning up after two young boys (and the husband) while I work and attend school.

Last week, however, that resistance was bypassed suddenly as my husband got up early one weekend morning, gathered the supplies, and built this before I even had the chance to wipe sleep from my eyes.


Hubs and I both knew that the little turtle sandboxes sold at Walmart wouldn't be big enough for boys ages 6 and 8, so he custom-made this "sand rectangle", complete with a lid. And it's a hit!

For the boys.

Now that the box has been in the yard for a week or so, let me tell you what I've discovered about it:

-The sand is expensive.

Play sand, while marketed in big bags too heavy for my back to handle, doesn't go very far. Ten bags were emptied into the box and it barely left a dent. And it will only keep going from there. We will probably end up buying more before the summer is over.

In all fairness, though, the initial purchase is probably the biggest expense we'll see. Maintenance probably won't take much, so long as we can keep the majority of the sand in the box. This is questionable.

-Neighbor kids flock to it like moths to a flame.

If you're the only family in the neighborhood with a pool, then you probably know the feeling that comes with kids knocking on your door at all hours with their swimming trunks on. My kids can't play in their box without two or more kids coming over. But that's fine... sometimes. When you consider how expensive the sand is when you have four kids or more throwing sand around (not to mention that they are going to argue and fight over toys, what they are building, etc.), things get a little stressed for this mom.

-Sand in the eyes.

Going along with the previous point, when you have such chaos in the sandbox, it's inevitable that a child is going to get sand in their eyes. Sand in the eyes hurts and if they rub their eyes, the sand could scratch their eyeball.

-Sand EVERYWHERE

Though the sandbox is positioned a few feet from both porches, somehow, there is a layer of sand over each porch. In addition, no matter how much the child shakes, shimmies, rattles, and rolls, sand WILL be tracked inside the house. It's a plus that I have hardwood floors in the living room so sweeping isn't too bad an imposition.  However, it's when, after a long day of work, I crawl into bed at night only to discover that it, too, has become a sandbox. This has happened twice. I've had to impose a new rule: only after they've taken a shower are they allowed to stretch out on my bed.

Despite all my gripes, though, the appearance of a sandbox in the yard has made both boys incredibly happy. I suppose I can put up with the annoyances if it gets them out of the house to play.

Peace, love, and sweeping,

Pamela

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Copying/Pasting track changes in Word

A quick "share" post that I found on another blog: I've been trying to figure out how to copy/paste in Word while keeping track changes for the last few weeks. This tip is helpful when you're editing several short stories lumped into one document and need to copy/paste one story to share with the author(s) before the rest of the document's editing has been completed.

Luckily, I found this link: http://rlab-it-blog.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-copy-text-from-word-document-and.html. It details step by step how to accomplish this because for some reason, Word doesn't automatically keep track changes on the paste.

My thanks to the author of the blog post. You just saved me time and frustration!

-Pamela

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Facebook covers for writers

Here is another Facebook cover for authors. If you want to see more, click the "Facebook covers" label at the bottom of the post. These are free to use on your writer Facebook page. Please do not alter them. Thank you!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"The Wish" by Pamela Caves Excerpt


-from "The Wish" in No Regrets from Silly Tree Anthologies

Available on Amazon and Smashwords


And worse, as she was moving from the apartment they'd shared for so long, she found a diary he'd kept some years before. If they'd been together and she'd found it, she would have honored his privacy and put it back. As it was, she hadn't seen him in months and hadn't heard from him in any other way than through his lawyer. She wondered if it would shed any light on his behavior.

"Oh how I love her," the entries read over and over, and Hailey felt her heart slip into her stomach. He was talking about her; the whore hadn't even come into the picture yet. "My wife is the most wonderful person in the world and I don't know how I got so lucky. I am sometimes just overwhelmed by the force of love I have for her." It didn't make sense (would it ever?). Other than their mediocre arguments over having children, there had been nothing, nothing, to indicate what had happened in his mind to go from loving her so deeply one moment to betraying her the next. And even the diary held no revelations. The entries simply stopped one day after another proclamation of his love.

It was then that she made her wish. Sitting in her almost empty apartment several months after the separation while the divorce was going through, with his black bound diary sitting in her lap, she made her wish. It wasn't about getting him back; that notion had fizzled a long time ago. He was much too tainted now for her to want anything to do with him. But she made the wish, nonetheless, as a way for her own heart to begin healing.

"He'll understand someday," she muttered to no one. "I wish that one day, he'll understand what he gave up. She'll hurt him, and he'll be sorry he let me go. He'll understand that I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he'll want me back. And when he realizes he can't have me, he'll be as torn up inside as I am. He'll finally understand what he did to me and he won't be able to cope with it."

She burned the diary so she wouldn't have to lay eyes on it again. Up in smoke it went and with it, the last remnants of any feelings she had for him. The wound was still there, still oozing, but she could, at last, bandage it up and move on from that dark place.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another year around the block

So my birthday is Friday and I usually try to do some sort of blog post about my life over the past year. If I don't do it now, I fear I may procrastinate the time away.

There have been many small changes to my life over the last year. I didn't realize just how many changes there were until I started thinking about it. In no particular order, here's what has happened since my last birthday rolled around.

-I released my second novel, Future Past.
-I released two short story collections, Life and Life Odd.
-I graduated from one college and have started another.
-I left behind my old store job.
-I am (finally!) employed in a job that utilizes my writing skills. I am an English tutor at the local college!
-I obtained my substitute certification for the county school system.

It's been a good year, I think. I've also taken on some wonderful new clients and edited some fabulous stories. I continue to learn and grow.

I'm a far cry from that woman who seemed so beaten down and who struggled so much when I first started publishing and blogging. I can see how I've changed over the years based on what I wrote then compared to now. Sometimes I wonder why I was so charged and angry. I have certainly mellowed out some and I attribute a lot of that to my experience running for public office and it is something I've been learning and practicing since. The perspective it gave me about people and their reactions, especially to people in the public eye, has been life-altering.

As a result, my motto as of late has been, "I won't judge." In a world where it seems almost everyone scrutinizes every word, every article of clothing, and every breath, it's hard not to judge instantly and jump on a bandwagon. Of course, I'm human and won't always take that step back, but it's something to strive for.

My goals for the next year are simple: live and be happy. It's a lot easier said than done, I know. Tangible goals? Other than making it through the courses at my new college with A's, I'm not sure. I intend to continue writing, I hope that my schedule allows me to take an actual creative writing course this fall, but other than that, I am just rolling with what happens.

All I can guarantee is right now. This morning, I finished 1500 words of a new short story, completed 75% of a client edit, and am in the process of washing two loads of laundry. Exciting, huh? :) In the meantime, I'm looking forward to another year. Hopefully God will see me through it.

Peace, love, and birthday cake,

Pamela

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ain't got nothing to learn

I work at the local college as an English tutor. Before Spring Break, I was taking a box of paper to the recycle bin when I ran across a writing friend. He informed me that he was there to inquire about a creative writing class this fall. "Not that you need it," David added, "but I thought I'd pass it [the information] along."

Of course, I'm flattered when people think that I have nothing left to learn when it comes to the written word, but that isn't true and I hope that I never convey or imply that I have everything "figured out". I always try to keep an open mind. I've helped many students and writers grow over the years but that doesn't mean that my own growth has come to a halt. As an editor, one of the first things I tell my writers is that I am not the Editing Queen of the Universe. I may have suggestions, but the writer is in no way obligated to feel like my way is the ONLY way. Having that kind of openness is the best quality, I think, a writer or editor can have. I learn from my writers as much as they learn from me, if not more.

Provided I can manage the class on my otherwise hectic schedule, I want to take it and am very excited about it. (#NerdHappy!) One of the best things that a workshop or class on creative writing can do is kick up a little dust in your otherwise stagnant comfort zone. Also, an environment around like-minds can spark something inside of you that makes you fully appreciate the gift you have. Let's face it; when you get into a routine of writing the same things for long stretches of time without any real challenge to speak of, that writing spirit inside of you can get a little stale and sleepy. It helps to have a booster every once in a while.

There's nothing that says your writing style isn't fantastic, however, it is helpful to learn new ways to think about structure, format, and voice by not only studying what's already out there but by also challenging yourself to write in different ways. I can't think of a better way to challenge myself than sticking myself within a classroom of creative individuals, all itching to feel that spark.

Ask yourself if you have more to learn. Ask yourself if you have been challenged in your writing lately. Don't risk letting your writing get stale. Don't stunt your growth because your ego says that you are a heck of a humdinger of a writer. You may very well be such, but keep in mind that no one has it all figured out and there is always room to learn and grow.

Peace, love, and get out of your comfort zone,

Pamela

Life and Life Odd now available!


Life and Life Odd are now available on the following sites and more! Search for these books on your favorite retail site!

Life - Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble
Life Odd - Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble

After a few years of publishing short stories and poetry, I decided to go ahead and put them into collections, divided by genre, mostly to attract the readers who still wish to have print copies of my work as most of my short stories and poems are only available online. However, I'm still making these collections available to my ebook readers; many of the stories and poems within have been previously published but I made sure to include at least one new, previously unpublished story and poem in each book.

You can click on the links to get separate descriptions of the stories within each collection. Life is a collection of my more literary works and Life Odd is a collection of my more... well, odd works with storylines that veer off the path of normalcy.

I hope you enjoy these collections and if you should want print copies, I'll update this post to include that link when they are ready. I'll also be selling the print versions locally in a few months as I do my first sell/sign event. Keep an eye on my Facebook pages (tab above) for updates when the event will be.

Thank you for your support. <3

Peace, love, and happy reading,

Pamela

Sunday, March 30, 2014

No Regrets Editor's Pick


I recently edited a new book for Silly Tree Anthologies and was asked to pick a story for the "Editor's Pick" winner, which I understand comes with certain perks for the author. There were so many great stories in this book but I can only choose one so... below is my pick for No Regrets.

"Countdown" by Jeremy Milburn really spoke to me in more ways than one. Within the story, there is a particular rhythm, a literal countdown; a countdown of the main character's most important moments of his life, a countdown of tragedy, and a countdown of renewal and promise. I love the rhythmic element to the story but more than that, I love the emotion behind it. While you're reading it, you wonder if the main character has managed to crawl out of the deep, dark hole that is his life. You can't help but empathize, too. If you think about the worse things imaginable in this life, you have this main character and you want so much to see him succeed. Who hasn't had some sort of darkness in their life, whether through chance or through your own choices? If there is hope for this story's MC, there is hope for the rest of us, too.

Check out No Regrets on Amazon.

Scared Spitless Editor's Pick


A little bit of retro posting here: Last year, Silly Tree Anthologies put out its first collection, a book that I had the pleasure of editing. I had mentioned to the publisher that if there was an "Editor's Pick", I knew which story that would be. They recently took me up on it so here's my post about why I chose the story I did.

For Scared Spitless, the story I chose was "Give Me Your Hand" by Janis Lein. This is a story about a young girl who wants adventure and when she gets that chance, she realizes that her "want" is not all it's cracked up to be. Not only was this a well-structured story but it sparked a memory in me. When I was a kid, I remember reading at least three different "mirror world" stories and I think I also watched a few movies, too. I've always been fascinated by such tales and even today, I'm still drawn to those stories. (And yes, I liked the movie, Mirrors.) Are mirrors simply a reflection or a doorway to another realm? What secrets exist there? I chose this story for its originality in the midst of a sea of similar ideas and for the unlikely ending that makes me think about what more can happen.

Check out Scared Spitless on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

RIP, Tails. We love you.

Last August, we said goodbye to our little furbaby, Moxie. A couple of weeks later, we decided to adopt a kitty from the animal shelter. Little Tails practically tackled my youngest son the minute we walked into the cat room and made himself the center of attention in a room full of cuties.


We named him Tails because my boys love playing Sonic and the kitten looked like the character of Tails. He was immediately accepting of us and easily one of the most loving cats I've ever known.


He had his quirks, too, like knocking over the garbage cans to see what goodies he could find, trying to steal the food directly from our plates, and getting into almost everything! He had a "thing" for toy mice and straws. He would even sneak up on us and steal the straws right out of our drinks!



A couple of weeks ago, I noticed he wasn't eating like he should and he wasn't playing with us anymore. I noticed his coat looked kind of rugged but illness was the last thing on my mind, probably because I didn't even want to think about losing another furbaby.


I took him to the vet and after some blood work, the vet determined that he had FIP, a feline virus of which there is no cure. He declined rapidly and passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday afternoon. Another furbaby gone. The kids and I devastated yet again.

I read everything I could about FIP to verify what the vet had said. Tails had probably had the virus when we got him and when he became symptomatic, there was no hope. It wouldn't have mattered if I'd gotten him to the vet earlier; there was nothing more we, or the vet's office, could have done. They made him comfortable and before we had a chance to come say our goodbyes, he was gone.

He was very special and we were lucky to have had him for the short time we did. It hurts and it will hurt for a while.

We won't be getting another cat for a while. We have to make sure the virus is out of our house before we make another decision like that. Besides that, we want time to grieve. I appreciate everyone who has already offered condolences and those who prayed for his health before he passed. He will be missed. :(

Peace, love, and we won't forget you, sweet kitty,

Pamela

P.S. Below is a video I shared a few months ago on my Facebook. It shows one of the reasons why Tails was so special.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Circle

The Circle
I try to see me the way he sees me
Light on my cheek
Love in my heart

I try to believe what he believes about me
I’m good, selfless
A mixture of bright color but ready to fight

I strive to be what he wants
A provocative, sexy thing
Lips leaning in, whispering softness

Sometimes I despise him for thinking so much and so little
But mostly I just love him
And mostly, I just be me

Monday, March 3, 2014

Major in the Arts, work at Domino's



This commercial (above) does the opposite of what is intended for me. I don't see Domino's, or any other fast food joint, as a hidden alcove of creative talent. In fact, having worked fast food myself back in the day, the job itself is a plethora of corporate rules and often brutal superiors which stifles creativity itself. This commercial is supposed to send a message to the masses that the creatives who make this food are there because of their talented skill-set. The opposite is actually the truth. They are there because there is no other option. Creatives have to survive, too, and survival means money. So with little hope that they can persevere within their skill-set, they turn to the only jobs they can realistically perform; poverty-level, minimum wage work.

I can't speak to others' experiences. For myself, I didn't have the guidance or know-how to understand that I would have to explore career options other than writing in order to have a decent life. Years of frustration and struggle is what most creatives have to deal with. Instead of nurturing these talents early on, the children of creativity are often shoved to the sidelines in favor of capitalistic endeavors. I'm not griping (okay, maybe just a little); that's just the way the world works. Dismal, yes, but there's nothing we can really do about it.

It saddens me that the arts aren't taken more seriously by society in general. This commercial is depressing and sends the message that creatives are worth no more than to struggle in the fast food industry. Sure, you can work full-time or get into management to make a decent living but doing those things leaves little time and energy for your art because those jobs sometimes tend to suck the life right out of you. So while I understand what Domino's is trying to do, for that teen who knows their talent but not how to get there, this is a painful message to swallow.

There is nothing wrong with working these jobs; I dare say that everyone at some point in their lives should have to work a public service job in order to gain a better understanding of humanity. If you've ever had to deal with upset and angry customers who have no compassion when you are trying your best, then you know exactly where I'm coming from. And if you truly enjoy working these jobs and it makes your heart sing, then great! But that isn't why a lot of people work those jobs, especially creatives.

They have to. Think about this next time you expect a creative to give you a painting or drawing for free or cheap, to give you free copies of their books, or work their talent in a way that benefits you without giving them anything in return simply because you believe they enjoy giving their talent away for pure exposure.

One person that comes to mind when I think about this is Rashaad Santiago, a super-talented "Face Off" (SyFy) contestant who supported his family by working in a fast food restaurant. He worked at his talent, despite the odds of being sucked into corporate monotony, and I'm pleased that he has been given a chance to show off what he taught himself. What an opportunity! I hope he goes far in the competition.

Peace, love, and hope for creatives,

Pamela

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sunset Facebook Cover


Enjoy this free Facebook cover from Photo Graphics (and me, of course!). Please don't alter the image.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creating a dash in Word

As I work on edit after edit and tutor students in the art of writing, there seems to be a misunderstanding about the proper way to make a dash in Word. There isn't a "dash" button on the QWERTY keyboard and no seemingly simple way to do it. I either see single hyphens (-) used as dashes or I see double hyphens (--).

click to enlarge


How to properly type a dash into Word:

- Type the word you want before the dash

-WITHOUT SPACING, type a double hyphen (--)

-WITHOUT SPACING AGAIN, type the word you want after the dash

-Finally, hit the space button

This post is NOT about how to properly use a dash. Perhaps I'll do that one later. (One tip is not to use it where you would use a semicolon.)

Note that this "how to" is for Word. It could also work in other word processors but it certainly doesn't work in this IE browser I'm using. Not sure if it would work in any others.

Hope I've been some help!

Peace, love, and happy writing,

Pamela

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Writing Meme

A friend of mine (author Angel Sharum) and I have started The Write Designs on Facebook to showcase the other side of our creativity. We'll be offering free Facebook covers for authors, writing memes, and showing off our ebook covers and more. Here is one of our first writing memes. Download, share, enjoy! Please do not alter any images.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview about my editing.

I have a story coming out in No Regrets, the upcoming anthology from Silly Tree. However, not only was I able to submit and get a story accepted, this also makes my second edit for this indie publisher. They recently sent me a list of interview questions to discuss my editing process and style. If you have any questions about enlisting an editor for your work, I think this information would benefit you. Click below.

Interview with our Editor, Pamela Gifford

My Author Interview on Silly Tree

I have a short story entitled, "The Wish", coming out in the book, No Regrets, from Silly Tree Anthologies soon. On their blog, as they prepare for this release, they publish author interviews. Click below to read mine and be on the lookout for the release of this book very soon!

Interview with Pamela Caves

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Stealing Kisses" by Pamela Caves Exerpt


-from "Stealing Kisses", available in Silenced from DIVA Publishing Group
Available on Amazon and Smashwords

I dreamed about the woman in the paper. I dreamed that I brushed her hair, a feathery brown just like mine. I dreamed that I delicately brushed a peach blush over her high cheekbones. And then I started on her lips, first lining them with a dark red pencil and then brushing a blood red gloss over their supple curves.

But blood began to run and it came down over my hands. It was sticky and warm. It crept down my arm as the lip brush plummeted to the ground. I screamed and tried to wipe it away but it only made it smear.

When I looked back up at her, her lips were gone, a bloody, tangled mess left in their wake.

I heard a noise and looked to my left. There Dustin stood with one of my kitchen knives in his hand, all soaked in crimson. "Try them on," he said. "They're prettier than yours. I might actually want to kiss you if you had lips like that."

There was something soft and wet in my hand but I refused to look at it.

***

I was still shaking when I went downstairs to make myself some more coffee. I couldn't help but glance at my knife stand. One of the smaller knives was gone. I blinked at the small picture of the woman. He never concerned himself with things like reading the newspaper. What if he'd only gotten it to read the story about the woman?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Love Is


This is Love. My poor son has been throwing up and running a high fever today. I noticed early on that Tails was spending a lot of time right by him, almost like he didn't want to leave him. He got up a couple of times to eat and use the litter box, but then right back up there he went.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You're supposed to light his fire, not snuff his sunshine.

Andrew Mayne and his "mark" in Don't Trust Andrew Mayne
Photo Credit: http://www.aetv.com/dont-trust-andrew-mayne
There's a new show on A&E called, Don't Trust Andrew Mayne. It's a 30-minute, cool mix of magic and humor. I really enjoy it so far.

The first episode, "Father of Anarchy", though, had me squirming in my seat. The main premise here was that a woman was complaining about her husband's obsession with motorcycles. She "made him" sign a contract before they were married that he would give up riding and never touch a bike again but he eventually slid back into that passion. She enlisted the help of Andrew Mayne to get her point across that motorcycles are dangerous and she wanted him to STOP. Mayne did an awesome balloon/levitation/explosion thing with the bike (yes, I know, my vocabulary to describe this is astounding), and the wife and hubby left hand in hand, point made; though the hubby didn't look especially thrilled about the wife's demands.

Throughout the episode, I kept wanting Andrew Mayne to say something to the wife. It seemed as if he perhaps wanted to, and at one point, I thought he was going to. But it never happened.

Lookit, marriage is embedded with difficulty. I know this first hand. As a young, naïve bride, I might have demanded my husband give up something he was passionate about if I didn't like it but as a woman who has experienced reality, I understand that marriage isn't all about me. If there is something that my husband loves, is passionate about, that makes his eyes light up with glee, that creates sunshine in an otherwise dark, twisted world, why in the world would I, who is supposed to love him with every fiber of my being (I'm having too much fun with bad clichés; my apologies), want to take that away from him?

It's dangerous, yes, and I might have to draw the line or incredibly compromise about the kids doing it, but you don't marry someone expecting them to change and that's what this is. She wanted and expected him to just give up something he was passionate about. It may be dangerous but so is everything else in life. It's not illegal, he's not harming anyone.

I'm not trying to demonize her. Her fears and her worries are very real and I can sympathize with that. He obviously loves her very much to even try to agree to such a "contract" in the first place. But marriage isn't about yourself, it's about the other person and I couldn't imagine a scenario where I would demand that my husband give up something he loves; I couldn't bring myself to take away something that made him happy because in the end, I want my husband to be totally happy. In the same respect, if he came to me and told me to give up something that I was passionate about, I would probably start to resent him and start to question if he really loved me and cared about my happiness in the same way I cared about his.

Whatever works for each couple, though, to each their own, I suppose. I hope it works out for them. I really do.

Now, off to watch another episode...

Peace, love, and happiness,

Pamela

Do you like to flash?


Flash fiction is typically defined as fiction that falls below 1000 words. It's difficult, to say the least, to write a good (and yes, I realize "good" is subjective), cohesive, full-on story in less than 1000 words. I guess that's why I have such a hard time with it. I continue, though, to try my hand at it. Sometimes I succeed, but most of the time, I find myself typing away in that "zone" only to realize half an hour later I've gone above the word count when the story isn't even finished. Suddenly, my intended flash piece has turned into a short story.

I could go one of two ways with this. I could freak out and run screaming in circles until I spontaneously combust or I can roll with it and finish the story. I almost often choose the latter.

It can be frustrating when you want to present your work to certain flash markets. Then those ugly thoughts hit. Can you consider yourself a good writer if you can't even fall within your own word count guidelines? Sure you can. But don't give up on the idea of it. If you want to write a flash piece, then try again. And again. A big part of writing, I think, is challenging yourself. If you're always writing the easy stuff, the comfortable stuff, how are you going to grow as a writer?

I'm a big believer in the adage that a story is only as long or short as it takes to tell it. If the story isn't finished, it just isn't finished. You keep writing, you finish, you pass it to your beta readers, you edit, revise, and all that boring stuff, and submit it to another market that is more appropriate.

Sometimes you can't flash. It happens. Keep trying.

Peace, love, and flashing,

Pamela

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Don't make writing harder than it already is

I have this reputation in my writing circle of being this super-writer; someone who can conquer the ills of the world and still manage to have that enthusiastic drive to write. But my persona and reality are two different things. I wrote this blog post a few months ago about the motivation to write and it is just as true today as it was when I wrote it. Stephen King may be able to plow through everything and write but that isn't always true for myself.

Taking a slightly different turn on the same subject, though, part of that motivation to write comes from not overthinking it; don't make writing harder than it already is. People who aren't writers have this idea that we can simply sit and tap words out and wa-la! Instant story and instant success. My writing brethren and I know that is far, far, far, far, far, (far) from the harsh truth.

Some people destroy marriages by overthinking things. They start thinking about the little nuances in behavior that could signal their spouse doesn't love them and so forth. This type of thing causes problems within the marriage by alienating the couple from one another. Writers can do the same thing. They overthink a story or they overthink the writing process itself. Doing such a thing can become a direct path to the dreaded Writer's Block and can even derail a writing career.

This has been me the last few months. I've forgone new writing in favor of getting some revisions and editing down for my upcoming short stories collections, Life and Life Odd. That step is finished now so it was time to buckle down and finish the last story for Life Odd. I've really had to force myself to work on it. It's not that the story has lost its appeal, I know my mind won't rest until it is finished, but I keep overthinking the story and overthinking the impact it would have on readers.

I didn't write yesterday because I was already too tired from the day's events and just wanted to lay in bed and watch television before I went to sleep. So much for my reputation, huh? But I realized last night that I'm overthinking this.

First, I have this idea that when I start Athens University this fall, I won't have time to write. I don't know if that is entirely true or if I'm just overwhelmed by the notion of starting an unfamiliar school. So in the 8-month break I have until school starts again, I have this rushed idea that I need to write and complete as many things as I absolutely can before I start school. It's this idea of being rushed that's overwhelming me.

I told a good friend about not being able to write while I'm in Athens and she gave me a smirk and said that I wouldn't be able to stay away from writing that long. She's probably right but it doesn't stop that panicked, rushed feeling.

Second, I'm worried too much about what my readers will think. The story challenges some common ideals and spiritual beliefs about heaven, forgiveness, and what happens to the souls of those who commit horrible acts of violence in life.

Third, I'm worried about the non-complexity of the plot. Shouldn't the story, given the theme, be more complex?

So when this realization hit me, I was reading Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton. In the beginning of the book, Grafton writes about how lots of information should be laid out in a short time in a short story. A short story is meant to be something simple in construction even if the overall theme is complex. My first aha! was that I was trying to make a big deal out of a story designed to be relatively simplistic. I don't have to have such huge elements within a short story. Breathe in, breathe out, go with your gut.

Next, I realized that I was falling back into the people-pleasing trap that has plagued me for years. No matter what you write, someone, somewhere will have a problem with it. This couldn't be summed up better than taking a glance at my reviews on any given website. Some people love my work, some are like, "Meh, it's okay. Nothing special," and yet others I seem to deeply anger. This doesn't just pertain to me. Look at ANY celebrity, whether they are an actor, writer, news anchor, etc... no matter how great they are or how much good they do for the world, someone, somewhere, hates them. And I don't use the word "hate" lightly, but it's appropriate in this case. As a writer, you have to focus on your story, on your characters, on your heart. Worrying about what the reader will think is a sure path to destruction. Breathe in, breathe out, go with your gut.

And last, I need to get out of this trap of rushed time. Who knows what kind of time I will have when I start Athens? Who knows anything about what the future holds for them? Why worry so much about something you know so little about? I admit it is extremely difficult for me not to have some sort of anxiety about this so I've really had to focus on not letting it get to me. It is something I'll continue to struggle with over the next few months.

We all know that writing thousands of words isn't as easy as your loved ones imagine it is, but you don't have to make it harder either.

Peace, love, and don't overthink,

Pamela