Follow by Email

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Universe Responds to a Heart that has turned Jade(d)

I found this to be such coincidental timing, right after I posted a blurb about my skepticism in helping others, that soon after the universe sends me a reminder of how necessary it is that we help someone in dire need of compassion.

I won't go into great detail, because I'm not trying to boast about doing a good deed. I mainly write this as a follow-up to my prior incredulity that a good deed is actually a good thing. Sometimes, our compassion and generosity may not be appreciated or used in the way we want by other people. But animals are an entirely different story.

Normally when I take walks, I have my headphones to my MP3 player jammed in my ears to tune out the noises around me. But on this particular day, I took a walk without them. And as I turn a corner at the end of the street, I hear a very soft mewing from somewhere nearby.

I look across the street and spot a cardboard box. My first thoughts were, "Oh, someone is giving away their cat, or maybe a mama cat is having kittens." So I cross the street and look inside. An adult black cat is lying in there with his (her) eyes closed, mewing very weakly. He doesn't turn his head to look at me, even when I say something to him, so I know something is not right.

I knock on the door of the nearest house, not wanting to make assumptions that this was a random stray cat, and the girl (I say girl, but really she was about eighteen, nineteen years old) who answered told me the brief story. The cat had been smacked by a car in front of her house and left for dead. The girl's family had, in fact, believed the cat was dead, but her fiance had put it in the box and gone to see if someone could do something about the cat.

I let her know that cat was indeed alive, and if she would call Animal Control, I would wait with the cat by the road--the poor woman was so frazzled by the whole incident, she couldn't even look at the cat (I don't blame her, it's rare for me to be able to look at a wounded animal without panicking). So I wait ten, fifteen, twenty minutes--no Animal Control. By now, the cat has regained consciousness, and looks up at me with bright green eyes.

Good, that means your neck isn't broken, I thought. But then I see the trail of blood oozing out of his mouth, and it's bad. Crap. The cat is bleeding internally, and who knows how long he's been lying here before I even walked up.

Not wanting to wait for Animal Control any longer, I flagged down a public works truck, since I figured the worker must know where the animal shelter is where the cat can get treatment. Bless him, the truck driver comes over and takes the cat, and when I called the animal shelter a few hours later, I was told the cat was getting medical treatment (but that was the extent of what they could tell me, since this wasn't my cat and they could only divulge details to his owners, if he has any).

I don't know if the cat survived or if his injuries were too great, but I can tell myself we got him care as quickly as we could, and that he wasn't just immediately put down or that he had to keep lying there in pain.

And I feel good about that.

So the universe does have strange ways of reminding us when our hearts get jaded about how we need to keep our eyes and ears open, because we can't help everyone but maybe you'll be there are the right place and time for someone who does need you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When a Heart Turns from Gold to Jade(d): When did a Good Deed Become a Bad Thing

I know most of my posts are book related, but sometimes I need to write out a conundrum I am having in the hopes it might lead me to clarity.

                 A couple days ago, my husband and I went to a laundry mat, which is something we typically don’t do but our townhouse’s communal laundry area was out of order.  So we go, and it was a laundry mat we hadn’t been to before but it’s a little closer to home than the others. It was in a pretty rundown building—no biggie. The lighting inside wasn’t very good, and the place looked decayed—as long as the washers and dryers work, that’s fine.
                Then a woman approached us while we were waiting for our laundry to finish washing, and she says, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough quarters to finish drying my clothes. Could you spare a couple?”
                I pause, as the main reason I am hesitant is only because I am trying to figure out if I have any quarters to spare and still finish my own laundry—but I figure, if I run out, I do still have a couple bucks I could use for change. So I take out $2 worth of quarters, enough for a proper 45 minute drying cycle, and give them to the woman.
                I didn’t keep an eye on her, but I assume the quarters were used for laundry as the woman didn’t immediately walk out of the laundry mat and she did, indeed, have clothes to dry.
                So why did I actually feel bad about having done a nice thing for a stranger?
                This has been an issue I have been trying to figure out for a while. This is not the first time I have been asked for change by a stranger, and every time it happens I get an instant twisted feeling in my gut. It’s not that I don’t want to help; I usually jump at the chance to help someone who needs a hand. Which is why it bothers me so much that it actually bothers me to spare a dollar or two to someone who may genuinely need it.
                But the more I try to remember when I started feeling this way, it reminds me of the few times I lent change to someone who turned out NOT to need it—like the woman on the street who said she was lost and didn’t have enough money for a taxi, so just wanted a couple bucks to get home. So I gladly spare the five dollars, only to ten minutes later walk into a convenience store…to see the exact same women buying toiletries with the money I gave her.
                Okay, maybe she needed pads or something important and really didn’t have the money to buy them. Why not just tell me that? You need pads? I’ll buy you a pack of pads. I don’t like being caught without them either. But what made me mad, more so than anything, was the feeling that I had been lied to. I had been conned.
                Or the time I mistakenly thought I could just walk into a bus station (by myself, foolish me) and not be accosted by ten men all begging for money. If I were a wealthy person, or if I knew where the closest homeless shelter/soup kitchen was, I would help everyone I could. But when I gave one of the men a couple dollars, and then he comes back and accuses me of giving someone else more than I gave him so he should get more too (which, of course, I did not)…CONNED.
                So now, it’s the knee-jerk reaction. No, $2 will not be able to allow someone to buy alcohol or drugs, and once it’s out of my hands, it really isn’t up to me what that person does with it. But it’s the automatic feeling that somehow, someway, I am being deceived, I am being lied to and treated like a sucker. It’s the feeling that I want to be a good person, that person that later on that someone who needed the spare change would think, “I would have had a horrible day if not for that one woman who was kind enough to give me help,” but instead I’m being thought of as a na├»ve schmuck that can be taken advantage of.
                So I try to shrug it off. I mean, for every person conning for money, there are those honest folks who truly wouldn’t ask unless they needed it. When at 7:00 the laundry mat staff provided dinner of hot dogs and burgers for the homeless (as they do every couple nights a week), the people there even offered for my husband and I to join them for the dinner they were having. Even though I’m sure they knew we were not homeless, they invited us to join them anyway. And while I am touched by that, in a way, it made me feel even guiltier that I have been ingrained with the knee-jerk reaction—these were decent people that truly do need a helping hand, and even extended a hand to us even though we don’t need it.
And here I was, agitated over a few measly quarters.

I’m just not sure how to undo the skepticism and the distrust anymore. I can always do community service or volunteer work to make sure that for every good deed I do, it’s truly helping people. I wish I could just go back to being someone who could perform a kind act without having to second guess myself, who could feel good by doing good.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Great Day at Gainesville Mule Camp

Thank you, Don Griffin, for allowing me to have my book signing at your store Frames You-Nique today at Gainesville Mule Camp. And I had a great fellow author, Denise Weimer (the Georgia Gold series) and her mom sharing the space with me, they are so nice. I managed to sell a couple of books so hopefully I'll have some new fans for The Scholar and the Sphinx series.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October, and a New Goodreads Giveaway!

Happy October, all! My favorite month of the year is here. Time to bust out the Halloween decorations, although actually I will be at CONjuration in Atlanta on Halloween weekend Oct 31-Nov. 2, so remember to come visit me!

Also, would you like a sneak peak at the second book of "The Scholar and the Sphinx" series? Right now at Goodreads, there is a giveaway where you could win an unproofed ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of "The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Fang of Fenrir." So hop on over to

Or you can now pre-order the book on Amazon and at Mithras Books at! Go check out their new website!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pictures from Dragon Con 2014's YA Literature Panel

Finally got around to uploading the pictures taken during the "Kissing Optional: Does YA Need Romance?" literature panel at Dragon Con 2014. Panelists were authors Delilah S. Dawson (not shown here, she hadn't arrived yet), Shaun Hutchinson (first chair), and DragonCon moderators Lil Watson (second chair) and Alexa Donne (last chair).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thank You Dr. Brim and her Poetry Class at Brenau University

I just got back from speaking to Dr. Sandy Brim's poetry class at Brenau University. I believe it went well, but for some reason (even though I have done presentations for a while now!!) my body is still freaking out even though my brain is fine. In short, I keep unconsciously holding my breath while I'm talking so I run out of air, even though I am not speaking quickly.

(and I realize I'm doing this when the students start looking at me like I'm a dork. More so than when I first started talking.)

But it was fun, I actually talked more about the Georgia Museum of Art's "Kress Project" since the students will eventually do an assignment to write something based on a pre-existing piece of art. I hope it helped them understand how they could go about it.

Thank you to Dr. Sandra Brim for allowing me to speak to the students. They are a lovely group of students and you are wonderful.

Go Brenau U! (I believe I am obligated to say this as a staff member, but I mean it too).

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Fang of Fenrir" Now Available for Pre-Order at Amazon!

Already planning your holiday shopping? Then you'll want to pre-ordered the second book in "The Scholar and the Sphinx" series, to be released December 16, 2014! If you order it ahead, you can get it just in time for the perfect gift for your young adult fantasy-loving reader!

"The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Fang of Fenrir" can now be pre-ordered at Amazon. Just follow the link and pre-order your copy today!