The New Moon

 

So, it’s Halloween season…and tonight is the new moon.

I am not alone in loving this time of year.  I always have.  I have many wonderful memories of carving pumpkins, dressing up, eating too much candy, feeling good with people, getting far too drunk,(wine and vodka are the ‘candy’ of my adulthood and yes, I do need to cut down),  reveling in all the seasonal decoration and frivolity.

Escaping reality and delving into a little world of fantasy and folklore for a night is just a ton of fun.

I also have crappy memories, disappointments with people I thought cared about me, feelings related to being left out, misunderstood and more than a few recollections of god awful hangovers.

This year, things are different.

It’s a drizzly, chilly day here in England.  The news is dire, depressing as usual.   The weather has been weird this week, oddly warm then back to cold and drizzly.   Mother Nature has wreaked havoc over the past months.  And that’s nothing to make light of or use for some clever anecdote.  That’s just worrying and a sign that something isn’t right. People have died and are suffering greatly.

Music on my favorite radio station is dystopian and fatalistic, bemoaning the instant gratification culture of our generation, yet resenting the ones who came before.

It really couldn’t get much darker.  Hence it’s very apt that it is the time of the new moon, time to accept the darkness and the void, to release things you don’t need and prepare yourself for the new.

If you are into spiritual paths, manifesting and all that stuff, this is the time to light candles, meditate and visualize.

I feel held back by something and I need to let it go.  There is a lot of talk about ‘making things great again’, going back to a past where the future was brighter, the present was more enjoyable and there just wasn’t so much polarization and dread in the world.

For some at least.

I don’t believe this is just an American discussion.  Like it or not, wherever you live, you affect the world and it affects you.

Such is the price for international trade and commerce, military interventions past and present,  the internet, social media and generally being a living creature on this earth.  Us mortals are not so easily defined by boundaries and carefully constructed national narratives.

Yes of course you can still be American or British (or both) or European or German (hence both) or African or Kenyan (hence, both) or Asian or Chinese (hence, both) or perhaps you are American or British (or both) and you carry a bit of everything in your blood and background.   No offence to Canadians, Australians, Brazilians, Indians etc….but we’d be all day listing the world’s nationalities, geographic locations and ethnic backgrounds.

What I’m saying is, no one is going to steal anyone’s heritage or history.

But we can’t escape our humanity.  It will always be there.

Whether or not it is acknowledged is another thing.

We all exist, we’re all here.   Yes you might be as Caucasian as they come having grown up near a small town in Iowa where your family lived on the same farm for generations.  And yes, you have a voice, you draw breath.  You are here, you have a story and I’m sure it’s very interesting.

We are all one of many.  Hence we can’t only stick to one way of looking at things.

Swallowing any story as long as it serves an agenda is immature, unenlightened and tragic.

It sucks.  Long as it makes you feel better as a person and it vindicates you from any responsibility towards your fellow human beings, you’ll go along with it, blind and trusting like a morally underdeveloped child knowing he/she is going to get a piece of cake at the end of the deal.

Or a bit of money.  How sad.

We have a lot to learn from the past.  We can’t deny it existed.  We also can’t look at it with any slanted, agenda driven political motive.  We can’t look to the past to define us.

That’s dangerous and frankly, quite ignorant.

We can’t pretend that the history tied to our own story is more relevant than the one tied to someone very different from us.   We’re all here, now in the present.

History, they say, belongs to the victors.  Perhaps…but the ‘victors’ are now dead too.  Maybe their death monuments are grander than history’s ‘losers’.   But how long will that last?

Eventually, stone also crumbles.

It’s new moon, don’t use the past to make things better.   I want to be a better person, to look ahead.  Try to find a better, more compassionate way.

It’s ALWAYS better not to turn a blind eye to the cruel, immoral behavior of others, even if it would benefit you if you did.

It’s terrifying to imagine the huge void of risk, responsibility and the unknown.  But this whole ‘F the future the past was better let’s go back to that’…it won’t work.

It isn’t that I don’t love a good 80s disco.  That’s fine.  But…

Better to look to the challenging void, then to glorify some past riddled with injustices and mistakes that though they didn’t haunt us then…

They do now.

I release all that holds me back with the new moon.

Blessed Be.

 

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By jmnauthor3000

National #Poetry Day

It’s national poetry day in the UK today. Apparently the theme is freedom.  I’ve written a couple of pieces that I’ve arrived at whilst contemplating the best sort of freedom.

Where I’m from originally and where I live, these are for the most part, ‘free’ places.  I don’t suffer from political persecution and I wouldn’t desire any continuation of practices that encourage persecution of certain groups.

That’s my opinion, my experience.  I recognize that, opinions can be innately selfish.  I often think of being free of my selfish nature and want to care more and love more when it comes to my fellow human beings.

I also believe the worst way for us to act as a group and as individuals or whatever would be to encourage ignorance and the incessant numbing of any pain.

Uncomfortable emotions, depression and loneliness.  Anger.  These are all issues that within ourselves and within the human experience as a whole, need to be dealt with.

In a beautiful, utopian society freedom from ignorance and freedom from internal (and external obviously) pain would be like….well, like heaven.

Anyway.  I’ll shut up and hope the following pieces speak at least somewhat along the lines of freedom….though admittedly that word is never directly mentioned.  The first is called ‘Words’ and the second is called ‘Void’.

Off we go….

‘Words’

Words are weak

Words are wisps and vapor

Like smoke feebly blown from the mouth of a dying man

Words cannot always describe the terror that lives within silence

Words cannot rescue you from what lurks in shadows

Yet they’ll gnaw inside

Damn things, awakening a specter of pain

Words linger on the tongue, leaving a rotten taste

Leaving the dust of an ancient shell crunching between the teeth

Still, meaningless and dead

Words spoken by lips you never knew

Brittle pages that somehow survived

First tense, second tense, passive voice, third

Lament for the powerless word

Inscribed in stone, shoved behind a glass

Confine all words to the museum of evaporated knowledge

Until no one cares enough to read

The myth, the legend, the fable

Bury them deep beneath a dull grey monument

Here lies passion

Fears are phantoms

Love is a ghost we don’t believe in anymore

Death is a distant memory

Of someone we knew before

No

A warning

Declaring war on words

They’ll find you

They’ll get deep inside

A place

You never knew existed

They’ll stun and bind you

Long before you fight or hide

Words are the companion of consciousness

It’s true

Without them

You’ll die too

 ‘Void’ 

A void

An empty shell

Prepared to wither away

Dwindle and shrink

Into the abyss

Devoid of happiness

When all the poison

Used to fill it

Evaporates

Accept the hunger

At least, it’s something

It is what it is

At least, it’s something

Feel it

Filling the void

Turn it into something else

Better this, than filling the space with poison

Caustic and maddening

Eroding what once was beautiful

The absence of youth

The lack of soul

Can no longer be blamed

When embracing the pitiful and selfish

At any age

In such an event

It is all

Within and without

Chronically shamed

Famed for nothing

But lacking the necessary fervor

To love enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

Swearing. Lots of Swearing.

I’m going to swear in this post.  I am going to get on my soap box.   I am going to talk about stuff that will make people uncomfortable.

If you can’t deal with it, then look away.  Really, I mean it. 

So, I just got called a Nazi sympathizer by someone on Twitter.  And I got unfollowed by them.

I’m not bothered about being unfollowed, but…Nazi sympathizer?  That turned my stomach.  Literally makes me sick.  They referenced Auschwitz and assumed I either knew nothing about it or that I didn’t care. 

Well…I’ve been ‘unfriended’, harshly, conveniently judged and ignored by folks supposedly closer to me than some random twitter person. 

I posted a picture of a book I’d read.  The book was called Alfred De Zayas’ A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of Eastern European Germans 1944-1950. 

If you can’t be bothered reading beyond the title and reading the book itself, then please refrain from making massive, horrifically incorrect assumptions about what the book is about and imagining it is filled with some sort of Anti-Semitic or Holocaust denying message.

Yes, there is plenty of disgusting literature out there that tries to justify Nazi war crimes, there are vile websites that try to compare the disenfranchisement of ethnic German communities with the Holocaust or even say that the Holocaust didn’t happen, and the ethnic German disenfranchisement did, but this isn’t one of those pieces of pro hate propaganda disguised as proper literature works.

There are complete and utter morons who will try to conveniently interpret snippets of the book to suit their racist tastes.  Of course there are. 

If you think I’d read something like that and go ‘hey, yeah, that’s really interesting…maybe the Nazis weren’t so bad.’…

Then fuck you.

I read the book for research purposes, as I was studying ethnic German communities in Eastern Europe.  As it happens, my mother was descended from such ethnic German communities.  Her family emigrated to the United States at the very end of the nineteenth century, in case you think my grandfather was in the Prinz Eugen regiment or something.

Were there Nazi sympathizers amongst ethnic German communities?  Of course.  Did they deserve retribution for collaborating with and even in cases, committing war crimes?  Yes. War crimes for sure deserve punishment. 

Did children under ten and grandparents deserve to be moved to starvation camps?  Did women deserve to be raped simply for being ethnic German?  Um, no.   

War is a shitty, shitty thing.  So is Fascism.  And it has shocking consequences that should never, ever be interpreted in some small minded, agenda fuelled way.    And genocide like the Holocaust must never EVER be forgotten. 

If you really, really think that I am a person, capable of sympathizing with anti-semitism or any form of white supremacy or extremism….or that I hold some sort of fucked up view of history that thinks the Nazis were just ‘misunderstood’ and they aren’t to blame for what they did then…well fuck you. 

You are an ignorant zealous reactionary who gets off on lashing out at people you don’t know and who makes massive assumptions about shit you don’t know about and frankly…

I. Am. Done. With. That. Shit. In. My. Life.

You haven’t studied ethnic German communities in Eastern Europe.  You assume I was talking about Nazi soldiers, fresh from committing cruel atrocities being beaten after the war and that I thought ‘poor them, see….the Holocaust wasn’t as bad as people make out.’  Of course it fucking was!! 

Fuck you. 

I realize that today, fucking 2017 in supposedly free, democratic countries, there is a blatant advantage  if you are a privileged white person and do I think that’s right?  Fuck, no. 

White privilege is a consequence of centuries of greed, ignorance and bigotry.  Folks have been quite happy to keep it going because frankly, it benefitted them and they didn’t see people of different ethnic backgrounds as being worth as much as them.   

People are really calling that out now, and it makes folks uncomfortable.

This is me, being honest.  I am liberal.   What is known as a ‘libtard’ by some.  I am pro LGBT rights.  I am drawn to paganism but still think Jesus is cool.   

And by the way, self -righteous Christian types?  Jesus would hang out with almost anyone.  Gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, promiscuous, not promiscuous, rich, poor, sick, healthy, Jews, Christians, pagans, etc.   Whatever, he would have given them his time and love.

But Nazis?  No.  He would have kicked those fuckers right off their bar stools. 

Would have been nice if he would have turned up when slavers were heading over to Africa, bribing folks, kidnapping people, bringing them on a horrific boat journey most would perish on, then enslaving and abusing their families and their descendants for generations, thus casting a violent and disturbing shadow on American history that lingers to this day. 

But good ‘Christian’ folks sure do get twitchy when these historical anecdotes are brought up. 

Now, there are Nazi symbols being paraded around in the United States and that’s classed as on par with movements like Black Lives Matter and anti-hate protestors by Donald Trump.   Fuck!!  

I am shocked by the amount of people I thought were normal who voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.   I don’t think they are all bad people by their very nature, but I think they have been duped.  

And Brexit?  WTF????!!!  Again.  Duped. 

But in both cases, often quite willingly duped and gobbling up convenient memories like a box of cheap chocolates.  Oh…convenient memories…yum yum yummy. 

If the decision benefits you economically but fucks other people you don’t care about? Brilliant.  If it keeps the brown and foreign types who make you uncomfortable out of your face?  Even better.

But then, those poor lost souls who voted Hitler in were sure duped.  Horribly, tragically, duped in such a way that German folks have to live with a nightmare within their collective historical consciousness since the nineteen thirties.    I can’t imagine how fucked up that feels. 

Then, as an American, I think of slavery,  Jim Crow laws,  lynchings,  disenfranchisement of Native Americans, stealing their land and mistreatment of immigrants  of the darker non Anglo type persuasion, and I can have a really good try.  It feels pretty fucked up.  I really, really don’t like it. 

Does this mean I hate my country and I resent people who serve in the military?  Of fucking course not! But there are people who would assume that because of some of my ‘libtard’ views it automatically translates into me being hateful towards the country I was born in and spend my miserable days secretly hoping that it fails. 

The difference between the Germans in Germany and the ‘ethnic Germans’ who lived in eastern Europe is that the latter didn’t actually vote Hitler in.  They were associated with him by default.  They’d never even been to Germany.  They were born in Eastern Europe. 

Associating an entire group of people with vile, negative, evil notions to the point of assuming that they all deserve to die horrible deaths is also, pretty fucked up.

Fuck Nazis.  Fuck white supremacy.  Fuck Trump.  Fuck Brexit. 

And Fuck you, crazy reactionary fool on twitter. 

This is me, signing out.  Feeling fucked up, angry as all hell, chronically misunderstood, misinterpreted by reactionary fools, feeling alone and shitty.  Fuck. this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

The Last Days of Summer

 

Summer is winding down and it’s time for some last minute fun.

This is a blog post relevant to a #giveaway hosted by Dariel Raye. I’m also going to talk a lot about my enjoyment, understanding and relationship with paranormal romance as a writer and a reader.  And a little bit about insomnia.

Dariel Raye, is a musician, animal lover and #romance writer extraordinaire who tends to stick to the genre of #paranormal and urban fantasy for her love stories. Quite often, her couples are multicultural/interracial. Because, love doesn’t give a flying *expletive omitted* about race or ethnicity. Only sad fools would be bothered by such traits between lovers.

I’m sure if you asked Aphrodite, she’d roll her beautiful eyes at the prudish stirrers of hate and tell them to ‘*expletive omitted* off.’

Dariel Raye’s characters are frequently shape shifters or angels.   In one of her stories, there is intense attraction between a good hearted veterinarian and an attractive gentleman who adores caring women and whose incisors occasionally lengthen.  Nice.

A few hours before dawn, I found myself reaching for my #kindle to read Outreach, An Orlosian Warriors Novella by Dariel Raye. Normally I would force myself to go back to sleep, but I thought, no it’s summer and if the only quiet time I get to myself will be in these dark hours, then I am going to delve into a world filled with the descendants of angels, demons, disturbed characters with tragic histories and an explosive love story.

It was great.   I love Dariel Raye’s stuff, it’s indulgent and escapist yet beautiful in its use of damaged humans and dark angels.   I wished that the story would have gone on a bit longer actually as four am rolled around and I knew that sleep was not going to be my friend.

Thank goodness for American style coffee pots.

Insomnia is an unusual occurrence for me. I love early nights and generally sleep soundly until sunrise. In fact, I love sleep so much that I wrote a story about a girl who has an unhealthy obsession with the Greek God of Dreams, Morpheus.

When I came up with the concept for my first novel length project, Into the Arms of Morpheus, I was envisioning Morpheus as a typical Greek god in contemporary paranormal romance literature

I assumed I would write a tale of standard seduction.  But my writing took me on a complicated path and I discovered some character traits I wasn’t expecting.

I can’t deny I was inspired by the phenomenon of ‘heart throb’ types. The sort, molded into something innocent young women are powerless against.  They might not realize it, but heart throbs become less human and more like ideas, images and fantasies. Let’s say, otherworldly.

Morpheus became a different sort of character. Whether he’s really good somewhere deep down or whether he is a villain, I’m still not completely sure. He is worryingly appealing yet agonizingly evasive.

The goddess, Nyx in all her might came to me as well.  She’s got her own agenda.   On a side note, I am into #ASMR and there is a #goddess series by @pandora_asmr where she plays Nyx, hypnotizing you to sleep.  Pretty cool and awesome to see #Nyx getting some recognition.   In case you haven’t noticed, I champion the strange and unusual.

Maybe someone will do an ASMR video as Morpheus?  Any enterprising #ASMR #artists?  I could have used that around 4:30 am this morning….

Back to Morpheus in my story….

I was obsessed with mythology during the writing of Morpheus. I set the tale in rainy, wet stone and cobbled Manchester, England, a place I lived in the vicinity of for many years.

Morpheus, is probably the world’s best actor.  He can become anything. He understands human nature more intimately than anyone living or dead because he can delve into anyone’s subconscious and know their deepest secrets, desires and fears.

But poor Morpheus, has his limits and weaknesses. He lives his own immortal tragedy. Greek gods might be powerful, but they can be petty and arrogant.   They are in a position to toy with mortal lives when they see fit.  In Into the Arms of Morpheus, they take advantage of their position.

Because they are all a little messed up themselves.  I’ve chosen those from #mythology who aren’t normally in the lime light.  Personally I find those a little more interesting than the standard attention seeking types.  Not that I want to get on Zeus’s bad side, but he is actually scared of Nyx.

Moving on from my own story, Dariel Raye is hosting a #giveaway on August 25th. There are many #authors taking part.  I’m giving away a signed copy of Into the Arms of Morpheus to a winner of my choosing. I’ll be deciding around Saturday morning.

It’s free it’s fun and you never know, one day I might be quite famous.  I might also dwindle into obscurity and heartily embrace regular daytime wine drinking (tempting…oh so tempting) but at the end of the day you still get a free book.

So if you fancy some #mythology based urban fantasy in the wee hours, or if you want to go someplace quite dark while basking in the sunshine, if you want to meet Morpheus, Nyx and Thanatos (Death), then come on over on Friday.

There is a multitude of other authors taking part.  Plenty of romance writers of course, but of a wide scope.  Authors who specialize in the erotic, fantasy, paranormal, mysteries, gay romance, multicultural, shape shifters and other creatures of the night are on Dariel’s lineup,  there is a little something for everyone.

Summer is winding down, soon the crickets and birds will quiet, the leaves will change and the air will get colder.   Soon one story will end and another will begin. You might as well have a bit of fun and curl up with a book to remind you of the last days of summer…

Here is Dariel’s Link:

https://www.facebook.com/dariel.raye.3

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

‘Going Backwards’

 

My name is Jessica and it’s been two weeks since I last ate a doner kebab pizza.   I have one finished historical romance, (with a ghost story), out for formal editing.   I’ve written a dystopian romance (it doesn’t have any sci-fi or space element to it). I will get to that in the autumn.  I’m currently writing vampire stories in preparation for a Halloween release.

It’s summer break. I stand on the verge of over a month of upended routine. This means writing will be sporadic.  Not nonexistent but…sporadic. There will be time for reading, and I plan on filling my head with as much vampire, fantasy, paranormal, historical and romantic stuff as possible whilst negotiating…summer.  Forget you, reality.

Yet all that aside, I would like to take a moment out there to talk about a few things.

Namely, jealousy, insecurity and loathing.

I will give an example. When I walk into a book store and see successful, best selling books by well known actors or artists.   I am jealous.

It strikes me as unfair that these people are allowed the pleasure of writing and getting published like…bam.  Never mind that said folks are actually producing quality children’s books as well as staring in well known programs and they entertain me or make me laugh, the fact that they get to enjoy instant success with another artistic medium due to not only their talent but their already established name really grates on me.  I tried to convince my son not to buy ‘Billionaire Boy’.  It didn’t work.  Little bugger read it right in front of me.   This success in literature grates on me.

I am ashamed to say so but dear God it does.

*cue glaring green emoji*.   I’m sorry David Walliams and Bear Grylls.  Forgive me, I wish I was a better person.

Whenever I see crappy reality television celebrities bringing out memoirs I honestly feel sorry for the people who buy them. Not jealous or spiteful, just a bit sad.

I loathe marketing people. Folks who think of nothing but sell sell sell….they fill me with disgust for the human condition. I feel these people should be on an old fashioned market stall, smiling and bowing and scraping for every penny because they don’t care about a damn thing apart from making money. If they want to worship money they should wind up in a lonely ‘heaven’ of heavy coins to swim in.  Like in that treasure room in Gringotts bank in Harry Potter or Smaug’s lair in the Hobbit.

They don’t deserve to earn millions and talk about targets and set about looking at website traffic and stalking people on social media to find out what’s #trending.  Perhaps there was a time when people sold products they genuinely believed in….but now I think too many folks think sell first and product quality or validity later.

I desire their happiness and dignity on a pike before the city gates.

Ever heard the song ‘Going Backwards’ by Depeche Mode?

It makes me think of ‘cookies’ and market researchers and opportunistic sales people. Maybe that’s not what Depeche Mode meant with the song but that’s what it conjures for me.

I read about a blogger selling five star reviews to struggling authors. That is both pathetic and disturbing.  I officially loathe that blogger. But that ruthless woman makes money off of people desperate to be seen in the exceptionally competitive world of books and literature available online.

There are people selling ‘wellness’ and ‘truth’ and ‘self confidence’ and ‘success’ and ‘inner peace’ just like there are people selling sexual imagery and war. They mostly have orange faces and whitened teeth.  I trust very few people with orange faces and whitened teeth.

My point is, we are supposed to be moving forward in society. We are supposed to rise above jealousy and bitterness and animosity against our fellow human being. We are supposed to ACTUALLY help one another. Not pretend to help people so as to benefit and line our pockets.

So….why am I so filled with loathing, insecurity and jealousy towards my fellow human being?   Because the lack of balance in this world upsets me and I blame salespeople. I blame those who have sacrificed their morality on the sacred slab dedicated to lost souls and butt kissers so that they can go on holiday in Thailand.

I don’t blame David Walliams or Bear Grylls.  I might be jealous of them…but I don’t blame them.

To a certain extent I blame a lack of education and poor life choices of the hoards who love crap like reality television, celebrity gossip and the memoires of reality television stars.

So if I see anyone sat around a pool this weekend reading a book with some orange faced, bleach white toothed person on its shiny, overpriced cover….

I am going to make sure they are engrossed in their book so that I can discreetly roll my eyes as I walk past them.

They won’t notice me.

No danger there.

Happy Summer.

 

By jmnauthor3000

Doner Kebab Pizzas, Yoga and my Conscience

 

The other day I was stuffing a piece of doner kebab pizza into my mouth whilst ordering a well known fitness application for my phone. Already my stomach signaled that it was time to stop eating.

My behavior that afternoon just wasn’t right.

My conscience wasn’t speaking to me, I’d made it sick. I shouted to the children through a mouth stuffed with processed, over seasoned meat, salty sauce, dough and cheese to cease scrolling through Netflix, searching for films I knew were too scary for them.

At that point my conscience crawled out of its sick bed and said in a gruff voice that shouldn’t belong to any lady’s conscience,

‘You are actually going to have to go in there and stop them from putting on a horror movie.   You know it’s going to give them nightmares.   Let’s be honest you don’t want the not-so-little anymore buggers to be clinging to you at midnight, while you are struggling to sleep due to a bloated stomach and heavily put upon digestive system. Do something with yourself! You horrible, horrible person.’ My conscience then slammed the door, grumbling about what a jerk I am and how tragic my first world problem obsessions are and stumbled back into its lair.

My conscience, by the way is a really disillusioned washed up old drunk.

It might not be the most gorgeous, sparkling conscience in the world, but it does know what’s wrong and what’s right.

Monday meant premiering my fitness app. This well known fitness app involves message notifications, exercise goals and a pre-set timer and requests to connect to my camera and all my other apps. This makes me uncomfortable even though I see the point in using it for social media and sweaty selfies, etc.  Promotion.  Convenience.  Surveillance and money laundering.  Whatever.

I could say I’m disappointed with it, but in truth it motivates me.

To my shame, seeing images of beautiful young, fit, likely wealthy and successful women doing exercises motivates me. It’s not that I want to compete with them. I will never be a beautiful fitness guru.  They just look so friendly! I like them. My conscience thinks I’m pathetic but God help me, I actually like the fitness ladies who now live in my phone.

Surely, they are re-inventing the stereotypes surrounding attractive go getter type women. They aren’t all cruel, tan, toned creatures seeking to crush me. It’s okay not to hate them. It’s okay to buy an app like that. It doesn’t make me a dork/sheep. Right?   I won’t wake up one day to a world where I am a starving beggar in their empire of pretty, young, tech savvy and healthy.

This whole affair makes me feel quite pathetic yet…I know it’s doing me good? Conspiracy theories of ebusiness and app tycoons seeking to run our daily lives aside, what harm could it be doing?

I did yoga this morning via said app.   I even listened to the music score that went along with it. I didn’t hate all of it.   When it came time to do the ‘balance’ moves I struggled. I kept keeling over and needing to grasp onto a chair.   I’m not particularly balanced physically. Or emotionally.

I ate vegan sausages on whole wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes and garlic for dinner this evening. There is no wine in the house. This is on purpose.  I am physically incapable of ladylike drinking.

As I said, my conscience is already a drunk. There is no hope for me.

I’m trying to save money. I’m trying to lose weight. I’m trying to be a good parent.   I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m trying to succeed with my writing.

*Conscience pipes up from its lair* ‘You are talking about yourself like ALL the time!’

Yes, thank you conscience.   This is a blog and blogs are very often exercises in admittedly self centered ramblings and personal opinions so why should mine be any different?

That aside, I keep seeing tweets and articles about how talent is not exactly rare. There are many creative types around with the ability to write something interesting.  What makes them succeed is their tenacity. The moves they make and the work they put in to succeed. To get your work seen, you have to complete all manner of research. You have to know who would want to help you get your work out there. You have to source dozens of these people. Then you have to present something impressive.

So, you’d better have it.

Even then, chances are the ones in positions to help you will be incredibly busy, dealing with the thousands of other creative types trying to make a living from their art. FYI, if any ‘agents’ ever ask you for money after getting you all excited, telling you that you have a strong voice, etc., do NOT engage with them or send them money.

*Sound of creaking bed springs as my Conscience sits up slightly*

Conscience: ‘F-wording vultures.’

Anyway….

Writer’s write. Talent is common. Tenacity is what makes or breaks you….etc. etc. etc. Eye Roll. Yawn.

*Cue the sound of empty bottles falling and rolling on a wooden floor, shuffling feet and a groan.*

Okay, I’ll formally introduce you. Everyone? This is my Conscience. Conscience? These are like the two people who occasionally look at my blog…

Conscience: ‘Okay. I suppose getting your work seen is like getting fit or being a better person. You have to make the effort. You have to ‘get over yourself’ and just work at it.   Stop obsessing over your little insecurities and the many things you become paranoid about. Grow accustomed to rejection and the fact that higher ups might look at you and think ‘Wow, that sucks. Go away.’ Steel yourself against that because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you learn in the process and that you never EVER give up. And the fitness ladies in your phone are not your friends, okay? They are attractive fitness people who had an idea, pursued it and now they make money off of people like you. But that’s okay, because you do need to get healthier. And maybe….just maybe one day those ladies will buy your book and find it an emotionally enjoyable read and will get in touch about how much they liked your book. OMG you really want that don’t you? You’re so freaking sad and weird at the same time! You really, really need to get out more. Jeez…crazy obsessive woman hauls herself over the coals for buying a well known fitness app and there are people starving in the world.    Give money to charity or something. I need a drink….’ *cue the sound of a bottle uncorking and a body collapsing on a bed with broken springs*

Okay. So…I won’t order Doner Kebab Pizza next weekend.  Or any apps for that matter.

My name is Jessica and my conscience is a disillusioned, washed up old drunk.

Once upon a time, I imagine it was a glorious, bright eyed sort with the world of moral choices at its feet.

I’ll get back to work then….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

Balance and #Health and #Wellness and Stuff.

 

Balance. Control. Discipline.

I like gorging myself on rich food and drinking wine over the weekend. Then I want to hit the gym, run and drink green smoothies all week. Mealtimes involve a healthy chicken and black bean burrito, with no cheese or sour cream. I’ll eat nuts and whole grains, dabble in yoga and meditation, etc.

Then Friday comes and an intense urge accompanied by euphoria hits as I start on a bottle of crisp, zesty chilled Sauvignon Blanc and salty rich snacks. The delirious deliciousness is so good, I become ecstatic with happiness. Everything makes sense on Friday night. The world is right. By Sunday I’m on ice creams and chocolate bars in a desperate attempt to pick myself up off the floor.

Lately, I’ve allowed myself to slip even further from my lifestyle standard. I’ll even eat a rich pasta dish and drink wine on a school night. Not to the point of being a hung over wretch the next day, but certainly not in a position to get up at 5:30am to go for a run.

I just sort of do my day, minus any significant exercise. I try and stick to lower fat lower sugar eating, but it doesn’t pack the same punch. It doesn’t have the heady feeling I get from eating lean protein style foods after sweating and panting, then exfoliating and moisturizing afterwards.

Eating a chicken sandwich on whole wheat knowing I barely managed to roll out of bed and wash myself just isn’t the same.

Then you hear words like moderation and balance. Yawn.

Yet here I am again. Sunday. I didn’t get out of bed until ten. I’ve eaten more chocolate than I care to admit. There are empty bottles in the recycling that I am responsible for. I’m staring down the barrel of another week.

I’m staring down the barrel of the rest of my life.

It’s not the vanity, it’s the mindset captured when I’m being a good girl. I love my indulgent weekends. But they can’t spill into my week. Not anymore. I honestly do have stuff to do.

And it’s not just about my expanding waistline. Or even the puffy eyes. Or a sluggish thought process and general state of confusion as to how exactly I got here.

My urge to nap during the day, a habit I find offensive in other situations, disgusts and compels me at the same time. It’s not those sort of things.

Okay well yes. It is those things. It’s also that I still want to be able to drink a glass or two of wine and not feel like a piece of crap who does this way too often. I want to drink that glass knowing that I earned it. Not panicking that I’m going to feel tired tomorrow, yet being unable to stop myself from swallowing yummy chilled Pinot Grigio.   Chardonnay sucks.

I want to eat a piece of cheese and a few olives and not feel disgusted with myself. I want to enjoy a piece of cake and not become immediately embroiled in a ferocious yet silent debate about whether to eat cake until I feel sick or whether to stop eating all together and just cope with my salivating, twitching and excessive drinking…I mean blinking… I mean I like cake. Shit.

I’m very knowledgeable about healthy eating. I’m not limited in my ability to comprehend what is good for me and what is not. I’m just exceptionally good at justifying bad health choices.

For example, my subconscious theory that if I consume a bag of nacho cheese flavored tortilla fast enough, it doesn’t count. I have processed fake cheese corn stuck in my teeth but hardly recall eating anything so anyway what’s for dinner?

Another example? I hold sugary soft drinks in high disdain. I do not see the point in sodas or artificial fruit drinks at all. Until I wake up with a hangover and find myself chugging lemonade like it’s going out of fashion.

I’ll go back to snubbing it on Monday.

No thanks, just water for me.

At least wine has a bit of integrity. Whatchamacallit Zero? Whatsit Light?   Bubbly Diet Whatever? Bah! My nose and I are going to go right up, thank you very much. Until we’re above a cold can of yourself because your carbonated caffeinated qualities accompany spicy fattening comfort food perfectly. When I drink you, I know I’m slumming it and possibly drinking cancer or dementia inducing chemicals yet I secretly fear the day you are no longer produced.

As for the ‘full fat’ soda brigade? You make me sick. Until I feel sick and drink you down like a ragged traveler who’s been lost in the desert for weeks. I love you ginger ale, don’t leave me!

I drink infused water now. My water has pieces of lemon, mint, cucumber, berries and ginger floating in it. I’m still gaining weight. It turns out my home grown kitchen herb infused H20 does not offset the doner kebab pizza I scoffed on Friday because I was freaking sick of cooking stuff involving home-made chicken stock and chopping up varying forms of bastard salad. F word I hate salad.

I’m really quite proud of my ability to resist chocolate and sweets.   My true weakness is salty stuff.   I’m also nauseatingly proud of my honesty.   I have a problem with consuming too many salty carbohydrates. Yet you come see me on a Sunday, or when Mother Nature tweaks my biological situation and I’m stood looking at an impressively sized American candy bar and wondering if it’s big enough.

I adore running. My knees remind me that I come from a long line of short, stout (yet really awesome) peasant laborer type women who were built for constant work, but not for the elegant, graceful art of running. Bend, stoop, stir, lift, push, pull, grunt, carry, hurry up, give birth, but don’t run for goodness sake your joints can’t take it. Really?

No…I will lose enough weight off my middle one day so that I can enjoy running and my knees will shut up.

I like the gym, the cross trainer and doing weights. I don’t talk to anyone there yet I love the feeling of unity in health. We aren’t all perfect, but we are here and let’s do this people!   I don’t resent the beautiful types who are there. The fact that I mentioned that shows how open minded I am. It does not betray any insecurity at all.   I welcome all my gym brothers and sisters with open arms.  Even the annoyingly attractive and fit ones.

I avoid eye contact like the plague and the thought of doing a group exercise class truly horrifies me on a level that needs its own blog post but…solidarity people! We can embrace health and find a better version of ourselves.

In all seriousness I love sweating. I also love eating. And drinking.

And green tea is really really boring.

So, what to do? How to find balance in health and habits? The thing is, I know I’m not alone. Lots of folks are struggling with weight and healthy lifestyle habits.

Lots of people freaking hate salad. Even with a nice dressing, extra chicken, or some alternative vegetable that isn’t lettuce. You are the bane of my existence lettuce!  I heard, that lettuce has chemicals in it that actually cause hunger. Who would have thought that a bit of produce can be so cruel as well as prone to becoming soggy and tasteless?

Then again, I do like using lettuce as an alternative ‘wrap’ to tortilla or buns. Burger meat in between fresh lettuce leaves is actually okay. So is taco meat.

Fine, maybe I can’t use lettuce as a scape goat for my poor lifestyle choices. I can’t blame the unappetizing bits of soggy green stuff on café sandwiches for making me choose the cheese toastie instead.

Maybe I have to actually swallow back down my urge to isolate myself with a huge piece of black forest gateau.

Maybe I should eat in public more often. And slowly enough that I remember what I’ve consumed. But control doesn’t come easy. It doesn’t grace you with any benefits unless you make the effort and practice good old, agonizingly boring self control.

Sometimes, that means acknowledging your own madness.

Hello. My name is Jessica and I’m not entirely balanced.

 

By jmnauthor3000

Bad Day

 

When you are alone.

Your words are meaningless.

Your emotions a lead weight.

Your dreams unfulfilled.

And there is no savior for any of this save for you.

Alone.

Only you can claw yourself out.

Reality is a dull and hungry existence.

Food turns to grey matter on your tongue.

Drink doesn’t satisfy until you are sick.

Your body repels and protests your every decision.

Your mind punishes you.

For the shame of knowing better.

For the shame of having no excuse.

For the horror of no escape.

And the anger, the poisonous, pointless anger.

Because you are in so deep.

Swallowed by the version of you, you never wanted to be.

And only you, dreary wasted you, can claw yourself out.

 

 

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

All We Need is Love. Right?

 

I’ve spent an afternoon going through my WIP, (work in progress), after a long hiatus and honestly? I’m sick of looking at it. And it’s a good story. I like it. I just need to finish it. Yet there’s a couple of finicky storyline aspects I need to fix and the final ten chapters need penning. I know how it ends.   A handful of the remaining chapters will be set in present day, revolving around a blossoming romance. I just…haven’t felt in the mood for romance.   I’m obsessing over tiny details. What will she wear? What will the temperature be? Will they hold hands? Will they wear mittens or gloves? How long should the kiss last? Will he wear cologne? Will it be spicy or more aromatic and woodsy?

I’m killing the mood by being fussy like this. More importantly, I’m wasting time.

There’s been a bit of a life change happening for me recently, that REALLY has put a temporary stopper in my work. I’ve spent too much time scrolling through various forms of social media. I’ve been unable to avoid reading snippets of news articles about dreadful things happening in the world.

The politics of power and manipulation grow stronger. At the end of the day, if people want to view something a certain way, they will.   Cold hard facts could come and smack them in the face like large dead fish and they’d still insist they felt nothing. Industry shoves compassion aside and egos loom like indestructible death stars, determined to subdue the masses with smoke and shadows.

War is an industry. Health and beauty are an industry. Food is an industry. Sex is an industry.

Love is not.

Likely a lot of us realise this as we scroll through whatever form of social media, searching for something to identify with. Some way to connect either for work or friendship purposes.   I find myself growing numb to all of it. How odd, to seek connection by being alone.   It won’t be long before all the paths that lead to understanding will be destroyed.   Then, we’ll be forced to be live like cheap plastic pieces on a shelf. Alone, maybe even next to one another yet with no means to reach out and touch someone (cue vague memories of some 1980s phone advert).  Our moments of pleasure and happiness short lived and replaceable.

It’s a shame people don’t get greedy for love the way they do for money.

Because money can’t buy love.   It can buy weapons, food, supplies, vehicles, training, medicine, technology and influence. It can buy the services of a personal trainer, a high standard of living, organic food and high quality anti-aging toiletries. Maybe a bit of laser treatment. It can buy fashions designed to encourage sexy thoughts. A nice dinner and a fancy hotel room. It can buy people.

But not love.

Funnily enough my other WIP which I’ve shelved for the moment is partially dystopian in nature. I always disliked dystopian work. Now, reading the news, I’m feeling the pull to hurry up and finish this other so I can get going on that one.  Stories of apocalyptic, chaotic societies set in a fictional future has been ‘a thing’ for a while now, but I’m sure other authors would agree that that it’s like the news is handing stuff to creative types on a plate.

As far as reading is concerned, historical romance with an idealised, sweet smelling setting has always appealed to me. Dystopian stuff with all the survival requirements, spoiled landscapes and orphaned characters depresses the crap out of me.

Back to my own writing, how to conjure those moments of deepening love when all you want to do is stop typing and go drink excessive amounts of wine? And all because you took a break to piss about on your phone and you read a news article. Then you read an article about how it was a fake. Then you read an article about how the people who said it was fake are crazy. Then you read an article about how the folks against those who spout against ‘fake news’ are actually evil manipulators hell bent on controlling us all. Then you think it’s mean to call anyone crazy for having different beliefs. Then you can’t abide certain beliefs yourself…like that mainstream media outlets are ALL lying to us. Then you read a…you get the idea.

Maybe news outlets are full of liars determined to convince the masses of certain things that would only benefit those folks in high powerful places. That kind of thing makes for the beginnings of a decent dystopian/conspiracy theory type novel. Yet I find it depressing as hell and not conducive to the development of a romance. Then I hate myself for being so childish and self-indulgent.

I want to celebrate love and compassion while the rest of the world seems hell bent on driving folks apart. Industry. Business. ‘The man’, as it were, tossing aside non-influential folks like so much garbage, destroying the earth’s natural set up in favour of progress, I don’t like all that stuff.

I don’t think all rich and powerful people are inherently evil, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself in life. I’m well aware that money is a necessity if you want to live comfortably in most parts of the world.

I just think people who desire nothing more than riches and power…might be a bit evil.  And it saddens me that there seems to be a lot of these folks around. They vary from your wannabe celebrity taking butt selfies to your conniving propagandists convincing isolated, lonely people to sacrifice themselves in order to get ahead.

At the end of the day, you can’t manufacture intimacy. Virtual reality will always be virtual reality. Money cannot buy love.

But if it could, maybe this earth would be a better place. And the war lords, ginormous egos, kings and queens, lords and ladies, Death Stars and Saurons of the world wouldn’t feel so inclined to find sorrowful ways to push their bloody selfish agendas.

I call on myself and all #romance #writers to carry on.  Make love stories as vibrant and beautiful as ever.  Whether it’s between an eighteenth century duke and a courtesan with a heart of gold or a wayward modern cowboy and a veterinarian.   Or a disillusioned artist and a witty engineer.   A recovering alcoholic and a Wiccan.

Any creature deserves the chance to love and readers should be exposed to that way more than butt selfies and real life tyrants.

I hear myself speak and think ‘screw my mood’…the reading world needs love.  Whether I need to call on vampires, ghosts or fairies…this story is going to happen.   Let’s. Do. This.

Peace.

By jmnauthor3000

The Victors

 

Friday, January 20th is the release of Ashes to Sunrise.  Yet another charity anthology arranged by talented, crafty Mia Darien.    All the stories have a sci-fi or fantasy feel.  My short story in the collection is called The Victors.  All author profits will benefit The American Civil Liberties Union.  An organisation designed to help people who feel they lack a voice in mainstream society.  People who, on more than one occasion, have been told to shut up and accept their lot in life.

With a certain event that is happening on Friday, I think it’s important to remember that a lot of people are feeling a lot of very different things.  There will be an abundance of emotions swarming around.  Some joy, some relief, some sorrow.  Some anger.

Anger is the one that concerns me most.  I may have written a short story with sci-fi and fantasy elements.  However, I am not shouting about how we now live in a dystopian, apocalyptic madhouse and ‘those people’ are responsible.   There are no ‘those people’.  Please let’s stop doing that.

I don’t believe in immediately dismissing anyone’s views based on their lifestyle, career, faith, gender, orientation or ethnicity.   I believe in the right to disagree as much as I believe in being a reasonable, kind person.

I also don’t believe in telling infuriated people that they are stupid and wrong.   That generally causes less reason and more anger.  Then where are we?  Well…

I felt that on this, the eve of this…of this….I wanted to examine anger, the right to disagree and ….beliefs.

There is nothing wrong with being angry.  You are not a bad person for experiencing a sense of injustice.  You have a right to disagree with others.

It is impossible in this world to agree on everything.  We cannot all become clones, not even with and perhaps especially due to our information overload, computerised, era.

Our very human, very personal frailties and passions are bound to be ignited by the words and images that call out to us every day.

And we are not robots who see the same thing.

The things we see, touch, hear and do every day vary even within the same household.  Let alone the differences between towns, regions and countries.    It’s no great shock that we, as human beings seek out common bonds.

It’s also no shock that we reject those common bonds, fearful that we might understand someone who is drastically different from us.   Horrified that we might actually understand someone who made us so angry.

Information can be manipulated, in order to suit the desires of angry people.  It is possible to conveniently ignore proven facts.   Lies are ever available.   Truth is subjective.

Angry people are often those who feel they have been left out by the rest of the world.  That, the rest of the population is uncaring and arrogant.

Anger should never be dismissed as an absurd thing.  Telling an angry person that they are stupid and wrong is unwise.  Unless of course the desired result, of informing the angry one of their stupidity, is a fight.  Some folks simply enjoy a good fight.   Wisdom and reason have nothing to do with it.

One thing most of us could agree on is that it isn’t pleasant to feel mocked, neglected or ignored.  As though you are ridiculous and you don’t matter.

Even well-adjusted, privileged members of society struggle with those feelings.

Even well-adjusted, privileged members of society do not like being labelled.

To swallow a label, rashly thrown at you by a stranger is a bitter experience.   It could cause the more temperamental or sensitive individual to behave foolishly.

It could cause a powerful individual to use their position to punish those who would disagree with them.   To punish anyone who made them feel angry.

Our somewhat elite yet very mortal realm of rulers and world leaders is and has always been an often flawed and disappointing place.

Now, on the brink of a new beginning,   I feel it’s important to remind myself of a few things:

That standing up for what is right, without expectation of glory or gain whether in this life or the next, is a sign of enlightenment.

That standing up for what is right, despite fear of punishment whether in this life or the next,  is a sign of enlightenment.

That the powers that be above and below know this.

That I have a long way to go before enlightenment.

That the downfall of others should never be a source of joy.

That it is wrong to manipulate people into believing exactly as I do.

That it is wrong to harshly judge others unless I have had the personal experience of living their day to day life in all its varying eras, ages, ups and downs.

That love is better than hate.

That kindness is better than cruelty.

That these rules do not only apply to the people I disagree with.

 

 

By jmnauthor3000