Curse of the Skin Witch

First thing I’ve written in awhile and it’s only 300 words but as always fun to see yourself posted elsewhere. Enjoy my free little Halloween read and other stories will be posted by different authors each friday of October. Cheers!

Curse of the Skin Witch

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Twas the Night Before NaNoWriMo

Twas the Night Before NaNoWriMo (by Tammy Crosby)

Twas the night before Nanowrimo and all through the land
the writers were scrambling to plot and to plan

Armed with paper and pen, and laptop and journal
They prepared to become aloof and nocturnal

Spouses and kids, and even the pets
all kept their heads low not daring to fret

for do not disturb the pantzer nor poet
lest ye be screamed at for certain ye know it

Shush now, be quiet, that sound, do you hear?
Tis the tick of the clock as midnight draws near!

The writers at the ready all set to begin,
For now is the the time, GO WRITE WIN!

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What Depression Feels Like

Describing depression is a difficult challenge. Sometimes it is a temporary affliction, perhaps caused by trauma, anxiety or tragedy. For some it’s a lifelong affliction. Some describe it as walking through sand, and for those who suffer from it, this analogy is spot on. Yet people still can’t seem to get their head around it. So I’m trying it my way. Here is how I personally describe depression;

Imagine that every day you wake up to a five acre field of long grass. Next to the grass is an old push mower. And every day it’s your job to get up, grab hold of that mower, and cut the grass. Why do you HAVE to cut it? Because it’s the job that was given to you. You didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it, but it’s yours, and so you just have to do it.

Now on a good day the sun is soft and warm, the breeze is cool and refreshing, and the field is flat. And you cut the grass. It’s tiresome and takes a fair amount of effort, but it’s a good day. And you get it all done. And you fall into bed feeling tired but good.

On a worse day, it’s raining, and the grass is wet. The ground is sucking at your feet, and the field is hilly. You somehow manage to get it all done. You fall utterly spent and exhausted into bed.

On the really bad days, the worst days, the sky is black; the field has become an evil wonderland. The grass ducks under the blades and away from you, you chase it but can’t catch it, it’s so tall, so very tall. And the wind is screaming at you, making every step forward a challenge. And the whispers…they are the worst part of all. They tell you the most horrible things. Things you would barely consider on a good day suddenly seem so believable on this utterly dark day. Everything is against you, still you fight on. You must. It’s your job. And on this, this hardest day of all, you somehow manage to get it done. And you fall into bed, for days, because that’s how long it takes you to recover, to gain enough strength so that you can resume your cutting.

Now, imagine that you have a healthy person who doesn’t normally suffer depression, and they wake up and walk into a day filled with grief, tragedy, pain. And they think, I can’t cope with this. It’s too much. No one can deal with so much all at once. I’m so alone, no one has felt this kind of pain, my pain. No one can know what it feels like to be ME on this day, suffering this most awful kind of emotional pain.

And now imagine what that same day would feel like to someone who’s already cutting the grass, through a storm, on an evil wonderland kind of day. Imagine how we’d all expect them to cope with so much. And of course they can’t. They simply lay the mower down and say, enough. And we cannot judge them for that.

Drugs and therapy help to give you strength to push the mower, and maybe they sometimes give you more sunny days than rainy ones, and maybe sometimes they can mute the screaming of the darkness, but they are not perfect. It’s not an exact science and they can only do so much.

No matter what you take or do the field will still always be there in need of cutting.

So the next time someone tells you they suffer from depression I’d ask you to see the field before them. Understand how hard the work can be.

Lastly, people who suffer from depression are the exact opposite of weak. They are warriors.

Rest in peace Robin Williams, you laid your mower down like a champ, and left us a legacy. I will miss you.

 Tammy Tip of the Week for helping yourself or others with depression: Get them outside for a walk if you can, it’s the best thing. It gets the blood pumping, makes you breathe deeply; it’s a mental distraction and a physical release of tension.

If they won’t leave their house, the couch, or the bed…bring them a great book, or call and talk to them about random funny things, bring them a comedy movie to watch. Laughter helps. Distractions of any kind are good as it helps to put people into a different state of being. Crochet, craft, paint, play an instrument. All good!

I would love to hear what helps you through your hard days, please post your own tip/trick!

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Under The Attic (Co-Written by George Crosby)

To kill some time on a recent journey I asked my son to write a story with me, the ideas are his, though as we submitted it for a short story challenge it had to be under 1000 words, so I had to condense his three epic dragon battles into one dragon with three heads. 😉 Enjoy!

Under The Attic
One could only just make out the top of George’s sandy brown hair as he rummaged around inside his grandfather’s old tickle trunk. Odd name for a beat up box if you asked George but he put that thought aside and ran his little fingers along the floor and the walls of it.

“There just has to be something hidden in here,” he muttered to himself. The contents of the box lay strewn about the attic in various piles of disarray.

“You’re going to get us in trouble for making such a mess you know.” said his friend Kyle. He paused from his examination of a rather intricate spider web to stare at the large mess with an expression of pending doom.

“I’ve found something!” shouted George, and Kyle ran over to see him pulling something out of the box liner. It was a tiny tube of some sort. “It’s a scroll!” said George excitedly. He pulled it apart and spread it open for them to read.

“Fair warning to those who read this rhyme, if ye say the verse twice ye will be transported through time.”

The boys looked at each other, grinned, and said, “Take me where I need to go, take me to the world below! Take me where I need to go, take me to the world below!”

A large jolt of energy shot through them and they opened their eyes to find themselves standing in a misty forest. They looked at each other and giggled.

“Hey you’re dressed like a knight!” said George.

“So are you!” said Kyle.

A sudden blast of hot steamy mist rose up and enveloped them. When it cleared they stood motionless and speechless for before them was a nostril of a very large red and gold dragon.

“That wasn’t just steam! Gross!” said Kyle wiping at the filmy snot coating on his tunic.

“Look!” said George pointing farther up. Very large slitted yellow eyes stared back at them. All six of them.

“What have you come for?” asked the Dragon balefully as it raised its other two heads, “Wait, don’t tell me. You want our elements. It’s always the same these days. Well it just so happens we have a cold. Just take these tokens we offer and leave us to rot in peace.”

The left head spat at them and something rolled near their feet. It was a tiny glowing ember. Kyle picked it up in wonder in his thickly gloved hand. The center head spat at them and George was rather proud he managed not to flinch this time. A glowing little rain drop came to land on his open palm. It just floated there and he poked it with a finger. It flexed but didn’t pop. The third head sneezed. The boys ducked behind their shields only to realize it was snow, not snot that was raining down around them.

George laid his shield down on the ground and used it like a bowl; He put the rain drop inside. Kyle added his ember and a large crystalline snowflake fell down and landed in there too. They all merged together and swirled with such force that it was like a mini electrical storm, faster and faster they spun and sparked until finally George yelled out “It’s gonna blow!” and they ran behind a fallen log for cover.

All was quiet. No explosion. Curious, they peeked out. The shield now only held a small. They walked over and picked it up. Nothing very fancy about it, it looked like any other boring old stone they’d seen.

“What are we supposed to do with this?” George asked the dragons. The left one sneezed dousing them with little sparks of flame and ash. George patted down the parts of him that were smoking.

The heads rolled their eyes, “You make a wish dummy. It grants two per month. Newbies are so wearisome.” It let all it heads lay back on the ground to rest. The middle head sneezed. It forced the boys to duck behind their shields as cold rain pelted at them. Only it wasn’t really rain, was it?

“GROSS!” shouted Kyle in disgust. “Well, I for one wish this dragon would stop snotting on us!” The boys looked at each other. A strong warm breeze blew into the forest just then and the three dragon heads took in a long deep breath of it before sighing it back out in a very long, very snot free, gush of air.

“The boy cured us!” they licked happily at Kyle with their ugly forked tongues.

“Oh for the love of…stop that!” he shouted indignantly back at them.

George rolled on the ground with laughter. “Oh man, this is the best day ever!”

Eventually the snow dragon lowered his head and said to the boys, “Since you were so kind to us, we’d suggest you wish yourself home again, lest you be stuck here for a month.” It gave George a wink and licked Kyle from toe to head.

Kyle sputtered from between tongues, “Jeez George hurry up and make a wish! Sooner the better! Ugh!”

As much as George would like to stay he knew it really was best that they get home. He wasn’t old enough to use the stove and his tummy was telling him it was lunch time. They held the rock and once again felt the rush and pop of energy flow through them and when they next opened their eyes they found themselves safely back in the attic.

Kyle sniffed himself and looked at George. “I need a bath. I smell like Dragon. Your mom is never going to believe this.”

George giggled and slipped the rock into his pocket. “Are you kidding? Knowing my mom she’ll write it into one of her stories and make us famous or something.” The boys ran for the stairs with George shouting, “MOM! Guess what!”

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The Day I Became Invisible – My Life As A Blonde

So I’ve gotten to a point where even though I’m ‘only’ 42 years old my hair is more white and grey than brown. I did something drastic. I bleached my hair and went full blonde. It’s shocking and a bit horrifying but it’s growing on me. I’ve had many hairstyles, many colours, many lengths of cuts, but this is my first time for a really drastic change. My hope in doing this is to grow out my white and cut back the blonde over time.

Since turning blonde, I’ve become invisible. Okay so there’s lots of me to see, BUT, people seemed to stop seeing ‘me’. I had no idea blondes get such a lack of common courtesy. The service I get from women in pretty much any capacity is horrid. Normally people look at me, I smile, I get good service. I have a happy friendly face. Now they simply gaze over the top of my head and almost NEVER make eye contact with me at all let alone give me good service or pretend they even SEE me! Um, I have seen my hair, it’s pretty hard to miss. I have to put myself right in front of them and force them to acknowledge me. It’s weird when you spend your whole life being treated a certain way, and then suddenly, boom! Not the same anymore. I can’t get my head around it.

Equally odd is that people who used to commonly stop and chat with me or at least give me a hello and a friendly smile while I’m out and about….no longer do. In fact, some people have stopped talking to me altogether. Actually that’s not true, let me clarify, it’s not people, it’s WOMEN. Ironically men don’t seem to care about hair colour one way or another. Though perhaps a couple of men have looked a bit uncomfortable talking to me out in public, like they don’t want their wife seeing them ‘talking with a hot blonde’. Tip for you, I’m not hot and she’ll most likely think I’m ‘just a bimbo’ anyways. Seems to be the way of it.

So why? What is it? Is it jealously? What? I’d attest it’s unconscious. I really don’t think these women have even noticed that they are treating me differently. It’s just how it is now. Like an odd transition. I never expected that in this day and age a simple change of hair colour change would to turn into a social experiment.

Part of me immediately wanted to go back to being a brunette. Back to the way I was used to being treated. Back to feeling…me. But then the other part of me wanted to shove it to the world and go blonder. What to do….hmm….well it’s me, so basically screw it. I’m keeping it. I’m sticking to my original plan.

To those who can’t handle me this way, it’s been real. Those who think they can give me crappy service because of my hair colour, be prepared. My new mission in life is fair and equal treatment for all people of all hair colours.

No, not really. I have better things to do, and so do you I’m sure. Thanks for listening to my rant and chime in with your own two cents on this issue. Especially if you’ve also experienced something similar, share your story. 🙂


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Tammyism: Why Friday Is The Perfect Sick Day

For the purpose of this story the word IT = kid/s.

You wake up feeling like crap on Sunday. You somehow manage to get through Monday. You think, “I made it through Monday. I will OWN Tuesday.”  You suffer sickly through Tuesday. Now you’re tired as hell and here comes Wednesday.

WOOT!!! Halfway there! You can do this! The end is near! That’s what you tell yourself. Meanwhile by the end of Wednesday you leave work and crawl into your car. You have no memory of how you get home. You order a pizza and try in vain to doze off on the couch while IT jumps all over you while talking REALLY LOUDLY.

Thursday arrives. Now you’re in panic mode. Do I call in sick? Do I go and leave early? I’LL NEVER MAKE IT! Of course if you go in and leave early there’s no longer any point. It just means you’ll spend the three hour gap awake at home on the couch stressing that you’ll fall asleep and forget to pick IT up from school. Not exactly restful. So, in a daze, with one eye open and half a brain …you go to work and suffer through Thursday.

Thursday night.

You feel like you’re a marathoner in some kind of,  “I’m sick and I survived!” race only the race is far from over and it seems to get strangely longer in distance the more you try to compete. Worse yet, you now realise that even if you somehow manage to fool people into thinking you’re not sleeping while ‘working’ on Friday that there will be nothing stopping the Saturday from arriving. You shudder. You KNOW what that means. It means IT will be home. It means IT will be up and prying your crusty little red eyes open at the ass crack of dawn saying “GET UP IT’S SATURDAY I WANT TO PLAY PLAY PLAY!!!!”

You shudder again. You can’t do it. You know that if you don’t get some rest before Saturday 5:30am gets here there will be nothing holding you back from bawling like a baby and screaming at IT, “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY GO BACK TO BED RIGHT NOW! GIVE ME TEN MORE MINUTES AND I’LL GIVE YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT! ANYTHING!”

IT’s not stupid. IT happily says, “okay” and leaves.

2.5 seconds later from a range close enough to feel ITS breath on your ear…


And THIS is why Friday is the perfect sick day. 🙂

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Blog Tour: Witch Hunt – Of The Blood

WHotbSmallWEBThis week I’m hosting the co-authors of Witch Hunt – Of The Blood. This is a collection of tales centered around a particular family of witches throughout their collective history. It is spin-off from Devin O’Branagan’s novel entitled Witch Hunt, however; I am happy to note that the collection does also stand well on its own.

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!

The stories by these five very different authors surprisingly managed to form a cohesive unit. Each different from the other, but not jarring in the least. Nearly all had me laughing or crying or both at times.

Ladies, I thank you for stopping by my blog today! I’m letting you all off with merely two simple questions:

1. Which witch, in TV or history, do you think most accurately represents your personality?2. If you died and came back as a companion cat what color and why?

Suzanne Campbell Hayes:

1. Without any doubt: Endora! Played by Agnes Moorehead. She was Samantha’s mother on Bewitched. Sassy, devious, powerful, and she liked to tweak that dweeb, Darren. Besides she was stylin! Don’t you think?

2. Calico—solids are boring, stripes not slimming enough. Bold orange, black and white splotches are the thing that says. “Camouflage is for sissies.” 

K.L. Schewngel:

1. That first question is a toughie. I’d have to go with Gillian Owens from Practical Magic because she was a bit of a fiery gal, yet strong. (Although, I hate to say it, I almost picked the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz only because she had those totally awesome flying monkeys. I *loved* those monkeys.)

2. I would come back as a Russian Blue. I love their silvery-grey color, like mist, or the fog between worlds.

Krista Walsh:

1. I’d say Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Good, dedicated, but with the potential to lose myself to the dark side.

2. Fantastic question, Tammy! Totally cliché, but black. Easy to overlook and therefore sneaky, with an innate elegance. I also say that, because my own familiar would be very upset with me if I said any other colour. 

Keri Lake:

1. Hmmmm. This is a tough one for me. I actually hadn’t read or written much about witches prior to this anthology. But I liked the movie Witches of Eastwick and I think I’d probably be most aligned with Cher’s character. Haha!

2. I’d like to come back as a black cat – no one messes with a black cat. 

Devin O’Branagan:

1. Piper Halliwell of Charmed fame. She had chutzpa, boundless courage, and she didn’t take guff from anyone. I liked her style. 

2. An orange tabby with amber eyes in honor of Isis, the sweetest cat I ever had.

My responses?   I’m most fond of  Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter. She always had bold hair, bold temper, and an affinity for trouble. Nothing like me at all… eh hem. As for cat color, hmm well I’ve often thought that being a Tuxedo cat would be lovely, much like my Chester cat was, but I’m far too clutzy to carry off such a regal casting…so I’d settle for white. White cats look so soft and cuddly,  until you try to pet them. 😉

Thank-you to all who’ve taken the time to stop by today, I am most grateful.

I will note that two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013. I highly recommend you check each of the authors out via the links I’ve attached to each of their names. You won’t be disappointed you did. I’d also like to note that Sue Campbell did the amazing cover art for Witch Hunt – Of the Blood. 🙂

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Oh Go On

Okay so this week brought up an interesting dilemma that I haven’t come across before and made me wonder how you all cope with it. The dilemma? Attention.

In as much as I tweet, blog, write and post stories I’ve written, all of that has been online. I hadn’t realised how much I valued this lack of ‘personal’ interaction until I had a telephone interview with a local reporter recently. Turns out I’m much more articulate in print than in person. Typing something means I have plenty of time to edit my thoughts, but talking . . . not so much. 😉

For example, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting local author Kelley Armstrong several times now and have yet to manage to say anything remotely articulate to her. Thankfully she is far too kind and generous to ever point that out to me.

As writers the more we are published the more attention our work receives. This is the goal, yes? However at the same time this can put us into a situation we might find ourselves unprepared for. I’ve spent all my spare time learning to write and writing that I never gave any thought as to how I’d respond to being put on the spot in regards to my work. Turns out it was a real eye-opener for me! I can talk about other people’s work until the cows come home, but talk about my own work? Pfft!

So help a newbie out folks, what types of things do you do to prepare/help you get through things like live interviews, panels, etc? Have you taken any courses etc?

If you find yourself bored you can click this link to hear me babbling in person at a podcast on Following The Nerd Radio;  (interview at 00:45 min – 00:62 min)

My latest news: My puppy Max made his ‘writing’ debut at Tails Pet Magazine. 🙂

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Story Flirt? Who, me?

Long time no blog but it’s no big deal, it just turns out my life is epically boring. *snort* 

One interesting thing did happen recently; I attended yet another Brian Henry writing workshop. I always come away with something and it’s a great way to network and meet other writers. Of course it didn’t hurt that my friends Dianne and Tricia were with me, or that my idol Kelley Armstrong was in attendance. 😉 

Why is Kelley my idol? She was developing strong female supernatural characters long before they were the ‘in’ thing. Her writing is exciting, deep, well paced and her plots and characters are rich in layers. Stumbling across her books was a life changing gig for me. I was already writing, but I thought to myself that if this local rural girl could accomplish so many amazing things then maybe I could learn too. I joined her online writing forum and I’ve never felt more at home now that I’ve found people with the same interest and passion. It’s very inspiring to be surrounded by talented writers. They have all, in their own way, driven me to continue in my attempts. That being said, while I’ve had small things published here and there, I’ve been working on the same MS for over 4yrs now and I just can’t seem to get through it. I keep getting distracted by other things I want to write. 

At the workshop I asked Brian about that exact problem of mine. He said, very kindly, “Well, you’re a story flirt that’s what you are.” 

Once the laughter died down he went on to say, and no I won’t quote him as I’ll screw it up, but the gist was this: You need to outline. If you follow your outline you won’t get stalled out. You’re problem is you’re bored of the story you’re working on, you’re three quarters the way through it and in your head it’s already done, it’s all figured out and over and now you’re just putting it to paper so you get bored. Distracted. 

So in my own head I hear: If you followed an outline it would be easier to stay on task and, I dunno, actually get something finished.

I’m going to give it a try. I love writing flash and short pieces as they allow me to move onto my next concept quicker, but my MS needs some time and loving so I can get the thing done and over. I owe it to myself to finish it and move on. If Kelley could take 8yrs to get Bitten finished surely there’s some hope left out there in the world for the rest of us “Story-Flirts” too. Right? 

On a separate note: I recently read a book and highly recommend it if you enjoy YA. Though it started a bit iffy for me, the moment was brief and soon I found I couldn’t put it down. It’s called Angelfall and it’s written by Susan Ee and it’s her debut novel. This link will take you to her site where you can read the first 5 chapters of this book for FREE so you can decide if it’s worth spending your own money or not. 🙂  

Blurby section from her site: It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Until we meet again I wish you peace, plotmares, and all kinds of happy haunting!

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Bleeding Ink! 🙂

Writer J. A. Campbell

I have two stories in this collection of dark tales. Caution, this does contain adult content, so it’s not suitable for a younger audience, and to view it you must have the adult content filter turned off at Smashwords.

From the Description: This compilation of paranormal, supernatural, dark and twisted works will have you looking over your shoulder and sleeping with the light on! With over 60 stories from nearly 40 authors and containing short stories and poetry this book offers up something for even the hardest reader to please. 18 and over please.

I have two stories in this Anthology. By Full Moon’s Light and Roses for the Devil.

Excerpts – Safe for all age levels.

By Full Moon’s Light

Something snapped me out of a deep sleep. I sat up quickly, a surge of something I’d call adrenalin if I were human rushed through my body.

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