Here's my intro letter to Christy's & my newsletter... it's mostly a blog post. :) Anyway, if you want to get our newsletter in your e-mail, let me know. :) trish@anovelfriend.comIt actually comes from my MA Horse e-mail... because I can't figure out how to adjust Outlook. Yes, I'm techno-useless sometimes.Anyway:
I don't have a time machine.

It was a mixed feeling to get an e-mail from one particular fan of the Shadow Guard asking about our newsletter. First of all - THRILLED - Someone besides good friends and family is following us closely enough to want to know if they missed something! Second - GUILTY - I totally dropped the ball on this one.

Anyway, not to cop out or anything, but I'd like to share some news about what's been going on in our lives, writing-wise. J

First, we sent out 21 queries… and promptly revised our query letter. We now have a request for a partial MS! Yay! But, while we use - ahem, sorry, Chris uses, which is great for organizing, but still it's a good deal of work - especially when we go back and revise.

Speaking of revising: 8 drafts (mostly between the two of us, only 2 or 3 with Danielle) of "Last Gate to Faerie" and our short piece has moved onto the other editors for the Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory. Please, dear friends, family, & fans - keep your fingers crossed!

On my side of the U.S., I've also been elected onto the Motherboard of Broad Universe! Squee! J I have done a lot of work with the group - all of which I do love - in organizing Mailing Parties and quite a few Rapid Fire Readings (RFRs), and it's these things I'm now "officially" in charge of. Quite happy! Speaking of which, check out the "Find Us!" section… Worldcon & Dragon*Con baby!!! Woo00oot!!! I'll be running RFRs at both - and let me say, I am especially pleased to be at Dragon*Con in this role. I've been going to Dragon*Con since 2002 - and the Dragon*Con experience has probably had the most impact on me becoming a professional writer than just about anything (besides my husband's patience and support. J ). Organizing and preparing for all of these has eaten an awful lot of my time and is a good reason why our Newsletter is so durned late. There's also been Balticon, Readercon, the Blogathon, the Bay State Equine Rescue Clinic, and a fight with a certain company that will go unnamed until about August 14th if I don't receive my substantial pay from them.

On Chris's side of the country, she's had a new addition to the family, an important loss, and several other major Real Life events. Unlike me, she is a much better blogger, and you can see those stories in her words at her own blog.

Oh - and #deadlinefail to Aimee... or @TokyoWriter for twitterpeeps... It's now 2:10AM and I EXTENSIVELY underestimated how much time getting the newsletter out would take. Have I gotten done a draft of my Gaiman essay that I can get to you?

Give me a Y chromosome and a bathroom to remodel... I can finish that before you're back from convention, dear.


When I mention I co-write, other writers often reply, “How can you do that? I can’t imagine working with another person.”

Having been a gamer longer than not, and having had so much success in collaborative tutoring, I can’t imagine how one might find that so unimaginable.

Granted, as I type this, Christy and I are having one of those classic moments in any collaboration: haggling over a single line.

It’s not even a key line to plot, though it shows a lot of character – and it’s in response to our editor’s comment.

It’s still just a single sentence. A short one.

Whatever we come up with, though, I’m quite sure it will be better for our haggling – despite what is likely clenched teeth and aggravation on both sides.

There’s always a lot of give and take when you work with another person, and it can be very hard when it comes to creativity because writers truly do get tied to their words. Criticism is hard; it’s even harder when it’s from someone you respect and care about – and who you work with almost daily.

I suppose I can understand where others might come from. In addition to the ownership of words so many writers feel, it’s also difficult to compromise. So often, compromise is used to suggest less quality or a less than desired outcome – especially in our self-oriented culture. “I don’t want to compromise the integrity of… what _I_ created.”

On the other hand, writers are probably the worst judges of themselves. We fly back and forth in extremes: “I am writing the words of God, himself!” or “God, I suck! Who would EVER want to read this utter crap?!” A partner – a good one, and I do know I have a good one – grounds us, keeps us from these extremes, gives another set of eyes – and can balance us out. “We can do better. Let’s try…” Or, “That’s really not that bad!”

If you share a common vision, and a common goal of the highest quality writing, a partner truly enhances not only the final product of writing, but the writing process. It’s a person to talk to, bounce ideas off of in what has become thought of as a solitary profession: writing. A partner helps keep the balance between needed sanity and desired insanity/passion that a writer wants.

Working with a partner, even on a small project like a short story, is something writers should try at least once. Make sure it’s someone you trust and someone who’s writing you like. You’ll find yourself thinking in new ways. If you find you don’t like it once the project is done, don’t do it again. But at least give it a one-time shot; you might be surprised!

And we’ve now agreed on a line.
Teaser for the story we’re submitting to Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory:

“The beginnings of a panic attack stole her breath and swelled pain across her chest.”

Hope our editor likes it as much as we do!

One of my favorite stories growing up was Peter Pan. I remember thumbing through the kids books at my Grandma Wanden's house in search of the fairy-tale each time I went to visit her. Although graphics and color always attract a child to a book, I think it was more than that for me. Sure, the pictures were intriguing, but it was the story that held my interest… the story of adventure on a make-believe island with a peculiar boy and his faerie friend.

Peter Pan is still a magical tale even now. When the movie came out-in 2001 I think- I was excited to see it. It follows the real tale a little better than the Disney version even though it does make some creative alterations. But it was when I watched this show that my analytical eye went to work. I started to see how things connect, at least in my investigative perception, and noted symbolism that I hadn't realized was there before. It made me delve into research about the tale- to see what others thought about it. It wasn't until I had a discussion with my sister-in-law, Omi, when I thought that maybe I was making some sense with what I saw.

A thing that stood out was the connection Peter Pan had to Neverland. When he was gone, the world went into a sort of hibernation. When he was sad or tormented, the weather changed into billowing black clouds and storm. The author, Barrie, states that the although Never Land appears different to every child, the island 'wakes up' when Peter returns from his trip to London. So that made me think- how was Peter and Neverland connected like that? After all, he was just like the Lost Boys… he came there from the normal world like everyone else. The only thing different between he and his little followers was that Tinkerbell befriended him and the others believed he was their leader.

Researchers believe that the Peter Pan tale is a Totenkindergeschichte which is a German term for “tales of the death of children.” In the classic Peter and Wendy, Barrie states that the Peter Pan tale Mrs. Darling heard as a child was that when children died, Peter would accompany them part of the way to their destination so that they wouldn't be scared. Why would Peter Pan be a tale of death? Is Neverland where Lost Souls go to rather than Lost Boys? Did those souls follow Peter to Neverland rather than continue on to Heaven? If this is so, then is Neverland a sort of limbo?

Peter Pan is the epitome of being a kid- goofing off and laughing in the face of danger. He battles Captain Hook who is the very essence of adulthood. Of course kids these days want to be an adult because they think it's fun. But when they reach a certain age, the come to the realization that it was great fun being a kid and often want to return to the 'easier days'. Peter, on the brink of change himself, is constantly in combat with the roguish captain- battling age.

There are many more things in Peter Pan that raise an eyebrow but this is what makes it a great story. Aside from all the hidden messages, the great adventure of going to an imaginative world to see mermaids, Indians and pirates can't go wrong. It's Faeries, Ariel and Captain Jack Sparrow all wrapped in one-- how could this not be good?

I just finished writing the article for Christy's & my newsletter. In it, I referenced one of my favorite lessons - one that most of us should remember.

I apply it to writing and life, but it originates in a horse clinic done by Karen Scholl at the West Springfield, MA Equine Affaire.

You get do-overs.

Life really sucks sometimes. Family members get sick, friends have crises, organizations and causes need your support, YOU get sick, you feel overwhelmed, a company has not paid you all year and you're debating sending them a letter demanding your $3000+ dollars, you want to just stay in bed...

And sometimes this goes on, one thing after another, for a long time.

I fell of my own blog, dropped the ball on some fundraising, and have hardly written any fiction save stuff I'm working with other people on - because I feel accountable to these friends and colleagues. But, even stuff I feel accountable for, like critiques and aforementioned fundraising, well, some of that fell by the wayside too.

What is there for me to do?

All I can do is start over.

It sounds so easy, but it's not. It feels like a lot; I feel ashamed for not being superwoman. Not only that, I can rationalize and say, "Well, look what I did do! I certainly haven't been doing nothing!"

Perhaps I do need to reprioritize and remember I'm not in college anymore; I may be getting old.

Perhaps my do-over must start with giving myself a manageable work load.

But right now, right now, I need to start over and get a LOT of things done.

Being paralyzed and flustered by my failure isn't getting me anywhere.

I have to start over. I am ALLOWED to start over. I CAN start over.

And next month, when I've done everything I can and pulled through, and the month after that... and probably around mid-September, when I don't have a calendar bursting at the seems and am probably recuperating from working myself sick once more, I can start over again.

And, when I start over, I am wiser from my experience that caused me to start over; I can take my lessons and start over even better. Until I get it right and don't need to start over again.

At least for a little while.

This option is open for anyone. Give yourself permission to start over, and do so.

I recently have researched runes to get a better understanding of them for possible use in future novels. I had believed they were somewhat like the tarot card wherein they could be used in divination. Often I would read in old texts about someone throwing the bones or drawing lots to discern fate and had assumed the items were something with runes etched on them. But there is a lot more history to the runic symbols than that.

It is said that runes were actually the European alphabet up until 700 AD when Christianity dubbed Latin as the new alphabet. But the use of runes still prevailed in some countries until well into the 1200s. Although it is uncertain where the alphabet stated, it is thought to believe the word "rune" is from the Gothic word runa- meaning secret. This struck an interesting cord with me because during this time, people were forced into Christianity and would be scrutinized for being anything less. If someone wanted to use the runes - and hold onto their old beliefs-- it would have to be done in secret to escape persecution. So- did the creation of the word/name "rune" come after the fact?

Aside from being merely an "alphabet" or means of communication, it is said that runes were used for magical purposes- or charms. An amulet would be forged with the runic language inscribed on it and therefore bear whatever properties it was instilled with. But is this any different than having a magical trinket made with Latin or Greek lettering? What would make the runic charm any more mysterious or enchanted? So did this mean that runes were more than a means of writing but perhaps set aside as something holy or magical? And if the name rune -or runa- meant something hidden or secret, could this mean that only certain people could use them? Were the runic symbols set aside for a more privileged group of people?

The ancient language is still a mystery, but it is clearly believed to have been something unique.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is."

Jackson Browne

Today I took my little man to the dentist. He had been there last week to get a cleaning and exam which led to today's visit of actual dental work. When we walked to the car, I told him where we were going. He smiled and said, "Yay!" I looked at him like he was crazy. But it made me think. Why do most people cringe at the thought of going to the dentist? What is it that they fear and why do they begrudge making appointments?

I had a talk with my sister about this account and she said she even has small panic attacks on her way to the dentist. Again, I was wondering what was so awful. Sure, it is unpleasant having someone stick things in your mouth and even some of the dental products they use are less than tasteful. And of course, there is the ever so wonderful dental bill. But we eventually have to endure it-- so why not just get it over with?

Or is there a deeper problem harbored here?

How stifling is fear?

My four-year-old had no fear despite his older siblings telling him that the dentist would "put shots in all his teeth". He sat in the chair like a little trooper and didn't squirm or cry when he received his shot or when the drilling started. Why not?

Fear is berthed from guilt, inadequacy, shame and various other feelings. A child doesn't have a lifetime of these emotions to spoil their confidence. Therefore they seem quite fearless. But children are impressionable. They become scared not because they are scared but because they are taught to be scared. As an adult, we often ask ourselves why we didn’t do this or that, why didn’t we simply go for "it". It may be due to the fact that sometime in our childhood, something influenced us in a negative way, embedding some sort of fear in our subconscious.

Fear will drain you emotionally and therefore take its toll physically. Fear suffocates progress. So how does one suffocate fear? First, you need to identify what it is you fear and acknowledge it instead of hide from it. If you allow fear to rule you, you will always be its prisoner. One can never rise above fear being chained to it. These are not the natural fears I am talking about, but rather the irrational-- like inadequacy, undue illness, abandonment, financial ruin, etc. One needs to first look at that fear in face-- acknowledge that this could happen, or perhaps is happening, and move on. Don't let the fear of possible outcomes keep you stagnant. I do think my son had some anxiety about going in to the dentist. He asked me on the car ride over about the all the shots in his mouth. By asking questions, he was acknowledging his fear and trying to understand it. I told him it was only one shot and it would be ok, that in the end it was to help his teeth become stronger. That short explanation happened to be enough for him.

"Eliminating the cause of fear has only one solution. To go deep within and dismantle the false self, the ego self that entraps us in self-centered fear-generating ways of being. Watch for the seed of a growing anxiety, pull the weed out before it becomes a thriving parasite and numbs you of life. Joy is life's nourishment, fear is starvation. Fear is the opposite of belief. Fear denies faith. What have you to be afraid of if you believe that you are here on a purpose? Is there a school board without an exam? Can there be a life without struggle? No. All difficulties are tests set to strengthen us, not overcome us. If you are not careful, fear will keep you rooted…"

-Lalitha Sridhar

"Any time you catch yourself paralyzed by fear - in a word, victimized - ask yourself, "What am I getting out of this?" Your first temptation will be to answer, 'Nothing.' But go a little deeper and you'll see why people find it easier to be victims than to take strong stances of their own, to pull their own strings. It's the way of the smaller self to wallow in littleness, to avoid risks, and here we aren't talking about risks like dodging a bullet in Iraq, but confronting an innate fear of say, deep-seated jealousy. It's these fears, which keep you immobile and weak, clutching at non-essentials, thrashing about with no place to escape. Where can you go leaving your self behind?"

-Wayne W. Dyer

Let my first post on our co-blog be one of celebration!


And many, many happy returns to you - and many more birthdays. :)


your co-author Trish

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.