Monday, November 26, 2012

Something You Can't Quite Put Your Finger On...

Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.


Random Courting the Flame Fact:
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” 


Although some of the characters may proceed forward with reluctance, Courting the Flame is, indeed, a story that chronicles the journey to self-discovery—an idea summed up quite nicely in the above quote.

Diana DeCameron Tidbit:
Human beings…oh but we are a complicated lot. Born into this world at point “A”, hopefully our life experiences help to move us along that tiny space that is our existence, encouraging us to grow and change and morph into something new. Something exciting. Something better than before. I say hopefully, because my life experiences have proven that some of us never really budge from point “A”. But rest easy, that is not the topic of today’s post. I am choosing not to focus on the stagnant souls, but on those who have somehow managed to grow despite themselves, adversity, or a steadfast reluctance to change. 

I’ll be honest. For the first 30 plus years of my life, I remained fairly consistent as a human being. My life views were predictable. My behaviors followed a pattern. I questioned nothing and did as I was told. My beliefs were based, for the most part, on those of my parents, extended family, and any others I chose to surround myself with. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that the belief systems were bad, they just weren’t…well, my own. It would take many years and a willingness to search my soul to finally realize that I actually had my own opinions. Don’t worry. I’ll keep them to myself, LOL. Besides, the “what” isn’t nearly as important as is everything I learned about myself along the way. 

Over the past year, I’ve had several opportunities to touch base with people from my past, and each encounter has been a wonderfully uplifting, albeit sometimes emotionally overwhelming, experience. A twenty-five year high school class reunion, touching base with work associates from my past, and even some chance encounters while shopping have brought me face to face with many of the ghosts from my past. Not one to let myself off the hook, I made sure to apologize for anything I may have done or said in my teens or early twenties that may have caused pain or hurt to another. Sometimes those apologies came with words and sometimes they were wrapped up in a hug. Why apologize for something I may or may not have said or done? Because I’m a realist, folks. I’d like to remember myself as a saint, but twenty-five years was a long time ago. Better to be safe than sorry, I say. 

Yes, there were some souls who hadn’t moved an inch from where they stood twenty-five years ago, but many had and besides, life is a journey and it’s never too late to jump on board. I wish only the best to those who have yet to experience change. It’s a wonderfully freeing experience. I am far more at peace with myself at 43 than I ever was at 16, 18, or 21. Becoming a wife and parent had a lot to do with that. Becoming an author pushed me over the edge. 

As I stated earlier, though, it’s those souls who have managed to change and morph into something new in the face of adversity that really catch my attention. You know the ones—those individuals who come out on top despite the odds. It’s a phenomenon that has intrigued me since as far back as my undergraduate days. Although his views are now considered outdated, I still find myself contemplating Philosopher John Locke’s concept of the “blank slate”. Is the core of who we are solely derived from our nurturing? Is it a combination of genetics and upbringing? Or are we a combination of both nature and nurture with a little something else thrown in? Something you can’t quite put your finger on even though you know it exists. As a writer, it’s the unknowns that we can have the most fun with…which I do (please excuse the shameless self-promotion) in Courting the Flame.

As always...
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh...and more Facts and Tidbits to come.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Different Kind of Sickness...



Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame Fact:

Those of you who’ve already read Courting the Flame will get this reference, but there are a couple of characters in my paranormal romance who struggle with…shall we say, anger issues. Displaced anger has always been a topic of interest to me, but anger that crosses over into hatred? I’ve been trying to figure that one out for years now. Courting the Flame is my attempt at nailing it down.   

Diana DeCameron Tidbit:

Why is the world filled with hate? Some days I feel paralyzed by it. Click on the television and—Bam! There it is. Story after story of people hating on each other. Some days you see family members hating other family members. Sometimes it’s workers hating coworkers. I’ve even seen strangers hating strangers. And just as varied as the actual hater combinations are, are the actual reasons to loath each other. At last check, people can hate one another for a myriad of reasons:  ethnic backgrounds, sexual preferences, religious preferences. Political views, job choices, and hair color are also popular choices. The list grows daily.

Sighs.

From my perspective the only thing that hate spares, is itself. Hate loves more hate. Some days I feel like it’s reached epidemic proportions. Even I have to admit to feeling twinges of “hate-like” emotions from time to time. Fortunately, I never allow myself to be fully pulled into its black hole of negativity, at least not now that I’m older and wiser. Hate had a much better chance with me when I was young and naïve, when I was willing to expend my energies on something as dark and destructive as hating another human being. Now I realize how precious my energy is. These days, I don’t waste it.

And here’s another thing. Hate? It spreads like wildfire. Doctors are always going on and on about what the next big “flu” will be. Surely, I’m not the only person who sees the seriousness of our hate pandemic? I haven’t crunched the numbers, mind you, but I’m fairly certain that hate takes more lives each year than the flu bug ever has. It can ruin friendships, tear families apart, threaten to tear communities apart. Look back through your history books, folks. Hatred is on many of the pages!

But here’s the craziest part. This hate thingy—it’s completely treatable. I kid you not. We could completely eradicate it from the world by simply respecting each other’s opinions. I’m not talking about agreeing with each other, I’m simply suggesting that we respect each other’s views. Empathy is another biggy! Remember the old adage, never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?

Of course, maybe this hatred thing stems from our inability to express anger without being hurtful toward others. Feeling angry is normal. But people seem to enjoy it much more if they can direct it toward someone else. Me? I choose to work through my occasional bouts with frustration in other ways…say, like writing. Sometimes I pop in my ear buds and go for a walk. Sometimes I even resort to eating salted caramels. Hey, whatever it takes…right?

But that’s enough about my thoughts. I’d really like to hear yours. All are welcome to comment, of course. My only request is that you be respectful of other people’s opinions and feelings. We’re all adults here. I really think we can handle this. Right?

Right?!

As always...
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh...and more Facts and Tidbits to come.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Hear Voices...


Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame Fact:
Today’s fact is historical in nature. At one point in Courting the Flame, leading lady Gracie Clarke reminisces about visiting Sturbridge, Massachusetts as a child. Sturbridge is home to the Old Sturbridge Village, the Northeast’s largest outdoor museum highlighting what life was like in rural New England circa 1830. Gracie never imagined herself revisiting Sturbridge as an adult, at least not accompanied by worldly cityite Michael Turner, proprietor of Turner’s Gallery of Fine Arts. The idea seemed completely preposterous. Oh so she thought…
   
Diana DeCameron Tidbit:
Today’s topic? Intuition—that instinctive bit of awareness most of us experience without having a shred of evidence to support our gut feelings or hunches. Now, I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I consider myself to be quite intuitive, at least when it comes to reading people. For me, the experience is most palpable the first time I interact with someone. In my world, most people give off a very discernible vibe or energy. Open yourself up to it, and you’d be amazed just how much you can learn about someone from the energy they cart around with them.

Some people’s energies wash across me like a warm summer breeze and I think, Wow! Now that’s a good egg. I really need to spend some more time around that person. A smile usually follows. Other people’s energies seem dark and overbearing at first, causing me to step back from them. The more time I spend around them, however, observing them more closely from afar, the more I find that my initial interpretation was way off. I like to refer to these individuals as the “smoke screeners”. I have to admit, they are the individuals I find most intriguing to be around. They’re not always the easiest to hang out with, mind you. Oftentimes, I’m met with, “How can you stand to be around (fill in the blank)?” And my answer is always the same. “Because there’s a spark in there. I can see it. It’s just trying to find its way out and I, for one, would really like to be there when it does.”

But then there’s the other end of the spectrum, those individuals whose energy levels are sooooo dark, they stop me dead in my tracks, causing my skin to crawl and my eyes to twitch. I can think of three very unsettling encounters that I’ve experienced just recently. One of which was at the checkout line of a grocery store. As I waited to checkout the items in my shopping cart, I noticed a man standing behind me with two items in his hands. Feeling guilty I said, “If that’s all you have, you’re more than welcome to go ahead of me.” He turned to face me and we locked eyes for only a second or two as he nodded thank you and moved ahead. Instantly, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and I backed away from him. No part of his outward appearance shouted, Warning! Warning!! As a matter of fact, he appeared to be a well-dressed, middle-aged man, polite enough, but all the same…scary as hell! That’s when the little voice inside my head screamed, Step away, Diana. Step away—RIGHT NOW! After he left, I threw my items on the counter and hightailed it out to my car. I packed up my trunk in a frenzied state and then sped away, checking and rechecking my rearview mirror all the way home. It was a very unsettling experience, but indeed…quite real.

I’d like to say that my intuitiveness is fail proof, but that would simply be a lie. Throughout the years, there have been quite a few individuals who’ve pulled the proverbial wool over my eyes. My initial take on them was that they were “good eggs” based upon what I perceived to be positive energy levels, but as time went on their true selves eventually surfaced, a pill that's always difficult to swallow.

Part of the problem may be my innate desire to find some level of “good” in all people. I know, I know. I’ve already had numerous friends and family counsel me on my very noble yet unrealistic expectations for humanity. What can I say? (Shoulder shrug) I’m a hopeless optimist…but surely I’m not the only one. (Shakes head) See? There I go again. Seriously, though…I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of intuition? Does it exist? Are you also someone who hears little voices inside your head urging you or warning you against certain activities and/or individuals? If so, I’d really love to hear from you. This is definitely a phenomena that I'd like to delve more deeply into. Call it research...or therapy, LOL.

More Random Facts and Tidbits to come. Oh…and to anyone who’s read Courting the Flame and is courageous enough to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. Anonymous reviews are fine. Feel free to leave your ratings/comments wherever you feel most comfortable. For the most part, Courting the Flame is now available wherever e-books are sold.

As always...
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh...and more Facts and Tidbits to come.