Monthly Archives: May 2013

Creature of Habit

Trying something new is a very bitter-sweet thing for many people.  There are definite things I would try and others I just wouldn’t.  On the to do list: jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, white water rafting, sky diving.  Things on the “That ain’t ever gonna happen” list: hot air balloon, kayaking in the ocean, and bungee jumping.

Of course those are physical things, and I tend to be more adventurous about physical aspects rather than emotional aspects.  I am clearly and assuredly anti-therapy.  Not that I don’t believe therapy works, just that I don’t believe I have a problem.  🙂  However, I do believe in writing in journals, talking to pets, and hitting a punching bag are all great forms of therapy.  I am also stubbornly dead-set against the chiropractor.  That is my spine and after years of anatomy and physiology classes, along with EMT and Nursing programs, I’m against any manipulation of my spine.  However, I have no qualms with massage and acupuncture approaches.

And if you know me, as an author I am insanely stubborn about my approach to writing.  3rd person limited is my comfort zone and what I have always written in.  I do not sway from what I know. I am a creature of habit in regards to writing.  So why is this new book (that I’m still trying not to write) written in 1st person limited? And why in the world does the male character decide he needs to be written in 3rd person limited? Good grief.  I am so out of my element here.  Do they not know that writing in 1st person and switching to 3rd person is on my “Not To Do” list? Well, here is to leaving the comfort zone . . .

Tania L Ramos, Author Moving Outside of the Box

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And again, just because I love animals. Enjoy this cute talking dog who just wants a kitty.

I Couldn’t Do It

I wasn’t supposed to start writing until the end of summer.  I blogged it! I wrote it on my phone notes! I sticky posted it on my desk! I’m a LIAR!!!! I couldn’t do it.  I sat at the computer and said if the story with the character that is driving me mad doesn’t flow effortlessly, then she would have to wait until September.  Twenty-ones minutes (I timed it)and 1,098 words at the computer and this is what she had to say:

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ONE

 

Watching him watch me causes my heart to race and bound so loud I want to cup my ears.  But I have to stand strong; he can’t see me falter or sense one moment’s hesitation.  This is my choice, though the sweat beading warm at the back of my neck is starting to cause me doubt.  No.  I clench my eyes tight and face away from him.  I must remain stubborn and resolved to finish what I started.  There is no life for me here, and deep down I’m certain he understands that.  I hope he understands that.

“You’ve hardly packed a thing,” he says, the slight sigh barely audible as he pushes a finger at the navy blue and white striped duffle bag strapped across my shoulder.  I don’t want to look at him for fear that I’ll expose the yellow cowardness of my soul and show the weakness that’s striking my knees.  He hasn’t asked me not to leave yet—not in so many words, but it’s there, in the dimness of his hazel eyes.  Because of that, I look away and say it’s better to pack light.  Only the necessities, I tell him.  There’s that pained sigh again, and it strikes me like a cow prod deep between my eyes as he replies, “I’ll miss you, you know?”

“I know.” It’s all I can muster between black dragging heart beats, and I know the words strike him like a blunt blow to the head.  The words I love you haven’t escaped my lips in days, but not because I don’t—because I do.  I love Tom with all my eighteen year old heart could possibly love another person.  His name is on my lips when my eyes first open, and sometimes even before they do.  It is him who occupies my deepest thoughts and sends my mind racing in swirls, causing many nights of insomnia.  And for all those reasons, the words—the pretty words—can no longer be spoken lest his heart be trampled a little more each time they are said.  Mine is darkened at the mere thought.

A tear is lost as I brush it behind my ear, out of his line of vision.  The spongy sound of the mattress tells me he’s sat on the edge of the bed.  I’m surprised he has stayed as long as he has, but Tom made a promise, and he is a man of his word no matter how much it eats at him.  Good souls like him are lost on the world, at least that’s what Mendy, my dad’s pretty awesome girlfriend, says.  I know she’s right, and I can’t help but replay the words, “nice guys finish . . .”  No.  I shake my head of the thought.  Tom doesn’t deserve to be some worn out, old cliché.  He sure doesn’t deserve the likes of me; some despondent, stubborn, misguided, loser of a girlfriend.  Hell, the world deserves better, but my heart aches for Tom.

“Do you know where you’re going?” he asks for the millionth time.  Through the reflection of the glass on a picture frame, it is easy to see him looking down, palm brushing heavy on the sandy blond hair I loved to mess up.  He never complained.  Not once.

“Yes,” I answer as vague as possible—for the millionth time.  I have no idea where I’m going.

He catches a glimpse of me in the reflection of the frame and I quickly turn away.  “You still won’t tell me?”

I suck down so much air it feels my lungs are going to explode.  It makes no sense that he would put himself through this over and over knowing the response would be the same.  Crazy.  I close my eyes and channel the fading courage to shake my head.  It makes no difference, I say through defiant exasperation.

The warmth of his breath lingers at my neck now.  It’s not fair.  All I want to do is fall in his arms and runaway to the place his pretty words can always take me.  He alone knows me and how to bring me out to be the person I truly am; how to take me beyond this world with nothing more than the expressions of beauty which slips passed his thin pale lips so easily.  Once he learned of my special attribute—hearing in color—he embraced it as a form of uniqueness and ran with the appealing words, forming linguistic prisms of color from his lips to my eyes every chance he had.  It was nothing short of magic, only shared before with my mother before she passed away.

“I love you, Raven.” He cheated.  The words floated on the air like a symphony of yellow ribbons increasing in radiance until the last word disappeared behind my eyes.  yellowI want to melt into his touch and hit him all at once, but he said the words again and so, I close my eyes to not see them in all their eloquence of flight.

“Stop saying them!” I shout.

“But I mean them,” he says, his breath tickling the soft spot behind my ear.  “I want to tell you all the pretty words every day.  I want to take you away to the places you get lost in when we talk.” He pauses, and I know there’s more.  “Stay with me, Raven.”

There were rules to my leaving, and in his panic, Tom is breaking them.  I pull away.  Not because I want to, because I have to.  This isn’t about Tom, it never has been.

My father doesn’t understand it—this lovely, miserable element that is me.  In the ugly world of fame and power built up like a sable fortress around his life, I am a challenge.  My gift of hearing words in color is a burden, once dismissed to friends as a possible brain tumor, is a disgrace; no more than an adolescent plea for attention from a daughter resembling nothing of what a prominent lawyer’s daughter should be.  I’ll never be free under his vice.  Worse yet, I’ll never see the pretty words in his world.

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Looks like I’m writing again!

By the way, the reason I had such a hard time with thinking of writing this, is that I’ll be adding in graphics so readers can see what Raven sees.  Example: she sees the words I Love you floating from his lips to her eyes like a radiant yellow ribbon.  (for this purpose I just copied something off the net for effect).  I’ll add in a graphic of what this might look like, hence, I’ll need a graphic artist and know that this will never be an e-book and with full color will be a pricey physical book.  Oye vay! Somebody stop me now.

Tania L Ramos, Author Who Hears in Color (Synesthesia)

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The Killing Pen

Welcome to the kill pen! My beautiful golden tortoise shell cat, Chino, is a total killer.  Not only is she a killer, she is a sociopath, as she has no remorse.  The sparrow population has decreased in the high desert of California as one cat has single handedly taken out well over thirty birds this season, add a few grasshopper, a dozen spiders, and some mutant moths and what do you get? A smiling cat!

Yes, my cat brings her fresh kill into my room each morning, jumps on my bed, purs the happiest pur of delight and satisfaction, and smiles.  It’s hard to be mad at her.  She is bringing me gifts, though one book would suggest she is leaving me warnings of her killing capabilities. I’m still on the fence about which is true, so to play it safe I do not yell and instead pat her soft little head and scratch under her chin while saying things like, “remember who buys you your food.  Who loves you? Who loves you? Mommy loves you!” And inside her little kitty head she is probably laughing and replying, “yeah, you love me now that you know my sociopathic capabilities! Who loves me now? Who loves me now? Mommy loves me now!”

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I love my pets! My animals have been a point of therapy of for me. I talk to them, and in my very creative head, I imagine the things they say back.  Each pet has its own personality, its own voice, and its own characteristic.  Heck, I’ve given them all back stories as most of them are rescues.  Sometimes my kids stand at the door and shake their heads, but I shrug.  Talking to pets is the best and cheapest therapy ever. I mean, when was the last time your therapist licked your face and allowed you to pet his belly after a good session? Tell me who doesn’t feel like king of the world after petting a cat’s belly? If anything, you should at least feel accomplished that such a stubborn animal would give you the time of day.

More than just therapy, I watch the pets in the same way I people watch. As I said before: they have personalities and stories, so they are also inspiration.  Some days when I’m just jotting down future ideas for books, I can turn to the animals and embed them with these new characters.  Sometimes, and this happens a lot, I pet watch and describe their movements, stare, and attention to describe a character.  Though most ideas are straight from my head, on occasion it is helpful to actually see something and be able to describe that from sight.  So when I say, “he hung back, malingering with a sharp and piercing, watchful eye as she sniffed the flowers.  All the tiny tremors in his body gathering momentum until he wiggled at the thought of pouncing, but it wasn’t time just yet.  He held back and settled just enough to regain strict focus on the object of his attention.  And when she was completely unsuspecting, he took a hesitant step forward and then lunged from a striking position, his hands wrapped tight around her waist as his lips took sweet victory on the soft warmth at the crook of her neck.  He was victorious, as she squealed and leaped, allowing him to pull her closer into his embrace.”

That little snip it was written into a short story, and each and every movement was taken from my black tortoise shell cat who was hiding in the flowers, quietly stalking the neighbors dog.  So if you are ever at a loss at how to describe something, take a cue from the world around you.  There is creative writing, but there is also writing creatively and inspiration is everywhere.

Speaking of cats, and I am a true cat lover, this is one of my favorite cat videos.  Enjoy your weekend.

 

Tania L Ramos, Author Living in the Kill Pen

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Writing on Prozac

Well kids, I have avoided using a computer for seven whole days. Part of my computer purity and detox program. Apparently, there is life away from writing … though I miss writing.

So as I drove to work and nearly slammed into a huge truck with a Prozac ad brandished on the back, I came up with a little Prozac pitch for writers:
Writing on Prozac; no characters died … but a clown cried.

Maybe it’s a poem?
Oh, I do miss writing.

Tania L Ramos, Author Unmedicated 🙂
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Happy Nurses Week: That’s Me

This week is nurses week in the good ol’ U.S. of A. What does that mean for me as a nurse? Not much.  What? I’m not talking books or writing today? Not today, because my career as a nurse is what pays for my career as an author . . . or should I say, the writing career that sucks all the money from my nursing career. yeah, I need a real job to support the everlasting dream.  Why? Because I’m a single mom, running an entire household, putting food on the table, and handling business on my own. Is there a single mom’s week? And if there was what would you get a single mom? A cook and maid would be nice.

Back to nurses week! What is happening during this fine nurses week at my job? Not much. I worked yesterday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.  Count those hours and it amounts to SIXTEEN hours at work, and what did I get for it? Zip. Zilch. Nada. No, “Happy nurses week,” or “We appreciate your time.” Nope. Of course I did get double time, but after taxes I’ll owe more than I actually get.  Hearing the words, “Happy nurses week” would’ve been nice.  Of course, all my nursing friends have blasted this all over Facebook and Twitter, but we are in the trenches with other, so it should sound more like, “Hey buddy, we survived another year!”

Now here is what truly irks me about the nursing stereotype.  One, I really don’t mind if a guy thinks of a nurse as some sexy woman with wild hair pulled back under a small nursing cap, wearing a short and tight white scrub dress and white fish net stockings.  Why don’t I mind? Because I’d rather be thought of as hot and sexy rather than, “Please tell me that is chocolate on your gloves.” If you could see me at two a.m., you wouldn’t elect to have your appendix removed and then have me as your nurse. *shivers at the thought* It’s not a hot look, unless dark circles under the eyes, hair pulled up into a sloppy bun held together by a syringe, and dried tear stains (from when I silently cried in the corner at a one a.m. moment of delirium) is sexy to you. It’s not to me.

What do nurses do? I tell you this so you can get a better understanding at the fact that we don’t sit around the counter, passing around food, and gossiping all day.  Trust me, if you ever see that happening then the apocalypse has surely begun! And yes, it does occur, but mostly we are comparing notes and trying to maintain our sanity by venting to other staff. What do nurses do? We are the consummate multitaskers, and given the opportunity would love to take the time to get to know our patients better.  But we can’t, and that’s not your fault.

Healthcare is a broken system, and not just because of the insured or the uninsured, but because it is not run by doctors and nurses, it is run by CPAs and bureaucrats. Not your fault, but not mine either. So if I can’t spend more than five minutes getting to really know a patient, it’s because we now wear many hats. CNA’s, LVNs, aides, techs . . . they are all being slowly phased out.  Now a nurse has to take vital signs for all patients, cleans beds, dole out the gambit of meds, hunt down your doctor to clarify his orders, then reclarify the orders with pharmacy only to discover the new medication is not in our system.  Track down doctor–who is now livid–reclarify order, recall pharmacy and wait! It is a vicious cycle.  Now add that a patient needs to be prepped for surgery which can take a good two hours if all the labs and ancillary workups aren’t done. Heaven forbid another patient needs a blood transfusion which now requires the nurse to sit at the bedside for half an hour to ensure there is no allergic reaction.  Don’t get me started on the one hour process to admit and the two hour process to discharge.  It’s all about the paperwork and the need to cover your ass (CYA), or more-so, to cover the facility’s behind and in the meantime the family of our patients are yelling at our blatant neglect of their loved one. Arghh!

We do this twelve hours a day, and in some instance like mine, twelve can easily turn into sixteen (once it was twenty) hour shifts. And at two a.m. there is still a family member screaming over the phone at how they are going to call the CEO and file a report.  “I understand,” is all I can say at that point, and still, I sit patiently by the patients bedside and ensure he/she is not in pain, spoon feeding ice chips, putting dentures back in their mouth, and changing a soiled diaper, all the while ensuring the patient who is apologizing for being so helpless that this is my job, and that he/she is my main concern.  Meanwhile, I am being reported by family to a department manager for being uninformative, or something equally as assanine.

Let me explain this: It isn’t that I don’t want to field a million questions, it’s that for every minute I spend defending myself and my actions to a distraught family member, is minutes I am taken from my patient.  So, yes, sometimes I’ll opt for being reported.  I am an advocate for your family and sometimes for you if you are a patient.  My loyalties lay with you.  This is my job.  It is my oath. Even when you scream and yell at me, I ensure you receive perfect care.  Even when you are rude and condescending toward my abilities in my chosen profession, I ensure your safety.  Even when you poop your pants, I console you and say I am doing my job and not to worry, I’m not judging you.  Even when you degrade me for forgetting something off my ever growing list, I apologize and sincerely mean it.  Why? Because I’m a nurse. I’m about as tough as nails as it could ever get . . . and still, I care.

HAPPY NURSES WEEK

nurses

Tania L Ramos, Author and Recovery Room Nurse

When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong: I Was Right

A few posts ago I declared that I would take a hiatus from writing due to life and the way it interferes with my love of writing.  To put it in perspective, when I love to do something I want to do it all the time and I want to do it well.  Between working, raising children, running the WritingApocalypse.com website, book shows (it’s that season again) and all the other surprise things that life doles out, it became difficult to find time to write.  And because I was staying up until all hours of the night trying to sneak in a few chapters only to wake up three hours later for a full twelve hour shift of nursing at the hospital, it felt like I was starting to despise my true passion.  And because of that, I knew it was time to take a break.

Let me say this: So many of you wonderful bloggers and authors immediately sent me well wishes and gave me the thumbs up to take a break.  I thank you all for that. It felt like a huge relief to know I am not the only author who needs to get off the boat and take a side excursion for awhile.  You all eased my guilt trip a bit, though I still feel like I’m missing something when I’m not writing . . . so I know i’ll be back.

Since my short break I have so far: worked in my yard and planted numerous flowers and fruit plants. Made the call to fix the pool. Updated the WritingApocalypse.com website. Wrote out my reviews.  Caught up on emails. Started to get the desk organized. Finished reading a book. And just sat down to hold random, useless conversations with my friends.

Alas, taking a hiatus has been good for my soul and sanity.  Still, those grungy teens full of hope and life have sat patiently and silently by.  I know they are there awaiting their story to be told.  I hope they hang around a bit. The more rest I get, the more I feel a welling of courage to write that next book. I was right in taking some time off. Then again, I’m usually right  🙂

Tania L Ramos, Author Taking A Siesta

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Lost In Infinity: Review & Book of the Month

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Book: Lost in Infinity
Author: Travis Besecker
@finallyhesleeps

Lost in Infinity Travis Besecker

Lost in Infinity
Travis Besecker

Review generated through WritingApocalypse.com.  We give honest reviews whether positive or negative.

Déjà vu? It’s the feeling that something has already happened before.  Did I read that before? Lost in Infinity had me asking this question on more than one occasion.  Following the story of a troubled youth suffering insomnia and a fear of infinity seemed like plot enough, but the fact that my brain was toyed with and strung along through this story only thrust me in further.

What is infinity? Imagine floating through space, gazing into the wide span of darkness and tiny specs of light that create an abyss without beginning or end.  The mere thought causes a powerful reaction: racing heart, surge of electricity pulsating through veins, exasperated gulps of air.  It’s apeiraphobia, a fear of infinity, combine that with insomnia, a strange inner voice and The Shadow Man and a child can go stark raving mad.  Did this child go mad?

The story runs haphazardly between recollections, rantings, and current events causing the reader to shake his head and try to make sense out of it all.  Does this work? Stick with the story, stick with the facts no matter how often they are repeated, stick with the character despite the constant feeling of déjà vu to find the plot is not at all what was expected.

Lost in Infinity creates the ground work for one story but leads into the path of another.  It seems repetitive and redundant at points, but stay with the story to discover why these feelings of déjà vu are so important.  Definitely not a book for everyone, but for those who enjoy a good insanity based book and don’t mind a sadistic twist in plot, this is a must read.  Its Shutter Island meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the author makes it work, leaving the reader to grasp at straws wanting to know if the cycle ever ends.  What cycle? Read the book!

We are pleased to feature this quality book on WritingApocalypse.com.  We are also pleased to announce that out of the four books we read last month, this one is our new May Book of the Month.

The Staff at Writing Apocalypse

{review was a content paid review.  Content reviews are given to the author solely. Book reviews are posted for public viewing}