Starting My Countdown

What am I counting down??? I’m counting down the days until we hit the road. That’s right; you heard me…my next adventure in life will be as a gypsy. At the end of this year, my husband and I will be putting everything in storage, and begin a year of traveling.

When I was a child we were camping at Salt Water Park. Close by there were gypsies camping, too. Their life seems very romantic to me…as did their style of dress and attitude. There was something raw about them that I couldn’t explain. After that, I decided I wanted to be a gypsy, but as time went on life situations stepped in front of my path and the dream of living on the road died away. All I wanted was a place to call home…my own little bubble.

Now that I’m retired you can find me most days either writing a novel, blog or fulfilling my photography dream. My husband and I do travel to other states to visit family and friends, but for the most part, we are fixtures in Washington. When Dan kept expressing the desire to travel around the country, I thought, “no way…I like having a place to call home.” Don’t get me wrong, I like traveling, but my idea is more of 2-4 weeks and back home again to family, my comfy bed and familiar surroundings. But his dream was significant to him, and as life would have it, we have the best opportunity at the end of this year. We have been looking for property to purchase, but since we haven’t found what we are looking for yet, and our lease ends in a couple of months, why not take advantage of our freedom.

Once I got my head around the idea of making a home for us on wheels for the next year, I have felt that forgotten stirring of my childhood come to life…as a gypsy. It will be our rules, our roads, and our decision as to where to go, as well as how long to stay. I’ll miss family and friends, but will be visiting others along our path.

Dan has made little comments about making our “almost” purchased travel trailer a forever home parked in the mountains somewhere. But when he gets tired of hearing me snore in a small confined area, I’m sure he’ll be ready to provide each of us with more “personal” space. As in a room at the other end of the house with a door so he can get some sleep…lol.

Either way, I’ll continue to blog so that I can share our adventure with all of you. I’ll still work on my biography (my current project), and will share my photos when possible. The next couple months will be busy, but I’ll be back in touch as time goes on. So, until then, I hope you enjoy life and make it your adventure.

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Life’s Little Dance

There are far too many dance styles to mention, but a few that come to mind are the Twist, the Waltz, and the sexy Salsa dance…but I think the most important dance we can learn is Life’s Little Dance. It carries the most steps and is the hardest to figure out. As I write my autobiography (no release date at this time) I find my steps were a combination of missteps, trying new steps, easy steps, and clumsy steps. Some of them actually landed me on my bum…but if I’ve learned anything it is how to get back up and try again.

Raising kids, definitely, has a tune all its own I like to call Crazy Train…it holds the fast movement of the Swing with the grace of a ballet as we kiss their sweet faces at the end of a long day. Add full-time jobs as most parents have (insert: single moms get a special shout out) and you’ve got yourself a combo of many steps…likely adding the “two left feet” theory to a lot of those days.

And let’s not forget the Dance of Marriage. I’ve had my share of missteps in this dance routine, but age and experience paid off…finally. Sure we have a misstep here and there…in fact, some days we are so out of sync we need a break from the music altogether. But we start over the next morning by pushing the reset button to the music…and suddenly we could be on Dancing with the Stars. Except when we can’t hear each other…then the Dance of Miscommunication starts playing in the background. Here is an example, and one we laugh about often. We were driving on I-70 in Colorado. It’s a four lane highway but is split so the west bound is higher than the east bound in this particular spot. We are east bound. Construction was in full swing taking advantage of the dry and sunny days. I asked Dan, “Do you think rock slides cause the damage?” – dead silence filled the truck for a few minutes. I waited…and waited…and waited for an answer, but the one I received still makes me laugh. He said, “I suppose peroxide could cause damage.” I responded with a “What?!?!” and then the laughing started…but not for him until I told him I said “ROCK SLIDE, NOT PEROXIDE” loud enough for him to hear me clearly. He had been picturing a truck hauling peroxide tipping over and was analyzing what damage it could possibly cause, and thinking hey, anything is possible. Not every miscommunication is as funny as we have found this one to be over the years, but they still happen. Getting older has its advantages to knowing dance steps better since we’ve had plenty of time to learn them, but we still misstep, too.

To sum it up…no matter what your abilities to dance are, even if you fall flat on your face, remember ‘Life’s Little Dance’ is a dance you can continue to learn, so, turn up the music my friends and dance.

My Most Successful Journey

It was just over four years ago I began a personal project and successfully brought it to fruition. With every word typed I pondered over what it might mean to others. I questioned how they would connect, or how they might view the project. But I forged forward, and when the last word was written, I knew the real work was about to take place…editing.

It’s one thing to write the words while feeling the emotions, the experience, the moments…it’s another thing to read them over and over again. However, editing is part of any writer’s life, so the process continued.

Somewhere along the line, nervously I might add, I decided to get an outside opinion. With shaky fingers, I searched for a critique group and found Critique Circle on the Internet.

I thought about this option for many days, wondering how others would receive a snippet of my story. It is, after all, what the website is about – helping writer’s hone their craft. Joining the website and exposing my heart to strangers is never an easy decision.

This story, buried in my heart, was to give my deceased son a voice. He was an infant when he died, and never had a chance to share his view on life, love, or his experiences thus far. When the idea to write our story came to me, it was because I realized how easily the comfort of animals goes dismissed because they cannot express their needs. If that was true for them, how could it not be true for my son or any child who died in infancy? Because of this thought process, I began the journey of bringing Brook’s voice to life. Also, hoping my words could help another parent feel less alone in the brutal pain the loss of a child leaves behind.

When I submitted the first few pages of my story to the critique group, I shut the website down and began waiting anxiously for a response from someone. It was a few days before my first critique was done. When I saw there was a message, I moved my mouse over the link, then off, then on, then off again. It was hours before I could bring myself to read it, but finally, after a few deep breaths, I opened the message.

What I found was words of encouragement and understanding. Yes, there were small suggestions, but minor grammar issues. All good ideas, but the most important was the positive response to my story. I received multiple critiques, and as I read each one, their advice was great, but most importantly they brought validation.

Since taking that huge step and obtaining the opinion of strangers, I was able to complete my project. I have published this reality/fiction novella and couldn’t be more proud of my finished book. With it also came healing, which is a wonderful result of telling a personal story.

My normal genre of writing is suspense. I have a stand-alone suspense novel, and recently finished my fourth novel for my Sara Series (expected to be published the end of June 2017). I was also hired last year to write the memoirs for a business owner.

But Watching Over Her will always mean the most, maybe because it is personal, or perhaps because of the healing that took place. I’m so happy I completed the journey of writing it, and will always be proud of it.

If, after reading this blog, you are interested in reading my book, you can pick up a copy in paper or eBook on Amazon, or Smashwords. If perhaps, you are a member of the Critique Circle and joined in the critique of my book snippet, a special thank you for taking the time out to help me push forward to travel a successful journey. Thanks to everyone that takes the time to read my blogs and novels. I appreciate your encouragement and positive reviews.

Acknowledgement Page…

Do you read it? I can honestly say it was the last of my priorities when I picked up a book. It was no more important to me than any other “miscellaneous page” that hovered outside the chapters I longed to read. I only wished to be carried away in mystery and suspense.

But that all changed as I prepared my first novel for publication about five years ago. Now, as I work on book six, the thought came to me to write this blog. Why? Because I finally understood myself how important the other pages are to an author. Every page holds special meaning.

Time after time I can’t help but wonder if readers do, in fact, read the acknowledgement page in my books. I know I’m always excited to start a new novel, but what about the before and after pages. If you are reading a book right now, do you remember who it is dedicated to? 

Here’s a little background on why I’m asking. I have special people in my life that have brought ideas to light for me. Whether it’s a character name they hope I’ll use, a photograph they are sure should be added, a contribution to the story, a twist to a plot that I in turn loved, or another important piece that became a part of my book.

My dedication page carries a bit of my heart. By reading that small line you might understand who may have inspired the book to begin with, or maybe that person simple encouraged me to push ahead with my dreams. 

Either way, those few extra pages are sometimes the foundation of the story held within. 

I hope by reading this blog you find yourself a little bit curious to check them out in your current or next read. And if the book is one of mine…even better. 

As always, thanks for reading my blog.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy life. 

Emerald City…

Ahhhh….rain, rain, rain. I am a Pacific Northwest girl…born and raised. I’ve been to many other states, including a four-year stint in Thornton, Colorado. But here in the PNW…I’m home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by others throughout my travels, “Doesn’t it rain there all the time?” To which I answer “Yes” – my underlining goal is to keep the population down…lol. Sometimes I will end my response by letting the person know it’s more of a drizzle than rain. Either way, I figure most people aren’t into the gray and will think twice about packing up and moving to our mossy green area.

For me the rain is refreshing. It cleans the air and keeps the moisture at a comfortable level. I love the humidity we have, and so does my skin. I don’t snap, crackle, and pop every time I touch a piece of metal…or my husband for that matter. Fortunately, that only happens now and then, since we touch hands every time he walks past me if I’m sitting in my favorite chair. Living in Colorado, I had to use a humidifier because it was so dry. I was worried I was going to destroy my computer every time I used it. Let’s not forget the little fact that the little snap of electricity actually hurts.

Today as I sit here writing this blog the sky is not completely gray. There is a bit of sun trying hard to peak out. The rain from last night all but forgotten as a new day arrives. Will it rain sometime today, probably, but will it bring with it a fresher air…you bet. And let’s not forget that spring is around the corner bringing all those beautiful blossoms. Before we know it there will be an array of flowers, the rain will begin to choose its days a bit more sparsely, and the sun will greet us more often…sometimes for days at a time.

I do get weary of the rain, but that is life in the PNW. When the sun does shine, you will see an extra dose of smiles as you walk through the grocery store, or venture out to a park. No one here takes the sun for granted. But we also do not plan too many birthday parties or other social events outside in case Mother Nature has a surprise up her sleeve. Camping is as popular here as anywhere…and even I shake my head at my own decision to pitch a tent now and then. But we try regardless. Maybe because the fresh air calls us, or perhaps because a few days of the sun shining gave us a false sense of security.

Regardless of our journey in the PNW, we all look forward to the sun while we tough it out through the, what at times feels endless, rain. Why? Because we know it won’t last forever, and the sun will shine again in our Emerald City.

Getting to know…

I had planned to blog about writing today but changed my mind…sort of. I am still talking about writing. Just not exclusively mine.

Over the years my mind and heart have started understanding my parents. Both passed away long before I was able to sit down and visit adult to adult. We had a tough childhood, and though I never stopped loving them, I was angry for many years. I wrote my heart out, my anger out, and my pain out. As I got older, I learned to forgive them, but that isn’t where it ends.

One day I received a folder from my sister that contained many of my mother’s poems. I knew my mother wrote poetry but had not seen them until that day. I sat down on the couch and began to read her heart, mind, and soul in those pages. I saw my father as a man my mother loved so deeply.

Through every tear I shed, I began to understand her not as my parent, but as a person. It was if I had stepped outside the box and was watching her life unfold…completely disconnected. With this view, I changed my perspective. I cried for my parents, and for me, but I also learned to love them more. I felt their hearts through my discovery.

I was able to capture who she was through her words. Now looking back at a young woman, divorced, 36 years old with six little girls attached to her…I felt her fear. I was able to see her for the life she had, not the life she should have had…and I felt her broken heart through my discovery.

It is knowing my parent’s story that helped see them as individuals. It was reading my mother’s writings that taught me a part of her I hadn’t been able to see before…I was clouded by my own needs, my own anger, my own sadness.

If nothing else, here is what I hope you get from this blog – to look at your parents. Now step away and really look at them. See them as the person they are, not who they are to you, but who they are to themselves. How did they become the person they are today? If they are no longer living, still do this. Then write about them…write their story.

****NEW RELEASE****

“Watching Over Her” is hot off the press. This is our story…a story of love, pain, death, and renewed life. Including paranormal activity.

I have a few copies if you want to purchase a signed copy, or you’ll find the link below to purchase your copy from Amazon.

brooks-book

Here is the link to purchase your copy on Amazon –

https://www.amazon.com/Watching-Over-Her-CJ-Vermote/dp/1541280156/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486140715&sr=8-1&keywords=watching+over+her+cj+vermote

A Sad Time…

I thought long and hard about putting this blog out. I am not here to offend, but to speak my mind as honestly as I can because I usually rally around women’s beliefs. I am, after all, a woman with a strong voice. However, I am not only sad but disappointed that all many of our children learned from their mother’s over the past couple of days was to hate. To not respect authority, especially the President of the United States of America. To show violence is the answer. To dismiss uniting as a whole country, and to keep division a motivator for more hate. This is not to say I am without sin, I’m far from perfect, but this time in our history has opened my eyes…and has brought tears.

There have been many Presidents I have voted for that did not make office, so I have felt the disappointment of my candidate losing. But I did not take my disappointment and turn it into anger and hate, violence and disrespect. Instead, I turned my attention to what could be, what would be, and what might be the success of the candidate I opposed. Why? Because it is my honor to support the most powerful authoritative figure for this country. I was taught as a child to respect authority. I was taught as a child to forgive and look past prior mistakes someone makes in an effort to give them the chance they deserve. I was taught love is more powerful than hate.

I watched people dressed in black, even their faces masked, destroying public property and running like the cowards they are to the next building or garbage can to destroy under their hate. I watched children carried on their parent’s shoulders with signs they were likely too young to understand the meaning of…but they felt their parents hate so they carried them proudly. I understand everyone has a voice and a right to speak their minds. But how these protests are perceived by myself and others is a form of bullying. Everyone has “special rights” they want to have heard. But isn’t there a better way to do it?

Do I agree with everything the politicians say or do, of course not, I don’t even agree with my husband all the time. But I do my best to try and respect his opinion out of respect for who he is…my husband. And Trump is now my President, so he deserves my respect, and my patience as he proves his ability to make “America Great Again.” The media needs to stop lying, which has been proven, and bring the truth to the people they represent with their information.

During the campaign, I listened as my granddaughter was bullied for her views. I didn’t have to ask where the hate came from, it was obviously a mimic of their parents. We wonder how the children of this world could possibly be filled with so much hate that they bully other students, how they can walk into a school or other public building and shoot other children and adults…well, maybe we should be looking in the mirror. We let our children play video games that promote violence, and then ask them to “be nice” to the neighbor.

Maybe we should ask ourselves what we are teaching our children when we scream at the TV during a campaign speech or call a referee an idiot. Are we teaching tolerance, patience, forgiveness, respect, and love by using our “freedom of speech” as a podium to bash, hate, and disrespect?

Perhaps a bit of soul searching is in order for all of us adults because that is who our children try to mirror. Please remember hate breeds hate, while love breeds love.

United we stand, divided we fall…it’s that simple.

While you wait…

Good morning everyone, I thought while you wait (excitedly I hope) for my new novel Watching Over Her, you might want to check out the project I worked on this past fall. Here is how it all came to be. While in Wisconsin this past spring, my daughter text me about a new business in Edmonds. The business owner was willing to have local artists sell their products on a commission base. I contacted her and told her I would love to bring my books and photography in to see what we could work out. As soon as she heard I was an author she asked if I would be willing to write her memoirs. We agreed to discuss it when I came in.

After meeting with her and talking about her life, I realized her story needed to be told. I admit it was a daunting project to listen to someone’s version, write it in a reader’s format, and not lose the person’s voice, but we both felt it was successfully done. The tough part was the two-month deadline to get this done because it was a Christmas present to her family. Give me a challenge, and I will push myself…and I did. It was delivered on time.

It is a very intriguing short story about what two people did for love…and survival in a illegal_love_cover_for_kindleforeign country. Hope you will check it out. You can find the link on my website http://www.cjvermote.com or you can go directly to Amazon to purchase your copy.

As always thanks for reading my ramblings aka blogs. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and weekend.

Happy reading…

The End…Again

Every time I type those two words, “The End”…I can’t help but cheer…even though I know the work is about to really start. Now that I have completed my fifth novel, I thought I’d share a bit about the book with you.

Over the past three years I have been working on a book that is reality and fiction…how’s that work, you ask? It’s complicated…but it works. Let’s start with where this idea started from which was with my husband. We were driving cross-country and I noticed livestock out in the cold and snow. My comment “why don’t they bring them into the barn?” was met with, “Oh, they don’t mind. They’re fine.”

Really??? I thought to myself…how does he know? That is when it hit me. Unless we are able to communicate our discomfort, people assume we are fine. Then the light started blinking rapidly and I heard this little voice in my head say, “You need to be Brook’s voice.”

I hope to have this book published by June 2017…maybe sooner. A lot of it depends on the edits that will take place. I am very excited to bring our story to life. To have Brook’s voice brought to life. This book also reveals paranormal activity that filled our lives…and that is the factual reality of this story.

My book, “Watching Over Her” is our story…Brook’s and mine, along with my other two children, and family members. He was a person with a voice, but he couldn’t use it…and life went on around him as if his voice, and he didn’t matter.

I have learned to forgive, I’ve learned to let go of the anger, I have learned to see the situation as it really was. I carried guilt, I carried loss, I carried sadness seasoned with anger…but now the writing of our story has brought more to life…it has brought peace.