Fantasy Books and Psychology

One of my favorite writers is Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She wrote the best-selling book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” Not only is she a brilliant writer, but she’s also a psychologist. Dr. Estes shares myths and fairytales and then uses the stories as a means to examine real life. To ask the big questions. The ones that stump us.

My bachelor’s degree is in Developmental Psychology. And like Dr. Estes, I’ve always been fascinated with stories and people. I remember being six years old and stumbling upon a psychology book. I instantly fell in love. Reading came easy to me, so even at that age, I was able to start studying and appreciating the complexity of human nature.

My books are my archive of the lessons I’ve learned, either through my own experiences or by observing the experiences of others. Like fairytales, I use characters and fantastical settings to illustrate things I don’t want to forget.

Didn’t most of us learn that it isn’t wise to talk to strangers from reading Little Red Riding Hood? I write my books with the same intention. Hopefully, I create stories with enough emotion and drama that the themes stay with the reader (and me) even after the tale is finished. At least, that’s my goal.

My form of preparatory research for writing my books is to devour psychology books in the early morning, while I eat my oatmeal and drink my tea. This is where I get my ideas.

If you read my Spirit and the Wolfman Series closely, you might notice that one character is a narcissist. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I won’t mention which one. I’ve read many books about narcissism, and unfortunately, have had experiences with one in real life. Part of the motivation of writing that character was to create a reminder of what a narcissist looks like, so I can run the other way if I see one again.

I’m taking a new direction with my blog. I’d like to share more behind the scenes thoughts I have about the psychology woven within my fantasy books. Also, I’ll be talking about the shows and stories I love to watch and read, and more importantly, what I learn from them.  I’m an addict of Asian Fantasy (currently binge-watching k-drama Hotel Del Luna on Netflix). As for reading, I’m working my way through “Love and Work” by Marcus Buckingham. I’ll be sure to share about these and future books/shows I come across.

Please subscribe to the blog and share the journey with me! I’d love to hear your thoughts. What important life lessons have you learned from a story?

How Do You Handle Fear?

Most of the material for my books come from my morning journal. I write about life and curious thoughts that cross my mind when I read. Then I create fictional stories with monsters and flawed characters who struggle just like the rest of us. Admittedly, their problems are on a grander scale and the stakes are higher, but their issues are very much like the ones we face in ordinary human life.

The quote above is from my journal writing this morning. Fear. It is the one thing that can stop a hero from living out his destiny. And I think fear stops many of us from going after what we feel we’re meant to do. I know fear has thwarted me from publishing my books for at least a few decades.

Here’s my take on it. Fear likes to hog the spotlight. It will do anything it can to monopolize your attention. If there is something you are meant to do in life, and fear is blocking you from it, then maybe it’s time to shift your attention. Let go of fear and grab on to the life you want with both hands.

Do you write in a journal? What have you learned? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Hero’s Journey…Again?

Before working on my books each day (current work-in-progress is Book #4 in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series), I spend time writing in my personal journal. It helps to prime the writing pump and explore my inner terrain. The above quote is what popped out of my head and onto the page this morning.

Maybe you can relate to this?

I feel like a frequent traveler on the archetypal hero’s journey, with many bumps, bruises, and lessons learned along the way. And I was wondering why?

We live in a world with so much noise and advice that we often lose sight of who we are, and that more importantly, who we are is enough. We look outside ourselves to figure out how to get ahead, be successful, and be happy.

We go on the hero’s journey, climb the mountain, and see clearly for a moment but are quickly enticed away by a new horizon with promises that if we only buy this, be like this person, or have this career life will be better. We forget what we learn.

And so, life takes us on another quest, another hero’s journey, to teach us, once again, what we keep forgetting.

Each book I write is an autobiographical allegory complete with monsters and grey characters. I think of them as fairy tales, illustrated with gothic touches and romance to hold my attention, so I will remember (for a time at least or whenever I reread them), the lessons life has taught me. I share my books and hope that the stories might do the same for others.

Are you on a hero’s journey? Is this your first adventure or have you traveled this familiar road more than once? What have you learned? What gifts have you brought back to share?

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Chatting with the Bad Guy

I recently released my new book, Spirit and the Phoenix (Book #3 in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series). I’ve spent the last couple of weeks relaxing and dancing in a few Salsa shows.

I’m part of an amazing dance team lead by Cristian Oviedo (12X World Champion) and Dasha Reut. My character Scarlet from my first novel, Dancing the Salsa, would be very proud of me!

But now, vacation time is over. I’m ready to dive into writing the rough draft of the fourth book in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series. I always start the same way. I ask my characters questions in my writing journal and learn all about them through their replies.

As you can see in the title of this post and the werewolf picture, I’ve decided to start with the main bad guy, Hayden. I actually know very little about him. I’ve alluded to him in Spirit and the Vampire and Spirit and the Phoenix, but I haven’t really sat down and seen life through his eyes.

So, that’s what I’m doing today. Most of my villains are grey characters. But Hayden seems to be dark grey, if I’m being generous, and almost pitch black if I’m being honest. I guess this is to be expected since he did murder his own father and most of his siblings. It is his mission in life to kill any relative he finds.

I think there is always a reason for a person’s madness, although madness is not how I would characterize Hayden. He is more of the coldblooded, calculating sort. As the oldest living Alpha male werewolf, son of the First Wolf, he is power-hungry and destroys anyone who might prove a threat. He has set a plan in motion which will bring his latest targets (victims) to his doorstep.

Hayden has a story to tell, and this morning I’ve started chatting with him. i imagine that it will be a long conversation.

That is always my first step before writing a story. I step into the mindset of each of my characters. Most of what I write in my journal will never make it into the books. But this is my favorite part of the process.

From what I’ve learned, I’m an intuitive writer, a discovery writer. The story unfolds bit by bit, page by page, and few details are known to me until I see the words appear on the page.

So, this is day one of my journey.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to share more of my “behind the scenes” writing journey, please subscribe to this blog. To learn more about my books and join my newsletter, visit

Spirit and the Phoenix

My new book, Spirit and the Phoenix (Book #3 in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series) is now available on Amazon!

Here’s a copy of the book blurb on the back cover:

Time is running out. A pack of bloodthirsty werewolves, the First Descendants, are coming to destroy everyone that Spirit Taylor loves. Can she unlock her power as a Phoenix before it’s too late to save them?

In this third book of the Spirit and the Wolfman Series, Spirit’s love for Jack will be tested. To unleash her power, Spirit must uncover the truth about her past. Jeremy Curtis is the only one who can help her do that.

Unfortunately, Jeremy happens to be her vampire ex-boyfriend from a previous life. He has been in love with her for centuries. Now that he knows she’s alive, Jeremy wants her back.

If you’re looking for a magical romance with a touch of gothic flair, join Spirit as she wrestles not only with monsters from the Underworld but also with a heart torn between two great loves.

I’m so excited to share this story with you. I’ve worked on it for the past year and a half. Jack and Spirit’s love story is a complicated one! But their story isn’t over yet. I’m already working on Book #4, which will most likely be the finale. To learn more about the Spirit and the Wolfman Series, visit

Urban Legend: Halloween Salsa Night

    This story was inspired by my own night travels. About ten years back, I used to live in a small town. I fell in love with Salsa dancing, and the nearest club was an hour away. So, for years I’d make the drive alone, often returning home on the dark, lonely road in the early morning hours.

But one night, I forgot to fill up my gas tank. I had so much fun dancing; I didn’t even notice that my gas tank was perilously close to empty until I saw the low fuel light turn on. I was a good thirty minutes away from home, and I’ve never understood, even until this day, how I made it home safely coasting on fumes.

I’ve often wondered. What would have happened if I had not been so lucky?

So, I’d like to tell you a story about another woman. She happens to come from a small town like me, or perhaps even the same small town, and her and I are a lot alike. After all, we both love to dance. And sometimes, we can be a little reckless. But unlike me, she is at a club listening to DJ Max.

“It happened at a club not far from here on Halloween night,” DJ Max looks at the lot of us hanging around outside drinking.

    The live band is playing, so DJ Max is taking a break before it’s his turn to entertain us again. He’s been in this dancing scene longer than most of us, for almost thirty years now. Dancing has been good to him. He’s charming, friendly, and the women adore him.  

    I settle in with my drink to listen to him talk. I have an hour-long drive home tonight, so I’m drinking a soda. My best friend, Suzie, was supposed to make the drive with me, but she’s sick with the stomach flu. Halloween only happens once a year, so I decided to make the drive solo. Plus, I had already bought my costume, a 1920s red flapper dress with fringes that look fantastic when I spin.

       “Her name was Daisy. She was a new dancer, and this was her first Halloween Salsa Night. Daisy had to drive two hours to the Salsa club, south on the 101 Highway, taking country roads and backways,” DJ Max begins, making eye contact with each of us, to make sure we’re listening.

    “I heard it was a guy named David,” Efrain interrupts.

    “And it was the Pacific Coast Highway,” Pablo, a plump Salsero, blurts out before taking a swig of his beer.

    “Wasn’t it north? She was headed to a club in San Francisco, right?” Maria pipes up, swishing her long curly locks with a flick of her hand, as she takes a seat next to me.

    “Like I said,” DJ Max gives them an annoyed look, which seems to be enough to quiet them. “Daisy was headed south on the 101 Highway, and she didn’t care about driving alone at night, because more than anything, she wanted to dance with Fernando.”

    “You mean Ricardo,” Rodrigo interjects.

    “Look when you tell the story, you can call him Billy, Bob or Fred, all right. But Fernando,” DJ Max raises his voice a little louder and stares us down with a raised eyebrow, challenging anyone to interrupt again. We stay quiet. Satisfied, he continues, “was the dancer that had captured Daisy’s heart. When she danced with him all her troubles floated away. He was exciting, the best dancer in the area. When he danced, people watched. And when Daisy danced with him, she felt beautiful,” DJ Max pauses so we can let his words sink in.

    I know that feeling. I feel that way about Daniel. He’s an amazing dancer and when I dance with him I feel like I’m able to move in ways I never have before. Every time I visit the club, I hope to see him. He’s sweet. Daniel always asks me for a dance, but never more than one. He dances with everyone.

    “Daisy was so excited to get to the club that night she forgot to fill her gas tank before leaving town. She didn’t notice that it was only half way full until she was miles into her drive. She shrugged it off. Daisy figured that she could always stop off to get gas on her way back,” DJ Max takes a sip of his beer. He doesn’t have to say what we all know. That is a mistake that will get her later.

    I feel fidgety. I don’t exactly like hearing a Halloween story about a woman traveling alone at night. At least I breathe easier knowing my car has a full tank of gas.

    “Now, Fernando was a player. There were so many women after him, even though he wasn’t the most attractive looking guy. His hair was receding and his belly expanding, but that didn’t seem to bother the ladies. Because when he danced with them, he treated them like a queen. Unfortunately, he didn’t treat them that way off the dance floor, and that made more than a few jilted women upset. In fact, one was mad enough to slash his tires, so he never made it to the club that night,” DJ Max looks at the men and shrugs. A few of them look guilty, all of them take a swig of their drink.

    “Daisy was extra excited that night, because Fernando had finally noticed her the Saturday before. He had asked her if she was coming to the Halloween Salsa Night. Unbeknownst to Daisy, Fernando had asked all the women that same question. But in Daisy’s mind, it meant that Fernando would be waiting for her. She used part of her rent money to buy an expensive costume and had her hair professionally done, just for him. But, he never showed.

    Daisy was the last one to leave the club, hoping to the last minute to see Fernando. She cried as she drove home and didn’t remember to fill her gas tank. It wasn’t until Daisy was deep into the back country roads that she stopped crying long enough to realize the tank was empty,” DJ Max takes a breath and shakes his head.

    “Daisy never made it home. Her car ran out of gas, and cell phones don’t work well in the middle of nowhere. She tried to flag down a car, but a tired truck driver didn’t see her standing in the middle of the road, and she was struck dead,” DJ Max lifts his drink and everyone follows his lead. They take a big swig for Daisy.

    “It’s said that Daisy visits the Salsa clubs on Halloween night. She’s searching for her Fernando, desperate to be in his arms twirling about the dance floor, feeling beautiful. Most of the time, she’s disappointed. At midnight, she vanishes, once again sad that Fernando never showed up. But every now and then, Daisy finds a dancer that is so talented she believes he’s Fernando. In her happiness, she’ll kiss him on his cheek. But it is the kiss of death, and her lips are as cold as ice. That’s how you know you’ve danced with Daisy,” DJ Max finishes his tale.

    “Yep, my friend Joe said he danced with her last Halloween in Miami,” Michael chimes in. “She was a gorgeous blonde dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. He was pretty sad when she disappeared at midnight.” He laughs before taking a drink.

    “So, follow these rules on a Halloween Salsa night,” DJ Max starts up again. We groan and laugh.

    “First, never drive alone, go with friends!” He starts. I feel a chill on that one. Oh well, I’m here. What can I do?

    “Second, if you have your heart set on a beautiful girl give her a kiss before taking her home,” he nods to the guys. They seem to agree.

    “Third, if you meet a stranger on Halloween, check to see if they’re around after midnight,” he smiles at us. “Okay, that’s it for me. I’ve warned you. The band is singing their last song. I have to get back to work. Come on, baila! Get off your asses. It’s time to dance!”

    I trail behind the group as we head back in. I watch from the doorway to see if I can find Daniel on the dance floor. So far, he hasn’t shown up, but that’s to be expected. The best dancers come a little late.

DJ Max is setting up while the band finishes their last song. The dance floor is buzzing with excitement. I watch Superman dipping a French maid. A pirate furiously spinning Cinderella. And then, I see Daniel. He’s wearing a Zorro costume.

The classic black hat and mask create an air of mystery, but his green eyes and devilish grin are a dead giveaway. He has a signature style. No one else moves like him. He captures the nuances of the music with such expression, I could watch him forever. But suddenly, I am whisked away to the dance floor by Dracula.

    “Are you having fun?” Vlad the Impaler asks. I nod as he signals a right hand spin.

    As I dance with Dracula, I catch glimpses of Daniel. I’ve been dancing for five years, but I’m nowhere near Daniel’s level.  I’ve been practicing every day, trying to improve, hoping he’ll notice. He’s so incredibly handsome tonight dressed all in black. Just the thought of him approaching me makes my heart race. Will I ever grab his attention?

    Oh, well, I decide to forget about it for now. Dracula and I are having too much fun to worry. This is Halloween night, and Daniel is here. I give into the dance and enjoy feeling alive. The music pulses through everyone and without having to say a word we all feel connected.

    My song with Dracula ends. I start to leave the dance floor, but I feel someone touch my shoulder. I turn and see Daniel’s green eyes. Have they always been this green? He’s smiling. He holds out his hand to ask for a dance. I place mine in his, and off we go.

    Yes, I’d know him anywhere by the way he moves. I’ve been dancing with him for five years now, just one song at each Salsa Night, but somehow it’s added up. I can follow him flawlessly. I know he can feel it too. We are completely in sync. He pulls me in closer this time. Holds me for longer. I hear him laugh. I see him smile more. Tonight is different. All my hard work has paid off. After the song ends, he doesn’t let me go. We dance another.

    And another.

    In fact, we dance so many songs in a row, I lose count. This is what I’ve always wanted. I wish he’d take off his mask and hat. He’s intoxicating in his Zorro costume. I’ve always had a thing for Zorro, but we feel so close tonight. I’d love to see his whole face as we dance.

    “This is the last song before midnight!” DJ Max announces. I turn to look at him. He’s holding his drink in his hand. I think he’s had one too many. With a big smile, he winks at me, an inside joke for those of us who know Daisy’s story.  

    He plays my favorite song. Before I know it, Daniel has me flying about him. Has he ever danced this good? He surprises me with new combinations, and I love it! He pulls me close and this time he doesn’t let me go. I feel how warm he is and my heart pounds as I’m sure there is something real happening between us. I laugh, and he lets me go into crazy twists and turns about each other until the song comes to a finish.

    I end up in his arms, and he leans in close. I take one last look into his green eyes before his lips touch mine.

    He pulls away.

    “Your lips are cold. They’re like ice,” I hear him say. I open my eyes and see him staring directly at me with a weird look on his face.

    “Daniel?” I ask. He shakes his head and takes a step back. He bumps into Pablo.

    “Whoa, watch it, Jacob,” Pablo teases as he puts a hand on Daniel’s shoulder to steady him. “Are you okay?”

    “Yeah, Jose. There was a beautiful girl dancing with me, and she just disappeared. Did you see where she went? She was right here wearing a red flapper’s dress,” he tells him pointing straight at me. Both men look through me as if I’m not there. I wave my hands. There’s no reaction.

    Pablo looks around the room and then at me, square in the eye, and tells Daniel, “Nope. I saw a girl like that earlier when I was outside, but I don’t see her anywhere now.”

    Daniel shakes his head and walks off, almost bumping into me as he passes by.

    I run to the bathroom and lock myself in one of the stalls. I can’t stop trembling.

    Why were they calling each other different names? Why did they pretend I wasn’t there? DJ Max’s story and Daniel dancing with me all night, did Daniel and his friends pull a prank? Did Daniel realize how much I liked him and decide to make fun of me? They’re probably out there laughing with DJ Max right now, having the best Halloween night ever.

    I see a Halloween Salsa Night flyer taped to the back of the stall door. I remember how excited I was last week when I saw this advertisement. DJ Max wearing a Frankenstein costume with a Salsa band behind him. I feel so angry at him. I could scream, but something catches my eye. I take a closer look at the flyer, and I feel my hands tremble. It doesn’t say DJ Max. No, it says, “Salsa Halloween with Ghoulish DJ Gary.” Shaking, I leave the bathroom.

    I walk through the club, but no one notices me. The bouncers at the door don’t even bother saying goodnight as I pass by. I just get in my car and drive. I just want to go home.

    For most of the drive, I feel numb. I replay the night. The creepy story, DJ Max, Daniel, dancing, the poster, and none of it makes sense. I just keep driving.

    It isn’t until I am on the quiet country road that I start to relax. It was a hoax. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they recorded it on their cell phones. Tomorrow I’ll see it posted on Facebook. Everything from the urban legend to the icy kiss, an elaborate scheme that they can use to advertise their next Salsa Halloween. I breathe easier.

    I glance down at the gas tank, grateful that I filled it earlier before heading out. My heart skips a beat. It isn’t full, not even half full. The gauge is hovering right above empty.

    I’ll never make it home.

    I take a deep breath. Even if I didn’t dance with Daniel, didn’t I have a good time? The music and energy of everyone around me, feeling so alive. And wasn’t Zorro to die for? His green eyes and devilish smile watching my every move. So what if Daniel didn’t show up this time. There’s always next year.

Red Lipstick

I smooth the red color along my lips and with it offer a simple prayer, “Change me. Change me into something else.”

“Do you like it?” The makeup lady asks. I look at her, Miss Perfect. She is wearing a perfectly white coat, her hair coiffed in generous curls, skin glowing (with the help of translucent powder, of course), and a smile enhanced with a complimentary shade of pink.

“Yes, I’ll buy it,” I answer. This is the exact color I saw on Mark’s collar.

The makeup lady rings up my purchase, and I stare into the mirror. The color is quite stunning, but my clothes don’t match it. A woman with this color of lipstick saunters through her day in clothes much classier than mine. I collect my fancy shopping bag with my red lipstick tucked inside and head over to the clothing department.

I look at myself in the fitting room mirror. “Yes,” I think. This is similar to the clothes she wore. It matches the lipstick. I recall seeing Mark seated in our favorite restaurant next to a beautiful woman. She was dressed in an elegant white silk blouse with a classic black skirt and red heels. Not a hair dared to be out of place on her pretty little head, I remember. Her nails had a French manicure, perfect for holding Mark’s hand as he leaned in close enough to smell her expensive perfume.Yes, this is the outfit I will buy today. All I need now are the red heels.

At home, I take one last look at myself in the mirror before heading out to the coffee house to write. I look like a different person with my silky white blouse, stylish black skirt, and stunning red heels.

In my closet, I see my old wardrobe. I have the heart of a Bohemian. My side of the closet is brimming with colorful skirts of all shapes and patterns. My blouses are treasures excavated from vintage shops. My closet reflects my writing life, nothing is color coordinated or organized. Mark’s side of the closet is empty. He gathered the last of his belongings last night.

I grab my new handbag (black to match my skirt, of course) and laptop. My writing notebook looks at me like a dog expecting to go on his daily walk.

“Not today, my friend,” I tell my notebook. Today, I will write on my computer. That is what sophisticated writers do, they don’t waste time on handwritten rough drafts scribbled haphazardly on white pages. I feel a twinge of guilt as I close the door behind me. My notebook knows I share my thoughts with it first before launching the words into the digital world. I am leaving my best friend behind.

I sip my coffee as I stare at my computer. I had to order a regular coffee. Would a woman wearing this outfit order a Venti Chai Tea Latte with almond milk and three pumps of raspberry? I think not.

Several men have noticed me. My handsome barista even winked at me before refusing to take my money. There is one man in particular that keeps glancing my way. He’s around my age with blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ve never had a man that good-looking stare at me before. What an upgrade from Mark! It must be my new outfit.

Everything would be perfect if I wasn’t suffering from a horrible case of writer’s block. No one would guess the terrible distress I am under. I have only written one sentence in the past half hour, “I can’t think of anything to write.”

My journal back home smiles. Yes, I am helpless without it. My colorful clothes would love to offer their inspiration, but I owe them an apology first. Trying to be someone else, I’ve blocked off access to the true source of my creativity, my self expression.

“May I join you?” The blonde hair, blue-eyed man asks.

“Sure,” I smile and gesture to the open seat.

“My name is Trevor,” he introduces himself and extends a hand.

“Nice to meet you, Trevor. I’m Sylvia,” I reach out, shake his hand, and smile.

“Are you a writer?” He asks.

“Usually, but not so much today,” I laugh. “Do you write?”

“No, but I love to read,” Trevor answers.

Wow! I think to myself. The outfit works like magic! Look at the men it attracts, handsome and smart!

We spend the next hour sharing our favorite books. We seem to like the same authors. I love hearing his thoughts and reactions to the storylines. He doesn’t just read books. He considers them on a deeper level. They haunt him just like they haunt me. Mark never bothered with reading. It’s nice to have someone to really talk to, especially someone this handsome.

“Can I take you out to dinner tonight?” Trevor asks.

I feel butterflies flit in my stomach. I’d love to say yes. He’s so handsome! Plus, I’d love to talk to him some more. But I have only one outfit like this, sooner or later, he’d see the real me. I’m not eager to set myself up for another heartbreak.

“I’d love to, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea. I’m going to be honest. I never dress like this. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to these clothes. I haven’t been able to write a single word while wearing this outfit, and I’m sure you wouldn’t much care for how I normally dress,” I smile back at him awkwardly. I’m already regretting my honesty. It would have been nice to have one last conversation with him.

“How do you normally dress?” He laughs.

“Oh, I am pretty much a mess of different colors and vintage clothes which I put together randomly based on how I feel that day,” I shrug my shoulders and just let my words be what they are.

“I have a confession,” Trevor replies. “I’ve read all your books. I almost didn’t approach you, because you look nothing like your picture. I saw you were trying to write, so I took a chance. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I guessed right,” he smiles. “Please join me for dinner. Wear whatever you want.”

I accept his offer. I have the perfect clothes in mind. I’ll pass this lovely outfit on to the thrift store. I’m sure they will be a good fit for someone else.

Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to the blog to see all of my latest stories. My debut novel, Dancing The Salsa, is available at I have another novel that will be released within the next few months! I’ll be sharing more details in the near future. Be sure to visit my website to see more short stories and videos!

A Junkyard Horror Story–Narrated by Me

I love all forms of storytelling. I have an insatiable appetite for books and movies. But it isn’t often that I have a story read to me, like a story told to a child before bedtime.

Here is a tale that I wrote a few months back. It has four parts. It was inspired by my daily life working at the Junkyard, which I believe to be the perfect setting for a murderous “lunatic on the loose” story. I hope you enjoy it.

Part I A Junk Yard Horror Story: Another Day, Another Dollar

Part II A Junkyard Horror Story: Benjie Harris

Part III A Junkyard Horror Story: Batter Up!

Part IV A Junkyard Horror Story: Sammy vs. Benjie

Bonus Videos! Here are some videos I made while writing this story. It shows the inspiration behind the tale. I recorded it at the actual Junkyard that Sammy (and I) both work at!

Thank you for watching! If you’d like to watch more of these stories in the future, please subscribe to the blog. You can also visit my website at I’ve just release by first book, Dancing The Salsa! You can find it at See you soon!

The Blanket Maker’s Granddaughter

The only blankets I knew as a little girl were handmade by my grandmother. She lived far away in Hawaii, but she made blankets for us. Not only for us, but for all her children, and her children’s children, and even in later years for my boys-her great grandsons.

The blankets were a beast to make. My mother recalls helping her mom in the evenings when she was young. Together, they would cut tiny strips of used clothing that the family had outgrown. Her mother would then sew these tiny fragments together to create a blanket like no other.

The blankets were larger than what you find in a department store, and when you cocooned yourself inside the warmth was amazing.

I remember studying her blankets many times when I was sick with a flu or stomach bug that kept me in bed. Wrapped up in a bundle of colors and unable to move much, I memorized the printed fabric.

I imagined the shirts or skirts that might donate such crazy prints with huge flowers, bright orange hues, and miniature cars. My grandmother lived in Hawaii where Aloha shirts are famous. I wondered. What the hell kind of shirts did my grandfather wear? The thought would cheer me up even with a high fever.

I tried to recreate one of her blankets when I was in my early twenties. It was painstakingly hard. I admit I abandoned it halfway done.

Trying to find the energy to cut and sew tiny pieces of fabric together after working, cleaning house, and taking care of my boys seemed like a cruel way to end the day. Buying a blanket was cheaper, faster, and saved my sanity. Why, oh why, did my grandmother do this?

At first, the blankets started out of utility. They were poor. I mean they were really poor. My grandparents lived on a Sugar Cane Plantation, my grandmother would pull roots to make soup, and the family had to use an outhouse. There would have been no extra money for blankets.

But later, when my grandfather became a mechanic she could have afforded to buy blankets. Why did she go on to make dozens more?

It wasn’t until I started writing my first novel that I stumbled upon a possible answer.

I think it was her one extravagance. In a world filled with dirty dishes, laundry that continually piles up, and meals that are cooked, eaten, and need to be cooked again-the blankets remained finished. Not only finished, but beautiful and one-of-a-kind. Something only she could make.

As she ran her hand along the bits of sewn cloth, perhaps she could see the lifetime of her family woven together by her own hand.

When I write I gather pieces of myself and tuck them into the narrative. The fiction is peppered with a memory of my mother here, my sons there, and friends I’ve met along the way. Each fragment twisted to be unrecognizable to others, but obvious to my own eye whenever I re-read my work.

My grandmother gave me more than her blankets. She handed down a need to create and remember.

In that way, even though I can’t sew worth a damn, I am a Blanket Maker’s Granddaughter. Thank you, Grandma.

This blog post is dedicated to my mother and grandmother. Both women are beyond amazing. My grandmother has already passed, but I know in my heart she keeps track of all of us.

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