Links, And I’m Not Talking About Sausages Here.

The Story Link idea came about while I was working on “That’s What Shadows Are Made Of” and was considering the back story of one of my murder suspects. Where was the character from? What was the character’s secret? Why did the character act the way they did in certain situations?

At first the Story Link was very minor and just something I tossed in there for fun, but once I got thinking about it, I realized how cool an idea it really was. Why not link ALL the stories I had in mind together in this way? Maybe the link would be really obvious, as with the first two murder mysteries. They take place in the same area of New York State. They have some of the same characters. The Greenbrier Trilogy is, of course, the same way. It’s a trilogy. They are all meant to go together. Maybe the link would appear to be just a minor scene or bit of dialog within the grand scheme of things.

Then along came “No Rest For The Wicked”, my first novel length ghost story. It takes place over 300 miles from the fictional town of Barnesville. What could these two locations possibly have in common? I already had an answer, of course. And so it was that the Story Link formed between my murder mysteries, the paranormal writings and my older, previously published erotica series. In the meantime, other links are being brought together in stories I’ve written only a chapter or two of.

How will “Dark Hollow Road”, which takes place in Eastern Pennsylvania, be story linked to any of the others already mentioned? “Ghost Town” starts and ends in Texas and the characters are Texas natives. What on earth could they have to do with a bunch of New Englanders or Virginians? Then there’s “When The Darkness Presses” which features a bunch of kids growing up in the mid-1970’s who face the unsavory (and possibly deadly) consequences of meeting up with the infamous Hag. Where will any of them fit into a Story Link?

As it stands now, only two of my completed novels are without links to anything written before or after them. This could change. I don’t know how or when, but it could happen. Stories are like that. Characters like to suddenly pipe up, “Hey! What about me? When do I get my turn?!”

So, yeah, Story Links have become my little writing quirk. I don’t claim it to be an original idea, but I am hard pressed to come up with any author I’ve read a lot of who I’ve seen do it. On the outside, the novels may appear to have absolutely nothing to do with each other. On the inside, well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out, won’t we?

Are We Acclimated Yet?

Adventures / Motorcycles & me

I hear tell that it takes a human two years to become acclimated to a new environment. If that’s true then in two more months Jim should be all settled into the various climates of Central New York State. The cold should not bother him so much, or the lack of sun, or the over generous amounts of rain we get compared to his native state of Texas. Oh, we have our warm moments up here in the Northeast, don’t get me wrong, but not like they do down there. I’ve had the pleasure of being in Texas for three of the four seasons, or what passes as seasons anyway.

In the middle of January it was in the mid-80s with clear blue skies.

In early July it was in the mid-90s with clear blue skies.

In mid-October it was in the low 80s with clear blue skies. It did rain once while we were there this last time and I immediately thought as I stepped out and saw the overcast sky, “Ah, just like home.” Of course, the very next day we were right back to those blue skies and in the 80s.

I’m pretty sure I could get acclimated to that sort of thing in two years, but I think you need more than that when going the other way. Hell, I’ve lived in these parts for almost fifty years and I can’t say as I am all that tolerant of the cold, at least not anymore. Maybe it’s just old age. I can’t stand to be cold anymore and I complain about it from September to May, at least. Once upon a time temperatures in the 80s-90s would have sent me running to the sanctuary of A/C. Now I think on them with an ever-growing fondness. While visiting Texas, as the others would all be inside, I’d find a glorious spot in the shade, the warm, warm beautifully warm and comfy cozy shade, to read and relax and wallow in the heat like I can so seldom do in New York.

But, what of Jim and his battle to acclimate the other way around? Will he ever be warm again? Will he ever employ the dressing in layers method? Will he ever forgive me for being the reason he can no longer ride his motorcycle twelve months out of the year? It tugs at certain guilt strings every time I see him sitting at the computer or on the sofa watching television wearing his winter coat over a hoodie sweatshirt over a t-shirt. I’m miserable when I’m cold and yet, I fear I am not as cold as he must be all the time in these Northern climes we call home.

He’d surely jump at the chance to move back to Texas to be toasty warm again. And yet, as much as I’d love to be warm more times than cold, I cannot find it in me to move. I love the changing of the seasons. I love to see the snowdrops, crocus and daffodils push their way up through the molding leaves and melting layers of snow. I love how the silence of winter is one morning suddenly broken by the sweet, beautiful chirping of returning birds. I love when the smell of lilacs drenches the air and when the sun finally returns. I appreciate every single amazingly cloudless and wonderfully blue sky. And in the fall, the hillsides are ablaze with the most brilliant of colors and the air smells of fallen leaves, ripened fields of corn, and pumpkins. And yes, oh, it is beautiful when we get just the right amount and type of snow that clings in tiny white lines along the leafless branches and all is quiet. At night, the blankets of white sparkle under a full moon, reflecting the twinkling stars above; breathtaking. I find myself humbled in those moments. Even as I may long to be warm and cozy, I can’t yet give those wondrous, child-like times up just yet.

I don’t think two years is long enough to learn to love a place so different than what you are used to. I have to admire the man for even trying and I count myself amongst one of the very lucky to have found a person willing to put up with it all in the name of love. As we enter our second winter today – the third if you count when he moved up here in the middle of January – I sure don’t look forward to shoveling snow, scraping ice and those Oh-So-Mighty heat bills. I do look forward to snuggling on the sofa and sipping hot cocoa though. And it’s been mentioned that someone wants to actually trudge out into the cold and snow very soon to get a real Christmas tree. Maybe he is acclimating after all.

He’s Not A French Model But…

Adventures / Childhood fantasies / Family & Relationships / Motorcycles & me

I did meet him on the Internet.

Yup, it’s true. I’m head over heels, madly, truly, deeply in love with a man that, less than a year ago, I’d never met in person. Today, we live together. Maybe that doesn’t seem so dramatic in this day and age, but it’s the back story that’s cool.

We met in a little place called Second Life where anything and everything you can possibly imagine and quite a few things you can’t – or maybe didn’t want to – have been brought to the surface. It can be a very scary place. Everyone looks good in Second Life. We’re all young and slim and rich. We can be pirates in the 1700s one day, Native Americans in the 1800s the next then hop over and be modern day kick-ass bikers once we’re tired of being shot at by outlaws. Not to mention all the vampires and fae that seem to crop up everywhere. It’s crazy and I love it.

A Facebook friend introduced me to SL in the fall of 2010. For that first year I was a vampire on an estate called Legacies 1891. Sadly, Legos, as it is so affectionately known, closed down a while ago. I moved around a lot after that and eventually gave up the whole vampire thing in favor of the American Wild West in a place called Amiville. Had a lot of fun playing the boarding house owner but eventually that didn’t much hold my attention. I moved on to join the Native American population and that, dear friends, is where our Love Story begins.

I was a wandering Indian maiden without a tribe. He was a Cherokee. As I was about to log off for the night, I got a notice that they were having a story hour in the Cherokee village. I almost didn’t go but the Fates had other ideas. By the end of the night, my little Indian girl was madly in love with the handsome brave who had sat across from her at the fire circle. In less than a month, on Feb. 17, 2012 they were married in a traditional Cherokee wedding ceremony.

Four months later, he would drive over 1600 miles from Central TX to Upstate NY to spend a week with me. Like that virtual first night, the sparks flew as we held each other for the first time. Swear to God, I thought he was going to snap me in half. Seven months after that, I would make my first trip to the Southwest since my family had moved away in the Summer of 1966. You see – one of the odd things that we have in common is, we were both White Sands Missile Range Kids. I was born there. He was there during his high school years. Had we lived there at the same time, we would have lived less than a mile apart.

I bought a one-way plane ticket to Austin, TX. Yes, one way. You see, at the end of my ten day visit, we packed up everything we could into the smallest U-Haul that we could and drove back, half way across the country, so we could be together. In less than a week, we’ll be celebrating the one year anniversary of our first face-to-face meeting!

So far, so good. Since January 18th, 2013 we have not spent more than half a day apart. We’re still head over heels, madly, truly, deeply in love and grow more so as time goes by. He’s not a French model (nor a crazy ax murdered) but then, neither am I, but we did meet on the Internet and I’d not change that for the world.