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and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Friday, March 27, 2015

CONQUERING MY FEAR OF HEIGHTS - by Vijaya Schartz

FEARLESS FRIDAY
If you missed Vijaya's post the first time around, here it is again. I thought it was good enough to run a second time. Enjoy!
I like to challenge myself, always did. To conquer my fears as a child, I forced myself to do whatever scared me the most. Eventually, I earned a reputation as a thrill-seeker and a daredevil. One fear I could never quite conquer, however, was my fear of heights. At a very young age, I remember clinging to the railing on the platform of the top catwalk of the jungle gym at summer camp. Despite a good balance, coordination, and athletic dispositions, I couldn't get the courage to walk it. Later, as an adult, I could not stand at the edge of a cliff without feeling the strong pull of gravity buckling my knees, dizzying my head, thwarting my balance, threatening to bring me down. The pictures of workers having lunch perched on the steel beams of a skyscraper under construction made me sick to my stomach.

Since then, I went through therapy with a hypnotherapist. She led me through past life regression. Apparently, my fear of heights is rooted in how I died in my previous life. This hypothesis resonates with me. According to what I saw and said under hypnosis, I was a Native American woman, banished from the tribe for giving birth to a child from a white man. The tribe killed the child then forced me off a cliff. I can still smell the fear, the blood, feel the rage directed at me, the anger. I remember the warriors advancing upon me, forcing me back at spear point. I remember tripping backwards, the endless fall. But most of all, I remember the pain, as my broken body lay bloody on the rocks at the bottom of the precipice, among animal carcasses. I was still alive and suffered for days, abandoned, alone, in unbearable pain, before the end came.

To confirm this new information, I researched the tribe from the images seared in my subconscious and discovered it was the "Black Feathers" a tribe of the Crow Nation. And I recognized the white cliffs with the trees hanging from the vertical walls on photographs, and images of driving buffalo to stampede off the cliffs, a hunting method favored by the Crow... in Alberta.

That ghastly death would certainly explain my fear of heights today. I did some exercises, forcing myself to look down while walking at the edge of my second story patio. My reaction to the heights faded somewhat, but when I stopped the exercises, the fear returned. It's rooted in a very deep emotional trauma.

During a white river rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River, we went exploring on foot, and our guide led us to a platform at the top of a cliff. As usual, I couldn't walk to the edge or look down. But below was a deep water pond, and water is my favorite element. The game was to jump off the cliff, into the water, wearing a life jacket (as we all did on this expedition). They asked for volunteers. I decided to attack my fear of heights, like I did other fears as a child. I raised my hand.

Since I could not look down, I didn't get to the edge. I took as many steps back as the flat area allowed, then started running as fast as I could, yelling at the top of my lungs. Heart pounding, I ran off the cliff into a free fall. I was airborne. What a thrill! Landing in the water was invigorating. On the picture, my jump doesn't look that scary because of the angle, but it was about five stories high, and for me, quite a victory.

I don't know if I would do it again, but I proved to myself that I could do it, and, although I still get rubber legs when I look down from the edge of a drop, I know I can master my fear in a pinch.

In my present life, I write fearless characters. In Checkmate, the hero's teenage daughter is also afraid of heights, and she has to climb the open stairs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to rescue her father. I could really tap into my fear of heights in that scene. One of the scariest for me to write.

I write strong heroines in science fiction romance, and medieval fantasy settings. Girls with guns or swords, daring, fearless, with human flaws and a big heart. You can find my eBooks everywhere, and my paperbacks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Wishing you all, a Fearless Friday.
Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/author/vijayaschartz 
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/vijaya-schartz
FB:
https://www.facebook.com/vijaya.schartz
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Vijayaschartz

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nothing In The Bank...But (More) Love

Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

A site on the way into Tonto Basin
I start every Tortuga Thursday with the same paragraph. We're still getting through the trials and tribulations, and there's no more in the bank financially speaking, although there is more love with the addition of Sadi two years ago. Hard to believe there would be room for more love but that room expands quite easily.

I should've renamed this blog Tonto Thursday for the winter. Frank and I spend more time at the RV than the farm. But the grass is growing now, the garlic needs more weed attention, and there will be clean up to start on soon, so we may find ourselves heading to Tortuga Flats more often. Late May or early June, we'll move the RV back to the farm. It gets hotter here so we may be ready to bail. But right now, spring is unfolding and we have warm days and cool nights. Love it.

For now, we're living like retired people (not me really because of writing but no one but me sees that as a
A local hangout next to Lazy JR
job) on the cheap. I always promise to share some of those tips. Here's a good one. The first month here, I was miffed at the electricity bill. I didn't budget $62 for this little RV for power. We were still using the heater and it's propane. We also cook on gas. The hot water, refrigerator, and whatever small appliances we plug in was all that pulled electric. We made some adjustments. By switching the hot water over to gas and unplugging everything when not in use, we dropped our bill over $20 the following month. I believe most of it was due to unplugging. We have a Keurig coffee pot so that ran all the time. Not now. And I'd heard that even when appliances are not in use, they pull juice. Now I believe it.

Have to ford the river to get across
Tree along Tonto Creek
If I haven't mentioned it before, we also switched from crock pot to pressure cooker. Not only does it cut the plugged-in-appliance time from six plus hours to thirty minutes, we can do last minute meals easier. And I like the flavors better, too.

By choosing a park that has three lakes close by, lots of hiking opportunities, and a fun group of people, we spend next to nothing for
Water provides entertainment


entertainment. Life is good.











 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Writing for Harlequin by Rachel Brimble



MUSE MONDAY
Please join me in welcoming Rachel Brimble to Muse Monday. Hi Rachel. Tell us your story!

I have been writing romance since 2005, steadily chipping away and learning my craft over the last nine years. Each book I’ve had published and each editor I’ve worked with has taught me something to take forward into the next project. I have had no formal education or tuition for my writing, but have enrolled in many online courses and made lots of invaluable friends who have helped me on my journey.
All the rejections (there have been MANY!) and disappointments, frustrations and tears were all made worthwhile during 2012 when my dream of writing for Harlequin came true. I wrote Finding Justice from the heart and of course, hoped and prayed an editor would love it as much as I did. However, nobody could have prepared me for the shock of receiving an email from my agent saying Harlequin loved the book but would I consider some minor revisions?
Would I?? Hot damn, yes! I set to work and made the relevant changes that I immediately understood made the book stronger. These done, I sent them back and three weeks later, I was offered a contract. Woohoo!
By the time I sent FINDING JUSTICE out into the big, wide world, the setting of Templeton Cove had become very dear to me and I soon realized I wasn’t ready to let this small fictional UK seaside town belong to just one book. Would Harlequin consider more books set in the same town? There was only one way to find out. I feverishly wrote a sequel and A MAN LIKE HIM was accepted by my Harlequin editor six months later.
The cast of characters continues to grow and with each book I write in the series, more and more potential stories evolve from the secondary characters that leap into my imagination. I am thrilled to say in May this year, Harlequin offered me a further three-book contract, which means Templeton Cove continues to flourish with book three, WHAT BELONGS TO HER (Mar 2014) and now book four, my latest release, CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE!
I often get asked what the secret is to breaking into Harlequin – my answer? The only aspect I am one hundred percent sure of is the Harlequin brand thrives on emotion. Emotion, emotion, emotion! Make sure the reader can feel what’s going on inside every character on every page and I’m pretty confident you’ll hook an editor. Good luck!

More family for Christmas? 
Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.



Templeton Cove Trailer




Saturday, March 21, 2015

CONQUERING MY FEAR OF HEIGHTS - by Vijaya Schartz



FEARLESS FRIDAY
I am honored to have Vijaya on Fearless Friday today with a fun post. Read on:
I like to challenge myself, always did. To conquer my fears as a child, I forced myself to do whatever scared me the most. Eventually, I earned a reputation as a thrill-seeker and a daredevil. One fear I could never quite conquer, however, was my fear of heights. At a very young age, I remember clinging to the railing on the platform of the top catwalk of the jungle gym at summer camp. Despite a good balance, coordination, and athletic dispositions, I couldn't get the courage to walk it. Later, as an adult, I could not stand at the edge of a cliff without feeling the strong pull of gravity buckling my knees, dizzying my head, thwarting my balance, threatening to bring me down. The pictures of workers having lunch perched on the steel beams of a skyscraper under construction made me sick to my stomach.

Since then, I went through therapy with a hypnotherapist. She led me through past life regression. Apparently, my fear of heights is rooted in how I died in my previous life. This hypothesis resonates with me. According to what I saw and said under hypnosis, I was a Native American woman, banished from the tribe for giving birth to a child from a white man. The tribe killed the child then forced me off a cliff. I can still smell the fear, the blood, feel the rage directed at me, the anger. I remember the warriors advancing upon me, forcing me back at spear point. I remember tripping backwards, the endless fall. But most of all, I remember the pain, as my broken body lay bloody on the rocks at the bottom of the precipice, among animal carcasses. I was still alive and suffered for days, abandoned, alone, in unbearable pain, before the end came.

To confirm this new information, I researched the tribe from the images seared in my subconscious and discovered it was the "Black Feathers" a tribe of the Crow Nation. And I recognized the white cliffs with the trees hanging from the vertical walls on photographs, and images of driving buffalo to stampede off the cliffs, a hunting method favored by the Crow... in Alberta.

That ghastly death would certainly explain my fear of heights today. I did some exercises, forcing myself to look down while walking at the edge of my second story patio. My reaction to the heights faded somewhat, but when I stopped the exercises, the fear returned. It's rooted in a very deep emotional trauma.

During a white river rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River, we went exploring on foot, and our guide led us to a platform at the top of a cliff. As usual, I couldn't walk to the edge or look down. But below was a deep water pond, and water is my favorite element. The game was to jump off the cliff, into the water, wearing a life jacket (as we all did on this expedition). They asked for volunteers. I decided to attack my fear of heights, like I did other fears as a child. I raised my hand.

Since I could not look down, I didn't get to the edge. I took as many steps back as the flat area allowed, then started running as fast as I could, yelling at the top of my lungs. Heart pounding, I ran off the cliff into a free fall. I was airborne. What a thrill! Landing in the water was invigorating. On the picture, my jump doesn't look that scary because of the angle, but it was about five stories high, and for me, quite a victory.

I don't know if I would do it again, but I proved to myself that I could do it, and, although I still get rubber legs when I look down from the edge of a drop, I know I can master my fear in a pinch.

In my present life, I write fearless characters. In Checkmate, the hero's teenage daughter is also afraid of heights, and she has to climb the open stairs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to rescue her father. I could really tap into my fear of heights in that scene. One of the scariest for me to write.

I write strong heroines in science fiction romance, and medieval fantasy settings. Girls with guns or swords, daring, fearless, with human flaws and a big heart. You can find my eBooks everywhere, and my paperbacks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Wishing you all, a Fearless Friday.
Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/author/vijayaschartz 
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/vijaya-schartz
FB:
https://www.facebook.com/vijaya.schartz
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Vijayaschartz

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Straw Bites and Two-Year-Old Delights

Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Frank and I spent some time on the farm. Tortuga has been a pretty mellow place so we've been hanging out in Tonto Basin - Frank fishing and I've been writing. But it was time to do a little work on the farm, celebrate Sadi's second birthday then dog sit while Lance, Christie and Sadi went to Disneyland and the beach for a week. We learned a few things.

I learned either there are stinging bugs I couldn't see in the straw or the straw is the culprit. My knuckles are still swollen and itchy from some sort of mishap while weeding garlic. And I was wearing gloves. My next weeding day, a couple of weeks from now, I'll be careful to not rest my fists in the straw. So weird.

That was one of the things I learned while weeding garlic. The other thing I learned when weeding 300 foot rows is to look behind...see how much was accomplished...because looking at what still stretched out ahead was very discouraging.

Sadi's birthday party at the pizza parlor was  a blast. Her cousin Eli was there. It's
amazing to watch the differences in how boys and girls play even as early as two years old.

Frank learned making repairs around the house is tedious work. Well, he always knew that but after three trips to the hardware store for the same door part, he was convinced.

Some repairs, like plumbing, are best left to experts. The mainline plugged.  Yes, it was an eventful week.

Sadi came back from California with a cold. My granddaughter has most definitely embraced the typical two year old personality. Add a cold to that. She had her stinker moments. But she's sweet as pie the rest of the time. If I'd forgotten, I relearned just how wonderful a two year old can be.

And this guy is a new addition since last we were on Tortuga Flats Farm.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mud and Mishaps

Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Our road is a river
The biggest news for this Tortuga Thursday is mud and more mud. The rain and snow started in November. Since the first of the year, we've had more rain than in the last five years for this time of year. Since our road is dirt and so packed down, drainage is about non-existent.

Got a call from our great neighbor, Eunice. She said she had eggs for us and a present for Sadi's birthday. Hard to believe she's turning two today. Eunice also mentioned she has baby goats just a few days old. I couldn't resist trying to get over to their farm with Sadi to see the babies. Sadi's excitement was worth the chance of getting stuck. And we did. I didn't even make it to the end of our property line. So, Dave and Eunice hopped on the tractor and he pulled me out. He no sooner got me high and dry when an SUV up the road was spinning his tires. Dave saved the day. I think he thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadi had to miss the baby goats but the adventure was fun, especially since Dave let her sit on his tractor.

Sadi feeding PJ
Our newest addition, the baby kitty, now has a name - PJ. This is for Puck Junior. Lance had a cat for years named Puck which he adopted while playing Hockey in Minnesota...hence the name. This kitty looks so much like Puck, he has been named as his Junior. He's an outside cat but has a temporary home in our messy garage because it's so cold out.

Greenhouse veggies are keeping us happy. Garlic is sprouting. Now let's hope for
Garlic
no rain until the roads dry out!





Greenhouse onions and greens
Greenhouse Parsley
 
Greenhouse Chard