How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


45 Comments

Have You Met Luna Saint Claire?

Horns blare! Drumroll, please. It is with pleasure I introduce guest Luna Saint Claire who today shares background information about her début novel The Sleeping Serpent.

Luna is a costume designer and author residing in Los Angeles with her husband, a philosophy professor. She loves blues rock and Indie music, often setting her Pandora station to Damien Rice. Her personal style can best be described as eclectic bohemian. Though she now enjoys running and yoga, she spent years of her youth in the ballet studio. Her part Native American heritage informs her work as a designer and influences her storytelling.

final-hi-res-sleeping-serpent-cover-ebook

 Thrilling as The Girl on the Train, twisted as Gone Girl, and tortured as Wuthering Heights.

 

Losing Myself

by Luna Saint Claire

Vampires are real. Not the paranormal kind with blood and fangs, but rather emotional vampires—the ones who use manipulation and compulsion to seduce. Charming and magnetic, they appear to be perfect—the answer to your prayers. Truth is, they have targeted you.

I think we have all been there on some level. When you meet someone who you connect with—someone who seems to know who you are, and what you need. It happened to me when I met a charismatic healer. I was hitting middle-age, mourning my youth and beauty, and bored with my conventional and circumscribed existence. He had a keen ability to quickly identify my vulnerability—often called the inner wound—and hook me through my lack of self-esteem, vanity, and fears. He made me feel beautiful and important to him, and gave me confidence, opening me up to the possibilities surrounding me. Being married, I, fortunately, didn’t have a romantic relationship with him. Yet, he still had influence over me. He was a shaman and yoga master who used the power of Kundalini for the dark side of self-interest—his desire for wealth and fame.

teaser-she-was-the-storm

A dark healer hooks their victim in the chakra that holds their wound—where they are weakest. In the seduction phase, he showered me with his attentions. He made me feel a part of him—of something larger, and somehow more alive. Before I knew it, I was caught in the spider’s web, struggling for survival, craving the drug that was his flattery, approval, validation. Then slowly and methodically he began tearing me down. It may have started with an argument where he lost his temper and then apologized, excusing himself by saying he was frustrated or had a stressful day. Over time it escalated to berating until I barely registered the verbal abuse. If I was unavailable at work or didn’t pick up his call, or couldn’t respond immediately to his demands, he would threaten to end our friendship. When he flew into a rage, I would be the one to apologize for causing his distress. He played a cat and mouse game of pushing me away and then reeling me back in. I couldn’t bear the thought of abandoning him, but I no longer recognized myself. I had become a shadow of my former self and my self-worth had been shattered.  

I wasn’t the only one bound to him. As a successful healer with his own celebrity, he possessed an entourage of beautiful, successful Hollywood women. He ensured we each believed we were the most important person to him.  I excused his behavior, saying he was nervous with a fear of abandonment, but I didn’t know about narcissistic personality disorder. Persons with this disorder do not have the capacity to love, treating others as an appendage. They operate on instinct to procure what they need, though they will never feel gratified. Just like in a vampire story, a narcissist drains another’s life force in the attempt to fill the echoing emptiness within. His affliction was the cruelest inhumanity, and his pain and suffering could never be assuaged. The extreme drama he created when his demands were not met were a plea for validation and stemmed from his fear of abandonment. The rages and meltdowns provided a euphoric high empowering him in the face of feeling worthless. I felt compelled to fix him, even though I knew I couldn’t.

How much longer and at what cost could I continue to open my veins to quell the storm that tormented him? Like many of the other women who had become ensnared in his cannibalizing web, I was faced with the choice of bleeding to death or reclaiming my life. I learned from a friend in 12 Steps about chasing the high, trying to regain the elation once felt in the initial phase of a relationship, be it with a drug or a person. Getting it back had become my obsession. The craving, desperation and painful longing—that was the addiction talking.

review-the-vegas-reader

Once I disentangled myself from him, I reflected on what had called the relationship to me. It had been my fear of aging—of becoming invisible—no longer having heads turn when I walked into a room, no longer feeling desired. Weathering this personal storm was a valuable experience that made me stronger and wiser. It is only through such an eroding experience that I believe one can transform. Whether by free will or fate, my encounter with a narcissistic sociopath provoked a storm that shattered my perception of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. I was the storm. Its turbulence forced me to confront the darkness, uncovering my secrets and my pain. 

Purchase ↓ Available on Amazon (booklinker) myBook.to/SleepingSerpent

US   UK   AU   CA   iTunes   B&N   Kobo

Contact Luna:   Website   Amazon  Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   Pinterest   Instagram   Tumblr   Spotify

 

Press as many buttons as you like, share  and reblog

Advertisements


48 Comments

#BlogBattle – Week 26

Check out the originator of this challenge at

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

The rules are easy:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story,put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

~ * ~

This week’s prompt:  Head

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

* * *

Grandpa Jones

The house looked more tired than a couple years earlier when I’d last driven past. I braked, tumbled out of the car and gawked. My feet plodded across the gravel country road as if drawn by a magnet.

Angry shouts rang out. Hands hammered bare wood. The racket rose from the old house across the road. I broke into a run. Old Grandpa Jones still occupied the hovel, a well-shared joke in the county, though no-one had seen Grandma in years.

It turned out Grandpa wanted out and pushed on the front door knob but it wouldn’t budge. He cussed and kicked without success. For one thing the door opened inward and he pushed out. It was also warped more than ever since the recent rain; the only door in or out of the house.

“Let me outta here. Let me out.” A gummy voice bawled inside. Open palms slapped the door.

“Calm down, old man. Step away from the door.” I expected it to crumble from the blows on the other side, but it held fast. “Stand clear. I’ll put a shoulder to it.”

The quiet on the other side yawned loud.

The warped door groaned but didn’t shift a sliver in its frame, yet I felt rather than heard disintegration within where my shoulder encountered the wood and pitched me forward. Ow. that hurt. I folded over my knees to catch my breath and regroup. Overhead, the door shattered as a chair seat bulged through a hole inches from my face. The chair yanked out, rheumy eyes stared at me through the splintered gap.

No-one knew Grandpa’s age, but for a reedy fellow with a bedraggled beard, greasy white hair and no teeth, he appeared strong and tenacious.

“I guess you didn’t need my help after all.” I had to talk though I’m a man of few words.

“I can’t get out through this here hole. Get my axe in the woodshed.” He pointed a thickened, yellow nail to the left. “Move along young man. That-a-way.”

I took one last look at what one might call his abode with kindness. I wondered what held the wood fibers together and conjured up spider spit and dirt. The weary shack had no business standing at all.

I spun round and gave the house another gander. The structure had sunk lop-sided and cockeyed. No-one had seen it happen, but I heard talk the recent hard rains were responsible for the slippage of a lot of the old properties. It’s a wonder the wind hadn’t shoved once too hard leaving a confusion of dried kindling strewn about, yet it had hung on like a drunk weaving in the elements, loose and somewhat upright.

“Stop gaping, young man. Action gets the job done. Move it.” My face burned. The old man’s impatience took me back to childhood days when everything I did was open to criticism. I forced myself forward and rushed back with an ancient, rusted axe.

“Stand back,” I said.

Grandpa Jones had other plans. “Give it to me, handle first. It’s my house and I’ll wreck it any way I must.”

I learned something that day. You can’t judge any exterior by appearance or your pea brain idea of it, man or structure. I also experienced the shock of my life.

Grandpa Jones axed the door. His vigorous thrusts shook the house to quivering. Each lunge of the axe sent the house lower, the mud still fresh from the latest rain. He’d demanded I leave with no thank you, but I sat in my car instead and watched. Why, I will never know. I laughed and laughed—thought I’d lost my head. And then, it happened.

Noise to my ears rather than pleasure, birds and crickets sounded louder and busier. I hadn’t noticed them earlier. Though mid- morning, the temperature had shot upwards. I whipped out my trusted hanky to dry my forehead and had already removed my suit jacket. The crack of the axe continued. Ticked by the old man’s ingratitude, I started the engine. I glanced back one last time. A groan and rumble stopped me. The outdated shelter collapsed, tumbling into itself. My heart plunged. Stupid old man.

I rushed towards the house.

Please don’t let the old man die.

* * *

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


40 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #167

100wcgu-72

It’s that time again. Check the link below to join in:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week167/

The prompt this week is the photo below (What are they saying?)

Julia Word Challenge 167

NO TATTLE, NO TALE

 Ralph gripped the railing. “We can’t ignore this.” He rubbernecked the close passers-by.

“I retire in a week.”

“Listen to yourself? Who are you?”

“It’s been one hitch after another.” Bill scrubbed his forehead. “This mall is jinxed.”

“What about public safety? You’re the chief engineer.”

“I’m dog-tired.” Bill shoved the clipboard towards his subordinate.

“Think of your legacy. The crack is widening—”

“Too late for me.” Bill’s voice faltered like coarse sandpaper.

“What?”

“I’ll be dead in a month.”

“Come again?”

“You handle it.” Hands in his pockets, Bill trudged away, back almost straight.

“How, Billy? Come back.”

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


38 Comments

Writing Process Meme

Note:  This is longer than my usual.

Kansen Sakura @http://kanzensakura.com/  asked if I’d be willing to answer and post four questions. I didn’t ask for details. The request sounded easy enough. It wasn’t until she posted her answers that the realization hit me: I’d already done this. What to do? Shush. Do it.

She is full of unbelievable surprises. She’s a chef, engineer, and a poet, with interests in ballroom dancing, photography, things Japanese and on and on. Recently, she became a student again in Pharmacy study. Check her out and be amazed.

J.B.Whitmore’s Scribbler’s Playhouse @ http://holdouts.wordpress.com/ is a new blogging friend who also asked if I’d answer four questions about my writing process. I asked to be excused as I had recently been tagged by Jacqui Murray at http://worddreams.wordpress.com.

Check out JBW’s open invitation to all Writers’ Writing: http://holdouts.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/open-call-for-writers-writing/

 

Drum roll, please. If you have not met these ladies, let me introduce:

  1. Colleen Brown @ http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/

Colleen writes about life as it strikes her. She has a particular way of looking at the world, peeling the layers one by one, until the heart of her topic is exposed. Laugh or cry, you’ll experience a new way of understanding. As well, you’ll enjoy her clever shadow people. I won’t explain; you must see for yourself.

 

  1. Vanessa Chapman @http://vanessa-chapman.com/

I can’t recall how I stumbled upon her blog a couple of years ago, but I have enjoyed her humor and inventiveness since. She’s not only a blogger, but is also a part time actor, a writer of magazine articles and works at a university in England.  I can almost manage one blog; she has a two. Do breeze over to: http://sugarness.com/

 

  1. Sherri Mathews @http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/

Sherri believes in hope. She says moving has been a constant throughout her life. Unexpected and unplanned changes and obstacles forced her to rethink her outlook. Opportunities came and vanished, but she ploughed forward. She currently blogs and works on her memoir with a radiant smile and sunny disposition. Stop and say hello and have a look around.

My answers:

The rules for this meme are to answer four questions about your writing method and nominate three new people.

 

What am I working on at the moment?

I’m sorting through and sprucing up short stories for submission before summer readings close. Matching the correct magazine to the story is my biggest headache and time consuming. Do I do contests or pay fees? At first I did for a couple, but no longer. I am retired after all and fees add up, although submitters usually receive a ‘free’ subscription in return. Since I first posted this, I’ve read reading fees are becoming a reality.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve a simple and unexciting answer to this question. I believe my writing fits into general fiction and not any sub-category. I tend to write about a variety of subjects which don’t include fantasy, sci-fi or horror etc. Everyday common-man-situations readers might associate with and cheer are what grab me as well. I can’t help being tickled if the stories are entertaining to readers when I release them.

 

Why do I write what I do?

I write to entertain myself, to analyze situations to better understand them, and to sort out the clamour in my head. I write about what grabs my attention. Sometimes, I believe I have a life altering idea and sometimes this is true, but not always. Okay, hardly ever.

 

How does my writing process work?

The middle of the day works best for me because I use up mornings to ease into the work after I’ve read the paper, my e-mail and blogs, and swept away diversions so I can concentrate.

I have a spiral notebook within reach to scribble fleeting ideas before they vanish. However, my handwriting has degenerated so much even chicken scratch doesn’t describe it. Most of the time I write like a demon and can’t make it out later. My favourite writing tool is my laptop from draft to finish.

I don’t accomplish as much as I should because I’m disorganized and easily distracted. Sometimes, I type as fast as I can to capture what’s going through my head and then leave it for another day because I’m not always sure what to do with the information right away.

When the going is hot—not often enough—my day vanishes. I’ve typed the first draft and filled in holes, patched bridges and edited as much as I can. I then put away the piece for another day when I can read it like a stranger. Only once or twice have I written a short story from start to finish in one day and been satisfied. Believe it or not, I enjoy editing the most because then I take my time.

 

Once again, these are my three nominees.

  1. Colleen Brown @ http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/  (July 21)
  2. Vanessa Chapman @http://vanessa-chapman.com/  (July28)
  3. Sherri Mathews @http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/  (Aug. 4)

Answer these four questions on your blog beginning July 21, 2014 (and on consecutive Mondays thereafter) and add three new nominations to your posts.

  1. What am I working on at the moment?
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write what I do?
  4. How does my writing process work?


43 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Jacqui

Behave Yourselves

 

Thank you Google.

Thank you Google.

My fickle pen rushes…

Morgan paced like a panther. “You know me. I do what I like.”

“You-know-me-I-do-what-I-like.” Wally’s sour mouth puckered.

Hey stop.

“You dare use that tone with me?”

“Slam-the-door-she-heard-me.”

You’re fighting? Behave yourselves.

“Sorry, sweetheart. I’ve had a dreadful day. Georges-is-unreasonable.”

“Sweetheart? You haven’t called me that in…we’re in agreement then. My choice of destination.”

What? Isn’t this sudden? You can’t change directions whenever you please.

“Destination? I-thought-I’d-explained-I-can’t…”

“Can’t or won’t? You work for me, remember?”

“But the project—”

Enough. I need a break from you two. My wrist’s shot and I have to pee anyway.


27 Comments

Between the Covers

When you need help, who do you turn to? The natural response might be a friend.  Friends don’t always have experience in the help you need, although they mean well. Then there are DIY manuals with instructions. They read like guidebooks: dry and tedious.

I read a book last weekend I wish had been available two-and- a-half years ago. I wish I’d had it to turn to then, but it is available now, and everyone should read it.

I want to introduce you to a book by Red Dwyer titled, “Killing Us Softly.”

KUSsCover-200x300

 Click here to read more

She writes with reflection and directness about her own experiences when cancer arrived uninvited into her household, took over her life, and stole her husband’s. She explains the best ways to handle circumstances you cannot avoid and how to preserve precious energy as best you can.

This is not a handbook but a chronicle of an insurmountable life experience shared with the Reader: this is what happened; these were the difficulties; for best results this is what works. Honest. Direct. Exact.

Red Dwyer is a no-nonsense sharer of truths. Killing Us Softly is divided into segments which are easy to understand. If you wish to flip through the chapters to choose any particular section, all the information is arranged in an easy-to-follow layout. Or, like me, you can read this informative book from cover to cover in two sittings. Anyone who reads it will gain indispensable facts from between these covers.

I tried to stop after a couple of chapters but I became so caught up in the writing, I couldn’t put the book down until the end.

The author doesn’t collapse under the weight of her undertaking; she intends to celebrate her and her husband’s married life together until the end. She creates memories—happy ones—for her husband, her family, and for herself. How does anyone do that under the circumstances? How does anyone manage a large family, tend to her husband, research his illness, write and create happy memories too?

The words of wisdom interwoven in the story: what works and what doesn’t, are worth the read alone.  Emotional reactions, doubts, confusion in an alien world all need to be addressed. Red Dwyer has lived all of those situations and shares her experience in a straightforward manner.

I highly recommend this read. Check it out; you won’t regret the time well-spent.

Red Dwyer is also the Promoter, Publicist, and Publisher of Redmund Productions and the blogger at http://TheM3Blog.com.