Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy 2013 at

A few memories of 2012.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saint David

I have an amazing nephew who is a living Saint. He has been challenged since birth with a severe autistic condition. He has conquered life with perseverance, that is unmatched by anyone I know.

 David has been employed as a dishwasher for the same restaurant for 21 years,     and has a night maintenance job at a hospital.  He works at least 11 hours a day. 

Life is not easy for him, but he rarely complains and is loyal, responsible and kind.

     Once, his dad asked him why his new friend was slow.
                    (She's mentally challenged.)
     David was in deep thought for few minutes.

     Finally, he said, “Well, Dad. She does have short legs.”

My brother told me that he was glad he was wearing sunglasses, as tears rushed  into his eyes.

Recently, David told someone that the Mexican restaurant where he worked had been sold. 
         “What’s the name of the new owner?”
         “Jose Gomez,” he said.
         “Oh, so he’s Mexican.”
         “No, he moved here from Wyoming.”

David has no sense of prejudice. He is accepting of everyone for what and how they present themselves. 

Why can’t we all be more like David?

Thank you David for teaching us many life lessons, including to work hard, be generous, forgive those who make fun of you, love always, and to never hold a grudge. God Bless you. 

 David, is in his Colorado Rockies shirt, with most of his cousins who treasure him.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. 

                      Blessings to all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Perfect? Murder & November Musings

                    Thoughts on November 12, 2012
 1.  Thanksgiving is one of the most hurried holidays. It’s November 12th and the stores are decorated for Christmas and playing Carols. I know it’s a marketing tool, but I believe that buying gifts for Christmas has become way out of hand. 100 gifts under a tree is ridiculous, unless you have 100 in your family. Give the money you spend for gifts, (probably are hated anyway) to a charity or a needy family.  
       2.   Isn't ironic that the director of the 
       Central Intelligence Agency couldn't keep his affair secret?   
       There’s a lesson to be learned. What? Perhaps it’s integrity 
       or  maybe your sins will catch up with you, no matter whom /where
       you are.
     Things I've Learned From Crime Solving TV Shows.
1.      If you are the beneficiary of your planned victim’s 
life insurance policy stop now. They are going to know it was 
you and why you did it. 
2.      If you plan to poison your victim whatever you do, 
do not, use antifreeze.  They always find it. "Thankfully, I don't have any."
3.      If you work in the medical industry and plan to poison someone don’t steal the drugs from the place of your employment. That’s the first place they look.
4.      Do not do a web search for any kind of poison. They will seize your computer and find out what you've searched for. "OMG, I'm F***ed."
5.      If you plan to hire someone to kill your victim while you are away so that you have an alibi go with a professional one. The plumber’s friend will squeal and give you up.
6.      Should your victim bleed on your carpet/floor don’t try to clean it up with bleach.  Blood seeps into everything and it will be discovered. So before you kill your victim  put down a tarp and dispose it along with the body.
7.      If you plan to set your house on fire to cover the evidence of the crime, make sure the flames burn the body enough so that they can’t find the nick on his breastbone indicating that he was stabbed before the fire.  
Be sure to put a cigarette in the victim’s hand, so it will look like he/she started the fire. If they are not smokers, you have a problem. "Geez, I don't hardly know anyone that smokes, anymore."
8.      If you plan to place your victim in a car and then roll the car over a cliff, make sure you put the body in the driver’s seat. "Well, I don't think I'd make that mistake." 
9.      The authorities always examine stomach contents during an autopsy.  Don’t feed your victim or eat with them somewhere. The food will lead them to you.
10.    If you are trying to make it look like someone broke into your house and randomly shot your victim,  don’t throw the shell casings in the washing machine, the toilet, or the planter outside the door. Investigators will find them. Hiding a gun or knife under the bed or throwing it into the back yard isn't a good idea either. 
11.     If you want it to look like a suicide, make sure you think about “bullet entry trajectory.” No one can shoot themselves in the back of the head from 5 feet away. "Unless, of course, they are a trickster."
12.     If you plan to purchase anything to be used to commit the murder, pay cash and burn the receipt. And remember – stores have surveillance cameras.  Wear a wig & a fake nose. And don't dress as a pirate.
13.     Whatever you do don’t complain about your victim within six months of murdering him.  Don’t tell anyone you’d be better off if he were dead. Don’t solicit anyone you know for fast gun sales or reputable hit men.  They’ll rat you out so they can see their name in the paper.
14.    If you do have a co-conspirator and you get caught, which you will, make sure you get to the District Attorney first. I don’t care how much you think he/she loves you they’ll sell you out for a plea deal every time.
15.    Self defense is hard to prove if the victim was shot from behind, while kneeling, laying down or sitting.
16.    If you have books about murder/poisons, or you have episodes of your favorite crime shows on your DVR, don’t try to commit the perfect crime. It looks fishy and no one is going to believe it is just a coincidence. "Well, guess I better clean house."
17.    Don’t write novels about murderers and psychopaths, like Visions of Evil. 
        "Damn, I don't stand a chance."              

  Have  a Happy Thanksgiving. We all have many blessings.

          Over the river, and through the wood, To Nana’s house you 
          go,  the car/plane knows the way to carry you there, through 
          the white and drifted snow....
Well, no snow, but I’m blessed that a few of my family members will share this special holiday with me.  And it’ my birthday week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crawling Old Man ... Mark Twain's Warning

     When we drove home from Michigan, we decided to stay one night in 
Hannibal, MO. We wanted to experience Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) homeland & hoped to inherit a bit of his muse while we were there. We found his boyhood home after educating ourselves about his traumatic life. Then the rainstorms began. So, we headed out of Hannibal in a downpour.
     My Honey was snoozing in the passenger’s seat while I drove the “Ghost.” My mind was deep in thought of Mark Twain's interesting life.
     At that moment, an old man wearing a brown hoodie began to crawl across the highway.
     I hit the brakes & right before my eyes, the man turned into a slinking coyote. The animal slipped back into the brush beside the road, just as two motorcyclists passed me going way too fast.
    I had to believe the "old man" was a vision sent to me by Mark Twain's spirit.
    Honey, awakened with a start, & commenced to lecture me that no one should ever brake for an animal. 
    "But…but…it looked like an old man crawling onto the road." (And to myself, I thought, it was Mark Twain warning me.
    "Besides," I pleaded, "I saved two bike riders from a fatal accident. The old man would have flipped them over like dominoes."
     I want to believe that Mark Twain caused me to brake for that old man. The biker's were not supposed to slam into that coyote & die that day.
    After all, Twain had foreseen his brother's death & that inspired his interest in parapsychology. He believed in spirits, apparitions, and afterlife. 
    "So there, Honey!"
    Clemens was born in 1835 during a passing of Haley’s comet, & he died in 1910, two weeks after Haley’s comet passed again. He was a typesetter for newspapers before becoming a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. His pen name, Mark Twain, is a term for a measured river depth of two fathoms.   
  After his brother was killed in a riverboat explosion, Twain decided it was a sign to quit that profession &  try his luck at gold mining.
    Near Angels Camp, CA, on Jackass Hill, he wrote a humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It became popular nationwide & soon the Jumping Frog Jubilee began. The first one was in 1893, in Copperopolis, CA, (where my brother lives today…& I believe competes in the frog jumping.) The event soon found a permanent home in Angels Camp.
That short story began Twain’s successful travelogues. Later, he wrote Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer & countless other writings.

            I'd like to return to Hannibal, MO & take a river cruise that is depicted to flow by the sites in Mark Twain’s novels. And to visit Becky Thatcher's home & maybe Unsinkable Molly Brown's abode, but I hesitate… the memory of that hooded old man slinking onto the highway, causes me to shudder.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mr. Pickles, Squirrels & Hoarding

At my writing desk, I watch multi-colored leaves flutter into the wooded area behind our cottage. And Black Squirrels are frantically collecting & hoarding walnuts from our trees. It's for a good reason. Fall is sneaking upon us and winter will soon be here.

It's amazing that some people are hard-wired to collect & hoard like squirrels. And I'm not talking about money. They collect everything and anything...all year long!

When we moved into our Michigan cottage this summer, we didn’t know that a human hoarder lived two blocks away. His nickname is Mr. Pickles and can be seen in his old, red pickup pulling a utility trailer, barreling past our abode many times a day. 

And when Pickles isn't rushing by in his truck, he’s riding a bicycle, scoping out new treasures to collect later on.
Mr Pickles has a loud, hacking cough that everyone recognizes. We can hear it long before he rides/drives past our house. I was concerned it could be the symptoms of  Hanovirus, but I’ve been told that it’s a nervous condition, becoming worse when he thinks someone is critical of his actions. Hack! Hack! Hack!

Mondays is trash pickup day in our little village. Mr. Pickle is frantic all day Sunday and into the next day, scrounging through trash and throw-away items left nearby. Often, we awake to bottles/cans crashing into his pickup that we have diligently placed into the recycle bin. It’s disheartening, as Pickles doesn't recycle or redeem them. Nope. He just bags them and places them inside his house.

Many times, throughout the years, officials have cleaned up his property. This year alone, they have hauled away over 121 cubic yards of junk.

Last month, when city workers arrived to clean up Mr. Pickle’s property, we heard a commotion in the small canyon behind our house. Pickles was frantically hiding things in the bushes next to the creek below.

Another neighbor reported his actions and soon Pickles was in a police car for safekeeping.

I understand that hoarding is an illness, often a result of depression and an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarders often cannot separate what's meaningful or not meaningful.

We've been told that Mr. Pickles situation has recently been turned over to County Health officials. I hope he can receive help for his illness. It's the best thing for him and the rest of the village.

Visions of Evil is now available in paperback! Click this link to order your copy. I won't be bored.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mystical Journey of Writing & Are you in my Novel?

Writing is a mystical journey. 

Whether I’m at the post office, a parade, shopping, visiting family or friends, I’m constantly watching, observing and taking notes in my mind. Writers often say, “Be careful, you may end up in my novel.” There is a bit of truth in that statement, but my characters are created completely in my mind. 

The true writer is more of a medium. They are like a conduit for the people they write about. My characters speak through me, using my voice, my body, my mind, to tell their story. They may have a few traits, habits or actions of people I’ve met in my life, but they are never the same as anyone I’ve ever known.

“Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice 
                            and I'll tell you a story.”  
                               F. Scott Fitzgerald

I've had a few people that are certain that some of the characters are based on them. That’s not true, but it is possible that they can see parts of their personalities or traits in one of my characters. And I’m sure there are bits of me in some of them too. 

Visions of Evil has settings in several places that are near where I’ve lived or visited in the past. The Nebraska ranch, the Denver area, San Diego and Sedona. Jake Tansey, is a sick creep, that unfortunately, I’ve know different sides of him in real life. The main story line for him, however, was taken from a true crime between Del Mar and La Jolla, CA. I couldn’t have made that part up.      

I've always been enthralled by the settlers who came west in the 1800’s or before. It was a tough trip and a rough life even after they reached their destination. And women, especially, were pitted against great odds. I hope when you read Visions of Evil, you will see the underlying strength in Pearl, Lulu and the others. Did their particularly hell really happen? Yes, the characters told me it did.

Visions of Rodeo, my next novel, is another story of a survival. The characters have told me their tale, both male and female. Ty is a jewel of a man who suffered terrible consequences. Rodeo, begins as a vulnerable, sweet teen and then her life, as she known it, is changed forever. I’m blessed that these two characters were channeled into 
                                          my mind. They now feel like friends.  

There are shades of truth in every novel/story, but not necessarily my truths. The thoughts and ideas, observations, come from minds of people who are often very different from me. I can’t take responsibility for them.    “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ― Stephen King

Once I had someone contact me stating that one of my stories was critical of the physically challenged. I never understood that comment. What do readers bring to the reading of my novels and short stories? I’ll never know, but I believe whatever it is, influences their interpretation of what they read, differently from others.

I try to keep my mind and heart open to all my characters. Yes, even the awful ones. But ultimately, they are responsible for themselves. Of course, some of my beliefs, inspirations, observations, memories, my research and knowledge, are weaved into the pages, but what I write is not all from me. And that’s the truth about all fiction.  

Of course it might still happen that someone thinks a certain character might be about them. The name starts with the same letter as their own name, they drive the same car, talk or walk the same way. These are simple coincidences. Really! 

Except you. Yes, you. You know who you are. You're going to be so sorry for the things you once said, the things you never did.  And the whole world is going to read about it. I'm kidding!    Then again...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Physically Challenged and Successful

     Recently, we went to a local restaurant that sets near a channel to Lake Michigan. The restaurant has an ambient atmosphere with fresco seating. The inviting soft- breezes whisper to you there.     
     A   friendly, attractive young lady served our table with a smile and grace. When she walked away and down steps to a lower level, I noticed she limped.
      Later, when she returned with our beverages I observed her flesh-colored prosthetic leg. She wasn’t trying to hide it, as she had on a pair of shorts accompanied with the restaurants logo t-shirt. We hadn't noticed her disability, because of her self-confidence and attitude. 
       In the United States there are 45 million Physically Challenged people over the age of five.  This is the largest minority group in America and only 15 million are 65 or older.
      I've been around people who are physically challenged all my life. Mainly due to having polio as a child which left me paralyzed on my right side. After years of intense therapy and numerous surgeries, I maneuver  almost "normal." During this time, I was surrounded by other crippled children and adults. It became the norm for me. 
      And I was blessed to have a close relationship with a cousin whose spinal cord was severed at T1 in a vehicle accident. Jack, a cowboy, stayed active even with his disability, but he did fight depression. For years he ran a large cattle ranch, throwing himself in and out of his hand-controlled pick-up, from his wheelchair. He was my hero, but when he grew older he turned to alcohol to dull his pain from declining health.   
      A good friend in Arizona had a spinal cord injury at T10 when she was eighteen years old. She is an enterprising person and never gives up on living a happy and inspirational life. A few years ago, she started The Annabel Inn, a Bed and Breakfast, in Cottonwood, AZ. It has a French atmosphere and is quite successful. She has plans to expand. Annabel writes articles for newspapers, and has written several novels. Many able bodied people can’t keep up with this lady. She is one of my heroes. 
      Of course, there are physical challenged people that hole up in their houses, do nothing for themselves, refuse to learn a new trade and waste away. How sad.
      In Sedona, I know a man who has a spinal disease. He can only move his arms and is slowing losing that ability. He works from his home for a large drugstore chain writing programs for their systems and constantly updating their files. He earns over $100K a year.
      Down the street from him, able-bodied men ask for hand-outs.  Why?
      A good friend of mine, started a travel business for physically challenged people after she lost a leg to cancer in her mid-40's. After the amputation, her husband left her, stating he couldn't live with a person who was incomplete. 
       Carroll never allowed her disability stop her from living a productive and positive existence. For a time she moved to Alaska to experience a different kind of life. 
      Many able-bodied people fear leaving the areas where they were born, wilting away doing the same things, riding their limited "Merry-Go-Round" of life, forever.   
     Carroll died at the age of 65 from heart disease. Her kindness, support and uplifting spirit, inspires me to this day.
     I will continue to surround myself with people who are supportive, productive, positive and inspiring. It's not healthy to have the negative, "Oh, woe is me's," or the "Naysayers,"  in your life.   
     When I became a successful author, a family member remarked, "How silly is that? Everyone I know thinks they can write."  It stunned me at the time, but now I understand that negativity. 
     I believe many of these people can't stand to see anyone happy or successful.   They want to bring you down to their pitiful existence of life, into their hell. A life that they have created or settled into. 
     It reminds me of the "Crabs In the Bucket," story. When a single crab is put into a lidless bucket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a bucket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themselves above all, the others will grab this crab and drag'em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group. 
     I'm sure you all know a Hero who is Physically or Mentally Challenged. Tell them how they inspire you and congratulate them on doing their best with what life has delt them.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Little People With Flashlights & Fireflies

Channel to Lake Michigan

We've been at our cottage in Pentwater, MI, for two weeks already. Lake Michigan is a quick walk & the marina is only 4 blocks away. The cool breeze from the lake and being surrounded by all the green is comforting. Time seems to fly by and every day is a new/interesting experience.

Late on the 3rd night, I was writing at my desk which faces the treed canyon behind our place. Deep in thought, I raised my view from the computer screen and noticed a group of children, or small people, with tiny flashlights moving in a circle. They were at the bottom of the canyon near the creek.
 Of course, in my writer’s mind, I thought they might be a satanic group or perhaps it could be fairies. I quickly tiptoed to tell Jerry, but he was sound asleep.

Returning to my desk, I peered out my window again. The group had vanished.

The next morning, I told Jerry about seeing the children with their flashlights. He asked me if I’d pulled the wine out of the refrigerator after he’d gone to bed. He knew the answer…No!

That night he called me to the back door. “Is this what you saw last night?”
There flitting around in our back yard were a dozen fireflies.

I can only remember seeing these amazing insects once before as a child in McCook, Nebraska, while visiting my grandparents. As kids, we’d catch a few in a jar and take them home to Colorado. They didn’t survive. 

Then, living in Southern California for over 30 years, plus a few years in Sedona, Arizona, I haven't seen them since.  Almost every night here, they present a light show.

 Here are a few facts:
~Fireflies or Lightning Bugs emit light to attract mates and to communicate with    each other.
~The light is in the Fireflies tail or butt,  is an enzyme mixture of luciferase and luciferin. The light creates no heat. It's the most efficient use of energy known. Man cannot recreate this kind of light.
~Fireflies live only a few weeks. Only long enough to mate and lay eggs for the next generation. 

Sales of my novel "Visions of Evil," are going well & I have had over 14,000 downloads on Amazon.
I'm working steady on the next novel. 

I'll be writing another blog soon. Have a great summer.                
J. E. Neiman

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Visions of Evil"

Am I excited?...Yes!!!

"Visions of Evil" is now available on Amazon. 

It is a Paranormal Thriller & Historical fiction full of suspense and intrigue. 
Psychic identical twins, one a paraplegic, work with the FBI,  to locate  a psychopath killer who has murdered his wife in CA & a teen in CO. Jake flees to Mexico, but soon realizes that the psychics can locate him anywhere.

An 1875 subplot revolves around Pearl, whose family is murdered on a wagon trail in CO. 

At 15, Pearl must learn to rely on her intuition and intelligence to survive the human predators of the old West. Pearl's spirit chooses to stay on earth to seek justice for her family, & to assist victims of  crime by being a spiritual adviser.

Onward with  WIP for my next novel...working title, "Rodeo."

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Journey by Mary Oliver

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 
~ Mary Oliver ~

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sometimes I wonder where my thoughts and actions originate from, but then I console myself by remembering that my parents were from different planets. It’s a wonder their children, including myself, didn’t grow up to have personality defects. Well, the others do, but I’m perfect. 
Wish I could be a fly on the wall, if & when, any of them read this post. 
What fun that would be…or maybe not. We get along, but in my humble opinion, we constantly look at each other, shake our heads, and think, “What the hell?”
            Our mother was raised in a small home with five brothers & sisters. Her parents, farmers, were first Quakers, and then Evangelical Christian. Our father, on the other hand, was born in a small apartment above a pool hall, bar and liquor store that his parents owned. Pa was an entrepreneur and an ass kicker from the get go. Gram was somewhat quieter and unlike Pa, refrained from profanities, but it was best not to get in her way, especially if she was riding her horse. I have written half of a novel about Pa and Gram, but at 500 pages, it will have to become two books. My other grandparents were kind & loving people, but not near as exciting.
            So, with that in mind I'll share a few of my life experiences in my posts. 
As a child, I loved to climb.  My first climbing memories were of circling all rooms without ever touching the floor. Besides climbing up the sides of doorways, one would usually fine me on top of cupboards, cabinets, and even refrigerators.  In my mind, snakes or alligators crawled in masses below. 
A kind uncle once said to me, “You never learned to walk.”
Indignant, even at three, I said, “Es I did.”
“Nope,” he said. “You only learned to run and climb.”
                                                         Barn Climbing
I'm reminded of one climbing incident often due to a  large round scar. Our family lived on a ranch/farm in Colorado, and at one time we had a tall red barn. My kittens, I had 26 at one time, would crawl half way up the loft arches on the inside of this building. To rescue them from falling, I’d often climb up the sides after them.
One time, when I was five, I did just that and soon realized, as I clutched the barn support sides with both my hands and bare feet, that I was no longer vertical, but at a dangerous angle to the floor of the  loft. I screamed for help for a few minutes, but realized that my mother, the only person home, could not save me because she was frightened of heights. So, I tried to climb down. I fell, but did not reach the hay below. Pain riveted in my right thigh. A large barn nail had penetrated deeply into my leg. I was literally hanging from a nail, twenty feet off the floor. I heard a vehicle drive into our yard. I screamed louder than ever. One of our farm hands ran up the stairs to the loft and saw me there. He grabbed a ladder and rescued me. My mother cleaned out the wound then spanked my bottom and warned me to never climb in that barn again. But I did…someone had to save the kittens.