Not So Silent Night


The man is normal looking, average height and build with an expressive face. He’s pale and his balding head glistens with sweat. There’s nothing about him that’s intimidating, except his location. He does not belong in my house in the middle of the night.

I don’t know how he got in or what he wants. He seems confused and angry. Jeff goes to talk to him and blocks the man’s view into our bedroom. I was already standing out of sight, but our son is in bed, too far away. I motion for him to join me and for him to be quiet. He understands and creeps toward me.

Somehow, Jeff disappears, and the man’s view is no longer blocked. He sees movement, and his eyes light up. He reaches for my son. And I am an inferno.

“Do NOT fucking touch him!” My voice is high and wheezy, but I have one. Usually, in nightmares like this, all attempts to scream or cry out fail. I open my mouth and nothing happens. “DO NOT FUCKING TOUCH HIM!” I wheeze-scream again.

And I reach for the intruder. Somehow, I am behind him now and I grab his shoulder. Usually, in nightmares like this, I move too slowly or not at all. My feet are rooted to the ground, and the air is like jello. This time, my hand makes contact with his shoulder.

I dig deep into his flesh with my nails. My intent is singular and powered by my fury. I want my claws to go so far into his skin that they touch bone. While I dig, I pull back and feel his flesh give. And I love it. He’s off balance now. His pain coupled with my angered power brings him down.

I fall too but am on my knees in an instant my elbow poised above his nose. I collapse into his face with all my weight and fury. I feel a crunch but he’s still struggling. Up again and my elbow comes down on his face again. And again.

And I wake, panting and sweating. My chest hurts from not being able to scream as loud as I wanted to in my fury. And my heart is pounding, but not in fear.

Not sure who you are dude, but do NOT fuck with my family.

Icy Tendrils of Fear

My autonomic nervous system works as though I live in an episode of the Walking Dead. I am in a near-constant state of fight or flight.

OK, I lied, just flight. It’s all flight. If the phone rings or someone knocks on the door, I jump, then hide under the bed. I actually keep my phone ringer because hearing it ring can cause a mini-panic attack.

I have a debilitatingly bad sense of direction. (I’m convinced I have disorder that causes me to get lost called Topical Disorientation.) So, if I need to drive someplace out of my familiar haunts, I worry about it for at least a week in advance.

I just served jury duty. In the weeks between the summons and the date of my duty, I panicked every time I saw the notice on the fridge. My terror had nothing to do with whether or not I would be picked (I was) and everything to do with getting to the courthouse and parking and being there on time.

Whenever I travel, I dream about missing my flights or not being able to park or missing an exit to the airport, even though I’ve been there a hundred times. I’m not at all afraid to fly.

See  that? I’m not afraid of dying, just of having my spirit hurt or killed.

When I first published my book, I was terrified.  Then, a remarkable thing happened: Nothing.

I didn’t do any kind of marketing, and my book stayed hidden in the shadows where it would be safe.

I realized shortly after that I published too soon. It needed cutting, editing, a better title, a better cover. I decided I would do all that, then market. Except…I didn’t. I wrote more. I blogged more. I dragged my feet.

Writing isn’t (necessarily) hard. People write to get out what they need to say. For me, the process of writing my first book was almost 100% pleasure. It was a joyride. And the result is so precious to me. Like everyone else who writes, I feel like these words and characters are part of my soul. And now it exists in the same world with people who are unabashedly, proudly and terribly mean.

What will happen to my spirit when it gets battered by these meanies? What will happen if it’s not battered but simply greeted with apathy?

Maybe that’s what I need, to let the worst happen and see how I am afterward. Maybe I’ll get spirit calluses. Maybe my spirit will do surprising and lovely things if I let it experience this, like a tree on a windswept landscape. What if my spirit has a blue sapphire heart that can only shine when the silvery outside is worn off? It’s possible, I suppose. But oh how scary.

Well, I finally made myself pick up my feet and stop making excuses and inviting distractions. My book is done. It is cut, re-edited, retitled, recovered (thank you Lori Follett), and republished.


Here it is, available on Amazon and here on Amazon UK, soon to be available in paperback. (No really! Soon – it’s formatted and saved to PDF, I’m just waiting my full wrap cover from my amazing cover artist.)

Now, off to market it. Time to drag it out of the shadows and see what it and my spirit can survive.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Other things I fear:






Zombies (as aforesaid)

Ventriloquist dummies