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You Call Her Fear

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 This will be short. I am going to try out a writing exercise and invite anyone interested to try it as well. It's pretty simple. Here are the rules: Make a list of the things that scare you, then choose the one thing that trumps all others. Then write a short piece in which you visit this fate on one of your characters. Here's my list of mostly irrational fears: Angry spirits Bad guys in dark alleys Being buried alive Being sunk in the ocean Loss of meaning to life And here we go: Arnold never spoke about his time in Vietnam. Those close to him knew not to ask. His wife had feared that if he went back in the telling of it, she'd loose him again. When he had returned he was sullen and moody for the first year. He could often be found drinking in the dark in their garage. Then, one spring day, he poured out the contents of his whiskey bottles and joined her in the house. Over the course of that summer he slowly returned to the man he'd been before the war. His wife was s

What if Winston and Adrian played truth or dare?

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 Happy Thursday. Maybe you saw my FB post this week about choosing a character to do a little development piece on? If not no worries. It's already done. I got one vote for Adrian and one vote for Winston. I decided to include them both in this short piece that puts them both at a college party. As far as the novel is concerned, this party never happened. It is just a means to an end, and that end is to get to know these guys a little better. Ray Bradbury once said "Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations." Since Ray Bradbury is not someone you contradict, I have taken his sentiment to heart. Enough said. I will now let you see what would happen if Winston and Adrian had met at a college party and played drinking games together.  Writing Exercise, Character Development  Winston and Adrian go to a party                 Winston hesitated at the door. He could hear people inside, they were l

Where the World Ends

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Every year I try to do something on my birthday, something that is uncompromisingly me. This year I went one step further and spent a whole week in the BWCA. I'm guessing you already know what that stands for, but if not, it is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and it is a one million acre protected wilderness located in the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota. If you've read Hearts of Prey  you know that the beauty and wildness of northeastern Minnesota is the setting that makes the story possible. The boundary waters have been a special place to me since I went on a week long canoe trip when I was thirteen. My appreciation for the area only grew when I made a friend from Ely, Mn while going to college in Bemidji. Ely is the last town before the boundary waters begin. In my first year of nursing school I made more than one trip up there where we would step lightly into the woods by day, then try our young hands at drinking whiskey and singing karaoke at night. I ha

The Spark in the Dark

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It's been almost two months since I released Hearts of Prey . By now there's a decent group of people who have read it. If you haven't you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089DR2B11?pf_rd_r=EA49XK0X2B1QTWSE9SPK&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee  It will look like this:  There's been enough feedback so far to recognize the most frequent compliment I've gotten: "It was an easy read." That is a relief. While I do envy those writers who can elegantly pack each sentence with layers of meaning, I definitely don't want my first self published novel to be a difficult read. And at the end of the day, not even I have very much say in the style and tone of what I write. It just comes as it does.  If that is in a manner that other people can appreciate, than I am lucky.   So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd share the answer to a question someone asked me at the book signing I did in Brainerd last weekend. The question

We All Like Shiny Things

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This will be my first post since I came up with a direction for this blog, and the direction is all things northern Minnesota. I guess ten years of waffling between topics on my blog was long enough. I felt it was time to make a commitment, and since this blog is a hobby it only makes sense to steer it in a fun direction. Well, what is more fun for a nature nerd than learning about the forests, places, people and events that make northern Minnesota unique? It was my intention to kick off this blog with a post about one of my favorite places, but since we aren't supposed to be going places right now I decided to jump ahead to a topic that pretty much any person in Minnesota can experience from their own deck. What is one thing we probably all have in common? If we listen hard enough we could all probably hear the shrill call of the American Crow by the end of the day. Though often seen as a nuisance, I for one have been intrigued by these birds for years. Not only do they have an e

Hayes Lake State Park

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It has been almost a year since I left my home in woods for a new one on the plains. I won't lie and say it was an easy choice, but it is one that has been made and it's better to look forward than back. Now the White Pines have been replaced by fields of wheat and soybeans. Country churches and grain elevators dot the horizon where panoramic sunsets can expand unhindered by landscape. Though quiet and beautiful in a structured way, things feel distinctly foreign here. Now what can I do but put in a both feet effort to find a piece that fits? Step one is finding nature, because it's out there, hiding between sugar beet fields. That determination brought me and a visiting friend from back home on a camping excursion to a little known state park, Hayes Lake. If you're wondering where it is, just drive north where the soybean fields meet state forest. Just before you hit the border you'll find a patch of woods welcoming you to camp and explore. A year ago I lived

The Plight of the Night Owl

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Are you a night shifter, or even just a run of the mill insomniac? Having been a nurse for almost fifteen years (damn, that sounds like a long time) I've done my share of night shifting. Companies can sure make it sound enticing with fat shift differentials and the absence of management raining down extra tasks on you, but as we all know, everything costs something, and night shift costs sleep. When I first dabbled in night shifts I told myself I could sleep when I'm dead. I soon felt like that appointment would come quicker than expected if I continued to deprive my body of this fundamental need. One weekend, when I was desperate to get a dog fence put up, I remember working all night at the hospital, sleeping two or three hours, fencing the rest of the day, then going back to work at night. That's probably not the the nurse you want caring for you when you come bursting into the ER mid stroke, but in reality, sleep deprivation of night shifters is more common than you m