Small Incentives

I had the fantastic opportunity to spend this weekend at the RT Convention here in Dallas. RT is hosted by the magazine of the same name (formerly Romantic Times) and brings together writers, readers, and reviewers of the romance community. I won’t go into the full details here, as I am putting together a blog for AAR on the subject, but I wanted to mention something I noticed about myself this weekend:

I love small incentives.

While I was in my first session on Friday, I noticed that some people’s badge had a nifty green ribbon that declares them to be a “Published Author.” And I thought…I want that. Yeah, I want to publish a book because it is a dream of mine, but my mind instantly transfixed on the notion that, next time I’m at RT, I want to have one of those ribbons.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been driven by something like this. For example, in high school I was determined to graduate in the top 10% and as part of the National Honor Society because I would get to wear the cords and a stole. I also graduated Distinguished which meant I got to wear a black robe instead of red. I had other reasons for wanting to be top 10% (in Texas it ensures you automatic acceptance to any state university), but there was no reason to join NHS. Supposedly it looks good on college applications, but I wasn’t even worried about that (see the automatic acceptance thing). I wasn’t even a real NHS member. I never even attended a meeting. I joined the January before graduation, paid my dues, and got my stole. I never did anything else with the organization. But I really wanted that little white stole over my robe.

I graduated with latin honors from college as well and got to wear cords again. In graduate school, I didn’t have any special accoutrements because there weren’t any. Although at graduation another lady was wearing cords from Golden Key. I immediately kicked myself for not joining Golden Key the million times I was invited, even though I’m pretty sure it’s a scam to get your outrageous dues fee.

Just yesterday I was lured by another small incentive. I join the site 750 Words to get myself in the habit of daily writing outside NaNoWriMo. Yesterday when I got home from the day at the conference, dinner, and a movie, I really didn’t feel like writing. I just wanted to read a bit and go to sleep. But I realize that Friday was my 3rd day on 750 words and writing would ensure me the Turkey Badge.

badge.turkey

I wrote.

Its odd how such a small incentive is so tempting to me. I’m hoping the badges will help me keep writing my words each day.

And I hope the lure of that green ribbon will be enough reason to light a fire under me on finishing my manuscript.

Fairy Tale Adaptations

My blog about fairy tale retellings and adaptations is now available over at All About Romance.

First there were vampires, then zombies, and now fairy tale adaptions seem to be the new entertainment trend. The newest film adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty,” Maleficent, scored big at the box office and has added momentum to the fairy tale fad. Studios hoping to capitalize on this are already planning live-action versions of “Cinderella” and more than one “Beauty and the Beast.” I have been a fan of fairy tale retellings since childhood and have spent my life reading and watching them so, obviously, the renewed interest in fairy tales recently has been right up my alley. Although I wasn’t crazy about Maleficent (I think it took the bite out of an otherwise fantastic villainess), I was pleased to see one of my favorite fairy tales getting revamped.

Read the rest here.

 

Review: Stormy Persuasion

Also today, you can read my review of Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey over at All About Romance. It gets a C+ for a boring start but likable characters. 

I was nervous going in to this read. I have been the biggest Johanna Lindsey fan since I first started reading romance, but unfortunately, a lot of her newer books haven’t lived up to some of my classic favorites. Stormy Persuasion is the eleventh book in the Malory-Anderson series and, while it doesn’t reach the same level as Gentle Rogue or Love Only Once, it is a pleasurable read…

 

Continue reading here:

http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=10267

It’s Here! My First Publication!

The first ever short story I wrote and, now, my first ever publication went live today! Its a sort of YA/Horror thing. 

Katie waved to her boyfriend, Jake, trying to signal him to get his car out from in view of the house. He had the headlights turned off, but there was still a chance of her parents hearing the engine or looking out to see the late model sedan. She fit the key in the lock and attempted to open the back door as quietly as possible.

Check it out the rest on the Penmen Review!

A Spirited Evening

 

It’s a cool night shortly before Halloween and, in a normal suburban house, a group of people has gathered together in a dimly lit room. They sit in a circle of chairs in a living room, not unlike any other, but they are here for a rather unusual reason. Tonight, these people have come to receive messages from the dead.

There is no eccentric, gypsy looking woman leading this circle. Rather, a tall, well-dressed man, with smiling blue eyes, stands at the center of the circle and introduces himself. He is David Scott, an intuitive medium. As he begins to explain who he is and what he does, a reverent hush falls over the crowd. As David explains, he will “blend” with the spirits of those that have passed and deliver messages for people in the room.

“I am what they call a ‘mental medium’.  I receive messages from spirit through my sensory experience,” David explains to us. “In other words, through my psychic senses.”

David describes himself as a clairvoyant and clairaudient medium, primarily meaning he receives messages from spirits through sight and hearing. However, messages may also come in the form of taste, smell, or feeling, depending on the message that the spirit would like to convey.

After his introduction, there is little preamble. With a welcoming smile from David, we are ready to begin. David says that he prepares for events like this by “sitting for spirit” on a daily basis. This is similar to a daily meditation process in which he sits in stillness and quiet to raise his energy and power.

“The purpose of sitting is twofold,” David says. “To understand that energy and power and how to plug into it, and to blend with spirit and understand the blending process.”

Since he practices his skill every day, David feels that he has the relationship with spirit that allows him to do these public demonstrations. On this night, messages begin flowing to David after only a few deep breaths. He quickly begins to toss out information he is receiving, in order to see if anyone in the room connects with that evidence. It doesn’t take long before one of the group members recognizes who David is describing.

The accuracy of the messages immediately astounds me. No information was gathered from the attendees before the event and David is strict on not allowing the person he is delivering the message for to provide him with much more than yes or no answers. David makes it clear that he is different than the mediums people are used to seeing on television.

“Mediums that ask leading questions are doing what’s called ‘cold reading’,” says David. “True mediums do not do ‘cold reading’ or ask probing questions.”

Those of us seated in the circle watch with the same expression of rapt interest as David delivers his messages. He connects with the grandmother of a woman across from me and I watch her face transform from mere interest to a smile as David tells her a cheeky message from the deceased woman. However, it is after this that David’s face becomes more serious. I watch his smile melt away as he nods solemnly, communicating with someone unheard by the rest of us.

David begins to describe a woman with brown hair and warm eyes. He tells us that she died young and, although she was a loving person, there is a rough edge to her. The man next to me looks up. The spark of recognition crosses his countenance, but he doesn’t speak. David continues on. He tells us about the woman’s personality; how she loved to laugh and live life on the wild-side. Finally the man speaks up.

“It’s my mother.” The statement is simple but charged with feeling. It seems to reverberate around the room. David gives a sympathetic smile and asks whether the man would like him to continue. The man gives a quick nod. It is in this moment that I am reminded the difficult position David is in as a medium. As a go-between for the spirits and the living, David must temper how to accurately convey the message he is given with the comfort and closure sought by the recipient. In this case, it is a delicate balance.

His voice soft, David tells the man that, as he had suspected, the mother died of an intentional drug overdose. He tells the man how his mother is proud of how he has lived his life and pleased that he found such a strong, supportive woman to marry that keeps him grounded. He explains how his mother wants him to pursue his creative talents, and to believe in himself. The man, who has listened without response, suddenly crumples. The sobs begin, loud and anguished. Someone appears almost immediately with a box of tissues and the room is silent except for the man’s grief.

Although there is sadness to this interaction, it is a cleansing sadness. David has provided the man with an opportunity he might never have had otherwise to speak with his mother again. Although the idea of mediumship can be met with scorn or skepticism, watching this interaction, it is impossible not to believe that there must be merit to it. David was able to connect with the man on a deep, personal level, with no prior knowledge about the man’s mother.

When asked about the purpose of mediumship, David states that it is “to provide evidence that the spirit survives after it leaves the body.” For the living left behind after a loss, the evidence of this survival brings comfort. Much of the fear associated with death comes from the finality of that moment. We fear that the person we loved has been blinked out of existence and is no longer in our lives. Through his mediumship work, David seeks to bridge that gap and remind us of the eternality of the human spirit.

As the circle disbands, I see David and the man share a hug. From their embrace, it is obvious that David acts as more than just a conduit for messages, he empathizes with the recipient’s experience – whether joyous or painful. The night has been emotional and inspiring for everyone in the group, and it takes time for the weight of what we just witnessed to lift. Slowly but surely, the tension breaks and everyone begins to chat and laugh as they had before the reading began. I ask David if, after a mediumship session, he carries any of what he conveyed with him, but he tells me that, with experience, a medium must learn to give the message and let it go.

“Mediums that are beginning their journey have a tendency to hang on to information,” he tells me. “And this can emotionally affect them.”

There is a potluck of food spread out in the dining room, and the guests begin to fill their plates as they discuss the night.

“After an event, is there any way you wind down?” I ask David.

“I do things that will ground me back in this reality,” David says with a grin. “A great way to do this is of course, is eating.” I follow his lead and dig in to the meal. He is the expert, after all.

 


 

This piece was written as an exercise in writing literary journalism. The medium described is my friend David, and information about his work can be found on his website at www.DavidScottPsychic.com