Abnormal

I’m not completely sure what defines normal. I’ve never been there. I don’t want to be. I’ve learned to embrace what I can’t change. 

There was a time, though, when I thought I was normal, before people showed or told me I was different, weird, crazy, evil, ugly, a witch, needed tamed or censored, to get a life, to grow up, or one of the many other things that have been said. To those people, I am whatever they say I am. I no longer have the energy or feel the need to explain myself to anyone. I don’t fit their mold, nor do I want to. I am not normal. 

I’ve been at peace with this for several years now, but something was on my mind this morning that made me think about it a little more in depth than I have for a while, so I decided to try to write out my thoughts, hoping they’d go away or at least calm down a little as they sometimes do once they’re outside of my brain. 

Also, I think sometimes people read the stories I’ve written – as they do with a lot of writers of speculative fiction – and think, “Whoa! This is one seriously messed up person.” That’s not how it works. While there is a lot of fact in fiction, it’s fiction. FICTION. I was afraid of that in the beginning. To put your stories out there for the public to read is kind of like having a boudoir session in the middle of Walmart or walking down the street completely naked. It’s like baring your soul to a world full of people who won’t understand. It’s telling your deepest secrets to a new friend and hoping they don’t run the other way. Sometimes they run.

You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone will like you. THOSE ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE. 

Oh, and there are plenty who aren’t your people, and they will delete and block you on social media and snub you in the grocery stores – even family – all because you were real and honest and showed them a little peak into your passions. You’ll be too much for some people. I am way too much for a lot of people. I will never apologize for being myself. I used to. Good riddance; I wish them a normal life. 

If I’m a weirdo or a creepy chick or morbid or whatever term someone wants to tag me as, what is the opposite of what I am? Is it normal? It has to be normal. And what a dull and boring life that must be!

Finally, there came a time in my life when I got fed up with all the bullshit in the world, and I no longer care about those judgy naysayers who are only there to drag me down. How amazing it feels to be free of others’ opinions! 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to what I wrote this morning. 

What is Normal?

I think normal is possibly synonymous with monotony. It’s lackluster and dull. It’s a place starved of creativity, enthusiasm, art, music, imagination, passion, or magic; there’s no thinking outside the box. Simply, it’s repetition. 

It’s a thirsty desert, content with never taking in the drink of water that would create colorful foliage, allowing it to bloom and thrive.

It’s going on vacation the same week every year to the same place, stopping at the same bland restaurant three times a day, seeing the same exact thing over and over. 

It’s ignoring parks and mountains, oceans and beaches, stars and constellations to watch reruns on TV. It’s denying the sweet stickiness of cotton candy melting on your tongue today and the saltiness of local flavors satiating your taste buds tomorrow. 

It’s staying on the well-worn path that leads to the popular overlook when there is a whole world of undiscovered waterfalls and rainbows to explore just beyond the trees.

Normalcy is comfort for those who fear branching out or taking risks. It’s merely existing rather than living. 

Possibly, normal people are the ones who drive 55 in the passing lane and never exceed the speed limit. They never know the rush of adrenaline. They fear the unknown but don’t take time to learn new things. They love the news and gossip but don’t take time to learn the truth. They take the same way home every day, stopping at the same bland restaurant for the familiar dry hamburger on a stale bun. Shortcuts and the long way home for them do not exist for they fear becoming lost or possibly alive, or even worse, no longer normal.

They’re not dreamers, poets, readers, or creators. They lack passion for anything.

And normal people are probably the ones who write three-page blog posts before posting the recipe we wanted. Not being normal, I already closed out the webpage and improvised, creating my own recipe that turned out much better on all levels. 

Who in their right mind would want to be normal?

Book Review: The Lost Memories of Freddy Frehling

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Title: The Lost Memories of Freddy Frehling

Author: James Newman

Release date: January 18, 2020

Why the heck didn’t I read this sooner?

James Newman is a fantastic writer. He’s crafted some of the best works of fiction I’ve read and whether on his own, or when co-authoring with other stunning writers, I’ve always loved the emotions that are packed into his releases. We never get “just a story,” instead we live and feel what the characters do.

Maybe that is why I haven’t read this yet? My own struggle with relationships with older relatives?

Either way, when this was announced I pre-ordered it.

But then, recently I traded signed Newman books with Steve Thompson, a Newman fan in his own right. I sent him a Newman book that he didn’t have signed, and he sent me a signed copy of this one.

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So, that was settled. I knew, no…

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Guest’s Book Tour: Steve Stred

From The Funeral Birds To As The Crow Flies

Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.

Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

Today I’m welcoming Steve Stred to chat with me in the Clubhouse tearoom garden as it is such a beautiful morning. Good to have you here, Steve.

Thank you for having me, Paula.

You’re very welcome. May I start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?

I’ve always preferred reading and watching horror and anything dark, Paula. I’ve dabbled in sci-fi with my releases Jane: the 816 Chronicles & Wound Upon Wound and fantasy with…

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Guest Article: “The Last Convicted Witch” by Catherine Cavendish + mini-review of The Malan Witch @cat_cavendish #themalanwitch #witches #horror

Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

Today, one of my favorite gothic and witch lore authors Catherine Cavendish, joins us! For many years Cat’s books have always been a go-to when I just need to be absorbed in a really good story. I’m a fan of the gothic and witch subgenres, so they usually fit the bill. She writes really atmospheric supernatural and ghost stories as well.

The Malan Witch was a fast read for me, broken up between an hour or so each night before bed. Probably not the best idea in retrospect to be reading in the dark, but I’ve made sure my horseshoe is in proper form above my doorframe and salt is sprinkled on my windowsills. The Malan Witch is such a fast read because Cat writes with a pace that propels you through the page, and though uses superb descriptions, also creates a story not bogged down by them. The ending…

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Loss

I need to say something. I don’t know what I need to say because I’m devastated. I’m heartbroken and sad. I’m angry. I’m hurt. Life won’t ever be the same.

I met Brandy in kindergarten in the autumn of 1986 at Little Birch Elementary School. It was in the old school building, in the big room that faced the playground.

Beth Atkins was our teacher, Barbara Coffman her aide. Darlene Sartin was our P. E. teacher.

We quickly became friends.

One day during elementary school, I don’t remember what grade, I remember Brandy having a hard time at recess and maybe she didn’t participate in P. E. She’d worn her older brother’s shoes for some reason. They were much too big. I don’t know why that’s a memory that always stood out. I think we laughed a lot about it.

Once, I went over to Brandy’s house to spend the night. They had a big, white dog I liked and a cat or two. I’d never had indoor pets, so I was really happy about the animals.

Her mom fixed BLTs for supper. I didn’t like tomatoes at that time, so I had a BL and ended up eating it in the bedroom because I suddenly became shy.

Brandy filled up a Sunny Delight jug, and we watered her brother’s chickens and took a walk down the road to visit her grandparents.

Her dad put duct tape over our mouths because we asked for it. Was that ever hard to remove! I think my face was sticky for days!

Later that night, I woke up to a strange noise and was scared. Brandy got up to investigate. It had only been a kitty knocking something off a table somewhere. When she came back, she tossed me an E. L. Fudge cookie or two. One of my favorites. That was a memorable sleepover. We had a great time.

Time went on. We usually spent Friday or Saturday night (or both) at Elana’s house. Pool parties, pizza, trays, movies, talking, just being kids, then teenagers. Trays were smaller, individual versions of party trays with carrots, chips or pretzels, pickles, pepperoni, dip…

Oh! And when we’d go out to swim at night, I was to be the first one in the pool! Why? Because I wasn’t afraid of frogs. It was my job to go around the entire edge of the pool and search for frogs. I had to throw them all out of the pool before Brandy or Elana would come in. 😂 Heck, truth be told, I loved it. It gave me a sense of importance. 🐸

I wish we could go back and have a Bigfoot pizza from Pizza Hut then go for a swim. I’d still throw frogs out if we could just go back and do it again! I can nearly feel that warm summer pool water after a hot day. Then, we’d head back inside to watch movies – ON VHS – that we had rented from the Video Bank until we fell asleep.

Fast forward again.

Brandy was the first to get married. I was second, Elana third.

For some reason, I think she was out of town, Brandy didn’t make it to my bridal shower, but she gifted me a set of bowls. I still have several of those bowls from way back – 1999 if anyones counting. I use them daily. Still. They look a little different now. They mean a little more.

Sometimes I take dragonfly photos and think of B. She always liked them. Now, when I see dragonflies, I’ll probably cry. They’ll always remind me of her.

I know I’m leaving out a lot of good times and memories, but that’s the gist of what I wanted to say. B meant a lot to me. We had many, many wonderful moments.

Thanks for the laughs and good times and being my friend. Thanks for picking me up when I was down. Thanks for being a bright spot in my life for thirty-four years.

💔

Valentine’s Story by Jewelienne Crites: “Valentine’s Cray”

Today I am featuring a Valentine’s story written by guest blogger, my daughter,  Jewelienne Crites.

Ever since everything happened, I’m just not me anymore.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I don’t really see what is so great about it. It’s the same thing every year: love letters, kisses, trashy movies, and all the other lame things that you can imagine. Of course, my favorite part is when the candies all go on sale, but that’s the only thing besides maybe a couple Valentine’s horror movies!  

February 14th, 2017

I was deep in thought, sitting all alone in a candle-lit room, staring at my shadow on the wall. So many thoughts were racing through my head right then that I was not quite so sure that I wasn’t crazy. I pulled out my laptop and opened my Facebook. I was so sick of seeing love posts all over social media that I just wanted to break my laptop into a million pieces and then toss it in a river. I slammed my laptop shut and that’s when it all happened. Well, so I think. 

I heard a mysterious noise that sounded like it was coming from my ceiling but at the same time it sounded like it was possibly coming from my laptop. Very confused and quite frightened, I began to go for a stroll around the block to ease my mind. I had been in that room for so long by myself that I’m pretty sure I was hallucinating. There are not very many people around in this little ghost town, and only a couple other people live in the apartments by me.

The sound of screeching tires approached behind me, but by the time I could function and figure out what was taking place, it was too late. I was helplessly lying in the back of what seemed to be a van, but I wasn’t quite sure. My head was killing me, and my vision was pretty blurry. I had come to the conclusion that I’d been abducted, and I had not a clue what to do about this outrageous situation! Lying there motionlessly, I tried to speak, but I couldn’t seem to get any words out. I tried screaming, I tried yelling, I tried humming, but still I remained mute. I was a tad frightened and unaware of what in the world was happening to me. I wasn’t tied up or gagged, but it didn’t seem that I needed to be since I was frozen and mute. Finally, the van came to a sudden stop and I could hear somebody making their way to the back of the van. The back door flew open, and I was harshly thrown to the ground. 

The masked creature put me in a cold, dark room and left. I was very confused but did realize that I could move once again. Lying there on the floor, I began to roll over, catching a glimpse of a terrifying creature, I almost shit my pants! I was still in need of several answers but it was super weird that I still couldn’t speak. This odd looking person began to speak to me. When the person came over to stand me up, I noticed a strange heart-like tattoo on their arm. I was certain of who this person was now but still very confused. He told me that he was Cupid, and that I would pay for everything that I had done, and that I had ruined Valentine’s Day, and blah, blah, blah. I knew right then for sure that it was my ex. He truly is crazy, and now he calls himself Cupid and tries to modify his voice and everything. I knew I’d get out of there, but I’d have to play along to his stupid little game. 

I don’t know what happened, but I randomly woke up outside on my porch! I quickly ran inside to grab a lighter and a candle, and then off to my ex’s I went. I took my candle in one hand and the lighter in the other. I lit the heart-shaped candle and threw it through his window, watching his whole house burst into flames. I could hear the painful screams that he was releasing, and I was enjoying listening to it, but that’s when the cops arrived.

February 14th, 2020

That is why I am writing to you from here today. On February 14th, 2017, I was admitted to an asylum. 

I am writing you this to let you know that I truly am not crazy, I just think that all these people here are working together. In the report that was written, it stated that there was no guy by the name of Kye that lived anywhere in the neighborhood. It was stated that I burned up some old lady that was living down the road from me. 

Every now and then I still hear him whisper, ”I am the cupid!” But don’t tell them I told you that. He was crazy and he has to be the one behind all this. The only reason I had drugs in my system was because he drugged me when he abducted me. That explains why I was mute and couldn’t move. Then he must’ve thrown me out on my porch. Nobody will believe me, but I will prove it one day and get out of here. None of my family wants anything to do with me now; they say that it is bad for their reputation. I still hate Valentine’s Day – I forever will hate it with a passion. 

2020

Is it too late into the year to say Happy New Year? Maybe, but I haven’t had a blog post since November of last year!! It’s been almost three months, although it really doesn’t seem like that long in a way. Things really got hectic for me in November, and they didn’t slow down any during December and the Christmas season. I would almost say things are at a more tolerable pace at this point, but, I don’t know, life is always hectic!

February is usually an exciting month for me, but this year, February seems like it’s going to be a winner. It’s WiHM, and we have a special collaboration coming up that I think you’ll like. (More information on this later!) I have plans for short stories for Valentine’s Day, my latest Miranda Snaps, and my birthday–all coming to Kendall Reviews! Whew! So, I just thought November and December were busy. Ha! Ha!

This month (January, although the blog appears to think it’s already February), I have finished four books: Little Paranoias by Sonora Taylor, Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, Bottled by Stephanie Ellis, and The Corruption of Alston House by John Quick. I began two books that I won’t be able to finish until next month: In Darkness Delight Masters of Midnight edited by Andrew Lennon and Evans Light, and Until Summer Comes Around by Glenn Rolfe. (Reviews for those books are coming soon. Bottled is up on the KR site.)

Also, my friend Steve Stred sent me a story called Constant Creepers that he and Brian Bogart wrote. This fan-fic collaboration is set in the world of Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. It is an absolute brilliant piece of work! I don’t know why I didn’t know about this before, but it’s an excellent piece of fan fiction that I would highly recommend to any King/Chizmar fan. If you get in touch with Steve Stred, he might just hook you up!

As a sub-editor, working under the amazing Tabatha Wood, I’ve also been reading a lot of stories that have been submitted to the Black Dog, Black Tales charity anthology. Find out more about this charity anthology and maybe even submit your own story here. 

I had planned something entirely different for this blog post, but I had some trouble, which all boils down to internet issues, and by the time I finally got here to write, (logging in helped! Oops!) I had lost a bit of my steam. Since I don’t have any photos on my computer due to a massive glitch where I had to wipe my computer clean, I won’t be adding any (BOO HOO!) photography today.

Here’s to a wonderful 2020! I hope it’s going well for you.

Keep reading, writing, and reviewing!

~Miranda

P. S. For some reason, the blog appears to be posting ahead of time. It’s showing up that it’s already February 1. Almost but not quite.

 

 

Giveaway Time!

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I haven’t been doing a good job at keeping up with my blog over the last few months, but I have a huge announcement!

Recently, my good friend, Steve, hit 1,500 followers on Twitter. I was congratulating him on this fantastic milestone, and he said, “We need to get you to 1,000!” So, we talked about doing a giveaway, and let me tell you, when Steve does something, he really goes big time with it.

Steve is kindly providing the prize for this giveaway for me just out of the kindness of his heart. This is a BIG PRIZE, a big deal, and something exclusive to the winner. I wish I could win because what he is offering is nothing short of amazing.

All you need to do is follow us on Twitter. Simple enough!

Now, I’m turning this over to Steve.


The Stranger Cover

Let’s Get Miranda to 1000 followers!

Hey all – Steve here, your friendly Canadian author.

My good friend, Miranda is someone EVERYONE needs to follow. Funny content, stunning photos, great short stories and poems and her awesome monthly feature on Kendall Reviews called “Miranda Snaps.”

I want to help her get to 1000 followers.

So here’s what I’m thinking – folks like to win stuff.

Let’s bundle the two together and once she gets to 1000 followers we will give something away!

What’s the prize?

How about your very own 1 of 1 book?

I did a limited run of 30 hardcovers of my summer 2019 release ‘The Stranger.’

So how about, once she gets to 1000 followers, I’ll make one just for you – the winner.

Miranda can do a draw and announce the winner. I’ll then make a brand new copy, made specifically for the winner – it will be signed and personalized, with the signature line saying:

“This is copy 1 of 1 specifically made for___________” with the winner’s name included there.

I’ll then get it shipped off to you to enjoy!

So, what do you say? Let’s get Miranda to 1000 followers – before she snaps!

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