It’s almost over!

In one week, I will be moving! Well, moving from a small condo into a single-family home, hopefully the home of my dreams! Haha, after all the moving, house hunting, house showing, and processes, I’m ready for this to be the last house of my life. My husband is another story.

I have been pretty incapable of writing lately. I’ve done SOME writing, but it’s little stuff and more for practice than anything.

I have a lot of plans, especially when I get in the new house. I have a lot of WIPs to work on to get ready for betas and my editor, and it’s my goal to get to them this year. I know that should be an easy goal but for me, it’s a challenge.

Besides the WIPs, I am accumulating a list of short story anthologies that I want to enter. I’ll probably be looking into that as well.

So, other than writing, my free time will be taken up by decorating and settling into my new house. I’m already making plans for my office room, which is currently a medium shade of blue and really pretty – and I’m not changing it. I am thinking of adding a decorative element to the door. Such as this…

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😀 I think the space would be very creative if I did that. It would be a big project but definitely enjoyable. But of course, this is just one of many projects I want to do.

I just hope that 2016 is productive for writing and great for creative energy!

I’ll be back soon, hopefully less frazzled once I move in.

Cheers.

HK Rowe

 

Trying to Make a Comeback

So I suck at keeping up with this blog, but my goal this 2016 is to keep up with this more regularly. Let’s see how that goes! I’m definitely determined.

The main reason I haven’t been online is that I’ve been busy. Plain and simple. We’ve been trying to sell our house for more than two months and it’s stressful and daunting, and I honestly didn’t want to overload people with my personal battles with it. This is why I still keep an LJ, and I even suck at keeping up with that journal.

Now that we’ve got a contract with someone to buy our house, as well as a house to move into, I’m hoping my life will have more order after February.

I can’t tell you how much this whole process has disrupted my creativity. My house was basically torn apart, packed and put into storage. My safe haven writing room was stripped of my beloved books, artwork and files and made to look like nothing for house showings. It was very difficult for me to write in this space that no longer felt like my own. I hope this changes for the new place, but I will probably struggle through the malaise through the holidays as we pack some more in our old house.

In the meantime, I’ve just been making plans on what I’m going to write for 2016, drafting ideas, writing character profiles and basically writing down any haphazard thoughts that skim across my brain. I’m hoping to do some fiction prompts soon just get back into the swing of things.

Ready or not I’d like to get Killer Orange available for publication, as well as a second edition of Unbridled. Somewhere in between those projects I want to do some short stories.

I will be back trying to keep up with everyone. I hope to post some writing snippets soon.

I’ve missed this blog and everyone I follow, and I intend to make it more active again!

Cheers and Happy Holidays,

HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Pause

Hey!

I know I’ve been a little slow on updating my blog posts. I have been totally busy and dealing with a small cold, so some things have had to take a backseat. I am regularly editing Killer Orange as well as working on the cover design. I’ve been reading A LOT as well.

Last Thursday was my husband’s birthday so I’ve been spending as much time with him as I can. We also inherited a computer, which I have since had to reformat and then re-install Windows and all its updates. Fun stuff! Work continues to be busy. Now I’m just catching up with things. (It never ends!)

I hope to get back on my blog schedule either Wednesday or Friday.

See you all then! Cheers.

HK Rowe

Nonfiction Wednesdays – Of Pets and Family

The storm here in Chicago-land has once again delayed my evening schedule, and after a busy night of catching up with bills, I didn’t get a chance to write something new. So please enjoy a piece from my past.


Originally written 4-10-2002.

Of Pets and Family

As long as I can remember my family has always included pets. When I was a baby we had a black poodle named Korky and a long- haired gray cat named Misty. When I was eleven, I got another kitten named Butterscotch. Pets have been an integral part of my life. However, they have shorter lives than me, and I had to go through times where I had to lose pets. All the pets in my life were dear to me, but some were harder to lose. Despite the fact that these were just animals, some people may not consider this important, but I cherish all these animals part of my family.

Korky, a half poodle and half terrier, would always protect me when I was a baby. Mom adopted the small, awkward looking mutt from the animal shelter before they could destroy him. Inviting Korky into our family was a good decision. Not only did my mom save his life by bringing him home from the pound, but also Korky added love and entertainment to our small family. He was the typical dog who loved to play and goof around, but he had some quirks that made him very memorable. His favorite food was pizza, and would bark like crazy when the doorbell rang. He loved to play in Mom’s vast back yard, chasing blue racquetballs until they were in pieces. Sometimes when he would fetch the balls, he’d bring us only pieces, covered in his slimy dog drool. When Korky died it was a great loss to us. He was ten years old, and he peacefully died his sleep. We buried him in our back yard with one of his racquetballs. I was so young when he died, so Mom told me not to cry because Korky would be chasing those blue balls in heaven.

Misty was one of the animals we had that I most disliked. Mainly, Misty was around when I was just starting school, and I didn’t like the attention Mom gave her instead of me. I would pick on Misty relentlessly, to the point where she hated me later in her life. Misty was a beautiful long-haired gray Himalayan cat. Mom found her as a stray on the highway when she was just a kitten. Misty was half-starved when Mom found her, and Mom nursed her back to health with eyedroppers. Mom took a special interest in Misty because she found Misty around the same time I was born. In my Mom’s eyes, she was nursing two babies. Misty and I grew up together, and she put up with my infantile outbursts and games. Somewhere before preadolescence, I started to treat Misty horribly for intentions I don’t recall. Perhaps I was just being a troublesome child, or maybe I was jealous because Mom would pay more attention to her than me.

However, Misty was getting old, and I couldn’t grasp this concept at twelve. I didn’t pick on Misty as much, I had my own kitten I paid attention too. But Misty’s health was failing. Her hair was falling out and she could barely walk anymore or control her body functions. She lost a lot of weight and looked very frail. It was difficult for Mom, but we had to put her asleep, just as we did with Korky. It was harder for Mom because she raised Misty like her own, and she had to have my Grandfather take Misty to the vet instead of her. I was relieved to get rid of Misty actually, and the whole ordeal didn’t affect me much.

When it was over Mom was reminiscing about Misty’s full life, and she said to me, “Misty always protected you and watched you when you were little. Sometimes she would sleep with you in your crib. You should be sad as well.”

Before Misty’s death, Mom had gotten me an orange tabby kitten for my 11th birthday. She even let me pick her out. That night Mom and I got into the car and took a drive outside of Freeport to a farm that belonged to a friend of hers. We drove up the gravel driveway to see a small one-story house on our left and a huge barn on our right. This was a dairy farm. But besides the cows that were on the farm, this farm had an infinite number of cats. As Mom drove up the driveway, I was afraid that she would hit some because so many were scattered and painted all over the yard leaving a trail up to the house and over to the barn. I expected to pick one of the cats outside, but I was shocked to discover that there were about fifty more cats inside that small shack!

We walked inside and the place reeked of cat urine, food, and animal smells. Cats were lounged on the tables and appliances. They ran under my feet and scattered in fear when we walked in. Cats occupied every corner and cranny in the house. They were all different colors and sizes. Some were fat and thin, and some were sick and healthy. I looked at them all, trying to make a connection with all of them. None of them appealed to me. I wanted a cat that I could have a connection with, like the connection that Mom had with Misty. I gave up and asked them to take me to the barn to check the cats out there. As we traveled to the barn, the cats seemed more wild and sickly. I felt sorry for all of them because I love cats so much. I wanted to take more than one home, but I couldn’t. I walked past the wild ones as we were led to the barn. Still no connection.

Inside the barn, it smelled of cows and fertilizers. Cats still scattered throughout the barn in frenzy, curious to whom I was, or scared that humans were entering their territory. All the cats seemed similar in the barn. I saw a family of orange tabbies, and many of them looked a like. Most of them ran from me, except one. She looked up at me with intense yellow eyes. She had dirt in her tear ducts and her left ear was brown and crusty from frostbite. She had interesting markings on her back. Amongst her light orange hair, she had thick vibrant organic shapes of a darker orange covering her back. Out of all the orange tabbies, she did not run away.

“I want this one, Mom,” I said.

I picked her up. She was shaking from the cold. I started to pet her, stroking that fascinating mark on her back. She started to purr. She looked up at me; her yellow eyes began to close in relaxation. She stayed in my arms the entire drive home. I knew I had school the next day, but I couldn’t sleep. I was so excited to finally have my own kitten. I loved her already. I laid with her under the covers and got up periodically to show her the litter box. I watched her purr, and I loved to feel her warm fur against me as she slept. I named her Butterscotch, because she had that color of fur. It was a simple name given to a well-loved kitten from an eleven year old.

Butterscotch would grow up with me during the most tumultuous time of my life, my preadolescence. She was company for me when I cried about hard times at school. If I came home from a rotten day of junior high school hell, I would bury my face into my covers and cry, but I didn’t feel alone entirely. Butterscotch would gently walk toward me, already purring without being touched. She didn’t meow. She didn’t have to. She sniffed me as I cried, rubbed against my hand, and make sure she was touching me when she laid next to me. He rhythmic purring and warmth helped to subdue my cries. I would pet her and feel her silky fur under my dry hands, and I would feel better. I didn’t know exactly how I could feel better, but Butterscotch did this for me. She was more than a pet. She was my best friend.

Butterscotch would be a constant source of support and love for me whenever I was down. I was so happy with her I forgot how fragile a cat’s life was. Most cats live long lives, sometimes as much as fifteen years. But Butterscotch was not so fortunate. When she was about 6 years old, she began to have some terrible seizures. She would spin and convulse uncontrollably for long periods of time, during which she couldn’t control her bodily functions. She would try to control them, huffing and yowling, trying to fight with her mind when her body would not listen. After such a horrific struggle, she would weakly try to stand on two legs, and she was unpleasantly soaked in her own urine. Every time she had these seizures, it would pain me to see it. These seizures, as horrible as they were initially, would get worse. The seizures that would eventually kill her were the ones that involved terrible convulsions that took most of the room, and walls and floors would be splattered in blood.

My parents did the right thing by putting Butterscotch down when I was away on a school event. I knew the entire day she wouldn’t last much longer. I woke up early to catch the bus, and I checked on her in her failing state. She was too weak to stand, and when I started to cry, she tried to be strong for me and wobbled on her two bony legs. I don’t think she wanted me to cry, I could tell. When I came home to find her gone and put to rest, I cried all afternoon into the next day. I had lost a part of myself, and it would take me awhile to get used her not being physically there. It sounds crazy, but I think sometimes she visits me in spirit, just to check on me.

Today our family still includes animals, but the ones before them will never be forgotten. Mom and I love to recall the entertaining times our late animals had given us during their lives. We tell the stories over and over again about Korky’s blue balls and Butterscotch’s silky fur. Our eyes light up and we become moist with tears just for a second. Each individual pet made an impact on us; they were family.

@ HK Rowe 2002-2015

Excerpt Sunday – Autumn Fire

From my Work in Progress Romance novel, Autumn Fire.


The dream shifted, and Sam was staring at Jon and Dori again in their kitchen, laughing and teasing each other. The sunlight seemed to drown them all in ethereal light, so bright that Sam could barely see Jon’s face. He saw Dori’s clearly, but not Jon’s.

He was heading out, beckoning Sam to come with him. When they’d gotten in the car, Sam could feel them driving – rolling through an endless tunnel of white light, cocooned in an unknown void. When the impact hit them, shattered glass littered around him, cutting through flesh and singing through the air. When he looked up, darkness killed the heavenly light, and Jon was slumped over in the driver’s seat, the metal fragment piercing his brain, spilling out his blood into the car and onto Sam. Sam could feel his own pain dulling when he’d seen his lifeless friend.

Over and over again he saw Jon die. The dreams, the memories, the fear played on an endless loop, trapping him in an amber web of his own terror, his own guilt that his young friend had died that day and some higher power had spared him.

Suddenly, he felt very wet, and he wondered if he was covered in blood, but instead, Sam was weeping, almost endlessly, the cries of horror and agony coming out in small whimpers, echoing through the black corridor as his friend laid lifeless beside him.

He couldn’t save him. Sam had saved him once from alcohol addiction. He’d saved him and helped him, and Jon had finally become a wonderful man – a soldier, a caretaker, and a loyal friend. Sam couldn’t save him from this. No matter how much the dream looped, Sam couldn’t save Jon from a fate like this.

He was gone. Jon was gone and Sam still couldn’t breathe or think the moment he realized his friend was gone, that he’d seen his death wedged in his mind like a cancer, haunting him and making him weep.

“Sam!”

He’d inhaled a sharp breath and his eyes opened in surprise. His cheeks were wet, and he turned to Dori, whose hands were on his shoulders, bringing him awake.

“You were crying,” Dori said. “I’m sorry; I didn’t realize you were sleeping.”

“No, it’s okay,” Sam said in a small, crackled voice.

“No, it’s not. Jesus Christ, Sam. Is this every night for you? These dreams about my brother?” she asked, and she slid next to him on the couch. Her thighs lightly grazed against his, and he felt stilled from the touch.

“Yes,” he answered her, unsure of how to feel about her closeness and worry. He’d always dealt with his demons alone, and he couldn’t burden her with knowing that her brother’s death had literally changed his life. And not for the better. He’d struggled every day with it, the memories, the trauma – and he couldn’t tell this sweet woman that her brother’s death had brought him so much struggle and pain.

© H.K. Rowe

Nonfiction: The Lottery Club

Welcome to nonfiction Wednesdays!

Why did I choose to talk about nonfiction? Well, for one, nonfiction is particularly special to me. I took Nonfiction Writing at Northern Illinois University as an elective for my English Minor back in 2002. At the beginning of the semester, I was dating this guy who I met on one of those free dating sites. It was actually sort of a new thing back in 2002, and he was the second guy I’d met through it. He was, well, a pretty decent boyfriend. However, as I’d find out though some of the weeks before spring break, he was turning out to be sort of a basketcase. We were happy and things were good until he became distant and shady, and then he decided to break up with me right before spring break. Nice guy, eh? Well, it was college.

During that spring break I had to write a paper for my Writing Nonfiction class and read it to everyone when classes resumed. I was so distraught that I couldn’t think of anyone else but my ex. I tried writing my paper about him – in a notebook and on the computer. Nothing I wrote was good. It was all awful, and as I wrote I found myself sounding completely pathetic. My feelings seemed real, but they just weren’t real to me.

I’d soon realized that writing about my ex was just purging. I was releasing myself from the relationship through my words. They were valid, at least to me, but to share them with a class seemed horrifying. Not only that, I didn’t want to seem like a complete loser in front of my writing peers. As some people know, when you take an English writing class, some people can be pretty harsh (and rightly so).

So I scrapped everything I wrote and decided to write about someone else besides myself. I didn’t want my paper to have anything to do with me that had any sort of depth.

I wrote about my job. I didn’t care at the time. I wanted to disconnect myself from my broken hearted misery and write about something that I knew I could write about without really thinking. I wanted to write about a place I was pretty comfortable sharing with others, something that came easily.

At the time, I was working at a gas station. I’d worked at a couple different gas stations for 2 years at that point. I’d worked at one back home, and then I’d found a really well-paid cashier position at a busy gas station in DeKalb near the college.

I decided to write about my job at the gas station back home. I was feeling homesick, and even though it doesn’t sound like the most luxurious jobs, I enjoyed the people I met there. Trust me when I say that gas stations bring in a variety of people from many different backgrounds and social circles.

I’d served the blue collar types, like construction workers and auto mechanics. I’d served the mayor, councilmen, police officers, and clergy. I’d served people on welfare and homeless people. I’d served college kids, high school kids, and even little kids who came in to buy a candy bar while their mother watched from outside.

Probably my favorite people to serve were the lottery players. I had a love-hate relationship with them. When you worked at a gas station, you had regulars, and you had the same folks buying lottery too. So, for my paper I decided to write about the regular lottery players I’d like to call The Lottery Club.

Consequently, my decision to write about these lottery people was a good one. Many people in my class were impressed, even the biggest critics. One person was not entertained, but he was known for finding fault with everything and never being satisfied. It felt good to hear the teacher of the class knock down his criticisms to defend me.

Not only was this one of my proudest writing moments in my lifetime, but the Writing Nonfiction class would forever change my life in a different way.

In this class, I met another student writer there that would someday become my husband. When I’d fretted over what to write after my breakup with that other boy, I’d searched inside myself and expressed something deeper, a part of myself I was delighted to share with others, rather than drown them in my personal suffering. In the end, a bad relationship had ended and another was soon born – a better one.

So I am pleased to share with you that story I wrote, complete in its original form:


 

The Lottery Club

(HK Rowe © 2002-2015)

 

Normally, my six-hour shift never changes. I work at a small, obscure little gas station that attracts the lowest class of people. The same people come into the gas station to get the usual things they did on previous visits. After awhile of repeat visits, regulars are known by first names to us employees at Phillips 66. The people who are normally the regulars are the lottery players. They play Midday and Evening lottery. They never hesitate to spend lots of money either. They constantly consult each other about numbers that they “feel” are right. They’re in tuned with the lottery and number gods. Or so they think they are even if they lose repeatedly.

Butch: President

At Phillips 66 in Freeport, Butch is the great sage of lottery. Not only does he spend over a hundred dollars a day on numbers, but also money seems to be no object to him. To the others who play lottery, he’s the Messiah. They always look up to him and await his advice.

Unlike the other lottery players, he seems different. His demeanor and appearance seems to be cleaner and more refined then that of the others. He definitely has money to spend, for he is the owner of Mrs. Mike’s Potato Chips.

I’m often curious to why the other lottery players look up to Butch so much. He’s won several thousands of dollars on lottery, but he’s lost just as much. For some reason, the numbers he picks seem to influence the others enough so they play the same.

I always know when Butch appears on my shift. I can see his curly white hair, pink face, and round torso sitting in his blue Jeep as he pulls into the station. His golden presence is radar, and shockingly other lottery regulars seem to come to the station simultaneously when he’s there. He walks into the station and usually some are quick to greet him, inquiring about his numbers and their miraculous origins.

“I saw this license plate number 4-7-6, and I have a feeling it’s going to come in soon,” Butch says when another lottery player asks about his numbers.

“Oh, yeah. I saw that one too. I saw 6-4-7 on the address of a house when I was walking Bogart the other day,” says Ed.

Their chatter warms the dullness of the gas station. They socialize, talking about numbers with passion. They are in their own worlds, and they don’t seem to mind being slowly forced into the corner with the candy and 12-pack sodas by the bustle of other customers.

Butch hands me his long list of numbers. He always tells me to not hurry. He’s going to talk to Ed about his failure at Midday numbers.

“I almost had it too!” I also hear him say, “I second guessed myself again. I had a little feeling about that number but didn’t play it.”

I snort unhappily at his long list. He always plays his numbers the same way every night. For Pick 3, he has about eight or so different numbers and I have to type in each number and play them as a Strait Box and a Strait for a dollar five times. His Pick 4 numbers are played about the same way, only instead of a Strait Box for each number, he wants a 50/50, which is 50 cents Strait and 50 cents Box.

After I type in the first four numbers, my fingers become robotic and seem to move on their own. I push the bright blue, green, yellow, and red keys of the black machine… 4-5-7…Strait Box… Send…Last…Strait… 1 dollar… Repeat…05 times…Send…”

The process seems to take forever. Whenever I punch in his numbers, the redundancy seems to slice my brain out of my head and turn me into a zombie. I don’t usually like getting interrupted during Butch’s numbers by other customers. Because the routine is so ingrained in me, I sometimes hiss like a monster after other customers interrupt me.

Once I get his numbers played and paid for, the rest of the night seems like a reprieve. But I still get annoyed as more lottery people come.

Ed: Vice-President

Ed is Butch’s second-in-command. Butch and Ed wait for each other to show up most nights so they can discuss numbers. Like Butch, Ed drives a distinctive vehicle. When he pulls up in his rusty, dull maroon van, he moves out slowly, gliding into the station like a phantom. As his master leaves the van, Ed’s hound dog Bogart barks at all the other customers coming into the station. Ed has a routine usually every night. He gets about four dollars of gas in his van, buys a bag of cheap Cheetohs for Bogart, and disappears into the bathroom. Usually he’s so quiet I forget he’s still here. When I look out the window, and I still see his van and a hyper Bogart, I know he’s around somewhere.

Eventually, Ed slinks around the corner from the bathroom to my high counter. If Butch isn’t here, he’ll inquire if he has been. Whether Butch has been there or not, Ed will stay, usually for a very long time.

Ed can seem a little scary at first. He could be mistaken for a little homeless man. He wears a ratty old navy overcoat, full of dark spots of unlimited amounts of dirt, smoke, and any other filth. He always wears a blue knit hat, and I’ve never seen him without it, even in the summer. His face looks hard and tired, and without being touched I feel his face is rough and bumpy like beef jerky. His beard, a style stolen from Abe Lincoln, makes him look a hundred years older than his actual age. His eyes are teary and wet, and they remind me of eyes of an aging dog. One eye doesn’t seem to work very well, constantly flooded with tears and moving erratically.

Despite his homely appearance, Ed has a sharp and cranky tongue. His voice has the intimidation of a strict old-fashioned grandfather. He usually looks at me intensely with his erratic blue eye and says to me, “What number is that bingo on?”

Whatever number I say, he steps back in intense thought. Nothing on his body will move except his erratic eye. Suddenly he opens his mouth full of brown rotting teeth.

“Give me it. And don’t disappoint me.”

After about five disappointing bingos, he plays his Pick 3 numbers for the evening. First he wonders about Butch’s numbers, and then he reluctantly plays them, but in a different order. He never spends more than ten dollars, but he’s adamant with me that HIS numbers should be picked because of the money he’s spent. Before he leaves he gives me a slow, piercing look with his wild eye.

“You better pick my numbers tonight, not like the last time.” Then he floats out of the station to his van; Bogart is jumping, shaking the van in jubilation at his return.

PeeWee: Public Relations

Upper middle class customers seem to leave immediately upon PeeWee’s arrival. PeeWee is a short middle-aged man, appropriately labeled the Pimp of Freeport. Well, I guess he used to be. For sure, he now puts his shady salary into the lottery system.

He always wears his white plastic-like hat (it looks like a miniature cowboy hat) with small black feathers held together by a black satin ribbon. He’s wearing his green and white striped polo shirt, stained from coffee and other unknown substances. He wears gray trousers and scuffed alligator shoes. His skips into the station with a grin full of mistreated teeth. His charcoal face and deep brown pupils contrast with the intensity of the whites of his eyes.

He hands me his list of tattered notebook paper. It’s scribbled in writing that resembles a child’s. After I hand him the completed tickets with his numbers, he has suddenly thought of more. Through his strong distinctive lisp, I hear about two more numbers. After paying only about four dollars, PeeWee’s vivid presence dances away. He drives off in his dusty blue convertible with some scantily clad and terribly ugly middle-aged woman in the passenger seat. Not only do the customers sigh in relief when PeeWee leaves, but the store itself seems to be more comfortable as well.

Members of the Board

Butch, Ed, and PeeWee only make up small amounts of the regular lottery players that come in during a night at Phillips 66. Usually more familiar faces linger into play the numbers.

Russ, a spirited look alike to Bill Cosby, comes in and shoots out numbers to me before he walks into the door. Thus, he’s affectionately called Dr. Huxtable among my co-workers. Without vision, we can easily recognize him as he yells out his commonly played Pick 4 numbers: 3414, 1947, 1923, and etc. He wears his tan overcoat, has a smile on his wrinkly freckled chocolate face. Sometimes he smoothes out his dry curly gray hair, and squints his eyes to look at my appearance, expecting me to have a new hairstyle. Then he always asks me, “Are you still in school? Do you still do all that drawing?”

He has a brother, Othar, which is a slimmer version of him with wilder black hair. Othar doesn’t only play regular lottery; he also plays instant tickets. He normally buys a pack of Merit Ultima 100 and about 30 dollars in instants with his winnings and crumpled bills. He takes his smokes and tickets and camps out in his clean white van, only leaving once in awhile to cash in tickets. He leaves with me a stack of old Pick 3 numbers to check for winnings. If he has a winner, I’m supposed to give him a “thumbs-up” through the window while he waits in his van. When Othar comes to the station to play, he usually never goes until close. He plays and plays until he runs out of money, and the money is always being found somewhere.

Eyes roll and people inhale when Dick walks in. Dick, an unkempt moldy old war veteran, walks all over town, and finally he stops into Phillips 66 for company and free coffee. His thick-framed glasses are always spotted and greasy. His back is hunched, weighted by his tummy. He seems goofy to those who don’t know him because he usually wears nice dress pants, a pair of tennis shoes, a raggedy bright red coat, and a frilly pink knit hat. He always announces he’s going bankrupt, sometimes in a mournful blues song he made up on the spot. After getting a cup of free coffee, he buys ten dollars in lottery tickets and cheap smokes. He goes outside and stands in front of the window to light up and gaze at the traffic outside. His eyes always look so sad, and I can’t help feel sorry for him, as his life seems to be hanging on by a thread. He’s excited when Butch comes, and doesn’t hesitate to corner him in a conversation about the same topic.

“The boss-man had no right to fire me.”

I don’t know what brings all these men together. Some nights all of them will circle together by the candy and talk colorfully about numbers and luck. They’ve all had that “feeling” about a certain number. They’re always sure the feeling is prophetic. If they win, they can better their lives. They all listen to Butch, who wins and has it better, but he still plays. Maybe it’s just considered an addiction, but I see more magic and color when these men talk about lottery then I see when smokers talk about cigarettes. They all seem to be caught in some life cycle, and they don’t mind. They wait patiently, twirling around in a machine with random circumstances. Someday, they believe their number will be picked.

Also, I did a cartoon of the regular lottery folks.

Also, I did a cartoon of the regular lottery folks.

END

Cheers,

HK Rowe

2015 Blog Posting Schedule

2015 is here! Happy New Year!

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I know we’re four days in, but I’ve been trying to catch up with things after the holidays, which has been rather difficult. I’ve been trying to post where I can that “Unbridled” is still on sale for $0.99 through the month, so that takes time as well. RL has thrown some curve balls as well: a party here and there, a funeral, housework and a sick dog. They all tend to eat up time.

I worked on a blog schedule for this year in an attempt to be a more proactive blogger than I have been. It’s still going to be difficult, but this comes with the indie author career so I’m ready to make the effort.

Starting tomorrow the schedule will go as follows:

MONDAY – writing/design blather and advice

WEDNESDAY – Nonfiction days: corporate, job search, self help and motivation

FRIDAY – Flash Fiction

SUNDAY – Excerpts! Excerpts on all current projects as well as promos!

Alright then! Let’s see how it goes. I’ll be posting Monday’s blog first thing tomorrow. See you then.

Cheers,

HK Rowe

Monday Blogs: Giveaway & Book Review

Happy Monday, everyone!

I am still reeling from NaNoWriMo and catching up with my never-ending to-do list. I do plan on setting up a more regular blogging schedule at the beginning of the new year, but until then my posts will be a bit random like before. For now…

Tomorrow (which is my birthday) I am kicking off my Goodreads Giveaway for Unbridled. I will be giving away five FREE signed copies of my book. So you’ll see an official post for that tomorrow when it begins. I hope you enter for a chance for a free book. Who doesn’t love free, right?

In other news, I’ve been reading a lot, and normally I don’t do much reviewing of books because it seems like everyone does that, and though it probably is a good skill to foster in the indie-book world, it also depends on time. So normally I don’t have any sort of structured time for that, but when I read a good book, I feel I should share – whether it’s an indie author or not.

amandapalmer_theartofasking

The book I read recently is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Amanda Palmer was the former lead singer of the Dresdon Dolls, a bit of a cabaret punk band. She is an independent artist now and makes music regularly. Amanda Palmer is known for taking the music world by storm with her Kickstarter project and other advocacies, and I’ve been following her career for a while and just love her spirit, her engagement with fans, and her wisdom in art and music.

I don’t have a lot of free time to read much anymore, so I was amazed how enthralled I was by her book and finished it so quickly. I’m partial to biographies anyway, but sometimes I read them and it takes me forever, but not Amanda’s book.

I read it with ferocity, absorbing her stories, her biographical accounts, her romance with Neil Gaiman, and her struggles with asking people for help and then her art itself. Sometimes it felt like a self-help book, that I could adopt some of her wisdom with my own life and struggles. I know it probably wasn’t supposed to be like that, but once you read some of her own wisdom, you feel that her words are adaptable, and they make you think.

Especially when it comes for asking for help and receiving gifts. I feel like that can be a struggle for people, myself included, in getting over your pride and asking people for help, whether for money or goods, and when you do, as Amanda did, you see the sense of community and collaboration that is born from that. It was really touching to read about that, to see all her friends and fans come together in a unifying spirit to help.

I also enjoyed the concept of making art, how making art “is not hard” – and I guess I can see that as a more liberal sense of the concept, where if you make art for the public and someone, even one person, appreciates it, it’s a success.

If you’re a fan of Amanda’s work, I definitely recommend the work. If you’re intrigued by her, I’d look into her music and get a sense of her and then if you like her, totally pick up her book.

Here was my review I posted to Goodreads:

This book was so amazing I couldn’t put it down.
I began reading this and felt so connected to Amanda through her words, her snippets, and her stories. I was moved to tears many times that I was reading so furiously that I didn’t even realize I was crying until my cheeks were wet.
Such a powerful, moving book, that there were several parts of it I just absorbed with abandon, and other parts of it I just felt I understood her and nodded my head with what she was going through, explaining, or feeling.
It felt like a random, almost-self help book on and FOR artists, but it’s not that, (or is it? I’m not sure), it’s everything Amanda. That’s how much you connect with her when you read this book. I’ve never actually met Amanda in person, but once you read her story you feel like you’ve always known her and loved her. (But I want to meet her one day, because wow, what an amazing human being she is…)
Wonderful, wonderful book. It’s the best book I’ve read this year for sure.

Enjoy! See you all tomorrow to kick-off my Goodreads Giveaway!

Cheers.

H.K. Rowe

Ups and Downs

I have been writing and drawing a LOT. Unfortunately, it’s more exercise and practice stuff. I’m doing a lot of journaling, which is mostly personal.

I spent a two week stint designing proposal templates on oDesk so I was occupied there. Hey, money is money.

A lot of my private journaling comes from thoughts and introspections as I deal with the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, as well as being there for my mom while she goes through it. It’s not pretty stuff. One thing is a hard constant: I still don’t like sharing my feelings. Apparently people think that’s something I need to work on.

I’m musing and outlining my Nanorwrimo novel, thinking of a cohesive plot. I’m trying to get over the strange fear of editing Killer Orange. I wonder if I can get through that. It isn’t a block so much as a feeling of dread, like a dirty chore, and I need to get through that. I’m open to what other writers do when they feel overwhelmed with dread in editing their works.

On the upside, this Saturday was Madison Pagan Pride day, and I met High Priestess and activist Selena Fox. She’s one of my idols, and she’s so charming and full of love and joy. I wish I could be half the woman she is.

Work is going really well, but more is continually expected of me. Such is the game.

More writing progress posted soon!

Cheers!

H.K. Rowe

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Someone at my Livejournal blog (which I keep specifically for fandom and personal rantings) posted about what characters in fiction share your Myers-Briggs personality. I admit, I had to take the test all over again because I did not remember what I was.

(If you don’t know either, take the test here.)

I’m an INFJ (Introverted, iNtuition, Feeling, Judging) which according to several internet sites is a rare personality type among the 16 types.

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Here is INFJ in a nutshell:

INFJs are creative nurturers with a strong sense of personal integrity and a drive to help others realize their potential. Creative and dedicated, they have a talent for helping others with original solutions to their personal challenges.

The Counselor has a unique ability to intuit others’ emotions and motivations, and will often know how someone else is feeling before that person knows it himself. They trust their insights about others and have strong faith in their ability to read people. Although they are sensitive, they are also reserved; the INFJ is a private sort, and is selective about sharing intimate thoughts and feelings.

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This describes me to a T, and actually it’s a little frustrating to see myself so plainly spelled out, but it made me think that perhaps a lot of my stress and woes really tries into my nature of wanting to be everyone’s counselor and fix everything in life that’s broken. Maybe I do care a bit of a superman complex as well, or at least a person so blindly dedicated to a cause.

And yet when I posted my results on facebook as well, I noticed at least three more INFJs, which makes me wonder if we really are that rare, or that it really is true about INFJs when it comes to friendship, that we’re very particular and like to collect friends with perfectly aligned interests.

I thought it was interesting. Here are the famous people that are also INFJs that I like:

Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Bronte, Carl Jung, Florence Nightingale, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Carter, and Edward Snowden.

And then of course, here are the fictional characters that I know which are also INFJ:

Yue and Roku from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Paige Matthews from Charmed
Bruce Wayne from The Dark Knight
John and Anna Bates from Downton Abbey
Walternate from Fringe
Peter Petrelli from Heroes
Merlin from Merlin
Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena
Christine Chapel from Star Trek: The Original Series
Kes from Star Trek: Voyager
Ezri Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Ianto Jones from Torchwood
Jasper Hale from Twilight
Phil Coulson from the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars
Allison Argent from Teen Wolf
Amy Pond Doctor Who

Find your fictional character personality types too HERE.

What personality type are you? Does it fit you?

Have a good weekend!

H.K. Rowe