Going Home

gravestoneAS A CHILD when we drove past a cemetery, I would often comment, “Most of my friends are dead, you know.”

I’m fairly certain that the first time I said that my parents must have freaked out. But what I remember most, is me making the remark and them rolling their eyes before glancing at each other with that Oh-well-it’s-just-Tricia-being-Tricia looks.

Years later when I said something similar while driving with my then boyfriend (now spouse), he simply looked at me and replied, “So, did you want to stop and say ‘Hello’?”

I swear that just made me love him more (and maybe that explains why we’ve been together nearly 40 years…he gets me).

hauntingThe point though, is that even as a child I understood that death wasn’t something scary or forever. Death was (and is) just another state of being—albeit one we can’t easily relate to in our current state of being physical. However, if we remain quiet in our mind, emotions, and spirit, we can hear those who are no longer in physical form. We can hear them as they try to communicate with us using projected thoughts and memories, soft touches, vague ghostly images, or even symbols (pennies, objects moving, or long-lost objects suddenly appearing again).

They want us to understand that death isn’t a void or a vast darkness of nothingness. Dying is a transitioning to another state of being; a state of being at Home. Home…a place of loving acceptance and continued spiritual growth and enlightenment.

So, take a moment to sit and listen to the stillness surrounding you, and let the “voices” of those you love but who are no longer physical tell you that they are fine, and everything is all right.



And read my book “Escorting the Dead” to get a glimpse of the afterlife from someone who was there, and someone who helps others make that transition as smoothly as possible.


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The Whimsy of Life – A Free Children’s Ebook


The Whimsy of Life is a compilation of original children’s poetry and cute images that echo the works of Dr. Seuss. This compilation of cuteness also includes the award-winning “A Winkling Wuggley.”

This new (and free) ebook will have your kids clamoring to have you read to them. (It may even get them to forget about their computer games…if even for a few moments.)



  • “This is a delightful combination of poetry and storytelling.”

  • “My daughter just loves the “Charming Chalk.”

The book is free and can be found at:

Barnes & Noble

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Some Book-Related Humor





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What to Do With Those Little Squiggles

Comma-PnutsCommas. A simple, yet important little squiggle that writers use to indicate a pause in the flow of thought and words. Without commas sentences could (and probably do) run on forever. Lists become nearly impossible to decipher because there is no delimiter to help you decide if you need popcorn shrimp or popcorn and shrimp. And let’s not forget those odd sentences that can easily be misunderstood without that dear comma to help guide us.

Let’s eat Grandma. vs. Let’s eat, Grandma.

But grammar and punctuation rules are constantly changing and the rules pertaining to commas are no different. Recently, a new version of the Chicago Manual of Style was released and according to Mr. Russell Harper (editor of The Chicago Manual of Style, primary contributor for the CMS Online Q&A and principal reviser of the last two editions of The Chicago Manual of Style) the section on commas now accommodates both closed- and open-styles of writing.

The closed-style of writing is what we learned in school. It follows all the traditional conventions, such as placing a comma before any coordinating conjunction or using serial commas in lists. However, the new open style gives the creative person more flexibility in their use of commas. No longer restricted by the stiff, (somewhat) old-fashioned rules of yore, writers today can use commas to help regulate the rhythm of their writing.

“…commas affect both pacing and tone,”

According to Mr. Harper, “…because commas affect both pacing and tone, editors should get a feel for a writer’s style before making too many decisions about them. In a novel or a story or other creative work, this is particularly important.”

So, while punctuation is necessary to make business or legal documents readable with no misunderstandings, books, blogs, and other written creative endeavors require less structure since they are an art form similar to paintings or music compositions.

Mr. Harper also points out that in today’s writings “…punctuation is often left out, making it more like speech than like formal prose…” Many of today’s writers use words in a much more familiar way. Their prose reflects real life, so the flow of words needs to be read as if the writer were speaking directly to the reader. This means that pauses occur where the writer says, and not what some archaic rule dictates. Some people speak non-stop, pausing only when they run out of breath, while others pause frequently, releasing each word as if it is a prize they hate to part with.grandma

While this doesn’t mean you should ignore all commas or punctuation, or ignore the rules of punctuation completely (after all, you don’t want people eating Grandma), you can take more liberties if it helps with the tone, pacing, or tempo of your story or essay. Therefore, when your editor marks up your document or manuscript for incorrect use of commas or missing commas, ask them if they are considering your voice (or your narrator’s voice). Find out if they understand the pace and tempo of your writing, and then ask them if they’ve reviewed the Chicago Manual of Style lately.

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Free Ebook: Life and Nature

Cover_11-2019I’ve just published a free ebook. It’s a (hopefully) first in a series of photos and poetry that I hope people can enjoy.

I’ll admit it, it’s more of a personal project–I just want to put out something personal and pretty. It’s gives me a lot of happiness to bring something beautiful into our troubled world.

So, I hope you take a moment to check it out…and I hope it brings you some small measure of happiness, too.

You can see more of my photography at my Zazzle store, TDGallery.

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Don’t Listen to the Fear

goodevilface“All this psychic stuff is nonsense. You’re all a bunch of cons.” So, goes the plaintive cry of the non-intuitives and skeptics everywhere.

At first it used to bug me when people said that. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it’s really just their fear speaking.

Fear is a crazy thing. It can make us say and do things we (believe) we never would. And, many times we’re left with a bad memory and lots of regret. For instance, remember that guy who rudely cut you off in traffic, and then flipped you off the other day? You so wanted to respond in kind, but somehow you managed to keep your cool.

I bet if you were to check with that guy, you’d probably find that he’s usually a very laid-back and easy-going businessman. However, that day his chief feature of impatience (the fear of missing out or of being late) told him that you were the reason he was going to miss his meeting. So, he cut you off. Fear coerced him into acting irrationally, and even recklessly…but then, that’s what fear does.

Fear whispers and coerces and twists things around, making us believe things that (in our normal) minds we never would. We look at a situation or event and our fear tells us that it’s bad, dangerous, or can (in some way) harm us, so we react in a way that is contrary to our true selves.

And before you say you’d never do something like that, take another look. Remember that week when you growled under your breath because the neighbor’s dog kept doing its business in your yard? You mumbled and grumbled to others and to yourself, but you never challenged the neighbor about his dog. And why? Because your fear of confrontations stopped you cold. Your need for acceptance whispers to you that if you make waves and state your opinion, people won’t like you. Instead, you whine and grumble to anyone who’ll listen how mistreated you are, how you try to be such a great neighbor, but others aren’t. Martyrdom is the devil whispering in your ear telling you that if you want to be remembered that you must sacrifice your needs for others’ needs. So, you remain the victim hoping that people will remember and accept you because of how self-sacrificing you are.

Each of us, whether we want to admit it or not, has at least one major fear that drives our lives. We chose these fears (though most of don’t remember this) to help us learn and experience more about ourselves and the world we live in. However, we don’t have to let these fears define us. Instead, we can identify the fear—once you name it, it loses a lot of its hold on you—and then we can work at voiding its power completely by identifying the situations that trigger it. Does it appear when time is an issue? Does it keep you from recognizing when you’re taking on too much? Does it tell you that you’re not worthy and so you keep sabotaging your own life (ruining your chances at a promotion, destroying your health, etc.)?emerging2

If you can recognize your fear’s whispers, you can learn to ignore them and break free of fear’s hold on your life. Learn to think before you speak or act. Take several deep breaths and think about the situation. Don’t let fear convince you to do or say something contrary to your true nature. Don’t let the fear eclipse the light of your soul. Instead, release the fear and allow your spirit to shine in every situation.

To learn more about the fears that surround our lives or the lessons that drive us, check out one or both of these award-winning books:

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Finding the Right Editor for You

editing-image-2So many articles tout the need for editing. They give examples of poor writing, worse punctuation, and unrefined or sluggish plots. But how do you, a burgeoning writer go about finding someone who will edit your beloved manuscript and not trash or butcher it?

Communication is the key. You need an editor that you can rely on to understand what your vision is for the book. You need someone who can take your vision and turn it into something exquisite, and the only way to do that is to meet with (in person, via text or email, or with some sort of Skyping application). This enables you to describe your needs, hopes, and desires to the editor, who (in turn) can explain their work style and vision for your work.

If the work styles and visions are compatible, you then just need to work out the details of engagement. If the work styles and visions aren’t compatible, you then need to continue your search for someone else.

Some editors will have you submit a few pages that they will then review and mark up. This can also give you an idea of whether the editor’s style will work with your vision. After all, if your vision is to create an epic fantasy novel, complete with world building, hero quests, and romantic interests, and the editor sees it as just a simple young-adult fantasy romance that needs to be trimmed of all the larger-than-life aspects that you added, then you need to find a different editor. After all, there’s trimming, and then there’s trimming. If your story lags at a certain point, then perhaps it’s best to trim or rewrite that section. But to remove half of the story because the editor doesn’t have your vision won’t make either of you happy.

communicate           Communicate your vision to the editor.

It’s true that you want a story that is thrilling, compelling, and moving for your readers, and a good editor can help you get there. But it’s also true that if the editor and writer aren’t in sync with one another the story could become something the writer never dreamed of. For instance, what if the editors of Alice in Wonderland thought the story was of a mentally ill young lady, rather than just a young girl with a vivid imagination having a wild dream? Or Treasure Island could have ended up as a book illustrating what happens when youngsters don’t do as their told instead of a ripping tale of pirates and treasure.

To keep your story from becoming something you never wanted it to be, you also need to see and understand the editor’s style. How flexible are they regarding grammar and punctuation? Will they take the time to understand your writing style? If you use an open style of punctuation—using punctuation only when needed to clarify the meaning of a sentence or paragraph—and they only edit using the closed style, then they will change the rhythm and cadence of your whole manuscript. And the same is true of your grammatical style. If you use the more modern version of inserting plurals to replace awkward phrasings of his or her, or she or him, when referring to a gender neutral person and the editor insists on the closed version, then (again) you will have a totally different book than the one you wrote.

A collaboration between the writer and editor is much like the collaboration between a scriptwriter and a movie director. While they each have a vision of what the story is about, the collaboration only works if they have the same vision or at least similar visions of the story. This joint effort is what makes a good movie a blockbuster; and that same type of association between writer and editor can turn a good book into a best seller.

So, interview any editor you’re considering. Speak with them about their editing style, their work methods, and most of all, ensure that they understand your vision of your story and your writing style (open or closed). Remember, it’s your style, your voice, and your work, and an editor should only make it better, not unrecognizable.

Note: For more information on open and close styles of writing and editing, see the article:  Commas and Independent Clauses: A Creative Opening by Russell Harper.

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