Follow by Email

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Life's A Hoot Columns Vol. 3 Issues 1-7

Hello Owl’s Eye View Readers!

I recently began to print my column, “Life’s A Hoot” which appears monthly in my online “Owl’s Eye View Magazine” in this blog.  It occurred to me that I should archive all the previous LAH columns so that you could get a better idea when reading my blog, of what my magazine is all about. 

Owl’s Eye View Magazine consists of 5 monthly columns (penned by my fictitious characters), 2 two original short stories, and a monthly installment of my original novel (installments usually run about 30 pages).  In Volumes 1 and 2, and the first six issues of Volume 3, there were 6 columns. 

Life’s a Hoot is my editorial column, which is part personal experience or opinion and part synopses of the articles and stories contained in that issue.  Therefore, I felt it was appropriate to include the columns on my blog site, since they contain highlights of each month of my personal life. 

This blog contains Life’s A Hoot columns as they appeared in Volume 3 Issues 1-7 of Owl’s Eye View Magazine.   After this, I will publish a blog containing the current Life’s a Hoot column on a monthly basis on the day each issue of Owl’s Eye View Magazine is published online. 

Thank you for reading! 



Eleven days into the New Year have so far brought some success—my own, this is the third anniversary of Owl's Eye View Magazine, and I have some loyal readers, thank you all very much.  And also my grandson’s, who has mastered the potty!  No more diapers or pull-ups, even at bedtime! 

This time last year I was still living in Georgia, beginning to pack for the 800 mile move to my son and daughter-in-law’s house in Pennsylvania.  A colossal upheaval, and equally colossal adjustment for me, has been rewarded with waking up to my grandchildren’s happy racket each day which makes me smile, and knowing that I am useful again to the people I love most in the world. 

Whatever twists and turns are in store during 2012 I hope at least the ones in Owl's Eye View bring you chills and satisfy your ooky-tooth!  Muahaha! 

As for the twists and turns in your real lives, I hope they leave you happy and prosperous! 

In this issue of her “On the WindSpirit” column, Lucy Bernelli begins the year with a flashback to her past—and then sets out on a six issue journey into her future.  How far will she take us?  Keep reading? 

Nathan Williams shares some fond (well, this is Owl's Eye View, so take that adjective for what it’s worth), childhood memories in “Swooping Through the Years.” 

Been wondering whatever happened to Max Vale?  Well, for the next five issues of “From the Perch” Melanie Alden will bring you up to date. 

Ever stroll all the way down Liar’s Pond Road, over that little bridge and around to Colbert Mansion?  Ever hear the wispy echo of violin music?  There’s a legend to go with it, and Larry Nunn shares it with us in “Screech On!” this issue. 

Children can bring us inestimable joy or inestimable sorrow.  “Macabre Mirth” brings us the dilemma of in-between. 

Got a brat?  Need a remedy?  Consider “” a story I wrote while pondering child-rearing one afternoon…

If you’re juggling bills in this horrendous economy, you might want to read “Disconnect Notice” before deciding which bill can wait…just sayin’…

And last but certainly not least, it’s time for a whole new novel!  The first installment of “M*E*D*S” will take you into the ooky behind the scenes world of retail pharmacy—and is based on some of my true-life experiences during my seven long years as a retail pharmacy technician.  To my former co-workers and friends from that era in my life, please know that I think of you often, and 200 pages of “M*E*D*S” is my proof of that.  Muahaha!  Let the ooky begin!! 

Thank you for reading Owl's Eye View Magazine.  January 11th is my birthday and the anniversary of the premier issue in 2010.  The best birthday present I get every year is your acceptance of my columns, stories and novels. 




Wow!  It’s that time again already!   The past four weeks literally flew.

I know you’re going to think I’m the biggest nerd of all time, but I found the original Star Trek series used on Amazon and couldn’t resist.  I was nine the first time I saw Spock, Kirk, and Bones beginning to weave their interstellar magic and completely enchanted, never missed an episode after that.  I remember swiping my mother’s compact to use as a ‘communicator,’ and using a little transistor radio for my tricorder—Voila!  My house shimmered into the Enterprise

Through the years I followed NASA’s every step—the moon landing excited me beyond belief, and the space shuttle program blew my mind—another step closer to making Star Trek a reality.  Another step closer to the Enterprise and space missions to explore the final frontier! 

Star Trek gave me hopes that the future held promise—new ideas, adventures, and chances beyond earthly imagination.  I hope my grandchildren will watch the episodes when they are a little older and enjoy them as much as I did and still do. 

I’d like to think that “The Great Bird of the Galaxy,” Gene Roddenberry knows how much his characters and stories meant—and still mean—to me. 

Okay, now that I’ve unloaded that nerd nugget on you, let’s move onto the chills for the month: 

In SWOOPING THROUGH THE YEARS Nathan Williams introduces you to his mother-in-law whose heroic flight from southern Delaware’s KKK provides a story of courage and hope in this issue. 

Meredith Alden, Owl Maiden, continues with her series of articles updating us about Max Vale.  If you loved Max in “Holy Terrors” and want to see how things unfold don’t miss “From the Perch.” 

What the hell is going on with Lucy Bernelli?  Ya gotta read “On the WindSpirit” to find out.  Even Loren Elliott might be pulling up Owl’s Eye View to try and figure out the mystery….  

Larry Nunn’s article in “Screech On!” is brief but interesting about a musical send-off….

Melanie Mirth presents a little tidbit about camping in Georgia in her usual “Macabre Mirth” style. 

Wanna do something really cool for your kid’s birthday party?  Wanna  be sure to keep up with the Joneses?  Check out my story “Balloons” before you indulge your kid with the latest fad….that’s all I’m sayin’. 

Just a little father-daughter bonding in “New Kid” gives Giselle a really cool show-and-tell when she returns to school in the fall.  Muahaha! 

And of course, last but not least, the latest installment of M*E*D*S to fulfill your ooky thirst.  Don’t choke! 

Thank you for reading!  I hope you end up a puddle of anxiety hiding under your bed by the end of the issue—some advice, beware of those attack dust bunnies!  They’re fierce! 




It’s been an interesting month—lots of illness in the DelCampo household—one after another we each got blasted with head colds, stomach viruses, the works—but we all survived and are hanging in there. 
My granddaughter is excited about the impending spring.  She’s becoming quite a good reader, too, and asks about holidays that appear on her calendar.  She doesn’t miss a trick, and much of everything she takes in ends up in her journal.  At five, she’s smart as a whip, and destined to become my little writing buddy.  I’m betting she’ll exceed any modest accomplishment of mine, though, and probably before she hits her teens! 

In Owl’s Nest there’s a new novel in the works:  “Cloister.”  I just started the actual writing, having worked on the loose outline, main plot, character list, and research this past week.  I’m liking the main storyline, which is shaping up nicely.  Not telling any more than that right now—but it’s chock full of ooky! 

Just like this issue of Owl's Eye View. 

Hard-working Mamie Colbert’s story is first in line this issue from Nathan Williams in ‘Swooping Through the Years,’ giving a whole new perspective to the old adage, “Waste not want not.” 

Max and Meredith continue to work out their problems in ‘From the Perch.”  I’m waiting to see how things will go myself…sometimes the muse doesn’t even tell me what’s going to happen….

Lucy Bernelli updates us about her Haudenosaunee quest to follow her dreams…literally…in this month’s ‘On the WindSpirit.’  Spend as much time with her as you can…for now…

‘Screech On!’ has a chilling little tale for you this month.  Larry Nunn’s first hand observations about a mysterious fiddler will give you a whopping dose of ooky! 

Also, there is a mini-chill from Melanie in ‘Macabre Mirth.’  Cheers! 

My story ‘Previous Owner’ should caution you about buying a car at an auction, especially a police auction, and keep you from getting taken for a ride… 

My second story, ‘Writer God’ illustrates a worry of horror writers everywhere…

And of course, if all that isn’t enough ooky for you, there’s always the ongoing story of M*E*D*S, the latest installment a whole deep freeze full of chills to keep you awake nights! 

Should keep you busy for the month.  Chills! 



It’s been an interesting month during which my granddaughter turned six, and I turned a little grayer when my computer crashed.  I still say when you order a computer already loaded with operating systems they program it to crash just before your warranty runs out so they can convince you to sign up for another extended warranty.  If I could prove it I’d sue them for all their worth.  Had to wipe my computer (colossal waste of time!!!) and reinstall everything.  Grrrr.  Funny, the only problems I ever have had with this laptop is just before the warranty runs out.  Fortunately I have two external hard drives for backups, but I still lost two columns and a short story (that I’ve noticed so far).  Took me days to rewrite what I’d written last week.  But I think I’m all caught up now, whew!  If I could go back and relive the week before the crash my motto would have been Back-up!  Back-up!  Back-up!

Rosie got a lot of notebooks and a touch typing course for kids for her birthday.  She keeps a journal, reads voraciously, and is one smart cookie.  Love being here with the grands! 

In the midst of all the celebrating and computer frustration, I managed to get Owl's Eye View all ready to give you some chills. 

Nathan Williams talks about ‘old farthood’ and letting the next generation, in the form of Sol Hammond, get a feel for the reins in “Swooping Through the Years.”  Don’t worry, Nathan’s not going anywhere!  We hope…  

Meredith Alden continues on with her story revealing Max Vale’s struggles now that she’s back in Owl’s Nest…and his life.  “From the Perch” is, as always, a must read this issue.

Lucy Bernelli’s transformation continues, and her spirit is pulled nearly apart in this issue’s “On the WindSpirit.” 

Larry Nunn pops into Owl’s Nest High School for a visit to the band that brings all sorts of ooky surprises in this issue’s “Screech On!”  

In “Macabre Mirth” this month, Melanie Mirth tells of Signe Hannigan meeting her mentor. 

How do you mend a broken heart?  One man’s answer lies in my story, “Be Still My Broken Heart.” 

You really can’t judge a book by its cover, or so my story “Sir Muddy” goes. 

The ooky Pharmacy Phunnies continue in the fourth installment of M*E*D*S, right along with the chilling evil….muahaha!

Plenty of ooky to go around for the next thirty days.  Chills! 



Spring is here, Owl’s Nest visitors! 

Personal stuff:  Rosie has made shopping lists every time she goes out with her mom shopping.  Among other things she always puts on her list: new marbles for Nana (because I’m always saying whenever I forget things or screw up something during the day, that I’m losing my marbles) new feet, new knees, new shoulders for Nana because hers are broken.  She is a piece of work my little granddaughter.  She makes me laugh.  And she cracks my heart I love her so much. 

Joey and Rosie have discovered the whoopee cushion.  Let me tell you, they have learned to sit slowly upon it to make the fart last forever, though Joey gets a real thrill out of one big huge blasty fart.  I have to admit the humor may be pedestrian, even childish, but hearing a grand huge fart along with squeals and giggles and shrieks of laughter from my little munchkins does my heart good. 

I reached out to tickle Joey as he zoomed by on his BigWheel, and he screeched to a stop with this deadly serious look on his face, to give me this reprimand: “Nana!  This is my ice cream truck and you can’t tickle me because I have to drive!”  Then on he went.  I guess I should have known better; silly me.  Funny, he’s fixated on ice cream trucks but doesn’t like ice-cream because “it’s too cold!” 

Rosie is going to the Philly zoo today.  I wonder which animals will be her favorites?  I liked the sea lions.  I miss chaperoning school trips. 

Spring has been too beautiful so far this year.  No cloudy, somber days to put me in the mood to write ooky.  But fear not, loyal readers!  I just write late at night when who knows what might be lurking just outside my window.  Muahaha! 

I spoke with my friend Terry Segal last week-end.  She is doing well with her Enchanted Journey book, based on her workshop.  She’s a wonderful writer and excellent therapist.  Check out her site for much thought provoking material: 
and her blog:

As for me I’m just hanging out as usual, reading “The Drowning Girl” by Caitlin R. Kiernan.  Astonishingly well written.  Every time Ms. Kiernan comes out with a new book, I have a major dilemma on how to reorder my favorites of her work…

As for Owl's Eye View this month, let’s take a peek: 

Nathan Williams tells us what really happened in 1966 at the great campground attack out on Liar's Pond Road, so take a gander at “Swooping Through the Years.” 

In “Screech On!” this issue, Larry Nunn has a particularly challenging music review to write, and no matter whether his comments are good or bad, the price could be his immortal soul! 

Meredith Alden winds up her five issue story that catches us up on Max Vale’s life.  You won’t want to miss the exciting conclusion in “From the Perch” this month. 

Will Lucy Bernelli really go through with her quest and depart Owl’s Nest for all time?  Take a peek and see if you can stand the chills.  And also see what a guest writer for her “On the WindSpirit” column has to add to her words concluding this multi-issue article. 

In “Macabre Mirth” this issue, Melanie Mirth puts a cool spin on a classic mummy chill, don’t miss the ooky! 

A murder victim gets her say in my story, “Dear Diary.” 

“Motivation” is a little ditty about a surprise ending to life…or perhaps I should say afterlife. 

And of course M*E*D*S pharmacy ookiness continues on.  What will happen to Mark Logan?  How will Melanie and CeeCee get him back…or will they?  Muahaha!  Installment 5 brings us closer and closer to the brink of disaster….

Now I will let you tiptoe into Owl’s Nest and lose yourself in the ookiness.  Chills! 




I think my whole day yesterday was a complete brain fart.  Saturday a wrote a really excellent poem for my son for Father’s Day, and got up yesterday early to get it onto his Facebook page before was up and about.  Which was a very good plan, except when I went upstairs and asked him if he’d seen his Father’s Day poem on his page yet, he, and my daughter-in-law both looked at me as if I’d lost my marbles (I’m perilously close to running out altogether). 

In short, Father’s Day is of course next week.  I deleted the post.  Ugh! 

But I’m not through yet.  I worked my butt off all day yesterday, got all the stories in my ‘polish then publish’ folder edited and pasted into appropriate issues of Owl's Eye View, keyed in an article, worked on Princess Rosie stories so that Rosie can illustrate them this summer, got all the editing work I’d planned for this week-end done.  Hugely productive week-end. 

Right up until this morning when I was awake half an hour before my alarm, knowing it’s publish Owl's Eye View day, and immediately realized I hadn’t written this column.  Ugh! 

So here I sit, running late now because I’m an old broad whose only marbles are the two in my pocket that Rosie gave me (because I keep losing mine).  J

Okay.  So the point.  What have I been up to this month?  What have my thoughts been? 
Well, the song “Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen is stuck in my head to stay it seems.  I’m sure my family is sick of hearing me hum it, but it’s such an addictive melody I’m thinking it’ll be around for awhile. 

I went through all the bits of paper holding thoughts I’ve jotted down during the month, some are provocative, some are just random crap that occurs to me.  You can judge which is which. 

I think the American citizenry, as employers of every politician in office, should announce immediate pay cuts for said politicians, dropping them all to minimum wage until they get the all federal and state budgets balanced.  Then and only then they may vote themselves a twenty percent raise each year, once their job performance has been reviewed. If the review (by their constituents) is positive, they can have their raise.  If negative, they may be summarily dismissed for not achieving the agendas set out by their employers.  I highly doubt if these men and women were working in the corporate world with such poor performance and low productivity that they would still be holding their jobs. 

Little Joey and I have been watching Anne Burrell and Rachel Ray for a little over a month now.  Joey loves “Miss Anne” because she has crazy hair, and she’s very animated  and effervescent as she works in her kitchen.  I agree, she’s charismatic and her passion for cooking is infectious.  He likes ‘Cooking Rachel’ (he calls her that because he has an Aunt Rachel and a friend’s mommy named Rachel in his life) a lot too, for pretty much the same reasons, sans the crazy hair.  I go onto and copy the recipes, but never have the time or money to put them together.  But they are lurking there in my recipe folder…

I had to laugh.  I keep a bowl (Birdie Bowl) on the end of my counter for uneaten bread crusts, veggie scraps, egg shells, dryer lint (birds use it to line their nests), and other compost stuff.  I let the kids take the bowl to the back corner of the yard for the birdies  and squirrels (and groundhog).  So the other night I’m talking to Joe and Cait about my disability benefit woes, and said, “I’m worried about not having enough money to take care of arrangements if/when I go for the big dirt nap.” And without missing a beat, Cait piped up with, “Oh don’t give it a thought.  Joey and I will just cut you up and let the kids take you out in the birdie bowl!”        So that’s a weight off my mind. 

I jotted this thought down somewhere along the way this month:  Eating sugar for an energy boost is like coasting your car down a hill when it’s out of gas—you’ll get down the hill, but at the bottom you’ll still be out of gas.      Hmmm…not a bad analogy. 

Rosie will be out of school for summer vacation on Thursday and I’m trying to line up little things to keep her brilliant little mind occupied.  I’m thinking artist of the day.  I will prop a picture of a painting or sculpture by a famous artist up, and let Rosie and Joey draw their own version of it.  I figure it’ll be good for an hour or so of quiet time during each day, and at the end of the summer I will have a shit load of interesting kid art to tack up on the walls of my room.  J 

I wrote:  I’m more shocked when a man is decent and kind than I am when he is despicable and cruel.          (I guess I’m jaded—I am always happy to be surprised by the decency and kindness, though.  I love it when that happens.) 

Rosie handed me her recipe: 
Rosie’s Homemade Cheesy Stars
1 box star pasta
3 slices (1 pat=1 tbs)
3 pinches salt
1 handful shredded cheese
1 tablespoon milk

There are no directions, but I think those of us who cook can figure out Chef Rosie’s recipe and come up with a pretty good dish.  Her handwritten recipe with the face drawn in the R of her name, (which incidentally is also wearing a chef’s hat) was the best part for me. 

As for me, I’ve been playing around with Hummus recipes and eating a lot of it on celery chunks every day.  I wanted something crunchy and satisfying to take the place of crackers because the carb comas every evening were seriously curtailing my writing productivity.  Celery, cucumber medallions, radish slices are all excellent vehicles for Hummus.  Mmmmm.  Hopefully my ass will shrink enough that it will no longer require its own zip code. 

Oh, and I finished writing “Parliament” and completed a rough edit.  I will do a final edit in a couple of months after the manuscript has had a chance to ‘rest,’ then divide it into installments and insert it in the January-June issues of Owl's Eye View for 2013. 

In summary, it’s been an interesting and diverse month filled with Owl's Eye View ookiness, family closeness, grandchildren joy and silliness, and Social Security Disability preposterousness.

Editor’s note about Lucy Bernelli’s departure:

I had some things to say about Native American spirituality—which I personally respect and didn’t want to exploit.  I have said what I wanted to say and that is why I gave Lucy the storyline to fully commit to her ancestors—and Native way of life—because when it comes to personal goals and values, it truly is all or nothing.  People of European descent never completely understood their connection to Mother Earth because they abandoned natural, healthier living centuries before they came in contact with the Native Americans.  The result is that white people are on the brink of self-destruction and unfortunately they’re dragging Native Americans with them on that violent, downward spiral.  That’s what happens when the environment is treated as a political issue rather than a way of life. 
Through Lucy, I tried to give Oneida Traditionals a way out—a way to survive on their own terms. 

Because I have always felt that the Indians and Mexicans for that matter, got steamrolled by the Europeans, that white settlers brand of ‘civilization’ was and is mostly a selfish, hypocritical farce in comparison to the Native Americans whose nature-based religions had soul and meaning and were lived not preached.  I hope I portrayed that through Lucy’s character and storyline. 

Okay, last but far from least: 

A dear writer friend of mine asked me awhile ago if I thought it was appropriate to fictionalize true events from one’s life in order to write about them. 

I guess she gives me credit for being quite a lot more creative than I actually am because there are bits and pieces of me, my friends, co-workers, and conversations I’ve overheard on buses, in restaurants, and stores, all kinds of tidbits of truth I’ve doctored up and tucked into novels, stories, and columns. 

Part of the reason I write the people and experiences of my life into fiction is because I never really figured people would care about a little housewife/writer in the second smallest state in the country.  That and I like writing ooky stories.  Oh, and I didn’t want to gbet my ass sued off by former employers, and others who might become upset if their parts of my story painted them in a less than flattering light. 

And then of course there are a very few people here and there through the years who have truly pissed my off—not as many as you might think, actually.  I’m a pretty forgiving person and I’m not arrogant enough to think that just because a person rubs me the wrong way that they’re bad through and through.  But I’ve run across a couple of real bastards in my lifetime—one the owl sentries took care of in Holy Terrors, one met a dreadful demise in M*E*D*S, and that’s all I’m fessin up to.  Muahaha!

The more experiences I can suck out of my real life and infuse into my fiction, or use a complete basis for a story or novel, the more textured and believable my characters and stories turn out to be. 

So now, if you follow my writing all that’s left for you to figure out is which characters are me—muahaha! 



In the sixth issue of Owl's Eye View: 

Larry Nunn tells us a little tale of a muse gone haywire in “Screech On!” 

In “Swooping Through the Years” Nathan Williams introduces us to Sol Hammond, his protégé.  

Meredith Alden has a little chat with Lois Vale, Max’s mom in “From the Perch.” 

Another guest writer for “On the WindSpirit” in the wake of Lucy Bernelli’s dramatic departure for another dimension, an alternate life.  Trudy Shriver lends her skills to tie up so very many loose ends. 

“Operating Table #4” is Melanie Mirth’s gift in “Macabre Mirth.”  Pate anyone? 

Who can resist soft, cuddly, hand-made baby afghans for a newborn?  You might once you read my story, “Blankies.” 

Little May’s solution for domestic violence in my story “Trunk.” 

And of course, last but not least, the conclusion of M*E*D*S—don’t dare miss it!  Chills abound! 



There really is no hope for me—I started writing a warm & fuzzy novel about a woman who’s bankrupted waiting for Social Security benefits to kick in after she’s disabled.  She takes in three veterans who have various disabilities also and are having trouble making ends meet.  It was going to be a non-horror novel, but twisted soul that I am, I kept getting horror ideas, and finally just incorporated the whole thing into the plot for “Zee,” my current horror novel project.  So…. I’m looking to have it finished and ready to publish from July through December of 2013. 

Incorporating the warm and fuzzy story into “Zee” expands its plotline magnificently, and textures the book in a big way!  But I suppose there is no hope for me to write a sweet, heartwarming novel.  While warm and fuzzy stuff appeals to and touches me, I can’t seem to write it and leave it at that.  My mind always goes off on a ‘what if?’ tangent and tacks on horrific cliff-hangers to each chapter. 

Such is my lot in life…muahaha! 

And Issue 7 of Owl’s Eye View is no exception.  Revel in the ookiness: 

Larry Nunn presents a casual interview with Tania Alden about a haunting serenade in “Screech On!” 

Meredith Alden tells us all about the advantages of multi-dimensional living that started when Signe Hannigan helped WWII Jews in the late 1930s.  Interesting! 

Nathan Williams comments on Lucy Bernelli’s “Trail of Cheers” in this issue’s “Swooping Through the Years.” 

Introducing a new column!  Lisa Galloway, the young poet in “Into the Mist,” shares her “Visceral Verse” with us, promising chills galore, starting with her “Midnight Murder Ball.” 

You’ll want to buy stock in Tilex after reading Melanie Mirth’s “Macabre Mirth” vignette this issue. 

Finally I get to share my story “Pharmaceecee” with you, now that “M*E*D*S” is published.  Enjoy the ooky in this bonus story for this issue! 

In the ‘ya just never know’ category, my story, “Pot Luck” cautions fine diners everywhere to keep your wine cellars properly stocked for the big day…

My story, “List of Demands” reminds us that you never really know who your enemies are, until they’re in your face…

And I’m proud to offer you the first installment of my gruesome novel “True Crime Shelf.”  Always remember, what you read is what you get.  Evil oozes in Owl’s Nest leaving a swathe of dead Owls in its wake. 

Thank you for reading each month!  Chills!

Life's A Hoot columns - Vols. 1-2 Issues 1-12

Hello Owl’s Eye View Readers!

I recently began to print my column, “Life’s A Hoot” which appears monthly in my online “Owl’s Eye View Magazine” in this blog.  It occurred to me that I should archive all the previous LAH columns so that you could get a better idea when reading my blog, of what my magazine is all about. 

Owl’s Eye View Magazine consists of 5 monthly columns (penned by my fictitious characters), 2 two original short stories, and a monthly installment of my original novel (installments usually run about 30 pages).  In Volumes 1 and 2, and the first six issues of Volume 3, there were 6 columns. 

Life’s a Hoot is my editorial column, which is part personal experience or opinion and part synopses of the articles and stories contained in that issue.  Therefore, I felt it was appropriate to include the columns on my blog site, since they contain highlights of each month of my personal life. 

This blog contains Volumes 1 and 2 of Owl’s Eye View.  I will be doing a separate blog for Volume 3 Issues 1-6, and then after that, I will print Life’s a Hoot on a monthly basis on the day each issue of the magazine is published online. 

So here we go!  Chills! 



Stephen King relates in his book, “On Writing” some advice he received from editor John Gould: “A writer should write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” 

An excellent rule of thumb I’ve committed to memory and taken to heart. 

Editors, (both professional and amateur) are writers’ best friends.  The tougher the better, when it comes to ridding a book of mistakes and clarifying vague passages that leave a reader going “huh?” 

Writers who don’t understand the importance of the editing process confuse me, perhaps because I’ve always enjoyed the entire process of writing: planning, creating, editing, publishing, all of it, since I was a child.  It confounds me when a writer abhors any part of the process.

I have met many writer friends on Facebook, and enjoy perusing their books, articles, and stories.  Most are conscientious and scrupulous about the editing process, because they realize that it’s crucial to story-telling.  An error free manuscript is essential for every writer, especially non-fiction writers who are trying to establish credibility about their specific area of expertise. 

I recently read a book published by a casual Facebook friend   She wrote an amazingly interesting and exciting story which totally captivated my attention.  She maintained an excellent narrative voice throughout the entire book. 

She ruined the whole thing by not having the book professionally edited.  There were punctuation mistakes, spelling mistakes that were inexcusable, words that made it look like she’d never researched her topic, which in turn brought into question her credibility concerning her expertise on the very subject matter she discussed in the book. 

Mistakes every couple of pages, sometimes two or three on a page left me shaking my head in despair.  Ten pages into the book I wondered, horrified, if she’d released a first draft of the book to her publisher, rather than a final proof. 

I contacted my friend via her email address and told her about the mistakes I’d found in the book and explained why I thought it would be a good idea to overhaul it, especially if there was to be a second printing.  Surely she would want to correct the mistakes before that.  I’ve yet to hear back from her, which is unfortunate. 

She considers herself an expert on her subject matter, and indeed she is, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a flawless writer.  Most writers understand that no one writes error-free, page after page and no one should submit a manuscript to a publisher without it having first been proofread by someone interested enough to point out at least the glaring flaws. 

In other words, once the story is on the page, (or in the computer), the door should be opened.  As many eyes as possible should read it, and if possible, typos, spelling and punctuation mistakes and other errors should be circled so that they may be fixed before they become embarrassments, showing up in a published copy of the book.  And even more importantly, before they distract the reader from the most important thing of all:  the story. 



Can Do!

Still dark at four in the morning on April 2nd, 2009, the first day of my vacation seemed to be going just fine.  The trip from Georgia to Delaware was commonplace for me by then, and I was eager to be on my way as I tossed my tote-bag onto the passenger seat of my otherwise packed car, ready to leave.  Tucked safely on the floor behind my seat were the Max and Ruby Beanie Babies I couldn’t wait to give to my granddaughter for her third birthday.  I could just picture her eyes lighting up as she tore away the paper, instantly loving them.   

As I pulled away from the curb I had no idea how long it would be before I would see her with her little stuffed friends. 

I drove through the sunrise and everything was fine at around seven. I was getting the nibbles and cracked the bag of Cheetos and a can of gingerale I’d placed on the passenger’s seat the night before.  I began nibbling and sipping away, keeping my eyes on the road, thinking in about another hour I’d stop and stretch my legs and top off my gas tank. 

By eight I’d crossed into North Carolina, making great time, thinking gas and peeing was now priority.  I pulled into the center lane and started looking for exits with obvious gas stations that weren’t too far off of I85.

The next thing I knew, there was a paramedic knocking on my window, telling me to stay still, and relax, that they were going to have to cut the roof off of my car to get me out. 

I have absolutely no recollection of the accident.  Apparently I veered left, hit the guard rail, bounced off, back across four lanes of I85 and hit an abutment on the right side of the road with force enough that my car spun around and ended up facing the wrong direction.  My car was trashed, the right front tire was bent back into the passenger side floor, the steering column was broken and on the floor, the steering wheel resting in my lap.  The air bags deployed, windshield shattered, Cheetos and gingerale everywhere, and Aha still wailing from my CD player.  I looked down at my left arm on the rest, thinking that it looked weird. And I will always remember the acrid hot engine smell mixed with road dust.  And the sound of the windshield shattering the rest of the way and landing on the quilted cover the paramedics had stretched over me, covering my face to protect me from the broken glass.   As the paramedics started to take me out of the car, I looked over and told them to grab the black tote bag, and I must have blacked out because I don’t remember anything else until I was in the ambulance. 

Paramedics rushed me to the closest ER, to get a CT Scan of my head and spine.  Fortunately there were no head or spine injuries, so it was decided, with my extensive injuries that the paramedics should take me to a different hospital, 40 minutes away, because they had a better trauma unit.  They loaded me into the ambulance and took off. 

In the trauma unit, they began cutting off my clothes and examining my injuries: a shattered left ankle, torn ACL and meniscus in my right knee, torn right rotator cuff, broken left wrist, two broken ribs and a fractured sternum, and extensive bruising across my chest from the seat belt.  To the side they were placing what was left of my clothes in the trash.  A scrub-clad young man held up mittens he’d dug out of the pockets of my shredded Cruxshadows hoodie.  “Want me to save these?”  “Yes!  Please!  My grandmother knitted them for me, before you were born.”  He probably thought I was delirious, but it was true.  I’d pulled them out and decided to wear them that past winter.  As old as they were, they were in better shape than I was.  Not much in the belongings bag: the mittens, my Crocs, my wrist watch that they’d cut off my arm, my bra, which was cut off and I have no idea why they’d saved and my tote bag which contained my most essential personal items. 

Four hundred miles away from my friends in Georgia and my family in Delaware, I was helpless on a gurney, scared shitless, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  The social worker dialed my cell phone for me and got hold of my son, Joe, in Delaware, and Linda,  my dear friend in Georgia from whom I rent a room.  Linda said I just kept saying, “I have broken bones, my bones are broken.”  And the thing I was most concerned about as the social worker made the calls was that someone go to my mom’s home and tell her about my accident in person.  She’s 80 years old, and I didn’t want her getting that shock over the phone, by herself.  Because my sons, Joe and Bill were en route to the hospital, my ex-husband actually turned out to be the one to go and talk to my mother.  He is still a blessing. 

I’d never had a broken bone before.  I’d had several surgeries, almost hemorrhaged to death twice, all kinds of other crap during the course of my half century of life, but nothing broken.  I sure made up for it on that misty April morning. 

By the time they screwed, bolted, tacked and plated my ankle back together, splinted my wrist, braced my knee, and I woke up from the surgery, my sons were there.  I heard them quietly listening to the doctor as I tried to focus my eyes, still groggy from the anesthesia. 

My younger son, Joe, was listening, my older son, Bill, was trying to get the doctor to agree to Medivac me to Philly.  I shuddered at the thought of being moved from the gurney into a bed, let alone onto a helicopter to be flown for hours, then into a bed a full 800 miles from my home in Georgia.  To my great relief I heard my doctor say, “She’s not going anywhere.  This is not about convenience for her family and friends, this is about her best interest as my patient.  She’ll be staying right here.”  Thank God, I thought, as Joe noticed I was awake. 

He held my hand, and smiled, and said I would be alright, which I had enough morphine in my brain to believe, and I saw Billy on his cell phone, then he came over and they stood by the gurney, talking to me for awhile. 

A couple of hours later, Billy told me that they wouldn’t be able to stay any longer, because he had to work the next day and couldn’t get out of it.  Joe was not happy about that, but they’d come down together, so, he had no choice but to drive back to Delaware.  I told him I would be fine, and tried to make myself believe that.  I reminded myself that I was their mother, I was a big girl, and that the doctors and nurses had taken care of me just fine before my sons had arrived, they would do the same after they left. 

I was okay until Saturday when my heart rate spiked up to 145.  I ended up in Cardiac Care, with a gazillion monitors on me, and trying to get through the automated phone system of the Human Resources Department of the retail pharmacy where I work.  My phone service kept dropping the call, I couldn’t get through to a human representative, to tell them that I wouldn’t be back to work and that I needed a medical leave of absence, and the stress built up with every dropped call finally leaving me crying in frustration.  Talk about counter-productive to my health! 

The doctors medicated me and stabilized my heart.  I went back to a private room with my monitors, catheter, IV, casts, splints, brace and stress.  

At the end of the first week, my friends Linda and Christine came up from Georgia and visited me.  They brought me some incidentals, and cleaned out my car for me.  They recovered a lot considering the condition of the car.  When they went into the salvage yard where it had been taken, and asked the man there if they could gather up my belongings, he said, “That woman lived?” 

My glasses were mangled on the floor.  The steering column was practically on the floor, and mangled, so the keys in the ignition were irretrievable. I had a 12 cd holder on my visor that was nowhere to be found, and my medicine bag that a shaman friend had made for me, that had been hanging on my rear view mirror was gone. 

They retrieved my suitcase from the back seat, tote bags that were on the passenger seat, stuff out of my glove compartment, stuff out of my trunk, my lab coat that had been on my back seat.  But when I asked about Rosie’s Beanie Babies, they had had no luck. I figure, since they were behind my driver’s seat on the floor, they were either under the seat or had gotten lost when I was dragged out through the roof.  Out of all the stuff I lost, I was most upset about that, because I knew it would be weeks before I would have access to a computer to order her new ones, and I’d already missed her birthday. 

However, Chris and Linda came into my hospital room like a warm tropical breeze, hugging me, joking with me, stashing incidentals they’d picked up for me in my bedside table, and bringing a little piece of my life in Georgia to me until I could return to it.  They replaced my cell phone, which had been cracked and was dropping calls, and my glasses, and made me laugh in spite of myself.  Then they went back home to begin the long wait for me to heal.   

I finished out the second week in the hospital, improving a little each day.  I was able to sit up, feed myself better, (though the nurses still were cutting my meat, I had no strength in my arms). I found that the seemingly small things were the most frustrating: waiting for a nurse to put me on a bedpan, the IV needle that painfully jammed into the crook of my arm every time I tried to do the least little thing, the heart monitors that popped off whenever I moved, (I started snapping them back together myself so the nurses wouldn’t charge into my room thinking I was flatlining), the catheter, and having to drag all that crap with me when the hospital staff tried to lift me into a gerry chair and sit me in the hall to give me a change of surroundings.   

On April 17th my surgeon released me to a rehabilitation facility in Raleigh, two hours closer to my home in Georgia.  Also, Linda’s son and daughter-in-law lived in Raleigh.  Their daughter-in-law, Carolyn, works in an orthopedic facility.  Not the one I was headed for, Carolyn’s was not in my insurance network, but she recommended the one where I ended up.  She also knew what my needs would be, and offered me a great deal of much appreciated advice as well as getting me clothes for physical therapy, and other items I was desperate for. 

I was scared of the two hour ride, but it went smoothly enough, and I was still on oxycodone, which insured that things were pain free.  For two hours I texted my daughter-in-law and concentrated on finally being free of the heart monitor wires, the catheter, and best of all that goddamned painful IV needle stabbing my arm with every slightest move. 

I didn’t know what to expect from a nursing facility, and was nervous as the ambulance drivers lifted my stretcher from the back of the vehicle.  On the way inside, they made comments: “This is nice, there are patients sitting outside.” And once we entered through the doors: “The nurses are not sitting around at the station, they are paying attention to the patients in the hall, and in and out of rooms.  Good sign.  And it doesn’t smell like urine, that’s good.”  I nodded, agreeing.  The place was clean and nicely decorated.  By the time they wheeled me into my room I felt much better, relieved.  Two male nurses, Yamil and Dayton showed up and helped the ambulance crew sheet-lift me into the bed.  They were nice guys, Dayton over six feet,  Yamil smaller, but strong, they were my first friends in Raleigh.  And they were in my room every day.  Yamil was the nurse at my end of A Hall, Dayton was from B Hall.  They made sure I was comfortable, pulled the table over my bed and placed the dinner tray, (which a very thoughtful nurse’s aid, Alla, had ordered for me), and then left. 
          A few minutes later Alla came into the room, with her exotic Ukranian accent, and offered me some little bagged snacks, animal crackers, Cheezits, and graham crackers, asked me if there was anything I needed, was very pleasant, and then disappeared to take care of her other patients.  We had many talks about Russia, and I found that she was a pediatrician there, but that when she came to the States, she had to start all over again for a medical degree.  That seems so unfair, but she takes the challenge, works nights at the rehab center, and takes classes during the day.  She’s a gutsy, tireless woman, who showed me that obstacles are there to be overcome. 
          Just after I finished my dinner, Yamil showed up with my Lovenox shot.  From the first day in the hospital to a couple days before I was released from rehab, I would receive two Lovenox shots a day, a grand total of 240 shots.  Those little suckers hurt.  I grew to dread 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. when the shots were given.  Like I said, it’s the smaller things that get to be the most annoying.  But Yamil showed up with the shot and several minutes (later on, sometimes half an hour!) of conversation and jokes, so it helped me through the aggravation of the shots.  

My first two months I was completely non-weight bearing.  I could feed myself, one-handed, if somebody put the table over the bed, near my head.  I used my cell phone, but only for a few minutes at a time, holding my arm up for more time than that really hurt my shoulder.  Try explaining that to a mother who is famous for her marathon four hour phone conversations! 

There is no indignity like that of realizing that the nurse’s aid at your end of the hall in the middle of the night is of the opposite sex, and three decades younger than you.  I thought back to when I’d spoken with a nurse (a female one) in the hospital about not being able to clean myself well enough to eliminate odor.  She said, “Well, it’s hard to clean around a catheter…and you’re a woman, you know?  We’re juicy.”  Amusing as I found that term, I had to admit it was accurate.  I wondered, on my first night in the rehab center, if this young man got that, as I lifted my leg up so that he could wipe me after turning me onto my side off of the bedpan. 

He did, actually, and though he was gentle and thorough every time he cleaned me up, the whole experience inspired me to work very hard to put myself on and off the bedpan and wipe myself.  I was doing that within a week of entering rehab.  Reaching back and wiping myself was a new adventure in pain, but I was determined. 

Everyone in the rehab center who came into my room was surprised at my cheerfulness and ability to kid around and crack jokes.  They were used to elderly patients in various states of dementia, and I was perhaps the youngest patient in the facility.  However, I did have my down moments.  One day I was frustrated with my limitations, I’d been trying to, on my cell phone, straighten out some insurance glitches and been getting a serious run-around, found out my employment had been dropped, subsequently dropping my insurance and leaving me without income.  I finally just leaned back and sobbed.  The stress, in addition to the pain and physical limitation was just too much.  It all came out in wails, which I tried to stifle, to no avail.  I heard the call bell sounding from the room across the hall from mine, as I wept.  I heard a soft male voice say, “I think the lady in that room is upset, she’s been crying for a long time.  Maybe you should check and see if she’s alright.”  Oh God, I thought, not wanting anyone to see me in the midst of my pity party.  Pam, the buxom, funny, no bullshit black nurse’s aid, who I particularly enjoyed teasing and laughing with, came into the room, took one look at me and said, “Uh oh,” instantly recognizing a crying jag.  She put her arm around my shoulders, handed me tissues, and said, “let it all come out.”  Which I had been doing for half an hour, and after a few more minutes, it was finally over.  Pam gave me a drink of water, handed me a wet washcloth to wipe my face, and started to leave. 
          “Hey Pam, I heard that man across the hall ask you to come in here and check on me, that was nice of him.  What’s his name?”
          “Well, would you tell Leroy that I’m okay?  He sounds like a nice guy.”
          “He is.  I’ll tell him.”
And indeed Leroy was a nice man.  And someone who helped me through one of the most difficult, scary, painful times of my life. 

A few days later I heard Leroy in the hall, sitting outside his door in his wheelchair, waiting for housekeeping to clean his bathroom.  I called him, and in he glided, the hum of his electric wheelchair smooth and soft like his voice.  I thanked him face to face for the day he sent Pam in to check on me and he told me he’d had days like that, many, for that matter, after his stroke.  “I was paralyzed, and heard doctors say I’d never walk, have use of my arms, or talk again.  I cried for weeks, then I started praying.  And God answered me.  He told me I had to stop drinking, had to stop all the bad stuff I was doing in my life, but if I did, I would have joy.  And that he would help me.  He said it wouldn’t be easy, but that I could do it.”  And he smiled, lifted his arms up, and spun his chair around, straightened his legs from the knee, with some difficulty, but it was hell and gone from being paralyzed.  “And you can do the same.  I know you’re frustrated, but you have to think about the things you can do rather than the things you can’t.  When you first came in here, you couldn’t do anything.  Now you’re sitting on the side of the bed, They can Hoyer lift you into the wheelchair, and you can wheel yourself around the hall.  You even went into the bathroom and leaned your head in the sink and washed your hair!  It’s just a matter of time you’ll be walking out of this place,” he assured me. 

And I thought about it.  He was right. 

Not long after that Kelly, my therapist, helped me use the slide board to get into the wheelchair.  This was a huge improvement over the Hoyer lift, because it didn’t involve the nurses’ aids getting the lift, putting me into the chair, and returning to put me back in the bed after therapy.  I did wait for Kelly to be in the room to put the wheelchair next to the bed, take the arm off the chair, and place the slide board for me to use it.  I always erred on the side of safety. 

That slide board gave me the ability to get into a chair without the Hoyer lift.  After therapy, I would sit in the hall with Leroy and his roommate Arthur, and talk while Shelby would change linens and clean our rooms.  We were all the way at the end of the hallway, and we dubbed our little area ‘the Porch.’  My occupational therapist, Purvi began calling us “The Porchies.” Other friends on the floor would join us for our little ‘Porch Chats,” Earl, Miss Nellie, crochety Mary.  “Porch” time gave me and everybody else a little time out of our rooms, conversation, and many laughs. 

Therapy was no day at the beach.  After a lifetime of having problems with my right knee, it was the one they insisted was weight-bearing first, and I had to trust it with my entire weight because my left arm was still casted, and my right rotator cuff was torn and couldn’t support weight either. 

That’s when Frank and I became buddies.  My therapist, Kelly, was a small framed woman, strong for her size, but I was scared about standing at the parallel bars.  Terrified, in fact.  I didn’t trust (and mostly still don’t) my knee not to pop, brace or not. 

Frank had been a medic in the army, and had the voice and demeanor of a drill sergeant.  Everybody knew when Frank was on the floor coming to take one of his patients to the physical therapy room.  You could hear his barking voice all over the floor until the elevator doors closed him in. 

Frank stooped before me on a Thursday morning, as I rested my casted left arm on his shoulder, and then he hauled me to my foot, more smoothly than I would have expected from a 62 year old man who’d had double knee replacements.  Unfortunately my left leg wasn’t far enough out in front of me and my weight went on it, which wasn’t allowed yet, there was pain in my foot, and I wailed to be sat back down.  It shook me, and I refused to let them stand me back up again.  This pissed Frank off.  “She’s not even trying!” he said to Kelly, who shrugged, and wheeled me off the parallel bars. 

Later that day I saw Frank, and said hello, and he ignored me.  That pissed me off.  Which, of course, was probably Frank’s plan all along.  Friday morning, I stayed in my room and did my therapy exercises on the side of my bed.  Kelly was obviously not happy about that.  She thought I was quitting.  What she didn’t realize was that I needed to psych myself up, and get my head around the physical challenge before me. 

All week-end long I thought hard about what Leroy had said about concentrating on what I could do.  My attitude would have to change.  Strangers had more faith in my body than I did.  But not for long. 

Monday morning I was up at five.  I washed up, changed into fresh shorts and a top, and brushed my teeth.  I took my reacher and latched onto the arm of my wheelchair which was sitting by the wall across from my bed, on which the slide board rested, and pulled it over to my bedside.  It was time.  I removed the arm of the wheelchair, snugged it up to the mattress and braked it, raised the bed above the seat level of the chair, put the slide board in place and inched my way into the chair all by myself for the first time. 

And took off down the hall headed for therapy downstairs.  First time I’d slide-boarded unassisted, and now the first elevator ride unassisted.  The nurses at the station in front of the elevators smiled.  “Today’s the day I kick ass and take names!” I said, rolling onto the elevator.  “You go girl!” Pam shouted as the elevator doors whisked closed. 

I rolled myself into the therapy room five minutes early for my seven a.m. therapy, and parked myself at the end of the parallel bars.  On my way I announced to Frank, “today’s the day, Frank.  No more chickening out!  I’m gonna do this damned thing!”  He responded: “You go sister!”

And I did.  I put my full wait on my right leg for 12 seconds, sat back down, regrouped, and then stood for 20 seconds. 

A week later I took my first steps, balancing with a four pronged cane, and walked off the ramped end of the parallel bars and over to my wheelchair.  Every day I walked a little farther until I’d mastered the hallway outside the therapy room.  Then Kelly took me outside and we walked from the front door to the back door of the building. 

And inside, I either wheeled myself beside Leroy when he walked with a walker down our hallway, or, the last couple of weeks before I left rehab, I’d walk with him, and walk over to his room to chat for a few minutes. 

Finally the day came for Winnie and Linda to come and pick me up.  (Winnie’s name is Buster, but I call him Winnie because he’s built kindof like Winnie the Pooh, and he’s got a similar temperament).  They stayed with Michael and Carolyn over night and came for me on Sunday morning, August 2nd, exactly four months after my accident.  I walked out of the rehab center with my four-pronged cane, very much pleased with my accomplishments; very much concentrating on what I could do. 

Right up until I got home and had to figure out a way to go to the bathroom.  There was no way I could squat down on the regular toilet (I’d been using a commode over the toilet in the hospital, several inches elevated above the toilet height.) There had been a glitch ordering my equipment (commode and shower stool) and it wouldn’t be at the house for another 48 hours.  I brought a bedpan home with me from the rehab center, and used it for those two days, but carrying it into the bathroom and emptying it was difficult because my wrist was not much help holding it level.   

I was having a terrible problem with my ankles swelling.  I ordered an herbal diuretic online, which took almost an entire week to arrive.  I had no choice but to wait because there’d been a problem with my employment and subsequently my insurance was dropped.  It was eventually reestablished, but hadn’t been in time for my homecoming.  So I paid for my walker, commode, and cane out of pocket. 

I found that when I laid flat and tried to elevate my ankles in bed, my back would go out.  It had been twingy in the hospital, and rehab center, but the hospital bed supported it, and I rarely laid flat.  The disk had shifted during an MRI, toward the end of my stay in rehab, and had been giving me trouble ever since. 

This presented a problem that drove me to desperation.  I couldn’t lay down and elevate my legs because of my back.  My ankles were seriously swollen.  I couldn’t lie down to sleep, and I couldn’t prop myself either, in bed, without my disk shifting and causing excruciating pain.  I was terrified I would lie down and not be able to get back up. 

I was sleep deprived, and miserable.  After all I’d been through, I couldn’t face the idea of having this awful pain for the rest of my life, in addition to all the other physical limitations I would have to deal with daily.  What was the point? 

I actually wrote notes to each of my loved ones, apologizing and telling them how much I loved them, just in case I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end it.  And I seriously considered doing just that.  I didn’t want to live in pain every day.  I didn’t want to have to return to the medical system where I couldn’t make that choice, and I didn’t know if I could function and take care of myself if this horrendous back pain was now in the mix.  I sat on the edge of the bed, exhausted, desperate, depressed, defeated. 

Then Winnie and Linda knocked on the door and wheeled in this monstrous office chair that he’d replaced with a newer, lighter model.  Winnie’d spun it until the seat was at it’s highest level, and I put two pillows on top of it.  I found that if I wedged a pillow behind my back, I could doze off and sleep for around 20 to 30 minutes.  I also rigged up a tv tray with a pillow on top to elevate my legs, and found that my disk didn’t shift as it had when I was lying down. 

And then I went online looking for a hospital bed.  I’d gotten my first disability checks from my re-established benefits, and had a thousand dollars in my account.  It was supposed to be for catching up my rent, but Linda told me the rent could wait, I needed to sleep. 

The cheapest hospital bed was over $2000.  My VISA card was maxed.  Insurance wasn’t going to cover it, and besides, I was having trouble with insurance still.  I kept looking.  I looked up Gerry chairs.  They were almost as expensive as hospital beds, and weren’t much better than the office chair I was using.  Then I came across medical recliners.  It’s basically a Laz-E-Boy type chair, but it has a hydraulic lift that raises the chair and tilts it forward.  The stool is also solid under the backs of the legs when raised, and there is apoulstered support at the back of the arms so there are no gaps that leave your arms unsupported.  That feature makes the chair even better than a hospital bed. 

This chair saved my life.  It arrived within a week, Winnie got it into my room and plugged it in.  Though it will recline completely flat, I raise the stool and leave the back at 55 degrees.  My back is supported, and I can sleep my normal six to seven hours a night. 

I still have a little swelling problem (more in my right foot than my left, ironically enough), but I can sleep, shower, and take care of myself in my room.  I have graduated from the commode to my toilet with an elevated toilet seat (with arms) attached. 

And I am still concentrating on the things that I can do rather than those that I can’t

The first month I was home I crocheted Leroy a blanket to replace one he’d given to me in the rehab center.  It turned out very nice.  I’d stitched a cross on it, understanding that his faith was the most important thing of all to him. 

And also during that first month I ordered another set of Max and Ruby Beanie Babies for Rosie.  Cait and Joe texted me a picture of her holding them, with the exact exuberant smile I’d pictured on her face when I’d ordered the first set…so very many months before. 

A couple weeks after I got home in August, Winnie was laid off, and things have been a financial struggle between Winnie being on unemployment and me being on disability.  But we’re managing.  However there was no extra money to install grab rails, a railing up the garage steps into the main part of the house, (my room is off the garage), or any other special equipment that might have made things easier.  But I am an inventive person, and almost always find a way to compensate for my circumstances.  Like I placed my commode outside my bathroom door.  With the door closed, I could pull myself up by the doorknob, the door being braced by its frame.  And I hand washed my clothing, which was therapeutic for my broken wrist and arm muscles.  It took awhile for them to afford it, but Winnie installed a full railing up the steps so I could get into the main part of the house.  He and his son-in-law, JP, did this on Thanksgiving (which added to the long list of things I was Thankful for!), and it was the first time I was able to come upstairs for a family meal.  It meant dragging cushions upstairs to put on my chair at the table, and hobbling on my cane very slowly, but hey, it’s another thing I can do!  Sit and enjoy holiday meals with loved ones. 

I’m still on disability, and will be for quite awhile.  There are still some limitations that would make it impossible for me to work in an office every day, but that’s the can’t list.  What I can do is write, and I have managed to build and publish my Owl’s Eye View Magazine website.  It was a longtime dream before my accident.  I wrote and worked, and learned how to bring that dream to fruition.  And here we are.  Another thing I can do. 

Another thing I can do is be grateful.  To my family and friends who were there, worrying about me, providing clothes and incidentals, visiting me over great distance, sending me encouragement through phone calls, cards, flowers, and texts.  To the paramedics who dragged me out of my shattered car and rushed me to the trauma centers.  To the hospital and rehabilitation center staffs who put my broken body back together, made phone calls for me in the ER, nudged me, stretched me, cleaned me up, joked with me, hugged me, Hoyer lifted me, encouraged me, fed me, medicated me, kept watch over me, tested me, lifted me up to the parallel bars, set up transportation to doctor’s appointments, transported me, put me on and off of and cleaned my bedpans, cleaned my room, did my laundry, helped me with insurance glitches and faxes, and brought me Krispy Kreme (yes Peggy, that’s you!!). 

And finally, I am grateful to Leroy, for pointing out a very simple philosophy that has helped me immensely: Concentrate on things you can do, rather than things you can’t. Thank you, Leroy, for listening, laughing, (especially that wild laugh you’d let loose when I zoomed down the hall with my legs and arms out in the wheelchair, that face was priceless!), encouraging, and caring. 

I have yet to hug my grandchildren has been well over a year since I’ve seen them.  However, what I can do is Skype them, and thanks to the web cam I received for a Christmas present, I can see them face to face, talk to them, read stories I’ve written for them (I’m putting together a book of them), and even have tea parties with Rosie.  Little Joey recognizes me, and I heard and saw him say “Nana” for the first time just the other day.  All more things I can be grateful for. 

So as I go forward and meet whatever challenges life has for me, my answer will be, “Can do!” 



Hello one and all,

I have been scanning research books and materials onto my computer, (which is a hugely time-consuming project, but it’s allows me to sit and watch movies all day and still be productive, muahaha).  I’m zeroing in on health and nutrition books this week, trying to thin out my hardcopy library, which is way too extensive for the size of the room I rent. 

I came across “Stop the Insanity,” “Food,” “The Politics of Stupid,” and “Come on America, Let’s Eat,” all by Susan Powter. 

I have scanned them all into my laptop because, even after more than a decade and a half, the information in the books still is just as valid as when they were released.  Susan Powter’s strength, vitality, and nurturing spirit is just as helpful to me today as it was in 1993 when I first devoured “Stop the Insanity!”  When speaking of this particular tome, I wish to honor Susan because she has produced one of the very few books that I have read, cover to cover, twice.  While I return to reference books frequently and read passages for research purposes, I rarely read a book over again.  Too many books, too little time, you know? 

I have visited her website ( on occasion just to see what she’s up to these days.  She’s still healthy and helpful to people who need a pep talk, or recipes and tips to improve their health and well-being.  And she has just enough sarcastic response to the bs in the health and diet industry to render her a personal hero of mine. 

I give Susan Powter a lot of credit for having the gumption to learn how to live healthy.  She started out at over 260 pounds and alcohol addicted, and overcame it all.  But more than that, she came out with books, a TV show, videos and finally a website to show others how to accomplish the same thing.  What more could I ask from a personal hero? 

It is Susan’s attitude, pioneering efforts, and encouragement that help keep me striving toward wellness.  Thank you, Susan Powter for stopping the insanity for so many people through the years, myself certainly included. 

Personl addendum: (And I think Susan would approve of this.) You know, inspiration can come from seriously weird places.  Night before last I slept terribly.  My back was bothering me, which scares the crap out of me, because it makes me afraid that I’ll get stuck not being able to move, and when the back problems are going on it leaves me depressed and challenges my hope.  I’ve been concerned about my rapidly expanding behind (I’ve recently been comparing it to the dimensions of a hot air balloon) is in my clinical recliner almost constantly and that I’m not moving around enough.  My activities are all seated: writing, maintaining my website, scanning my considerable research library into the computer, watching movies, reading, and eating.  I was only standing to do minor chores and go to the bathroom.  This is not enough exercise, my therapists would be horrified. 
          I am the type of person who will turn a problem around and around in my head until I get it figured out.  I suspected that my back was revolting because I was sitting with the scanner in my lap, and pressing down on the spines of the books to flatten them on the bed of the scanner.  It was pulling my back muscles.  So I came up with the idea to sit my scanner on top of my printer and stand up to enter the books.  I scan a chapter standing up, then sit down to give my legs a break while it saves.  I have to lean over the click scan for each page, which, in Terriworld is a repetitive weight-bearing exercise!  Yay! 
          I slept well last night, and this morning my back is better.  No twinges.  I was up at five, got my dishes washed, and decided to extend this article with my progress report.  One step closer to getting out of my room and into a job that will actually support me and give me back some semblance of a life! 
          While back pain is never a good thing, in this case I think it helped me conquer a problem and find a new and healthier way of doing things.  I just needed to ‘stand up’ for myself! 



CHANGES IN Owl's Eye View

There’s big news and big changes coming your way in this issue of Owl's Eye View! 
          From this issue forward Owl's Eye View Magazine will offer fiction stories, novel excerpts, and vignettes. 
          I am removing the columns Fly Right and BS Busters. 
          I have signed up with Associated Content and am submitting my non-fiction pieces to them for publication. 
          Mick Loy, Loren Elliott, Mark Logan, CeeCee Charleston, Melanie Mirth, Jonas Wurst, and Larry Nunn all were working on Owl's Eye View in their spare time, zapping out an article for me a month.  They were almost relieved when I told them about the change in Owl's Eye View, and will be supplying me with ideas to submit to Associated Content.    
          What does this mean for Owl's Eye View readers?  It means I’m swapping out non fiction articles for fiction stories.  Instead of just one short story per issue, I will be including three short stories.  And then there will be the rest of the columns: Macabre Mirth, Screech On!, From the Perch, Life’s a Hoot, the novel excerpt, and Swooping Through the Years (Historical Society Page). 
          On the Wind Spirit will stay because the articles that Lucy Bernelli writes are almost always directly tie in to something occurring in and around Owl’s Nest. 
          The reason I decided to make this change is that from the inception of Owl's Eye View, I thought it was a little confusing to have health and nutrition articles in a monthly dark fiction magazine.  A Facebook friend recommended Associated Content to me.  They accept submissions, review them, publish them within a week.  I already have several items on that site:    Once on that page, type my name into the search box.  There are some non-fiction articles and some original poetry, so far, and I have several health and nutrition articles on the way.  So if you were a fan of one of the Owl's Eye View columns that is being removed, please know that the articles will be available on Associated Content. 
          I will also let you know, through Life’s a Hoot, what topics I’ve discussed in my articles on Associated Content that month. 
          So, Owl's Eye View readers, enjoy the changes that allow you to have the best of both worlds.  More of the dark fiction you love, and more health, nutrition, community, political, household, music and entertainment articles on the Associated Content site.  You win! 


Echo of Screech On

I don’t usually declare a theme for each issue of Owl’s Eye View, I prefer to let my columnists run with their own ideas and be surprised.  Every month I am delighted with what they have to offer.  This month Screech On! struck a chord for me…literally. 

The first time I listened to “Quicksilver” by Rogue and the Cruxshadows, I cried, it spoke to me on so many levels.  Such inspiration, intensity and passion all in one song. 

Then I saw the video with it’s little touches of alchemy here, there, and everywhere, and I was even more moved by the talent that is Rogue and the Cruxshadows. 

While Larry Nunn pondered the lyrics on a more global scale, a notion which excited me beyond belief, I was most inspired on a personal level.  I’m still partially disabled from an auto accident I had last year, and I’m physically limited.  Plus, I’m a writer and one rejection letter after another tends to zap one’s self-esteem.  Plus, the wages I was making at my pharmacy tech job were barely livable, so you can imagine the pittance I’m getting from disability insurance, not to mention all the hoops you have to jump through to continue to qualify for said insurance.  Plus the debt from all the medical bills, and we won’t even talk about the weight gain from being virtually sedentary for over a year. 

All of my personal problems were beginning to really piss me off, and hearing Rogue’s defiance ringing through the speakers riled me up, but better, riled me up in the right direction.  I decided it was high time for me to publish my own writing.  Here it is!  Owl’s Eye View Magazine online.  I decided to get in touch with my disability reps and find out about training and looking for a job I can do in spite of my limitations.  I decided to eat healthier, and I am.  Nothing processed.  All fresh fruits and veggies, almost no meat.  I’ve learned to make my own salsa, hummus, and guacamole.  A friend suggested for publishing my non-fiction articles, and I’ve been published, and actually paid.  It’s not much money, but I can put ‘free-lance writer’ on my resume in addition to all of my office and pharmaceutical experience which will hopefully nudge me in the direction of technical writing that I can do at home (and which is more lucrative than retail pharmacy teching).  And I’ve been trying to remember to just move around more.  Our house sits in a hill, and I can’t walk up the inclined driveway.  So my exercise comes from walking around in circles, mostly, and climbing the stairs up to the main house.  But I do set a timer and get up out of my chair and walk around many more times a day.  And I’ve stopped using the scooters provided by stores where I shop.  So I’ve made many positive changes in my life, and it started with the spark from one song: “Quicksilver.”

I think Larry’s notion of duel national anthems is remarkable and Rogue should perhaps pursue that on some level.   The ideals in the song so well reflect the original spirit of our forefathers.  I know it has bolstered my determination to move forward both personally and professionally in spite of it all. 

While Larry offers you well deserved congratulations, Rogue and Cruxshadows, I offer you thanks. 


On the opposite end of the inspirational scale, Lucy Bernelli’s article about Islam disturbed and unnerved me.  Knowing that there are still religions and governments that encourage virtual enslavement, rape, and abuse of women, from the time they are born causes me deep concern and frankly, embarrassment.  Embarrassment that the world’s enlightened women gained recognition, respect, and rights in the niches of the world where we reside yet allow this barbarism to continue outside of our immediate areas. 

I researched all afternoon yesterday on Youtube and have become a fan of Wafa Sultan,  Robert Spencer, M.D. Kavanwal and Nonie Darwish, to the extent that after watching their Youtube appearances or studying their websites, I've ordered their books. I think the best way to protect ourselves as women against the enslavement and abuses of Islam is to educate ourselves, try to share our knowledge with oppressed women, and stand ready. ...

After everything I've read, especially about Islamic encouragement to enslave, beat, rape,  and mutilate the genitalia of women, I can't believe that any country today would embrace Islam. I do understand that the only members of a populace that would follow the murdering pedophile muhammad are the basest, most misogynistic, pedophilic, domineering, and sadistic thugs of a free society.  I am extremely open-minded about other cultures, but not this one. I agree with Lucy that it is dangerous and insidious, and that the fact that they actually have a name for the lies they tell about the peacefulness of their religion, (taqiyya) that is sanctioned by their so-called messenger from God, demonstrates that it is an abomination hiding behind the silk trappings of a peaceful religion.  I suppose that labels me an Infidel. Absofreakinglutely.  And proud of it.  




This past month I have been preoccupied with my non-fiction research, and hope for the survival of my country in the wake of an ominous threat.  With dark clouds on the horizon, writing fiction seems almost frivolous, but Lucy Bernelli insures me that the only way to thwart a particular enemy is to live life as fully and freely as possible, and maintain a balance between professional, personal, and physical goals. 

What she said pointed out to me that I’d gotten off track.  So with the help of my kitchen timer, I divide my days equally between Owl’s Eye View, non-fiction articles and activism, my job hunt, Nana School (I’m teaching my granddaughter to read and write, along with exploring art, science, music, and other fascinating subjects), household chores and relaxation.

With everything crammed into my day, I divide up the relaxation time and tuck little pieces of it between the hours I block out for all the activity.  The activism and non-fiction articles consume my mind, even while I’m working on other projects, because of the awesome responsibility to educate and encourage others to defend freedoms that are threatened.  The work I’m doing is quiet, yet incredibly desperate, and it colors all the other spheres of my world. 

In this issue, Larry Nunn has uncovered a bit of writing that I did upon request of a songwriter friend.  Funny how a poem I wrote over five years ago could be relevant to the serious non-fiction work I’m doing today, but it fits.  While it’s a specific poem about a specific character, it illustrates nicely the mind-set of some of today’s fanatics, and the fatal seed they bring from centuries ago into the present. 

Even though I’m preoccupied with one aspect of my writing, the labor of love that is Owl’s Eye View, gives me a place to free my soul from worry for a few hours a day. 

Seeing articles of spiritual hope from Lucy Bernelli is helpful not only to me, but to everyone who clicks through Owl’s Eye View as well. 

Being in the world of Owl’s Nest is comforting and even though there are evils lurking, I know my Owl friends will figure out how to overcome them and prevail. 

Enjoy this issue, explore Owl lit, and keep a feather in your heart. 




I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom recently.  There is a serious threat to our country that puts our freedom in danger and I’ve been researching extensively about it in preparation for writing a book of essays. 

While Signe Hannigan, our beloved Owl Crone, identifies with owls, wise, predator birds that survive in the shadows, I mostly identify with seagulls. 

First, the live at the beach with the hypnotic rhythm of the waves and tides; the sunrises and sunsets sliding by as time passes, rain washing them clean of salt, the surf spraying in their faces as they troll for food, and bob on the surface of the ocean, resting, drinking I the salt air and the view for all of their days…which is a lifelong dream of mine. 

Second, they live on seafood, right out of the water, salty, fresh, lean, mmmmm!

Third, they soar through the sky oblivious to religion, politics, economy, war, racism, and all sorts of other troubling issues plaguing humanity. 

The only thing they will fight over is food, and if there’s enough of that it’s live and let live. 

Gulls represent freedom, both physical and spiritual that human beings can never know. 

Especially now that I have a hard time just walking, I picture gulls soaring about; the tang of sea air in their nostrils; sea water drying of their feathers; soaring; diving into the surf, rewarded with a fish or clam for their supper; wading in the surf at the end of the day, soaking their fees, nodding off to the ocean’s lullaby; and I think, now that is freedom. 

Td  7/16/10



As I look over the articles for this issue, I must say there’s some seriously intense stuff…I know it’s a dark fiction magazine and all, but wow…

The Crone’s brief missive in “From the Perch” is cryptic bordering disturbing. 

Lucy’s “Owl Medicine” article in “On the WindSpirit” is informative and insightful about Native American Mysticism surrounding our favorite creatures…and possibly the lightest piece in this issue.

“Swooping Through the Years” offers a tribute to Connor Boyle, Cassandra’s husband who literally planted the seeds for Owl’s Nest with her.  It’s amazing what they accomplished starting with two acres of garden and less than a square mile of space to build a town. 

Larry Nunn introduces us to the band, Formalin, via some particularly intense lyrics they have performed recently at Screech, and no doubt will be requested to perform again and again so haunting is their message. 

Macabre Mirth is particularly—well—macabre this issue. 

And then there are my three stories, “A Place at the Table,” “Bugsy & Mugsy,” and “Setharina” if the columns haven’t quite gotten you to that chilly little place in your soul where terror lives. 

The final little push into that delightful, chilling place is this issues installment of “Reflection.” 

So sit back in your uneasy chair and enjoy the journey. 



This is a rather momentous issue because it is the last installment of “Reflection.” 
I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 
If you like it enough to want to buy it, please email me: and let me know.  If I can show a publisher that there is a demand for the printed book and that I have interested readers, it will go a long way to getting me a contract, not only for “Reflection,” but for the rest of my books as well. 

Starting next issue, I will be running installments of “Holy Terrors.”  This book establishes on-going characters that will carry into “Carnival” and “Carnival Battle” that I will be publishing in early 2011.  Actually, I’ve published “Carnival,” but I will re-publish it with “Carnival Battle,” as a refresher. 

I’ve been very busy with all of these on-going characters and stories for the magazine.  We’re going to have a lot of fun together in 2011!  I’m also planning on updating and publishing “The People Of Owl’s Nest,” a comprehensive list of all the Owl’s Nest characters, and descriptions and what books/stories they’re from.  So you can keep track of your favorite Owls. 

On a technical note, I FINALLY figured out the glitch that was causing all the text on the site to be flush left.  You will notice it is now centered, and easier on the eye when reading.  You’re welcome.  If you were here with me, I’d let you doink me on the head for not figuring it out sooner.  Haha!  

It’s been quite a month.  There’s a hum in Owl’s Nest.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s an energy under the surface of everyone’s consciousness, a warmth, though just beneath that there is a chill.  And everyone seems to have a story going on, something that connects them irrevocably to Owl’s Nest. 

As if they’re cinching in their loose ends, tightening up their borders, stowing the irrelevant and battening down for a storm.  It’s more than just summer drawing nigh, it’s as if souls were polishing shields. 

Eh, probably just me. 

Larry Nunn has a weird little story going on.  He’s writing it in four parts, and cannot tell me how it’s going to end, because he doesn’t remember.  I’m hoping he gets his crap together because I read Part 1 and I’m going to be very upset if he can’t dredge up the rest from his traumatized brain… 

Signe has some verse for you this issue that I found moving, and hopefully you will too.  She’s writing close to the vest (or perhaps I should say close to the feather) these days.  I’m not sure if I want to put pieces together and try to figure out the feeling of foreboding I get when I read her stuff…

Nathan Williams sparked a memory in my heart and mind with his story.  I vividly remember The Lindens in Duck Creek.  Actually, Mary Young was a real-life person, and my father’s cousin.  I used to love to visit her historical house because it had secret rooms upstairs, including one that you almost needed a map to find.  It was Mary’s husband Clyde’s study, (he was a writer) and was wall to wall books.  I could have moved into it and never come out.  I was just a little girl when we went there, and even then Clyde’s writing room appealed to me more than any other room in the house. 
Nathan’s story, of course isn’t about my cozy feelings about that hidden room, but souls that pass in the night on their way into and out of the world. 

I’m pleased to see that Lucy Bernelli is sharing her personal stories about her lifetime of shamanism.  She’s so knowledgeable about religion, but her forte is, always has been, and always will be, Native American spirituality.  She shines in the glow of Grandmother Moon and Owl Medicine keeps her senses sharp.  She will help us find the way through darkness, which is spilling down upon us. 

And for that we shall prevail. 

(This is a real-life place.)
Last but certainly not least, a couple of Owls told me that if you want to get out of town on a Saturday morning and find unique crafts and extraordinary art, a great place to head for is Chestertown Farmers’ Market in Chestertown Maryland.  Information is available at:  and they also have a Facebook page.  I also do my best to post the Facebook pages of the Chestertown artisans, whose work is remarkable. 

Okay, my friends, read on and enjoy. 




Hello faithful readers and fellow Owl’s Nest locals.  October is probably my favorite month of the year.  I welcome cooler weather, explosions of fall colors, and Halloween. 

This issue of Owl's Eye View has some new and interesting features.

First of all, I scanned my maps of Owl’s Nest into my computer, and decided to put them up on the site.  So there is a maps button.  There’s a current map of Owl’s Nest, and there are two historical maps, one of the area when Connor and Cassandra first arrived, before Owl’s Nest actually existed, and one of Owl’s Nest when Cassandra and Connor had established their Farmers’ Market.  Plus, if I can get it uploaded without screwing it up, there is a Cross Reference Directory that accompanies the maps, though for the most part, I’ve written the names of businesses and residents right on the maps themselves, in spite of having to write very, very small. 

Also, I’m offering two short stories a month instead of three, but Screech On! has changed from offering reviews of Owl’s Nest bands to articles from Larry Nunn that are lengthier stories. 

Also, be sure to peruse the Causes button because I’ve added two: 

National Warfighters’ Symposium

I have a friend, Boone Cutler who is Co-Founder of the National Warfighters’ Symposium. 
The website is

 It's a great and important cause.  I hope those of you in
Georgia will attend the symposium.  And I sincerely hope that the rest of you will donate to this cause.  Our military, law enforcement and first response personnel need support.  They need our concern, and they need to know about all the organizations and people who are reaching out to them but perhaps remain unknown to the very people who need them the most. 

Please help in any way you can.  On Facebook, search Warfighter's Symposium and 'like' it.  Check out the website, and also, Boone's book: "Voodoo in
Sadr City." It's a terrific book that shows Iraq from the inside out.  Extremely informative. 

Those of you who know me know I don't go around asking for donations.  But this is a cause I believe in.  I believe in our military and law enforcement and know they have an incredibly difficult job to do and they risk their lives doing it.  The least we can do is care enough to learn about what they do and how their jobs could be made safer and easier. 



If you or someone you know has been abused by a priest or other clergy member, please know that you are not alone, and that there is emotional support, counseling, and advice waiting for you with this organization. 


As for the regular columns in Owl's Eye View, I know you won’t want to miss the second part of Manta in the Screech On! column.  Larry’s story has certainly managed to suck me in. 

Swooping Through the Years has Nathan Williams delving into Lucy Bernelli’s lineage, this particular column relating Corinth Nash Newton’s story. 

In On the WindSpirit Lucy Bernelli tells us about the first time she solo smudged at the tender age of seven, already a shaman in her heart and soul. 

Melanie Mirth gives us a little taste of the hospitality her tavern Macabre Mirth offers in her vignette of the same name this issue.  My favorite hangout in Owl’s Nest. 

Signe Hannigan talks about the precarious balance of good and evil in From the Perch.  I get the feeling that these articles of hers are merely a preamble to a much bigger story.  And I have another feeling that that story will be breaking right here, on the Owl's Eye View site. 

Picture Perfect is an eerie little story I wrote a couple of years ago, inspired by a visit to the Nanticoke Powwow.  There was a native flutist there who wowed me, and I decided the story needed telling. 

Whatever Doesn’t Eat Me First is a story inspired by my dear friend Linda, who often uses that phrase.  It triggered a visual for me one evening, and I ended up writing this little tidbit. 

Finally, there is the first installment of my novel, Holy Terrors.  I must warn you, that besides the normal ookiness of my novels, this particular one deals with the subject of child rape.  There are some very graphic scenes within it, that some of you may find upsetting, and this novel is more mature, adult readers.  I wrote this novel because a very dear, dear friend of mine was victimized in this way when he was a child, and church investigators continued to turn his life inside out all through his twenties and thirties trying to discredit him and defeat his accusations in court.  The entire situation infuriated me to the bone, and I expressed it in the best way I could, through my fiction. 

While Holy Terrors is a work of fiction, many priests and other clergy men and women do indeed prey on children.  It is a serious problem that should never be allowed to fade from public attention. 

So there you are!  Have a great month reading up on the goings on in Owl’s Nest.  If you have any questions, comments, or wish to request an article or installment of a novel you missed somewhere along the way, please feel free to email me at and you will hear back from me. 

Have a great October and a safe and Happy Halloween! 



After a brutal car accident last year I spent four months in a rehab center (I managed to tear up every one of my limbs, a couple ribs and my sternum.) that was 400 miles from my Georgia and Delaware families and friends.  The staffs in both the hospital and rehab center were friendly and caring, but it wasn’t until a rare moment when I lay sobbing in pain and despair one morning, that I discovered a shining friend.  Before I left the rehab center, I wrote this poem for Leroy: 

I didn’t think I would want to remember
This miserable time in my life. 
I thought I’d just want to put it behind me,
All the mean pain and the strife. 

But your voice floated in while telling a nurse
I was crying with despair and pain,
And I knew that a friend was waiting for me
To come through the worst of the rain. 

The blanket you gave me is not near so warm
As the caring friendship you show.
Since God saw fit to bless me with you
And lift me above all my woe. 

Hearing you laugh as I sail in my chair
Down the hall with my limbs in the air
Is music to me that picks up my spirits
As sure as the smile that you wear. 

No matter how far I might travel from you
Your friendship blanket will keep
My heart from freezing on cold winter nights
As I drift into peaceful sleep. 

And remember I will, this time in my life
Much easier passed with a friend. 
Though I’ll leave, in the blanket I’ll wrap myself up
And remember your smile to the end. 

To Leroy Gilchrist: Thank you, my friend, for the blanket, the quiet talks, and the many, many laughs.    7/4/09


On to the rest of Owl’s Eye View! 

Lucille Nash, Lucy Bernelli’s great, great, aunt, is featured in Swooping Through the Years this issue.  Nathan Williams captures the romance and reality of this tragic story. 

Signe Hannigan, in From the Perch first offers us a poem, and then an article calling out a splinter Catholic group that protests and mocks the Prayer to the Seven Directions, which completely offended many Owls, including Lucy Bernelli and CeeCee Charleston.  It’s not nice to fool with Mother Owl.  Muahaha!

Don’t miss the musical drama playing out in Larry Nunn’s life!  Click into Screech On! for the third installment of “Manta!” 

In Macabre Mirth we find a little holiday chill from our favorite haunted tavern mistress, Melanie Mirth. 

Lucy Bernelli, in On the WindSpirit updates us about life after “Reflection,” then goes on with a story about her first use of Shaman Wisdom Cards.  Very informative and pure Lucy. 

“Michel’s Charge” is one of the two short stories featured in this issue.  Wilson Nesbitt can tell you that some guardian angels do more than just watch.

“Squirmies” is one of two short stories featured in this issue.  The title is all the hint you’re gonna get!  Muahahaha!

And finally there is Installment II of “Holy Terrors.”  Please remember there is graphic violence and child rape in this novel—not everyone’s cup of tea—but the story needed telling.   It also makes a point about why Owl’s Nest is fiercely protective of its kids and why Signe Hannigan and her ancestry is leery to a fault about priests. 

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue, and that it gives you a few goosebumps. 

And finally, I wish all of you and your family and friends a terrific Thanksgiving! 




Well, it’s Chrismahanakwanzaka time again in Owl’s Nest.  This issue is part holiday, part somber. 

My literary gift to you, my readers, in this issue is a bonus short story, “Carnival.”  It’s a must read so that you understand what’s going on when you read “Carnival Battle” in January’s issue of Owl's Eye View.  There’s trouble brewing in Signe’s cauldron and it’s about to come to a boil. 

Nathan Williams in “Swooping Through the Years,” recalls Elf Owls, that are commonplace in Owl’s Nest—for better or worse. 

Signe Hannigan’s “From the Perch” column is more solemn, and confirms my sense that something is brewing in my little town.  I’m almost afraid to imagine what it might be, if it has Signe riled up. 

Lucy Bernelli tells us about building her first medicine wheel during the first years of her shaman training.  I’m finding these chronicles quite interesting, and I hope you will as well. 

In “Screech On!” Larry Nunn is alive to finish the tale of “Manta” you’ve been waiting on pins and needles to hear.  I’m certainly looking forward to the no-doubt chilling ending Larry has in store for us!

Melanie Mirth has come up with a gruesome little holiday vignette for us.  Brrrr! More chills than a nor’easter!

Gramma Dolly is about loss and remembrance on Christmas Eve, and a child’s faith… 

…While Christmas Feast is a rather twisted story about elves your mama warned you about…sort of. 

Also, there is the conclusion of Holy Terrors that should keep you awake on Christmas Eve—who knows, you may even catch Santa in the act!  (No, no, no, not the way the priests got caught in the act, I just meant coming down the chimney…jeez!)  

Again, please remember that Holy Terrors deals with child rape, has some graphic violence and sexual situations, not for the munchkins or faint of heart. 

All in all it’s a pretty packed issue coming your way this season to rescue you when you’re up to your bloodshot eyeballs with cookies, wassail, candy canes, egg nog, warm and fuzzy holiday schmaltz—just lock yourself into a dimly lit room and come back to Owl’s Nest for a surreality check. 

On a personal note, I can hardly believe it’s been a year since the first issue.  I must say it’s been a pleasure seeing my readership grow, and a pleasure knowing I keep you awake at night.  Muahaha! 

It’s been a year of on-going recovery, during which I realized a lifelong dream of publishing my fiction. 

It’s also been a year of making many new friends on Facebook as well as reconnecting with longtime friends from my past. 

The year was filled with tremendous hardship and struggle, but also accomplishment and joy—a true rollercoaster ride filled with screams of fear and pain—and laughter. 

I am looking forward to year number two of Owl's Eye View, and all the bumps in the night, ooky stories, and squiggly, skittering nightmares I will have fun cramming into each issue. 

In the meantime, enjoy Issue 12! 




How to begin a column amidst tremendous upheaval and transition. 

For months the ultra sensitive Owls have felt something of a surface tension in Owl’s Nest.  There was nothing overtly wrong, but the tiny bubbles were forming on the bottom of the cauldron; something was slowly coming to a boil. 

And boil it did—right over. 

Read about it in Carnival Battle. Columnists in this first issue of the New Year 2011 had columns complete before the events chronicled in Carnival Battle.  But as we move forward, the myriad of changes and all the ramifications incurred from them will be reported upon at length, I’m certain.  Should be an interesting year for both Owl’s Nest locals and visitors alike. 

On a more personal note, not only is it a new year, but it is an entirely new era in Owl’s Nest. 

Though Signe Hannigan's physical death occurred decades ago, she was blessed with incredibly strong ancestral powers that allowed her to walk among us here in Owl’s Nest, and be a part of our lives from time to time. 

Her destiny is to apply those powers in a new direction, well, all told, an ancient direction, that requires her complete devotion—and utter dedication and focus of her entire range of powers to this call—a call to ensure the survival of us all. 

On a selfish note, I will miss Signe at Screech on Halloween night, rocking Owl’s Nest with Doveshadow and 5CC. 

Not to mention her warm friendship and advice. 

However, whenever there’s a dilemma in my life, I guess I know how she would advise me; all I have to do is look to her example: Take the selfless route. 

I am honored to count Signe Hannigan as a personal and intimate friend and fellow Owl. 

Just as I am honored that you read my work when you need some ooky in your life.  Make sure you stop by in the dead of night. 




Quite a hoot so far, 2011 is starting out with a lot of laughs.  After getting Owl's Eye View online during the day of my birthday, January 11, it snowed in Georgia, then iced over, consequently most of the state closed when the governor called a state of emergency.  Winnie had taken his granddaughter home to North Carolina and was stuck there, so Linda, Cinco (Winnie & Linda’s cat) and me were left to celebrate alone.  Fear not, we found an ice-cream cake in the freezer, my butterscotch shnaaps and Army Wives First Season dvds in my Christmas gift haul, and celebrated in chick flick style: drinking, crying and laughing. 

Then came my friend JP’s 40th birthday wake later in the month.  One of many to eulogize his rapidly decomposing youth, I read the following original poem: 

Do not go gentle into that good night...
But party on til morning's light
Alas you'll sleep the morrow away
Not even caring if you get laid. 

But tonight we somberly bid adieu
To the party youngster that was you
And join you for the wild ass ride
Over the hill on the downward side.

And did you see that hearse go by? 
Your youth's inside, hope you waved bye!
Pennywise will drive it away
Never to be heard from after today. 

We're here to wake the youth of JP
Well on his way to AARP.
So lift a glass and knock back some booze;
He's wrinkling up fast, not a moment to lose. 

(I kept it short in deference to the newly aged who require frequent naps...) 

JP’s friends had him drink a shot with every gift he opened…needless to say humor abounded, and JP barely remembers the poem, being roasted by other eulogists, or…well, pretty much anything else, including his transition to junior grade geezer.  Welcome to the club, JP!

I looked up an old friend and former teacher of mine, and found that his daughter is Claire Donato, a stunning experimental poet whom I friended on Facebook.  I found her poetic imagery quite fascinating, and she thought it was neat that I was a student of her father’s when he was first beginning to teach.  I hope you will transfer some of your reading interest to Claire’s work.  Google her poetry and buy up her books! Enjoy! 

Turning attention to the goings-on in Owl’s Nest, things are settling down with Meredith Alden in town, and Nathan Williams’ “Swooping Through the Years” column is abuzz with the ramifications of having a new “Owl Maiden.”

Meredith herself is beginning a series of “From the Perch” columns about her personal heritage to set the record straight once and for all.  Her family history will no doubt be a collection of fascinating family reads, starting this issue with her father, Trevor Alden. 

Lucy Bernelli continues to extol her wisdom about following the shamanistic path in “On the WindSpirit.”  Additionally, she has a story about Father William McGoohan’s epiphany concerning his loyalty to the Catholic Church, as well as information about Hemley Gonzalez, a real-life philanthropist whose cause is to ease the suffering in the world.  Lucy’s column is both informative and inspiring, a must read. 

“Screech On!” also carries a duel theme this issue.  Of course, Larry Nunn couldn’t resist reporting about the huge party at Screech to celebrate the passing of the baton from Owl Crone to Owl Maiden.  But before that, he excitedly reports about his real-life friend, Brian McTear, and the feature article about him in the Philly Inquirer.  Another must-read about a heroic leader in the indie music world. 

“Macabre Mirth” is well, macabre as usual.  If you are a fan of Melanie Mirth’s bizarre vignettes, let me assure you, you will not be disappointed in this one. 

And of course you don’t want to miss the short stories this issue:  Humpty Mommom will give you pause whenever opening the freezer door, and Paula’s Pantry reveals aspects of the history of Owl’s Nest’s historical restaurant’s background that most Owls aren’t even aware of.  

Now that the story of Carnival Battle has been unfolded in Issue 1 of this year, I decided I’m in a novella mood.  This issue I present Part I of Screech, which will conclude in next months issue.  I’m sure the story of Doveshadow meeting Signe Hannigan is one that Larry Nunn drooled over, but I beat him to the punch and interviewed both Signe and Reuel and dashed off this novella.  Eat your heart out, Lar…  (Doing so would surely give me fodder for another novella!) 

So there you have it.  Updates on my quirky life, and hints (perhaps warnings…) about what you have to look forward to this month in Owl's Eye View. 

Have fun, and thank you for reading! 


And so I’ve come full circle.  On March 27 I will be moving from Georgia to Pennsylvania to live with my son and his family. 

I will miss my Georgia family with all my heart, and will most likely cry for part of the close to 800 mile trip, but I am very excited to be at a new beginning in my life. 

Just when I was starting to feel like I’d been shoved onto an ice floe and was useless because I’m 53, have some physical limitations and apparently considered a less attractive employee then the young-uns with their fancy degrees and nimble musculature, along comes my son and daughter-in-law who ask if I would be willing to move in and help them out being a full-time Nana. 

Let the hugging begin! 

My only condition is that I don’t ever have to go out in the snow and ice.  As soon as we locked in that agreement, the deal was set.  And yes I’m weird for my age…most people move to warmer climes as they age…I am apparently bass-ackwards as usual. 

All in all, I think this coming part of my life is going to be a hoot.  I have a lot of laughs with my kids and grandkids and no doubt will have tons to talk about on Facebook and in this column.  Keep reading. 

On a writing note, my dear real-life friend, Terry Segal, PhD, has published her book “Enchanted Journey,” based on her workshops of the same name.  Terry is a licensed marriage and family therapist, with a PhD in Energy Medicine and my dear friend.  I hope she sells a billion copies, because that would mean that a billion families would benefit by the wonderful content of her book.  It’s a must read!  Certainly check out Dr. Terry Segal’s website:, as well as her blog:  Learn how to slay the dragons in your life, and move through your own “Enchanted Journey!”  For those of you who are in the Alpharetta, Georgia area, Terry will be speaking and holding workshops at Meditating Mantis (1025 Canton Street, Roswell, GA 30075 / (770) 645-6936 / )  Check out their website and call them for details. 

One more thing in the personal segment of this column.  There is a new Cystic Fibrosis drug that treats the cause of CF rather than just the symptoms.  This is a breakthrough for sufferers of CF, and I hope you’ll read all about it in the following article by Melly Alazraki.
Hopefully the cure for this dreaded disease is just around the corner! 

Okay, it’s time to talk about Owl’s Eye View. 

In From the Perch, Meredith Alden introduces her plans for her column.  She will discuss her family line in Project Personal Legacy, and in Project Scream cover abuses of women through time, right up to the present, and give oppressed women voice.  A loud voice, too.  The issues she addresses in these columns will hopefully compel you to research further and scream along with her to draw attention to millions of women who are oppressed, abused, and silenced. 

The Bottle Was…  is a little ditty I wrote from a starter sentence for a writing contest a few years ago.  I whipped out the story over my Cheerios one morning.  Never heard back from the contest, so here it is for you, my friends.  Chills!

Barnacle Bill will make you think twice about taking a dip in the river!  Muahaha! 

Diamond Rings is a sparkly little Macabre Mirth vignette that Melanie Mirth has all ready for you this issue.  Dim the lights….

Ever toss a penny in a wishing well?  Nathan Williams has a story with a little twist on that theme, straight out of the annals of the Owl’s Nest Historical Society into his column, Swooping Through the Years.  Memory Lane in Owl’s Nest can be a gnarly, twisted little path.  Join Nathan for a stroll…

If you love the ballet you can’t miss Fouette in this issue’s Screech On! column.  Larry Nunn relates a performance he will never forget. 

Lucy Bernelli shares her vision quest with you, and the story of her Otter Medicine Bag.  Don’t forget to visit her shop, WindSpirit, 202 Church Street, in Owl's Nest, Delaware. 

Finally, I offer you the conclusion of Screech!, my novella featuring Doveshadow, (which, incidentally is based on the real live Darkwave group, The Cruxshadows. Thank you, Rogue and the Cruxshadows for the inspiration.  And congratulations, Rogue and Jess, on your impending parenthood! 

Okay, loyal readers.  Hopefully this issue will provide you with your monthly fix of dread and anxiety.  Until next month of course! 



Lots to talk to you about both literary and personally this month! 

First, I’m here in PA, and the actual move went much more smoothly than I anticipated.  A big huge thank you to my son, Joe, and my honorary son, Chris for all their help, driving to Georgia, loading my stuff and driving me home to PA.  Another big thank you to Bill for the use of his vehicle to tow my U-Haul trailer. 

My Georgia family sent me off with much love and a really cool camera to take (and post online!) pictures of my adventures in PA.  Thank you Winnie, Linda, JP, Christine, Ash, Alex, Nan and Roey for all of your love and support.  I miss all of you dearly and love you very much.  And a special thank you to Winnie who drove me all over the place looking for a truck with a hitch, and U-Haul confirmations and help with the vehicle information.  And certainly to Linda who understood and cheered me on…thank you for being the sister I waited for all my life. 

I also want to thank everyone working on my room and bathroom at Joe and Cait’s.  I am touched with all the work and effort being poured out to make me comfortable.  Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Everything is beautiful so far, and I’m sure will exceed my dreams!   

I have to admit that as much as I love my grandchildren and wanted to be with them, I had some qualms about munchkins around my injuries, but for the most part they (5 and 2) are aware of my ‘booboos’ and are pretty careful not to step on me or otherwise hurt me.  Even my two year old little T-Rex-in-a-china-shop (as his sister and I call him, then giggle of course!), is careful.  So I’m doing okay in that respect. 

My biggest problem is writing and keeping up with my magazine deadlines while my stuff is all mostly packed, awaiting the completion of my room.  But I pulled this issue together okay, and hopefully by next month I’ll be settled in and a little more efficient. 

I am getting a feel for the routines here at Cait and Joe’s, and starting to feel a part of things.  I am learning all the names of Rosie and Joey’s Nick Jr. friends, haha. 

Laughs abound here with my son and daughter-in-law, and I’m looking forward to years of them! 

Okay.  Issue 4: 

In Swooping Through the Years, Nathan Williams, town historian and librarian has linked Signe Hannigan’s (and subsequently Meredith Alden’s) lineage to Athena.  Interesting read. 

From the Perch has drama on a personal and worldly level.  Meredith Alden brings us an account of hate violence that is truly disturbing, and needs to be considered. 
Also, Meredith Alden has a personal story for us about her reunion with her grandfather.  Don’t miss this one! 

Lucy Bernelli, in On the WindSpirit reveals how, when she was thirteen she received her Owl headpiece, part of her shaman paraphernalia.  Quite interesting as a personal insight into Lucy’s shamanistic world, as well as into Native American culture. 

Larry Nunn tell us in Screech On! a romantic tale of musician May Elise Beaumont and a mysterious admirer in her life as she debuts at Screech!  This is a special column to me because May Elise Beaumont is based on my real-life friend Mary Ellen Brown, a recording artist and writer who created the unforgettable character of Iaan.  I hope Larry and I do Mary’s character justice and that she likes the article. 

If you’re looking to be weirded out, look no further than Macabre Mirth where Melanie Mirth spins us a mini-chill for the month, called “Marathon.” 

And once your appetite is whetted with “Marathon,” move on to my short stories, “Death Shower,” and “Mausoleum” for continued ookiness. 

Finally, there is Part I of my novella “Tooth for a Tooth.”  It’s a creepy little tale that gives a whole new meaning to ‘living green.’   Muahaha! 

I hope the ooky goodness of this issue makes up for my being a little late getting it on the site.  Seek out your favorite reading chair and enjoy the chills! 




I must say I still have it…

…the ability to write and concentrate amid utter chaos like when I used to do my Math homework on the school bus. 

Only now it’s writing columns for Owl's Eye View amid shrieks and laughter of my grandchildren.  Their antics are raucous and ca-RA-zy, and I love being around them.  They keep me chuckling. 

But producing novel excerpts, two short stories and ghost writing five columns every month demands a chunk of time, so at least some of the writing happens at the circus that is my son and daughter-in-law’s home.  It’s heartening to know that I though I walk with a limp and can’t get out of a non-hydraulic chair to save my ass, at least I can still write no matter what. 

In Owl’s Nest a blizzard has surprising results—not to mention a surprising origin!  Read all about it in “Swooping Through the Years” written by town historian, Nathan Williams. 

Meredith Alden reveals her tragic family heritage in “From the Perch” this issue, continuing with Forest and Clara Alden, her great-grandparents. 

A mysterious metal band shakes things up not only just at Screech Nightclub, but in all of Owl’s Nest.  There’s evil, and then there’s evil, and you can see the difference in “Screech On!” this month when Larry Nunn shares his story. 

Lucy Bernelli relates her first shawl dance in full regalia as she learns shamanism growing up.  Keep track of her progress in “On the WindSpirit.” 

“Toe Tag” is the ‘Macabre Mirth’ vignette this month, written in Melanie Mirth’s unmistakably ooky style.  Gotta love it! 

“Occurrence on Brandy Street” is one of my earliest short stories.  Found it in a drawer and decided to share it with you this month. 

“Reboot This!” came to me when remembering a cubicle computer crisis while working a former corporate job.  I remembered because I had a similar crisis on my home computer, and thought the chills it gave me might give you a couple too…muahaha!

And finally we have the conclusion of my novella, “Tooth for a Tooth,” which seems to just fit the dark reputation of Owl's Eye View Magazine. 

Lots of stuff to keep you up late, with spiders reading over your shoulder! 




Greetings to you, my reading friends!

Let’s see, it’s been a busy month.  On a personal note, in Pennsylvania I’ve finally moved into my room, thanks to my industrious son and his father-in-law who have worked like fiends to finish it, and the bathroom in the basement.  The window they installed means I have a sunny little room that makes me very happy, and though the bathroom is far from finished, the toilet is installed and working, which is all I need until they can get to the shower and sink.  So I am no longer sleeping in the middle of Grand Central Station otherwise known as my son’s living room.  Whew! 

On a sad note, there has been a tragic loss in my Georgia family.  Roey, my wrinkled-butt dear friend has passed into brain-death due to complications during surgery.  Family members are flying in as I write this column, and by the time this issue of Owl's Eye View goes online Roey’s family will have allowed him to pass into the afterlife.  My love and prayers go with him, and certainly to my family in Georgia who are stricken deeply with the loss of such an energetic, loving, funny, and decent man who was loved by one and all.  I’ll miss you Wrinkle-Butt! 

On a happier note, I am feeling great relief at having my toes fixed.  They are healing as I write, and I am grateful to Dr. Alexander Terris and his staff  for their skill and for the hilarious conversation I had during the procedure that was almost better than the Novocain…almost. 

So this month came with a little happiness, a little stress-relief, and sadly, some grief.  Life goes on and on. 

And so I come to this issue of Owl's Eye View:

First off, let me tell you that I have a book called People of Owl’s Nest, that is a listing of everyone in Owl’s Nest, with their descriptions and background information.  I keep these notes so that when I use on-going characters in novels and short stories, there is believable continuity and my readers don’t have to email me saying I screwed up someone’s eye color or lineage, or who was waiting tables at Paula’s Pantry in 1932, or who were the cops on duty in 2001. 

Nathan Williams was in my office the other day while I was skimming through People of Owl’s Nest looking up background information for a story.  He started nosing through my People of Owl’s Nest notes and asked if he could publish them in his column.  Knowing how organized and professional he is, I figure it can only be a good thing to let him have at it. 

Knowing Nate, he’ll probably dig up stories I didn’t even know took place—so look for segments of People of Owl’s Nest in “Swooping Through the Years” in future issues. 

However, this issue, Nathan writes about his own personal experience with the Holden estate.  Consider it a little warm-up for the first excerpt of my novel, “Into the Mist,” which appears in this issue.  Hope you enjoy both. 

In “From the Perch” Meredith Alden covers more of her family history with a story about her curious travels into the past to learn about her great-grandmother, Maggie.  Interesting read. 

“On the WindSpirit” contains a vital message from an abuse victim.  All I’m saying.  Read the column and take heed. 

Larry Nunn comes across a surprise in the Music Niche that spurs his “Screech On!” column for this issue.  Sheer ookiness!

Macabre Mirth is, well, macabre as usual.  “Amputation” will surely ook you out, and leave you hoping you aren’t the friend Melanie Mirth is writing about.  (Just kidding Mel!) 

My short stories for this issue are “Running Grudge” which is a little piece of Owl’s Nest history, not to infringe on Nathan William’s territory, and “Work it, Baby!” which hopefully will zing you with some irony. 

And finally comes the first installment of “Into the Mist,” my novel about the Wynthrop/Holden legends.  Hopefully you will enjoy the ookiness over the next seven issues. 

In the meantime I hope your summer is off to a good start.  We’re having a little heat wave here in Owl’s Nest, which is supposed to break next week.  Looking forward to that. 

In the meantime, read, read, read!  Hopefully you’ll get some chills to keep you cool in the summer sun. 

By the way, Happy Fathers’ Day to all you dads who are reading! 




Whew!  It’s pretty hot and muggy in Owl’s Nest!  I hope everyone got to relax and have fun on Independence Day.  Though there were fireworks on the Fourth, (and I could see them from Cait & Joe’s window!  In the air conditioning with no mosquitos or gnats eating me alive!) a freakish silence reigned for the rest of the long week-end.  My family went to the beach  at my daughter-in-law’s parents’, and I had the house to myself.  I played the piano for the first time in over ten years.  It never occurs to me to play when the kids are here, too many other things to do.  But in the eerily quiet house, it was nice.  Cait has a fancy electric piano with strings and harpsichord settings, among many others, and it’s fun to play…almost makes me sound good…almost… 

I got some writing done, too.  And it was a treat watching non-G-rated movies in the middle of the day up in the living room, though I still find myself humming the theme to Nick Jr. shows from time to time, no matter how much Metallica and Cruxshadows I play with the ear-buds on in my room.  Sorry Het and Rogue! 

There is some somber news.  We found out this week that Cait’s dad, Tom, is very sick.  I hope you will hold him in your thoughts and prayers as he considers treatments and fights to stay with us.  He is a loving and giving man, and we want him around for a long time. 

On a happier note, my daughter-in-law is an exceptional gardener!  We are enjoying peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, a variety of herbs, lettuces, and spinach. It is so cool that when we need something for dinner, she can stroll into the side yard and come back in with a bowl full of veggies!  Yay Cait! 

AND! The other day she found a recipe online and made pickles!  They turned out yummy!  I think when the tomatoes on her monster vines start ripening, we are going to try some canning.  I have to say, living here, I’m eating healthier than I ever have in my life, and it feels (and tastes) great!

Owl’s Eye View is packed with ooky little tidbits this month, to keep you properly chilled through the heat-waves. 

“From the Perch” is interesting, and not the usual Meredith fare.  Owl Maiden takes a turn from her family history this month to tell us about an ‘acquisition’ of sorts at the Owl’s Nest Gallery. 

Have any nasty experiences with weeds?  Lucy Bernelli can commiserate with you in this issue’s “On the WindSpirit.”

Nathan Williams swoops back through history and links Stephen Hannigan to Stolas, Prince of Hell.  Check out “Swooping Through the Years” for another look into Owl’s Nest history. 

Larry Nunn has a gruesome little tale about crossing the line between encouraging and pushing your kid too hard in “Screech On!” 

Melanie Mirth offers a quick chill this issue—just the title, “Trumping Sociopaths” should perk your interest, right?  “Macabre Mirth” always has some quirky little piece, and this issue is no exception. 

I whipped through my ideas folder and came across the impetus for the story “Hoarder.”  It’ll make you think twice before helping someone clean out the garage. 

“The Trees Saw…” is whole new twist for guys who pull the old gender double standard on their wives and girlfriends!  You see?  I keep telling everyone dark fiction writers don’t get mad, they just write ass-hats into stories.  Muahaha!

And of course if you’re looking for a lengthier read, there’s the second installment of “Into the Mist” which should keep you shivering nicely through the heat-waves. 

So you go ahead and start reading, and I’ll grab some iced tea and start working on next issue. 

Thank you for reading!  Chills!


It dawned on me this morning that today is the tenth and tomorrow is deadline and I almost passed out.  I’ve been so engrossed in working on future columns and formatting the first six issues of Volume I into the Owl’s Eye View book, that time slipped by and got completely away from me.  So this morning as my grandchildren play in their basement playroom, I am scurrying around inside my laptop putting together Issue 8! 

Nothing particularly significant is happening in my personal life that would draw your interest, no milestones this month, beyond surviving Grand Central Station that has relocated permanently to my son’s house—haha!

I did finish the final draft of the first Owl's Eye View Book and completed my proposal letter.  I sent it to an agent who promptly rejected the project on the premise that she ‘doesn’t represent magazines.’  I replied that I’m proposing a series of books based on a magazine.  I await her response to that, but all in all, if she doesn’t get what the project even is, I’m thinking we might not be a good rep/client fit.  So I’m still browsing agents and publishers desperately trying to find a home for my twisted little series of books. 

I know what they say about all work and no play and dullness, but whomever coined that phrase either needs to expand days to an even 100 hours or shut up and leave me alone. 

My friend Charla has been playing harp for all of eight months and is already performing for the public.  Do I have awesomely talented friends or what?  Go Char! 

I’m disturbed about Borders liquidating and the end of that particular era.  Borders was a wet dream for me when it first opened.  I spent many hours in that store—not to mention many, many dollars.  They should have developed an e-book reader like Amazon and Barnes & Noble did.  Ah well, hindsight is 20/20 and all good things must come to an end, I suppose. 

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to my daughter-in-law’s dad, Tom, who is recovering from surgery and battling illness with his usual dauntless courage and spirit.  Much love to you, Tom, hang in there.  And as a side note to that story, I must say I’m extremely proud of my daughter-in-law Cait, who gives of herself endlessly.  I strive to follow her lead, am honored to call her my friend, and consider my son, whom I love very much, a very lucky man to have found such a remarkable soul-mate. 

Okay!  Issue 8 is packed with interesting ooky tidbits for you! 

In “Swooping Through the Years” Nathan Williams tells about his Aunt Hildegard who whips up a recipe with “Homegrown Ingredients” that strikes a blow for abused women everywhere—Muahahaha! 

Larry Nunn shares the “Raven” story with us that will no doubt be emblazoned in Owl’s Nest legends.  Suck up “Screech On!” this issue! 

Lucy Bernelli shares the first installment of an inspiring story of courage and strength brought to her by Rabbi Saul Segal whose family survived the nightmare of the Holocaust.  “Nazi Conscience” installments will appear in “On the WindSpirit” Issues 8 through 11 and is a must read. 

What would you do if your best friend and your mom were in a relationship?  Find out how Meredith Alden feels about just that situation in “From the Perch” 

The Macabre Mirth vignette this month discusses an old custom that seems to be enjoying a revival….hmmmm.  Check out Melanie Mirth’s twisted take on life…and death of course! 

If you have your share of bratty kids in your life, perhaps you should throw them a piñata party!  Read how it’s done in my short story, “Pinata Fun!”  Muahahaha! 

A classic story about ‘be careful what you wish for,’ “Royal Blood” follows a dream that turns into a nightmare. 

Find out which bats are hanging out in Dan Wynthrop’s twisted family tree in the third installment of “Into the Mist.”  You may want to invest in a sunlamp instead of a nightlight for awhile until you find out how this novel pans out.  Muahahaha! 

As the dog days of summer approach, you can lay low in a shady place, reading Owl's Eye View, and creep yourself out until you’re properly chilled.  Only thing cooler is to hang out in the freezer drawers at the county morgue.  Your choice! 



          Thinking back on last week-end when Hurricane Irene left chaos in her wake as she burst through Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
          I noticed who was concerned about who, who clung to who, who took care of who. 
          Comforting to know I lived with family who would protect me and I them. 
          Had I been in Georgia I would have been terrified for my kids and grandkids and mom from a distance.  Even though there was danger, I’m glad I was with them, all of us weathering the storm together. 

          September brings cooler weather and full time kindergarten for my granddaughter.  I remember safely packing papers and pencils into my little red plaid book-bag and my Daddy driving me to pre-school.
          I hope Rosie likes school as much as I did.  That she loves reading, drawing, and learning all about the world around her. 
          She has much to be excited about, and she is.  I will be waiting for her Thursday afternoon, to hear all about her teachers, new friends, and everything she learned. 

          Update: Rosie loves school!  The first day she came in less then enthused, but her second day proved much more interesting, especially after having made some friends to share ‘pizza day’ with!  And she lightened up and had fun on the school bus on the way home.  She’s off to a great start.  Hugs, Rosie! 


          Keep your fingers crossed!  I sent my proposal for a series of Owl's Eye View books to a publisher.  I’m going to be shameless here and ask you to contact Raw Dog Screaming Press and let them know that you are a loyal reader of Owl's Eye View.  Every little bit helps!

          Update:  Raw Dog Screaming Press has officially announced that they are accepting manuscripts for perusal. I will be re-sending my proposal today.  I’m juiced!


Okay!  Issue 9:

“Swooping Through the Years” is all about Tallulah Shank who “fixed” her philandering husband…Lorena Bobbitt eat your heart out….

Lucy Bernelli brings us Installment 2 of “Nazi Conscience.”  Be sure not to miss any part of this drama that is Rabbi Saul Segal’s ancestry! 

Meredith Alden shares a first-hand account of the murder of a witch and subsequent dispossession, torture, and ruination of her entire family, that was the norm during the witch hunts through centuries in Europe, and almost plagued our own country.  Makes you want to hug our constitution and its declaration of separation between church and state. 

Larry Nunn interviews Alex Morris, guitarist, vocalist, and manager of 5CC and CeeCee Charleston-Morris’ husband. 

Melanie Mirth is all about payback in her Macabre Mirth vignette, “Trumping Sociopaths.” 

My short story, “Tit for Tat” dishes out my ideas about people who are obsessed with starving themselves to be thin. 

My short story, “Arrangements” provides adoption ookiness…

And Excerpt IV of my novel “Into the Mist” keeps the ookiness flowing…along with the blood! 

Enjoy the chills! 



My son accuses me of becoming a total hermit crab on the week-ends, shutting myself away in my room for almost the entire forty-eight hours, but week-end days are my writing days.  The last couple of week-ends I’ve woken up early with all kinds of ideas burning in my brain about my new novel, “True Crime Shelf,” which I must complete by July of 2012 when I plan to publish it here on the Owl's Eye View website.  In the space of the first half of one day I loosely outlined the book, formatted the chapters, and compiled a stash of online articles in a research file.  So things are coming right along. 

In mid September I completed the final draft of “MEDS” which is due to be published from January through June of 2012 right here in Owl's Eye View.  Oh what chills are in store for you, my loyal, ooky-seeking readers!  Muahaha!

Halloween is on its way!  I will be enjoying my favorite holiday to the max once again via my grandchildren.  Totally looking forward to it!  Please feel free to share pictures of your own Halloween celebration and creativity on my Facebook page or the Owl’s Eye View Magazine page!  Or use the contact info on the site and email them to me!  I’d love to hear from you! 

Okay, this month has a world of ooky coming down! 

Wanna give your kids incentive to take care of their teeth?  Brush and floss every night without fail?  Tell them if they don’t, they run the risk of seeing Ted Neeley, the barber and dentist of Owl’s Nest.  And if they don’t know who Ted Neeley is, read them “Swooping Through the Years” this month, and let Nathan Williams acquaint them.  Muahahaha!

Speaking of Nathan Williams, in this month’s “From the Perch,” Meredith Alden has nice things to say about him, including a thank you for all his efforts to keep Owl’s Nest history alive and well in our hearts. 

In “On the WindSpirit” Lucy Bernelli has the third installment of “Nazi Conscience” to offer, giving us insight into the familial history of Rabbi Saul Segal.  Interesting read. 

And after all of that, lighten up with Larry Nunn’s “Screech On!” column in which he covers Dragon Con and brings us some hilarious anecdotes from bands on tour that all seem to end up in the toilet.  And believe me, he couldn’t make this shit up! 

“Playdate,” this months “Macabre Mirth” vignette, gives us a little shiver with a brief glimpse into the world of Melanie Mirth.  Hmmmmm…

“Elephant 1 – Trainer 0” is a little ditty of mine that makes one think about how to treat animals…or perhaps, how not to—and why. 

The family in “Little Bitch-Next Generation” puts the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’!   

And of course if you need a more substantial chill to savor, there’s Installment 5 of “Into the Mist” my bitey little vampire novel about little vampires. 

Happy Halloween!



Being a dark fiction writer, and the daughter of an undertaker, death is a topic that I’m intimately familiar with.  I prefer to keep death on the written page, but unfortunately in mid-October, it struck my family hard. 

My twenty-seven-year-old daughter-in-law Stephanie suffered a brain aneurism in the wee hours of an October Thursday morning.  A week later, on Friday morning she was taken off life-support and her organs were donated to desperate souls waiting for miracles. 

Through all of her earthly days, Stephanie smiled an entirely infectious smile with her whole face.  She lived and loved with her whole heart and soul: her friends, her family, and my son. 

Two weeks before she got sick she told my son that she wanted to look for a job in which she could make a difference. 

There is no greater love than to give one’s life for another.  Stephanie did better than that:  she saved dozens of lives, perhaps hundreds, of people she’d never even met. 

There are 200 organs—from the heart, liver and kidneys, to the tiniest little bones in the ear—that may be donated and create miracles for those waiting. 

She gave in death as she gave in life, and even through the sudden tragedy was an inspiration to all of us who loved her. 

I am honored and blessed to have known her, and am grateful that she loved my son with all her heart and soul.  I’d like to believe that Stephanie is an angel watching over me, my son, and all of her family and friends.  I only hope we can do her as proud as she has done us. 


Issue 11 has many ooky tidbits for you. 

In “Swooping Through the Years,” Nathan Williams brings your attention to a secondary headline that fell through the cracks on the day that David Green murdered the Bennetts, decades ago.  Chilling little story! 

Meredith Alden tells us about her Thanksgiving dream that has her hopes running high in “From the Perch.”  That’s all I’m saying…

The fourth and final excerpt of “Nazi Conscience” appears in Lucy Bernelli’s “On the WindSpirit” Column.  Don’t miss the conclusion! 

Larry Nunn offers us a freaky little tale about a ballerina in “Screech On!” 

Melanie Mirth gives us a few words on failure in “Macabre Mirth.” 

My story “Project Hunger” is all about ‘tit for tat,’ when it comes to food and survival. 

And my story “Pelt” gives a whole new perspective to the term ‘skin graft.’ 

If you’re following Dan Wynthrop and his crew in “Into the Mist,” this installment is sure to darken your night.  (Well, considering it’s a vampire tale, it would be inappropriate to say ‘brighten you day’ now wouldn’t it?)

All in all it’s a pretty ooky issue. 


Oh my God, gotta love muses!  I woke up this morning and mapped out the next six months of WindSpirit, mapped Lucy’s purpose and destiny, and ended my recent  ambivalence toward this character and where her story was going. 

It never ceases to amaze me how the well of creativity just bubbles up and pours into my brain intermittently. 

And I thank the spirits for it!  I’ve been aimless where Lucy’s concerned, wondering how to write her, what there was to write about beyond the whole David Green thing. 

Well, not aimless anymore.  Storyline is cool, though perhaps not what you might expect.  And that’s all I’m sayin!  Muahaha! 

Okay, on a more serious note, Cait, my daughter-in-law and dear, dear friend has been quite ill this past couple of weeks.  She ended up in the hospital on November 30th, Wednesday, came home Sunday night, went for a doctor’s appointment on Monday, collapsed there due to medication complications and was admitted back into the hospital.  It was a very close call, and even though she came home to us on Thursday night, her doctor made it clear that she is to rest, not push herself in any way until her body, specifically her heart, has had a chance to heal.  When Cait listens and actually rests, you can bet the situation was serious. 

When I put aside my writing to step up and help someone, you can bet that person means the world to me.  I have to admit I haven’t written much this past two weeks. There are things my physical limitations won’t allow me to do, but I did my level best to take care of the kids, and keep up with the Cait-established routines for the household. 

That meant up at six and concentrating on getting Rosie off to school everyday, and potty training Joey because I ran short on diapers and I can’t hop in the car and run errands.  So training began in earnest.  With excellent results, I might add.  Joey’s “The Incredibles” and “Lightning McQueen” big boy undies have remained dry for most of the week, and they are hoping Joey gets a handle on the solid waste disposal thing within the next few days.  Daddy came up with a bribery scheme that hopefully will help. 

All in all it’s been busy to say the least.  All the energy I usually put into Owl’s Eye View went into my grandchildren and home.  When I was in my twenties raising my sons, I had the energy to get up at four to write every morning, concentrate on the kids from six or seven on until their bedtime at eight, then continue writing in the evenings.  These days, by the end of ten or twelve hours with little kids, I get into my room, elevate my swollen, painful ankle and knees and nod off. 

Up until this month I’ve had full-time kid patrol four days a week. So I have days in between to physically regroup, and write.  But when Cait is sick, priorities completely change.  Fortunately I am an issue ahead with the magazine, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about next month, and for that matter, my priorities over the long haul.  I have always been able to adapt to my living circumstances.  In fact, I consider adaptability one of my strongest qualities.  So we’ll see what mutations happen during the next few months, and how they affect Owl’s Eye View Magazine. 

Whatever happens I’m sure chills will abound…

Okay…the future is the future…here and now we have Issue 12.  And an ooky issue it is! 

Arrrgh!  Nathan Williams has a pirate tale in “Swooping Through the Years” for ya, maties!  And a good yarn he spins, too, in “Plundered Heart.”  Arrgh!  Bring the ooky to me now! 

Meredith Alden let her beloved McGoo help her with a very special topic for “From the Perch” this issue. 

Lucy Bernelli shares an ancient fever remedy in “On the WindSpirit.” 

Larry Nunn reports on the Winter Wharf Celebration in “Screech On!”  Christmas caroling Owl’s Nest style!  Muahaha!

Melanie Mirth keeps it short and scary as usual in “Macabre Mirth.”  Sometimes mini-chills are the best. 

“Holiday Stuffing” is a short and ooky Christmas tale from the depths of my cobwebby heart. 

The South Pole demon elves are back in “Santa’s Good List.”  And just for the record boys and girls, naughty or nice, they may be coming for you…muahaha!

And last but certainly not least, I’m serving up the conclusion of “Into the Mist” at my holiday table this year, so heat up the wassail and cut yourself an extra hunk of mincemeat pie, because you’ll want to curl up in front of the fire and savor the end of this book. 

I’m going to say Happy Holidays not because I’m politically correct, but because I have Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Wiccan, Native American, and spiritually non-committal friends.  I choose to concentrate on the happy part, rather than the beliefs part. Whatever makes you want to gather with loved ones and celebrate is fine with me. 

Thank you for visiting Owl’s Nest every month and sharing the ookiness with me!  There’s plenty more lined up in 2012! 

Happy Holidays!