Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Musings

This week's Monday Musings prompt:

What are you reading right now?
Why are you reading what your reading? For pleasure? For review? Something else?
What did you most recently finish reading?
What do you think you'll be reading next?
What was the best book you read this month and why?
What was the worst book you read this month and why?

I'm currently reading Dark Curse : A Carpathian Novel by Christine Feehan (as you read this, you will notice all the vampire themes). This is the 16th book in this long running series and I never get tired of reading them. This book is totally for pleasure.

This weekend I finished reading the first 3 books in the Casa Dracula series by Marta Acosta. This is a wonderful new take on the vampire genre, with a feisty Latino woman as the heroine. These books are spicy hot and hilariously funny and I'm eagerly awaiting the 4th installment.

Also this weekend, I read a wonderful new children's book, The Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo. This will be the first book in a new series called The Dragon Keepers. It's kind of like Harry Potter meets the computer age and it provided me with a few hours of unadulterated fun reading.

I'm also reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas for my on-line book club. The story is very good (and there's a lot of it at 14500 pages!), but I'm having trouble with the Ye Ole English. This is the main reason I'm reading Dark Curse at the same time - to give my brain a rest.

I will be starting a re-read of The Coal Tatoo by Silas House for my October face-to-face book club. This book is a joy and pleasure to re-read.

This month, I started a new feature on my book review blog, Way Back Wednesday, and I'm going to be re-reading and reviewing books from my past. I have started with the first 2 Trixie Belden Mysteries - The Secret Mansion and the Red Trailer Mystery. These were my favorite books when I was a young girl.

This month, I also read the first 2 books in the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - Marked and Betrayed. This is another fairly new vampire series for young adults and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the ups and downs of these teenage "vampires in training." I'm currently on the library waiting list for the next 2 books in this series.

Probably the best book I've read this month has been The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Believe it or not, I read this book 3 weeks before Oprah announced it as her new Book Club book! It is a spectacular story of survival and revenge. This is the first book by Mr. Wroblewski, but I'm eagerly awaiting his next novel.

My least favorite book I've read this month is The Fifth Dimension by Rory Macaraeg. This was a book I did for a review, and although the story was okay, it was written by a novice and you could tell. The language and the dialog were faultering and hesitant, and many times I had to read the same passage over and over again to understand the meaning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


The sun it glows,
Hot and bright
Until the dusk is nigh.

The full moon glows
Awashed with light,
Calling to the hearts
Near and far.

The stars above
Twinkle and shine,
Speckling the sky
In the inky night.

Clouds float by
Fluffy and white,
Till thunderheads form
Breaking up the sky.

The wind is illusive,
It blows and it sings;
Searching and reaching
Until another day.

Raindrops pour down
In gussets and drips,
never staying around,
But always coming again.

The rainbow is hallowed
A promise of regret,
Fleeting and lonely
Fading from light.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Write on Wednesday - Attention to Detail

This week's Write On Wednesday prompt asks the questions:
Are you detail oriented in your writing? What are some of the details you most notice in the world around you? What details do you focus on in your writing - place, character, emotional? What are the kinds of detailed descriptions you most like to read about?

Write On Wednesday Extra Credit: As you perform a household chore that you do on a regular basis - making coffee, washing the car, cutting the grass - notice every detail of the process. The smell of the coffee grounds as you spoon them into the filter, the hiss of the water as it splashes against the car, the rumbling of the lawnmower’s engine. Write about your experience in great detail.

I like to think of myself as detail oriented, especially in my writing. I love to read about the rich sounds of the big city, the alluring smells of the corner bakery, the magical sights of a lone country road, the touch of a tiny baby animal or the taste of an apple picked fresh from the tree. These details enrich my reading experience and make me strive to be a better writer.

All too often, we get caught in the trap of writing for the sake of writing - trying to hurry through the days word count or page count without stopping to make sure the words are the best that they can be. Many, many times, this is what happens with my first drafts - boring words with no attention to the details.

However, once I have the "bones" of a story on paper, then I can jump into the fun part of writing. Adding the color of my hero's eyes: are they sparkling blue like a midsummer's day, or swirling green like the changing forest? Adding the sounds of the current environment: is the town old and dying, or is it fresh, new and growing? Adding the taste and texture of the heroine's evening meal: is it spicy and hot with a flair for the exotic, or is it the comfort food of a lip smacking hot dog? Adding the smell of the current surroundings: is it salty from the spray of the sea foam, or is it dusty from the mountaintop coal mine? Adding the sensation of touch is sometimes hard: does the heroine's dress feel thread-bare and worn, or is it starchy and stiff?

With the onset of autumn - my favorite time of year - my attention to detail is heightened. The blazing rainbow of colors as the sugar maple trees start to turn, the deepening yellow color of the goldenrod as it ages, and the white snowflake blooms of the frost asters as they dance above the meadows.

Overhead I hear the loud honking of the geese as they make their way to winter parts unknown, the crackling and popping of a backyard bonfire, and the crisp, wet crunch as I bite into a freshly picked pear or apple. I love to touch the dew drops as they glisten and cling to all the garden foliage, feel the rough texture of the corn shocks as I make arrangements in my front yard, or the smooth feel of the pumpkins fresh off the vine. Autumn brings the taste of sweet and gooey carmel apples, the spicy hot flavor of a huge pot of chili, and the warm aromatic tastes of hot cocoa or apple cider. The smells of autumn are probably the best from the damp, wet leaves littering the sidewalk to the clear, fresh breeze after a rain shower to earthy fragrance of the late blooming herbs.

Paying attention to details and describing to your audience the five senses are the best way to draw the reader into your story. Being able to picture yourself in the situation be described is the hallmark of a good author.


Washing the Dang Dishes

I'm not a domestic goddess and I don't play one on TV. Although I like a nice, clean house, I hate wasting time with everyday household chores. As a matter of fact, I have a cross-stitched sign hanging in my kitchen that I completed back in the early 80's:
"My Home is Clean Enough to Be Healthy, and Messy Enough to Be Happy!"
This saying suits me to a tee. But what is the one chore I absolutely despise? Washing dishes ...

On week's when I'm especially "lazy" I may go two or three days between washings. My philosophy - If I have one sink clear of dishes, then I'm doing okay. The problem with my irregular dish cleaning routine is the fact it causes me more work in the long run.

Drip, drip, drip - filling the dishpan with hot scolding water, I'm now letting some cooler water even out the temperature. Glasses first, some coated with leftover chocolate milk, stained from herbal tea or - oh my heavens, is that mold in the bottom of my hubby's coffee cup? - yuck! It takes elbow grease to finally make them squeaky clean. OMG - what is that smell? Last night's spaghetti and meatballs scrapes have hardened on two plates, salad dressing has dried in three bowls, and is that mashed potatoes still covering the bottom of a serving bowl from two nights ago? I'm surprised we haven't all been sick, just from the fumes escaping the sink! Scrub, scrub, rinse, rinse - then scrub, scrub some more.

The plates and glasses now glisten and gleam, it's on to the silverware. How do so many forks, knives and spoons accumulate when there are only three people in our home? Spaghetti sauce, garlic butter and the same mashed potatoes coat several spoons and forks. I swear, I will never let the dishes get in this shape again? Never, never ... but granny always said, "Never say never."

Why is it my nose always itches just as soon as I put my hands into hot, soapy water? It never fails and I end up with the same soapy water dripping from my nose. Now I have nice clean silverware to go with the clean plates and glasses, so the only thing left is the dirty pots and pans. As I left the lid from the skillet, I'm hit in the face with the molding smell of last night's spaghetti sauce - why didn't I take care of this last night? I guess the same could be said for the mashed potato pot from two nights ago.

Okay, go ahead, say it - you know you want to! I need to do the dishes every night - yeah, like I haven't been hearing that all my life. But the problem is, nighttime is the only time I get to spend with my hubby and I would rather spend it talking or laughing or making love, than standing at the boring sink doing the boring dishes. After all, I cook supper didn't I? My hubby said the meal was delicious, didn't he? And he doesn't care about the dirty dishes, as long as I can maintain that one open sink - and he and my daughter are the only ones that matter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Old Orchard

Here is my 2nd entry in the Autumnal Equinox Project at Café Writing:

Option Four: Fiction
Write a flash-fic, scene, or short story involving either standing in an orchard.



Standing in the orchard, I feel the rough peeling bark of the ancient apple tree. Years of neglect have left the once fruitful tree with tangles of overgrown branches, shooting suckers and sparse apples limply hanging like castaways. Where had the time gone? When was the last time I felt the warmth of my muscles tending the orchard?

Time has passed, and not been gentle with the years. I've grown older, but am now the last of my line. What will happen to this dying land? Who will care once I'm gone?

Slowly bending down, I pick a shriveled apple up from the tangle of weeds at the base of the tree. Half green, half red, except for the shrinkage, a perfect specimen of the once vibrant tree. No worm holes, no bug bites, just shriveled skin - it matches my hands and the lines on my face.

I slip the fruit into my apron pocket and with the assistance of my trusty walking stick, I head back to the house. I pass pear trees and plum trees and peaches long gone. "They are dying as well," I think as a tear slides down my cheek.

This is the end of the line, no one else cares. Standing in the middle of my beloved orchard, my heart is breaking. There is no reason to go on, there is no one to miss me. Am I to end up like the abandoned fruit of my orchard?

Wilson Dee and Me

Part 1 (This is a story I started several years ago for my youngest daughter - she was taking riding lessons at the time.)

“I think it’s going to be a long day,” Christy Overmyer proclaimed to her best friend, as the two of them made their way to the stables. Christy’s bright green eyes watered in the cold wind. She tossed her long dark auburn hair from her face and tied it with a scrunchie.

“Why do you say that?” Wilson Dee, Jr. asked as he grabbed a galvanized bucket to begin feeding the horses.

“Well, we’ve got the band concert tonight,” Christy said with a sigh. “And your mom promised me jumping lessons this afternoon.”

Wilson Dee, Sr. and his wife, Candy, were the owners of Wilson Dee Stables. Candy was the riding instructor and Mr. Dee handled the day to day operations of the stable.

“Well,” Wilson began, scooping up a bucket of feed and pouring it into the first trough. “You don’t seem too excited about the concert.”

Christy turned on the water tap to begin the daily chore of keeping the horses’ water fresh. “Oh, I’m excited about the concert because it’s our first one,” she said. “But I’m looking forward to my first jumping lesson.”

“Jumping is a piece of cake,” laughed Wilson as he continued feeding each horse.

“Yeah, a piece of cake for you! You were born in a saddle.” Christy rubbed the silky nose of her favorite horse, Tigger.

Christy and Wilson were best friends, having grown up together in the sleepy little town of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Wilson was the son of wealthy horse owners; Christy was from a middle-class family who lived in the subdivision near the stables.

“Come on, Christy. We’ve got to finish feeding. Mom says if we’re late to school one more time, she may make both of us quit caring for the animals.” Wilson scooped up another bucket of feed.

“Oh, she wouldn’t do that! Would she?” Christy felt a momentary pang of panic as she searched Wilson’s face for the truth. Christy enjoyed your time with the horses, and the hard work had helped her learn the personality of each animal. As payment for all Christy’s hard work, Candy gave Christy private riding lessons.

Growing up in a Harrodsburg had been a great experience, but growing up within walking distance of a riding stable was even better. Christy loved all the horses, but Tigger was her favorite. Two years ago when Christy turned 10 years old, she had struck a bargain with the Wilson’s to buy Tigger. She would help with the feeding and watering, grooming, and exercise of the horses in exchange for payment toward buying Tigger. For the two years since, Christy has spent all her free time at the stables, learning everything possible about horses.

“I guess I’m just upset because my jumping lesson will be cut short so we can get to the school for band rehearsal before the concert.” Christy opened Tigger’s stall and led him out to the corral. Wilson followed her, leading two more horses.

Every morning after feeding and watering the eighteen horses, Christy and Wilson would lead four or five horses to the workout corral in preparation for the mornings riding class. Because school was in session, most of the morning classes were reserved for older people, who had always wanted to ride, but never had the opportunity.

As Wilson closed the corral, he turned to Christy with a wide grin. “Let’s just hope you don’t fall off during a jump! I’d hate if you couldn’t play your trumpet tonight!”

“Ha, ha! That was so funny I forgot to laugh.” Christy walked over the corral gate, pulling an apple out of her coat pocket. “Here you go, sweetheart,” she said as she nuzzled her head in Tigger’s fluffy mane. The sixteen-hand gelding tossed his white head and then gobbled up the apple in one bite.

“That horse is going to be spoiled rotten if you keep feeding him apples every morning. You can’t trust a spoiled horse,” said Wilson.

“Tigger is not spoiled!” Christy said between giggles as she gave the horse one more hug. “Besides, you don’t have any room to complain about me spoiling Tigger. I’ve seen you give Warrior sugar cubes. Talk about your spoiled horse! He won’t let anyone else near him.”

“Well,” replied Wilson. “That’s the way I like it. I like having War all to my self.” He walked back into the stable and down to stall number nine. Warrior was a large, golden Palomino with fiery eyes and a temper to match. Since he was a young colt, the only person Warrior would allow near him was Wilson. Naturally, they became great friends. Warrior would not perform for anyone but Wilson.

“Kids, it’s 7:30! If you don’t get a move on it, you’ll be late for school . . .again!” Candy’s cheerful voice came over the stable intercom. The intercom allowed people in the barn to communicate with someone in the house. It was also Candy’s way of giving them a two minute warning.

Christy walked over to the intercom and pressed the talk button. “Ok, Mrs. Dee! I’m heading home to change right now! I’ll see you in half an hour, Wilson.” Christy ran out of the barn, mounted her 10-speed bike and headed for home.

On a typical morning, Christy is up by six o’clock. She would jump out of bed, throw on an old pair of jeans and flannel shirt, and then ride her bike to the stables. It took Wilson and Christy almost an hour to feed and water the horses, and get the morning horses ready for class. By 7:30, she was headed back home to shower and grab a piece of fruit for breakfast, before Wilson’s mom arrived at eight to take them to school.

To be continued ...

© Bobbi Rightmyer

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Musings

This week's Monday Musings asks the question:
"Do you belong to a book club? Is it on-line or face-to-face (f2f)? How long have you been with the group? What have you learned from them? Do you like how the group is run, or would you make changes if you could?"

When I was younger, I belonged to book clubs at my high school and at the public library. As I got older and had to go to work full-time, I slowly dropped out of my clubs because I just didn't have the time to prepare or to attend.

Now that I've been retired from full-time nursing for three years, my interest in joining a book club has renewed. I'm currently a member of the Mercer County Public Library's Noon Book Club Bunch. This is a face-to-face group that meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 12 noon. We bring a sack lunch and the library provides drinks and dessert.

I have met some wonderful ladies through this book club! We enjoy reading books about Kentucky and Appalachia, as well as books by Kentucky authors. Although most of the participants are older than me, we all enjoy the conversation and the exploration of common books. Last month we read BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani and it was the perfect selection for our group. This month's book - and the club meets tomorrow - is JAYBER CROW by Wendall Berry. This group is always open to suggestions for future books and we all have imput on the selections.

This summer, I joined an on-line book club - Becky's Reading Group. I have enjoyed this group, but it is much more impersonal than a face-to-face group. It is easier to form questions or comments in written form, but I sometimes get impatient waiting for a response. This group is currently reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas, and because it is such a long book, we are going to carry it over into October. Although I enjoy reading the classics, this one is giving me some trouble. I'm enjoying the storyline, but trying to read "Ye Ole English" is giving me fits. I'm now looking forward to a nice simple book to give my brain a rest. This group is far more informal; we normally list books we would like to read from several different categories, and Becky tries to pick books that will appeal to the majority of members.

All in all, I think I enjoy my face-to-face group the most because there is actual live interactions. However, this doesn't diminish the fact that I also enjoy my on-line group, but it's like comparing apples to oranges.

Welcome, Autumn

I borrowed this idea from Miss Meliss:
In improvisation, one of our exercises is a game called “Seven Things,” in which we go around in a circle giving each other the challenge, “Give me seven things that [whatever].” We are not going to go around in a circle here, but if you’re drawn to lists, this prompt is for you.

So, give me seven tastes or scents that define autumn for you.

Here is my list of seven things that define autumn for me:

1.) Pumpkins - nothing, and I mean nothing, reminds me of autumn more than pumpkins. Fat pumpkins, short pumpkins, skinny pumpkins, tall pumpkins ... orange ones, white ones, green ones, blue ones ... carved, uncarved, painted. I love pumpkins!

2.) Short days, long nights - I'm a night person, so I always relish the time change because the night seems to go on forever. Autumn is just the beginning of the long nights of winter.

3.) Crackling fire in the fireplace or a bon-fire in the backyard - Autumn is the perfect time of year to have bon-fires with friends. Smores, popcorn, hotdogs on a stick - these are just some of the foods I enjoy cooking over an open fire. This is also the time of year when colder nights call for fires burning in the fireplace.

4.) Pears, pears, and more pears - I always know autumn is here because my two pear trees are hanging full of ripe, juicy fruit. This is the time of year when I start canning pear butter, pear preserves, sliced pears and pear marmalade.

5.) Fallen leaves - I love walking through the fallen leaves on a cool autumn afternoon. I love seeing the leaves gathered along the road edges or blowing across sidewalks. Orange, red, yellow and brown - the trees give off a wonderful fireworks display of swirling color.

6.) Homemade Chili - yummy! This is one of my favorite cold weather foods. There is nothing better than the smell and taste of tomato juice, onions, beef and spaghetti (my family loves spaghetti in their chili, but don't like beans) that have simmered on the stove all afternoon. Add a dollop of your favorite cheese and a few oyster crackers and you have the perfect fall meal.

7.) Autumn rains - There is just something special about a nice gentle rain in autumn. The smell is crisp and clear, and it lets us know that winter is not far behind. It causes condensation on the house windows and the that warm snuggly feeling where you want to curl up with a good book and a fuzzy blanket.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Vampire

I am a vampire. Don’t believe me? By the end of this story you will. I am going to give you a vivid, blow-by-blow of how my life as a vampire has evolve over the centuries. How many centuries? I am around 1,200 years old, give or take a decade or two. After all those centuries, the long term memory is so far away.

How does a living creature of the night survive in the 21st century? For starters, vampires aren’t the only creatures of the night in the universe today. Were-animals abound and zombies have been known to roam around the graveyards. I like to think the vampires are the higher order species, not only to the undead and unnatural, but to the human species as well.

Over the centuries, man has proved one thing—violence in inevitable though all the realms of time. With the ever increasing violence in the world, wars dominate the higher order of thinking and the weak must suffer for the downfall of mankind through their use of wars.

Today I live on a large horse farm in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. The entire farm is just over 5,500 acres of rolling countryside and a vast wood for hunting. The manor house — Mystical Rose — is a historical monument to life before the Civil War. Situated at the heart of Shawnee Run Farm, this magnificent house is secluded as well as protected by the wonderful wood. The rolling pastures of Shawnee Run surround the perimeter of the wood; this makes the house like a bull’s-eye in the center of all that land.

Right now, I would really not like to discuss the circumstance behind me coming to live on Shawnee Run farm. I realize this is a story that I must share in the future, but right now I just don’t feel like getting bogged down in the past. What I really want to do is tell you about my exciting new career choice. A vampire just can’t go around killing all the people around her. I mean, I must have fresh blood to eat, but the idea of killing an innocent person always seemed to turn my stomach. So, my creator taught me the finer points of seeking out the dredges of society and alleviating my guilt on them. This advice has kept me alive all these years, and I like to feel that I am doing my part to keep my territory safe. To me it is a win-win situation.

I have just returned from my latest feeding. I’m sated and happy and ready to enjoy the night. The two young men who were fortunate to be my late night snack were in the prime of their lives—probably 29 or 30. There problem was they had no conscience when it comes to selling drugs to children. The most recent incident had involved meth and a 10 year old. The 10 year old boy is dead. Now his two killers are dead. A tit for a tat. Fortunate for me these two killers enjoyed ravishing my lithe body; I have no qualms about fucking my prey before I kill it. Fucking seems to make the blood more satisfying and the feed will last me much longer. Again, two birds with one stone. As one guy fucked me from behind, I went down on the second guy and gave him the best blow job of his life. Just as he was about to squirt his load, I moved my mouth from his penis to his inner thigh and bite down on his femoral artery. The warm rich blood flowed into my mouth as the man spasmed below me.

This only increased my appetite and I turned to the next guy and demanded to be on top. I rode him like stallion, one of my unbroken Thoroughbreds. Just as he reached the height of his climax, I leaned over and sunk eager fangs into his neck. Gosh, there is nothing like the blood of sex; the rush, the adrenaline.

“Don’t you look like the cat that swallowed the canary?” Michael walked into the sweltering crack house just as I was trying to clean myself and straighten my hair.

“I feel much better now, thank you. Right now, I’m ready to go to the movies, so if you will clean up here, I’ll run to the house and finish getting ready.” One of my sneakers had disappeared under a filthy looking chair in the corner; I had to get back down on my hands and knees to retrieve it.

“Blonde guy, left neck.” I pointed at the guy to my left. “Cowboy, right thigh,” I pointed to the guy on my right.

“Gosh, Rachel, do you always have to be so dominating?” Michael just hung his head as he walked over to guy number one. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a Glock.

“Geeze, Michael! can you wait until after I’m gone? You know I can’t stand any kind of gun power. Give me five minutes and I’ll be far enough away.” I walked over and kissed him on the lips and then I walked out the front door. Once I was on the cool grass, I started to run, shifting into a grey wolf as I leaped the fence and headed out of the neighborhood.

The crack house was about 20 miles from Mystic Rose. It will take me about 15 minutes to run home—vampirism magic. As I ran around the outskirts of town, my thoughts were flying in and out of my mind just like the wind blowing through my fur. Two more bad guys gone. At the rate I’m going, Harrodsburg will be a totally safe town soon. For some reason, bad guys have been mysteriously killed several days before the police were ready to bust them. Gunshot wounds in odd places on the bodies, causing extensive blood loss. The only funny thing about the way these bad guys died is the fact that there were not pools of blood around the bodies. Bullets enter the neck area or the femoral artery and each victim appeared to have just finished having sex.

Of course, the blood loss was due to me—a vampire has got to eat doesn’t she? The gunshot wounds are to cover up the two neat puncture wounds caused by my fangs. The police are at a loss, but they are happy to have the bad guys off the street.

© Bobbi Rightmyer

Sunday Scribblings #129

This week's Sunday Scribblings is invitation:

"Come on down - it'll be totally fun!"

Famous last words, but when you have social anxiety, it's hard to put yourself in that type of situation. What if I panic and have nowhere to run? What if the pressure tries to squash me like a bug under foot? What is the walls close in on me? What if there are so many people I won't be able to breath? What if? What if?

"I'm sorry, but I've made other plans to tonight. Maybe next time?"

I'm lying through my teeth, but only my immediate family can tell. Most people don't notice the sweat popping out on my forehead. Most people don't notice my breathing has become rapid. Most people don't notice my hands start to shake. Most people don't wonder about the hugeness of my eyes. Most people don't care; most people don't want to know. But my family knows and my family cares. They comfort me and try to say all the right things, when deep down inside they are really wondering what the fuck is wrong with me...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Change

This week's Totally Optional Prompt is blank verse. I'm not very good at this, but here goes:


Suddenly a crashing noise came from the door downstairs,
Leading them into a room,
Where boys and girls are changed.
I think it used to be a jail,
Or binding cage somehow,
Something cold like iron and steel,
Makes the change seem real.

© Bobbi Rightmyer

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Write On Wednesday

This weeks Write on Wednesday prompt starts as a quote:

”If there’s a book that you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
--Toni Morrison

How about you? Is there a book you’d love to read that hasn’t been written? What do you love reading about, and how could you write about it? What fascinates you that could become the subject for your next story, essay, poem, or blog post?

Write On Wednesday “Extra Credit” Prompt: Make a list of 10 things you’re interested in learning more about…choose one and write about it in a way that inspires a reader to want to know more about it as well.

I love reading about underprivileged women who end up making something of themselves. I like strong female leads who know their own mind and are not swayed by public opinion. This woman does not have to be pretty on the outside, but she must be beautiful on the inside.

I enjoy reading about faeries and elves and all types of magical creatures, but again, I want a strong female character. She must strive to protect the people she loves and fight for what is right.

Some strong female characters that I enjoy are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, Princess Meredith NicEssus, Temperance Brennan, and Dr. Kay Scarpetta, just to name a few. I've always been envious of the work by Joss Whedon - he is the master of writing the strong female character.

Extra Credit:
1.) The Wicca Religion
2.) Eastern Medicine
3.) Holistic Herbs
4.) Demons
5.) Angels
6.) Psychic abilities
7.) Ghosts or other paranormal entities
8.) Werewolf legends
9.) Old Time Bootleggers
10.) ESP - Extrasensory perception


People don’t believe me when I tell them I hear voices. Voices complaining about the past, voices telling me about the future, voices narrating my present; I am constantly bombarded with voices swirling around in my head.

I’ve always been sensitive to other people and my surroundings. When I was a little girl, I could tell when someone was going to speak to me before they even opened their mouth. I always knew the score to games we played and I knew the outcome of petty fights over prized possessions. During my high school years, I was always the top student, not because of my photogenic memory, but because I could pick the test questions right out of my teachers’ heads.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized my sensitivity to other people’s thoughts was only because of the ghosts drawn to the energy my body gave off. Ghost are all around us, but it takes a special person to be able to notice a ghost. Besides being sensitive to the supernatural, ghost are attracted to negative energy; fear or sadness being major conduits for the ghosts to cross over. Once a ghost has crossed over, it is drawn to my energy and begins to effect my surroundings.

Most of the time, these ghost just want their loved ones to know that they are fine. In the energy level were ghosts normally exist, there is no fear or worry, but sometimes new ghosts retain worry for loved ones and friends. For the ghosts to be able to enter their new realm, some feel the need to reassure loved ones.

But ghosts are not the only thing that alters my energy. Sometimes people close to me will have such strong emotions about something going on in their life, that their anxious energy reaches out to me like a slap in the face. Over the years, I have learned how to protect myself from unwanted attacks.

Wearing a hat will help lessen my ability to read people close to me. I will sometimes wear a baseball cap or a wide brim straw hat; I’ve even worn bandannas. Because it is sometimes not acceptable to wear a hat indoors, I always wear a piece of emerald on a chain around my neck. My emerald is wrapped in gold wire and twisted into a pendant; it used to belong to my sister, but when she died it became mine. I’ve not had it off in the five years since her death.

None of these precautions totally stop thoughts and images from entering my brain and it certainly doesn’t stop the ghost from whispering in my ear, but they do provide enough relief that I’m not a captive in my home. And contrary to popular belief, sometimes I like to know what is going on around me. Sometimes I like to hear my sister whispering in my ear.

Tonight I'm sitting in the local Cactus Joe’s Steakhouse, huddled in a back booth trying to warm my fingers as I waited on best friend, Linda, to join me for a late supper and some beer. We don’t get to hang out much any more, but we still try to connect at least once a week, and tonight was the night. I had already ordered a pitcher of beer and I was halfway through my second glass. There was a blazing fire in the large fireplace angled in the corner and even though I was feeling warmer, by fingertips still felt frozen

I twisted my emerald between the fingers of my left hand and I gazed around the large room at other diners. The booth across from mine held two couples, a couple on each side of the booth. Although each couple was trying to act relaxed, the nervous tension emanating from the table was ringing a gong in my head.

“God, I wish this night was over with! I can’t wait to get away from David and Susan.”

This thought was coming from the perky little red head on the left side of the booth. At first, I thought David was the other boy, but after hearing more of her mental conversation, I realized David was her date; Susan was the other girl. Apparently there was some hanky panky going on with the opposite couples.

“Damn, Jennifer looks hot tonight; why can’t Susan look that hot?”

These thoughts oozed out of David. They should be so ashamed of themselves! Susan was sparkling with love for her boyfriend and David felt the same about his girlfriend. Susan and David would one day know the truth, but tonight was obviously not the night.

I picked up my glass, drained it and then poured my third drink; if Linda didn’t hurry up, I’d be ordering a second pitcher. I started nibbling on some bread, trying not to let my mind wander through the room.

A woman with cancer was grieving the end of her life; she was trying to put on a brave face for her husband of 37 years, but her brain was in the dark place. Another woman was upset because her husband had lost his interest in sex. A young lawyer was worried about an upcoming trial and a physician was re-living a difficult surgery from this afternoon. All these thoughts came flying at me. I clutched my emerald tighter and the thoughts faded but did not disappear.

© Bobbi Rightmyer

Serenity Mountain

Good morning Serenity Mountain. I just had the best few hours of sleep, curled up in my favorite recliner at the Casey’s retirement home right smack dab in the middle of the Great Smokey Mountains! I love coming here on vacation—even if I’m never still when I’m here. Just being here sheds an entirely different light on my life. We are miles and miles from the parkway in Pigeon Forge, so everything appears to run in slow motion, like a nice gentle brook over the smooth rocks that form a small creek. I am surrounded by God’s wonderful nature and I feel peaceful and more relaxed.

Last night when we got here it was 9:30 and true dark had settled over the mountains. We were so happy to finally be at our destination. All I could think about was jumping in the Jacuzzi and relax. Several days before our trip, I strained a muscle in my left calf, so my leg was giving me fits and the muscles were all tensed up, sending little pinpricks of electricity down my leg. My left foot was numb and I was having trouble getting comfortable. When we pulled into Serenity Mountain, my body shouted halleluiah and bring on the warm bath and ibuprofen.

Hubby backs the truck up to the basement door and we crawled out of the cab to stretch and take our first look around. Alyce forgot to have the housekeeper turn on the light for us, but that was okay because we have become familiar with the place. Darling Daughter called dibs on the bathroom and she scamper up to the second floor bedroom where she will spend the next three days. Hubby and I started to unload the truck. We had just turned all the lights on downstairs and Hubby had turned on the “big blue bladder”— an extra water tank so we will have plenty of water for the trip—when I turned around and a baby squirrel ran into the house and straight into the first bedroom. The blue room is one of two bedrooms on the basement level of the house, along with the pool room and the remainder of the garage.

Hubby ran into the blue bedroom and clapped his hands; the noise startled the squirrel and he ran into the pool room and inside the fireplace. The squirrel had hit a dead-end and was trying to claw its way into the wall. I could just see it now, "Crazy Family Visit Cabin — Let Squirrel Tear Up House. Hubby clapped his hands again and the squirrel ran out and headed back to the blue bedroom. Clap-clap—the squirrel is headed for me at the door, but it becomes confused and runs into the corner formed by the open door and the wall. As Hubby closed in on the little critter, the squirrel high tailed it into the green bedroom. Clap-clap—the squirrel is herded into the pool room. Clap-clap—with much encouragement from me waving a pillow — I picked this up off the couch to protect myself with — in the right direction and Hubby right behind the squirrel clapping his hands, the squirrel finally ran out the opened door into the night.

We both started laughing. I had already worked up a sweat and we haven’t been here ten minutes yet. I sure hope this is not an indication of what’s to come for the rest of our trip. After snacks we were ready to relax. Hubby was trying to get the internet hooked up on my laptop so Dear Daughter can talk to her friends again. Dear Daughter was plopped down in her favorite chair reading a book and I was sitting in my favorite recliner applying a hot pack to my aching left calf muscle. To bed, to bed — tomorrow is another day.

The next morning, I woke up at 7, just like clock work. The sun was just rising because I can see daylight above the tree tops. As I’m stretching and taking in the wonderment of my natural surroundings, a squirrel jumps down on the deck railing and proceeds to make its way all the way around the deck railing. Wonder if he is a parent to the little guy we played hide-and-seek with last night? As luck would have it, by the time I grabbed the camera and got to the window to snap a great shot, the squirrel took the leap of death off the deck railing. This little bundle of fur had leaped from the railing to a tree branch just below the railing; he then scampered up the tree.

I hear other wildlife out in the woods, but I don’t see anything other than the wild turkey that are plentiful on this mountaintop. I’m hoping I’ll get to see some deer this trip. We always see the flock of wild turkey that crosses the driveway on there way into the woods, but I’ve not seen any deer—or maybe a bear. Yeah, seeing a bear would be great—just as long as he stays down on the ground and I’m up on the deck.

It’s almost 9 in the morning — I need to get started with my day. I slept very well last night. I’m feeling refreshed and energetic; I want more and more of these feelings. So, in order to capture more days like yesterday, I need to plan for it now. I need to be laying the foundation to hold the enormous undertaking that has befallen me. You are nothing if your foundation is not stable.

Hubby and I have been in our home for 15 years now. We haven’t done very much to improve our home, but that is about to change. I need to center the focus of my life for the next year to building a stronger foundation. Once I have my foundation firm and strong, then I can concentrate my efforts on building the type of life I want.

So far, I’ve not been a very good leader, but that is about to change. Starting today, I am going to approach my life from a different angle. Instead of doing things like I’ve always done them. I’m going to change the style and mix things up a bit. I need a clutch—helper—in my life. That will be my survival kit, my soul and the beginnings of the next generation. I want to teach my grandchildren all the skills I wish I had learned earlier. I wish I had more formalized teaching in my life at an earlier age—my life would have turned out so much different than it is now.

Martha Stewart — I want to be a Martha Stewart-in-training. I want to be able to cook and clean in addition to bringing home the bacon and working in the yard. I need to think of our yard like a farm. It needs to be divided into several different areas. I need an area to grow staples needed in making other things.

Get closer to God. Relearn your life over. Learn to do things simpler. Learn to do things like my grandparents did. Make a difference in my immediate families life and then, spread the feeling out to your co-workers and friends. This will ooze out into every aspect of your life.

Make my life more compacted. How small can I shrink my life until the main tasks of my life are stored within one little capsule of hope. One little treasure I keep the hoppe burning bright all stored into a beautiful costainer with extrodianry wrappings. That’s why I’m so razy about wrapping papper—I think it needs to be special and something that is worked for. I want the recipient to know that this gift is coming from me and it’s coming from my heart.

It doesn’t take material objects to make my life run smoother — all of today’s modern conveniencences are just that conveniences—there is nothing cheap or untruthful. I just need to be more organized so I will stay on task. Hopefully this will make my life run so much smoother.

I need to carve out traditions in the hardwood of my life. I need to make an impression. I want to be recognized and compensated for my time and effort, but I want it to be in a realistic way. No lies, jut the truth and the soul. My family really is were its all about.

I want the life in me to be so strong it reflects on the people in my life. Serenity Mountain helps me take stock of my life and realize that all I have ever needed is right outside my back door. I don’t need modern conveniences to make me happy or help me feel closer to God. God lives in nature, not a golden castle; Serenity Mountain helps me but my life back into prospective.
© Bobbi Rightmyer