Although my favorite season is the Fall, I do have some love for Summer. When Summer comes, that means I can sit back and relax-- the perks of being a teacher. I hear, at times, the envious snark from people that it's not fair that I have the summer off. If they were a teacher, they wouldn't be so quick to judge. They'd know teachers earned EVERY second of a vacation.

Vacation means I get to spend time with the kids and get things done that have been put off all year because I had no time or energy to give any attention to it. I do have a list of things to accomplish, and it is my goal to accomplish them, and it feels good to have the time to do it. The only sad thing to see is the days ticking by too fast.

With the warmer temps, and the kids out of school, there are a lot of things to enjoy. We recently visited a park over the weekend. After a BBQ, we took the kids to the lake nearby to fish. My son caught a rainbow trout and was very proud. My daughter had a little less luck.

We love to go camping too and hope to schedule that in sometime too. On Memorial Day, we went to my dad's property in Idaho and camped a few days there. It was interesting... we even had a coyote visitor. It was a little crazy to have something out in the dark watching us.

What I really want to try out is a coast to coast road trip. I think visiting the awesome sites of America in a caravan would be great fun. Driving is exhausting and a huge money-suck if its for gas and hotel fees....

but what an adventure!

Michael Jackson was about as big as they come. He had a huge fan base, and who wouldn't if they started at age 5 and kept on going? He wasn't just America's pop icon, he was an icon around the entire world. And even though he had a tough life in the media these last few years, he was still loved by kazillions of people.

When I heard a girl crying over Michael's death yesterday, I was taken back. It made me realize that even though he inherited the "creepy dude" factor by a lot of people due to allegations of child abuse, that people were still fans. I loved Michael in his prime-- I think most everyone my age did. Even in Elementary School, kids would pretend to be him by wearing a glove on one hand and calling their girlfriends "Brooke Shields". But I guess I have fallen out of love with the man because even though his death was a shock, I wasn't dripping in tears.

The media is hammering the whole thing to death-per usual. And the public eats up every word, so the media is definitely catering to an eager audience. Many people shake their heads at the media for their intrusions but then are all desperate to hear what they've got to say. Doesn't scale right.

But since there is a lot of coverage, and there will be much more coverage (I am expecting the TV stations to be tuning in to his funeral), and his fan base is still gi-normus, I predict Michael Jackson will be our generation's Elvis.

Watch out for those future tabloids to print "MJ SIGHTINGS" !!!! and move over Graceland... the pilgrimage route is changing to NEVERLAND.

While Trish and I were writing a short story, I researched the concept of Ley Lines. It was a component we wanted to add and I had heard about them but honestly hadn't really known much about them.

An archaeologist by the name of Alfred Watkins publicized the theory in the 1920s. As I researched further, it is believed that people knew about it well before Watkins.

What are ley lines? It is a fantastic theory!

While Watkins was riding in the hills, he looked back down into the valley and noticed the footpaths were perfectly lined in the valley below. This struck him as odd. He then looked at a map and noticed a lot of the same.

Though he did not see them as supernatural in any way, he did note that these lines did exist and that it was odd that people would create roads and paths following a certain direction, and headed to specific destinations.

But other people did see them as more than lines... that they were indeed supernatural.

It is said too that ley lines and their center points (where the ley lines converge into a crossroads or spoke wheel-like visual) are believed to have mystical energy or power, if you will. This unseen power draws people to them... which would create these perfect paths to the center of the ley crossing(s). It is said too that it attracts UFOs... that a lot of UFO sightings are at these epicenters of ley lines. What power would draw E.T.? Perhaps the belief that ley lines have electrical or magnetic forces associated with them.

For centuries, people have believed in them. There are epicenters, or power centers (where a lot of ley lines cross), at places around the world known to have had odd occurrences (alien fly-bys; people gone missing) or ancient monuments. Some of these places include: Arizona, Bermuda Triangle, Pyramids, Stonehenge and many more.

This is something that is truly fascinating! It was fun to add it to the story, if only in minute places. But I had the opportunity to learn about something new and interesting.

Waking up sick sucks-- especially when I had a lot planned to do. The motivation is lost; illness drains me into incoherency. Boo! The drop in productivity is almost as bad as when the muse is on vacation. But what sucks even more is that the muse seems to be in full drive, but my body says I need a nap. I cannot win!

It is crazy though- whenever any one gets sick around here, they are instantly worrying that they have the Swine Flu. Such a crazy scare. But it is very real- A student in my class had the Swine Flu and stayed home the last week of school. On the last day of school I was starting to get sick in my respiratory system so I was freaking out... it could have been a really bad cold- then again, perhaps no. My brother-in-law got it too-- he had pneumonia which bloomed into piggy flu. He thinks he contracted it from someone at his family reunion. So-- it is all around.

I've heard people say it's just like any other flu. We'll see.

But I am sick of being sick.

How to invigorate the muse? That is the universal question. How can an author break out of the "writer's block" slump!

It is odd that some days I can write without distraction yet on other days, it is a struggle to just get down one sentence. The idea is there, always mingling in the air above me. I know what I want to write and how I want to write it. But the blank page just stares at me- the evil cursor blinking as if taunting me.

It would be sad if the muse has frailties such as ADD. But alas, I think this is the case.

It's like in that new Pixar cartoon "Up"... There are dogs in the show that can communicate with humans by means of a collar. So, while having a conversation with someone, they "think" they see a squirrel and suddenly just stop mid-sentence in order to seek out the furry animal. Very hilarious.

But the attention span is sooooo true of me sometimes. Have to write a scene... wait-- gotta do this, gotta listen to that, who do I need to call. Blah! Focus!

My best mode of focusing is to remove stimuli. I can listen to the radio- that doesn't distract me. But usually I need to be in a separate room than everyone else- be by my lonesome.

It's important to keep the butt planted. There are too many reasons to leave the seat. Strap yourself there if need be. Maybe it will keep the Muse strapped there too!

The seven-year-itch is so tempting to scratch.

Of course, I am speaking in terms of the literary world- and authors in particular. It's that insatiable urge to toss your current project aside in favor of the new, interesting tale brewing inside your head. It's always a good idea to write those ideas down and get back to work but when the characters start to haunt you where ever you go- seduce you into their tale while you're in the shower or buying cereal at the store, your resolve is tested! It is a great time to fill the idea files, but it would be great if those ideas just STAYED there until they were called upon to be finished. But no... not so easy.

I feel like the Godfather when it comes to new characters: "I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should be listening."

About Us

We have a diverse, combined writing experience. I am a middle school English teacher and an administrator and co-administrator for various writing groups. Trisha is a freelance writer, editor, and online educator whose fiction appears in FANTASY GAZETTEER. Together we co-authored "Party Crashers” for the EPPIE award winning anthology BAD ASS FAERIES 2: JUST PLAIN BAD.