Posts Tagged ‘Madness’

I Write

I write because it frees me.

Because it heals me.

Because it eases my heart,

… my mind, and my soul.

I write because it’s who I am.

A writer, an author

– a lover of history and its mysteries,

and a lover of people’s uniqueness.

I don’t want to be rich or famous.

I don’t write to one day be a celebrity.

I write to clear the whirlwind in my head.

Some days the breeze is gentle.

Some days it is a hurricane.


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Well, well, well… we’ve finally come to the first Sunday in June, which of course is National Moonshine Day. So, live a little and drink a little Shine.

I happen to be unable to drink today, even in celebration, because I’m working. Of course, I’m working tomorrow too. However, I have every other weekend off and Moonshine is a regular part of my Friday nights when those weekends roll around (as the top pictures show). My friends and I happen to love ‘Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine. We use the Cherry Moonshine as shooters on a regular basis. Amen for cherries soaked in shine and stored in mason jars.

I recommend checking out their website for some of the best Moonshine Recipes around!

C’mon… Live a little, drink some shine.

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Fahrvergnügen: Driving Pleasure

On May 28, 1937 the Nazi party (then, under the control of Adolf Hitler) formed a new, state-owned automobile company entitled Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens (roughly translated to mean The society to create the German car). Later in the year, the company’s name was simplified to Volkswagenwerk which roughly translates to The people’s car company.

Volkswagen’s first headquarters and automobile factory was located in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company’s initial objective was to build military vehicles in preparation for Hitler’s European invasion plans, as well as the mass production of small and inexpensive – yet equally fast – automobiles to be sold to the general public. Additionally, Hitler was building a network of highways, called autobahns, all across the country for the public to drive their new Volkswagens on.

Hitler contracted with Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian automotive engineer, to provide the designs for the vehicles that Volkswagen would produce, and the very first Volkswagen – the KdF Wagen (Kraft-durch-Freude, translated to mean Strength through Joy) – was displayed at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show. However, when World War II began later that same year, production at the Wolfsburg factory was halted… and by the time the war ended the plant was in ruins. Nevertheless, the Allies rebuilt and revived the Volkswagen Motor Corporation, knowing that the German auto industry would be important to the economy and recovery of the country following the war.

From 1942 – 1944, Volkswagen massed produced the Schwimmwagen for its military personnel. This amphibious military jeep was used by all personnel, and was only 4-wheel drive in first gear. Later, from 1968 – 1983 Volkswagen manufactured just shy of 91,000 of their Type 181 (LHD) and 182 (RHD) jeep/dune buggy hybrids, a modified version of the Schwimmwagen, for the public market… selling them as the Thing in the U.S., the Safari in Mexico, and the Trekker in the U.K.

Initially, U.S. sales were diminutive compared to that of the rest of the world, mainly because of the company’s original connections to Hitler. However, an advertising campaign that ran in 1959 dubbed the KdF Wagen “The Beetle” – using the tagline “Think Small” – and that seemed to trigger some public interest, ultimately making Volkswagen the top selling import over the next few years.

The German government sold sixty percent of the company’s stock to the public in 1960, making the company no longer a nationally owned corporation, and within twelve years there had been more the fifteen million VW Bugs produced. In 1998, Volkswagen redesign the Beetle, dubbing it The New Beetle, while still producing the original KdF Wagen model until 2003. The very last Original Beetle rolled off the production lines In July 2003. In the 1970’s Volkswagen introduced new, spottier models – such as the Rabbit and the Golf.

  • In 1969, Volkswagen merged a few small subsidiaries to form the current Audi – which is where the four ringed logo is derived from.
  • In 1990, SEAT, S.A. became the first non-German subsidiary fully owned by The Volkswagen Group.
  • Between 1991 – 1995 Volkswagen steadily purchased interest in Škoda automobilová a.s., until they owned Škoda Auto outright.
  • In 1998, Volkswagen acquired Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. Although Volkswagen technically owns Rolls-Royce and Bentley, purchasing them both at the same time, they do not own the license to use the Rolls-Royce trademark.
  • In 2008, Volkswagen purchased controlling interest in Scania AB. However, they have owned the entire company outright since 2015.
  • In 2009, Volkswagen became the parent company to Porsche and purchased stock interest in Suzuki.
  • In 2012, Volkswagen bought out Ducati (under Lamborghini) and MAN SE (under Volkswagen).


I have driven Volkswagens, and standards in particular, almost exclusively for nearly twenty years. I currently drive a 5-speed, black, 2004, Jetta GLS (2.slow)… but, the Thing is actually my dream car – as odd as that might sound for someone like me. The VW slogan “I Bleed Blue” runs deep and true in my family. My eldest son, who is 22 and a new father, currently drives a 5-speed, white, 2007 Rabbit (the second Rabbit he’s owned) and my 19-year-old is presently shopping for his first car – his first Volkswagen. Even my new grandson has a Volkswagen, a little red Bug… walker. I guess you can say it’s in our blood, and by nature we start the VDub Love early.

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I’ve been MIA for a while. Life gets that way for all of us, doesn’t it?


The truth is, on top of everything else in life that can get in the way and slow us down – like kids, work, and everyday chores – I was in treatment for cancer too. It’s a little overwhelming a times, and it slows everything down. It can take priority over everything else, if you let it, and it definitely takes up a lot of space on your plate.


I don’t want this blog to be a dower. It’s just meant to be an explanation of why I haven’t been posting as frequently for so long.


The truth is, I’m much better now and I’m reprioritizing things in my life. Which means my writing is back in the forefront of things. I appreciate all of you who have hung on and stuck around, supporting me through the low times. It means a lot – even those of you who didn’t know why I wasn’t blogging or putting out as much new material.


All I can say now is, thank you. I appreciate it… every day. I sincerely hope you will like what comes next.


With love and appreciation,

~ Raven

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Those of you that follow my bog will know that I am a NaNo addict. I feel like the process of setting high goals and forcing myself to actually try to achieve them is good for my writing and creative soul. After all, some of my best ‘ideas’ have come from the feverish writing I do for NaNo – no outline, no planed scenes, themes, characters, etc. With that said, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of April.

I set a low goal, not knowing how much time I could reasonably commit this month. I met my goal of 10,000 words on the 17th. Since then, I have continued to write. I figure, I might as well get as many words in as possible, besides it goes toward the cabin’s overall word count. Since this is my first Camp NaNoWriMo experience, I want to ensure my cabin is successful.

In my cabin, I was fortunate enough to connect with the wonderful C. Bryan Brown. He ‘tagged’ me, along with a few others, for something called Blog Hop – sort of akin to a brief author interview. Check out my answers below:


Blog Hop: What are you working on right now?

RH:  I actually have three projects in the works at the moment. First, I’m finalizing the edits on my book Midnight Runaway. I signed off on the cover this week, and all that is left is to locate the perfect illustrator to do six – ten black and white drawings. I am also considering photographs instead of illustrations. Oh, the indecision! Second, I’m finishing a short story with a domestic violence focus. You should see that finalized and that posted on my blog within the next few weeks. Finally, I have a novel with two chapters completed – I’m still just in the research and development stages with that one though.


Blog Hop: How does it differ from other works in its genre?

RH:  Let’s talk specifically about my short story for this question. The piece in titled Weather Permitting, and is about an abused woman. It covers the 24-hour period surrounding her attempt to leave her abuser. It is about the realistic tension and fear, and the self-loathing and doubt of such situations. It is not a fairy tale whitewash of circumstances.


Blog Hop: What experiences have influenced you?

RH:  I wrote Weather Permitting specifically for a program that helps battered women. I wanted to write something that was sincere, and that honestly reflected what these women had been through and felt at the time. I wanted to give them something to help them remember they were never to blame for what happened to them in their abusive relationships. I am a survivor of domestic violence as well, and I wanted to use this piece to give back to those who help so many women get a new lease on life – independence.


Blog Hop: Why do you write what you do?

RH:  I write a variety of things, including poetry. I have not settled on one specific genre yet, and may never. I write about love, fear, sadness, and elation because they are basic human emotions, something we all have in common. I write about history and folklore because I believe it is important to remember where we have been before. I write about vampires and werewolves because even if we are unwilling to admit it, we have a human connection to these mythical creatures. The bottom line is, I write because I love it, and I write whatever comes to mind or strikes my fancy because I believe we are all more alike than we are willing to admit (regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, etc.).


Blog Hop: How does your writing process work?

RH:  Well, my process is not the same for everything I write, but I can tell you they all start with an idea. Sometimes those ideas develop short stories and sometimes they develop into entirely new worlds. Some things are written quickly, or methodically (a few hours, pages, or thousand words a day), and others are more chaotic and messy. For example, for my current novel (Midnight Runaway) I started with the idea, and then I wrote out a rough and vague outline. I researched some things, created a few character sketches, wrote a rough draft (maybe about 45,000 words or so), and then I cleaned up and detailed my outline more, researched more, and added another 50,000 words to the draft. Then the process of revision really begins (adding, changing, etc.). When I feel the piece is nearly complete, I will have a few ‘readers’ take a look at it and provide me their critiques. I review everything, decide what is and is not pertinent, and then I edit the piece another time or two. After that, I send it out for professional editing. Another example could be some of the poems I’ve written. Sometimes I will sit down with the determination to write a poem in a style or format I have never tried before. To do so, I will learn about the style, choose a topic, and then work at it for however long it takes to get it right.


Blog Hop: What is the hardest part about writing?

RH:  For me, the hardest part is forcing myself to actually sit down and write every day. It can be very easy to find other things that need my time (housework, children, school and work, etc.). I also have self-confidence issues sometimes; my inner editor can be very harsh with my ideas and first drafts.


Blog Hop: What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?

RH:  I’m not sure how to answer this. There is so much I haven’t written already, but not for lack of trying or interest. It simply comes down to trying things one at a time to see if I have a real knack for it or not. I guess what I would try absolutely last would be an autobiography, so let’s go with that.


Blog Hop: Who are the authors you most admire?

RH:  I have a great admiration for J.K. Rowling. She had a dream, and she took that dream and made it her reality with hard work, faith, and determination. She found herself in a terrible situation, and she fought her way into better circumstances. She did not let hard times bring her down. I love her determination. I love her dedication to her child and herself (her goals and dreams). I also look up to Stephen King – he has a gift for description, which I admire. Besides that, I admire anyone who has as much determination, regardless of what their dreams and goals are, to persevere.


Blog Hop: Who are new authors to watch out for?

RH:  I’ve had the recent pleasure to critique a book for Raj Davis. While he is still working on his skills, he has fantastic ideas. I would keep an eye out for him. I would also recommend Glenn Rolfe (He has two books out in his spine tingling Haunted Halls series) and David Rawding who is currently searching for a publisher. This list could be quite extensive since I’m taking college classes with a good number of talented writers, so I’m going to leave it at these three for now.


Blog Hop: What scares you?

RH: Do I dare admit – spiders. I have normal fears that other parents have regarding their children, etc., but for every day normal things, spiders are just about it.



So, that was all. I’m supposed to tag three people, but that really is not my style. If you want to do this Blog Hop thing, just give me a shout and I’ll come check yours out.

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The following short story, which I wrote under the name Mandi Lessard, recently appeared on fiftywordstories.com

Writing in a manner utilizing so few words is an incredible challenge for me, so I wanted to share my joy and excitement with all of you – not only that my short story was chosen for the site, but also that it appears to be well received by those who have commented.


The butler beckoned me to follow. He reeked of evil intentions, but I reluctantly moved forward.

When the lights flickered out, I spun around wildly until a bone chilling scream froze me with fear.

Then, with my heart pounding, I whispered, “Albescu?”

He didn’t respond,

… but death eagerly welcomed me.

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