All posts in the writing category

Antique Fountain Pens: where to buy and how to use them.

Published September 30, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Writing is difficult enough as is nowadays. Can you imagine that somewhere during 1955 through the 60s all public school children were taught how to use a fountain pen and ink well? According to one such tutorial website I gleaned some helpful insight into the often ignored bygone use of a fountain pen.

Oh… are those the fancy quill pens with a beautiful, graceful feather, right?


Well, okay, maybe those can be included too…but I was more inclined to add the Calligraphy pen/ fountain pen, and one thing that had always piqued my interest was whenever my great grandmother would write me snail mail letters. She would always write in this extremely fine penmanship that was lost to my generation. How can I describe her penmanship? It was dainty-like. Her cursive always straight even in cards and pages that weren’t notebook paper. Her penmanship was always graceful and it  always garnered my interest. It was always the same ‘sepia-tone’ brown ink, sort of faded that I knew wasn’t possible from a standard ball point pen. And I knew that no writing pen no matter how cheap or crappy could produce such eye-catching legible lines. In fact, it had me so curious and I never did ask in my letters to my great grandmother what type of pen and brand of ink she used. And for the life of me, I don’t know why I never asked. I only recall one time when she wrote to me in pencil and that was something that was very out of character for my great grandmother to do when corresponding in all the years we wrote to each other. I knew then something wasn’t right and my intuition was correct, sadly.

When my great grandmother could no longer write me back, I continued to write to her (wishing, hoping and praying) for a response only to no avail. By this point I had no idea how badly her mental health had declined. I was kept in the dark about a lot of the horrendous details of what went on while she was still alive. She required the assistance of a caregiver who didn’t look after her well at all. Were my letters thrown in the trash unread? I began to think to myself. They were getting delivered to somebody since I never had one returned to me during the entire time, so who knows.

I was intrigued, and me being… well, me wanted to teach myself this lost form of fountain pen penmanship, and as luck would have it, I purchased an old antique Palmer’s fountain pen writing instruction red soft-cover book. The book had been around with black ink stains on the cover, and a partial missing corner from its cover. I was missing two more things: a fountain pen and ink. The ink I use is India ink and a very helpful antique store owner told me to always water down the ink with cold water prior to use or else the nib of the fountain pen will get gummed up and the writing won’t appear as fluent nor clean, and always allow the page to completely dry first before folding it and cramming it into an envelope. I thanked the antique store owner (her name is Carol), but she couldn’t help me track down a bottle of brown ink and didn’t know if any even existed or not. So, the curiosity regarding where my great grandmother’s mysterious ‘sepia-toned’ brown ink came from will forever remain a mystery since my great grandmother is no longer alive to tell me or even show me.

It still didn’t stop me from picking up something a new form of long lost writing. And oh yes, I LOVE to write. I love it so much that I’m known to write incredibly long snail mail letters to family and friends and always have loved doing so. I’ve been told by strangers even that my penmanship is beautiful, graceful and very legible.

“Legible?” I think to myself. “Why wouldn’t my penmanship be otherwise?”

And here again my quest for knowledge was never-ending and I wanted to know why. I don’t ask, silly me. 😛

Instead, the answers I sought was a long time in coming, but eventually I would see why. I see a younger generation’s writing and doesn’t just stun me, it makes me nervous. It makes me crook my eyebrow and scrutinize every word and line. I cool it on my inner need to ‘proofread’ what they wrote. That isn’t part of my job requirements, but making sense of their writing is important, and if I can’t understand it, then miscommunication often occurs. And not to down on anybody that was born during the 1980s and are part of the millennial crowd, but boy howdy, I never knew chicken scratch was a perquisite to learning how to read and write while in elementary school nowadays. Actually, most of it I can’t even say is chicken scratch, it’s likened to pre-school scribbling and its coming from a twenty-something youngster.

So maybe it will sound as though I’m being hard on these millennials, but their writing is atrocious. Any English teacher would cringe if they saw it turned in on a hand-written assignment and their butts would be served to them on a silverplate platter because of it.

In my line of work I have to jot down any information that would be pertinent if ever a situation arises while I’m on the clock. There are days when nothing happens, and then there’s the hectic days where anything can happen and it needs to be logged.

And then there’s the pre-school scribbles that often appears and misspelled words. I try to decipher it the best I can, but the writing is often very illegible. Now I see why I’m told my penmanship is legible and this is thanks in part to my older brother who taught me cursive writing when I was young as four or five years old. Yes, that young believe it or not because he didn’t want me to go through life not knowing how to read or write since public schools would barely cover the bare bone basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic (a bygone name for mathematics). My older brother was already in school at the time and was a few grades a head of me.

In retrospect, I sincerely believe we came from the last generation that was taught cursive writing when it was still being taught in public schools during the 1980s. I later read that anybody that attended public school post 1955-60s lost out on learning how to use a fountain pen and ink well though. And it brings me back to the antique writing instruments of yesteryear. They can range in price from a dollar on up to a few hundred. And it depends on the make of fountain pen and when it was produced.

When I attended college in 2013 (per my course requirement), I had to log into a message board to converse with the instructor and fellow students, and while on there, somebody chimed in how excited they were to receive a fancy pen with a very fluent, sensitive response. Well, they weren’t talking about a pen you write with. They referred to a stylus pen for their Kindle or some other technological touch-screen device.

I barely batted an eyelash when I figured out it was a pen for a touch screen device.

I don’t get all s**** and giggles over technology. In fact, I don’t find myself running out to buy the newest updated computer setup. I don’t have any new generation Kindles on my wish list and all of my stylus touch-screen pens came straight from the Dollar Tree where everything’s a dollar. However, I do collect antique fountain pens and antique ink wells. Some are very basic heavy glass, I’d say likely used in the rural public schools way, way back when. And other ink wells I have are slightly more fancy with a pen holder and two ink wells with silver caps. And another one I turned up recently has a brass design around it. I don’t know the specific dates when these ink wells were produced, but the fancier ones I’d guess were produced in the 1800s or very early 1900s. The basic no bells or whistles ink wells could likely date anywhere in that same time frame. The antique fountain pens I have scattered in an old wooden cigar box are plastic with brass nibs, which tells me they were produced post- 1930’s probably in the 60s or 70s maybe. I have about four or five fountain pens that go way back to the early 1900s and these I didn’t acquire all at once. I would occasionally run across them in the antique stores from time to time, and if they appealed to me, I’d buy them. At least fountain pens are a light-weight antique item to collect unlike my Bavaria porcelain dishes and silverplate.

And so I’ve returned to practicing my fountain pen writing. This is something I enjoy doing in my spare time when I can make the time that is. I do it mostly for fun nowadays and I’ve read that it isn’t so much what you write but how you hold the pen which is balanced on your knuckles and not clutched between the thumb and index finger. It was awkward for me to try at first, but once I quickly got accustomed to it, my writing was less complicated and flowed onto the page a lot easier. And this is all for my blog about antique fountain pens and ink wells. If interested I’m sure places like eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane might have fountain pens and ink wells for sale. Thanks as always for reading, liking, blogging, commenting and sharing. I truly appreciate it.  🙂

Music in the Pre-Internet era; How fans kept updated on their favorite bands.

Published August 2, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

In this blog I have scoured the annals of time to present some fascinating back issues of the music magazines my 80s generation just loved! Some of us had subscriptions to these music magazines, other times, we didn’t and/ or couldn’t afford it. Therefore, we would wait anxiously (in a good way) for the next issue to hit newsstands.

The time is 1989. Twitter doesn’t exist. Cell phones aren’t even discussed as a technological possibility. We have no computer in my household. The internet is non-existent to a large majority of the population. Computers were a rich kid’s plaything and the newest computer is still the Apple II used in a few public schools and not every school had them. Everything is researched in books checked out from the public library and a card catalog system consisted of a span of pull out drawers chalked full of index cards with the author’s name, circulation number, and title. Information is jotted down on pen and paper, or if you were me, then pen and index cards. That’s how I complied information back in these old days.

Metal Edge 1989 Music news traveled by word of mouth, in print (in the music magazines), MTV and the radio. Who’s opening up for who again? Was it Guns n’ Roses or some upstart band calling themselves ‘Slaughter’? I just used this as an example even though Slaughter did open for KISS on their HITS tour in 1989.

And Sebastian Bach, lead singer of Skid Row blurted out on the American Music Awards program, “Well… shhh-iver me timbers!” since swearing wasn’t allowed on national television. It made me laugh so hard when he said it after receiving an award because I hung onto every word. Am I fan of Skid Row? Around this time, no. However, my older sister simply adored this new rock band that was quick to grace the covers of all the music magazines: Metal Edge (pictured), RIP, Circus, etc.

I was a Kiss fan at the time, and despite what my parents told me about this particular band and how infamous they were, it made me love them even more. Shock rock at its finest. The only other rock star that achieved such a reputation was Alice Cooper. My mom saw Alice Cooper in concert back in the 1970s, and she took my uncle to his first Kiss concert around the same time, too. They lived it and are original fans from an era not too different from that of my own.

But the sound was magical. There was special meaning to those chart-toppers and power ballads—every new and veteran band had to crank out at least one of those in the late 80s. Kiss had theirs with ‘Forever’. Alice Cooper had his with ‘Poison’. I remember hearing Alice Cooper’s new song on the radio and my mom would crank up the car stereo whenever the song came on the air. And maybe somewhere we related on some level. I realize that a parent isn’t supposed to be their child’s best friend, far from it. And I also realized at the young, impressionable age of Twelve that parents are meant to be respected and feared. I grew up in the era where we respected our elders. We’d have hell to pay if we sassed back to adults and those in authority. Discipline was dished out as a parent saw fit.

I didn’t like Alice Cooper when I was Twelve and really couldn’t wrap my head around his shocking theatrics. The guillotine act was a show stopper.

I kept my nose in those rock magazines constantly. ‘Dear Mama Ford’ (Lita Ford’s mother) had an advice column in Metal Edge. She fielded a lot of problems my teenage generation were experiencing in their lives, no matter how serious or minor. A lot of it went over my head when I was thirteen, but I thought Mama Ford had sound advice and she was a lot like a “Dear Abby” to readers of Metal Edge magazine. At this time Lita Ford was my biggest fashion inspiration. Her two hit songs Kiss Me Deadly and If I Close My Eyes Forever were still popular on the radio even though they were previously released in 1988. (I had to do some quick research on when they were released). My opinion of Axl Rose and how I thought he was so mean to his fans didn’t change. I wouldn’t say I was a fan of Guns n’ Roses simply due to his onstage antics, but in another sense I wasn’t really giving this band a chance. Yes, they had some hit songs I really liked. I remember my older sister and I would make fun of the song, ‘Paradise City’ and sing, “Take me down to Paradise City where the girls are green and the grass is pretty,”

The real lyrics go: “Take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” We needed to do something to alleviate typical teenage boredom we seemed to collectively experience. We just changed the lyrics around for the fun of it.

And those magazines we bought didn’t survive into adulthood. Some pages were removed (by us) because we loved to tack those color band pinups to our walls which our parents hated because they felt it made our bedrooms look tacky. Yet we kept tidy rooms and it didn’t look like a tornado dropped a bunch of dirty clothes, empty dishes and a haphazard array of LP’s and cassette tapes tossed on the floor. And those rock magazines were neatly stacked either on our nightstands or kept on a bookshelf. I had all three copies of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and a mismatched set of Child Craft encyclopedias.

Out of anything that ties in with 1989 that I saved was a book mark that depicted a shark and the words, “I Said Hands off!” I bought that bookmark from a book fair hosted at our local school. I used to hate these book fairs because we had to look through a circular and check mark the books we wanted to buy. Well, I didn’t want to read whatever this Weekly Reader cranked out and I didn’t want to spend my allowance money on them either. I also walked my neighbor’s dog for extra money too. I certainly didn’t want to pester my parents to ‘please give me money for books I’ll never read’. I observed these circulars as being ‘forced’ to read some boring cheesy preteen books that wouldn’t keep me interested in turning the page.

I guess there was a problem with my generation experiencing an increase in the  illiteracy rate and there seemed to be this huge emphasis for the book fair to get kids excited about reading, when instead, it did the exact opposite. And we had to promise the promoters of this book fair and the school librarian that we’d read the books we ordered. Well, I skimmed the circular. I can’t find any books on my favorite new rock band Kiss that’s because I missed the boat on scaring up some Schoolastic books that featured Kiss from the seventies. I can’t find any subscriptions for RIP or Metal Edge magazines in this book circular either. This bites! :/

I wasn’t a fan of Circus magazine, but that was my older sister’s favorite. All I saw were the average Highlight magazines for children (grades K-3rd). I was in the fifth grade and a twelve year old. I considered Highlight children’s magazine to be pre-school reading material. All preschoolers read, right? Maybe I was an exceptionally rare breed when younger. I was onto bigger things and wasn’t a fan of those Babysitter Club books, either. I liked those Choose Your Own Adventure books but this book circular didn’t list any. Hmmm, alrighty then!

I wanted to read about Ace Frehley. He was my favorite guitarist in the entire Kiss lineup. I wanted to read more about Peter Criss who was the original drummer. It was around this same time frame I had a fascination for drummers, in general regardless of their style of music because my dad played drums and was in the drum and bugle corps for his high school. And my mother played in a few bands here and there and there’d always be a drummer. From a very early age I was drawn to drum kits no matter if the drums were a famous brand or a cheap, crappy kind.

I’ll never forget the time I accidentally put my foot through my brother’s snare drum on his three piece drum kit (cymbal, snare and kick drum, if my memory serves me correctly). I was about knee high to a grasshopper when I had done that and my brother was infuriated with me. I never learned to play drums, but naturally seemed to gravitate to percussion and cymbals. And when I was still a little child, I was fascinated by drummers that played in bands. I would go up and bug them during band practice whenever my mom would cart me along because she couldn’t always find a babysitter at the last minute.

I never sat down and asked my dad who his influences were and why he decided to pick up the sticks and learn how to play the drums other than his favorite band was Black Sabbath. I can’t put words in my dad’s mouth and say Bill Ward was his musical influence. I will have to ask him because it garners my curiosity.

I’m sitting at my desk in the fifth grade skimming through the Weekly Reader, page open to a check list of books for the upcoming book fair. It brought back negative memories of when I had to complete those stupid book reports for the Book It! Program during the 80’s. I hated Book It! because I couldn’t read fast enough to finish a certain number of books in a single month, then go into a mind boggling, soap opera strung-out dramatic, slapdash outline of what the book was about and how special the protagonist(s) were to me and what lessons I took away from what I read. I was a very slow reader and one of those kids you didn’t want to call on in class to read a paragraph aloud. I loathed reading unless it was on my terms and given free reign to read what I wanted. I seem to recall the Book It program had very strict criteria what type of books students were allowed to read and it was very boring! :/

Also, the page count gradually increased with each new book selected. I didn’t like the very narrow reading selection we had to chose from. It didn’t leave any room to broaden my literary horizons at all.

Nope… can’t make me do it! was my new defiant attitude at ten years old. I viewed the Book It! program as this mandatory course that no student could get out of no matter how hard they tried. As a reward Pizza Hut would give a student a free personal pan pizza (very itty bitty pizza) only if they could produce their Book It! button and a free coupon signed by the teacher. I thought this was so wrong because not many students could get a personal pan pizza.

I scored only one personal pan pizza by happenstance because my teacher made a mistake. I had already taken the coupon down and got my free pizza the same evening and naturally couldn’t give it back.

Metal Edge November 1989 mag

RIP magazine November 1989 Price: $2.75 (in 1989)

My penchant for those rock magazines was my quiet way of rebelling, I suppose. I’d never come right out and say what was on my mind. I would draw out my frustration and began keeping a diary (still have it to this day) and that was my creative outlet to vent all my emotions, worries, fears, hopes, etc. I took a semi-serious interest in writing and fact-checking at twelve. I wasn’t keen on citing my sources when I first started out and was told that plagiarism is a major no-no when I hit the fifth grade. Plagiarism is also a serious offense that’s not taken lightly, and what plagiarism is is where a person copies a paragraph, article, or a whole book word for word and claim it as their own and don’t (or in some cases) won’t give credit where its due.

I would sit there at my desk, happily jotting down quotes by various musicians and doing my best to cite my sources. I loved writing when I was twelve even though I never had any writing credits to my name yet. I was a nobody and made an easy target to pick on. I probably fell somewhere in-between the geek and nerd category by the time I hit Jr. high.

1990-91: Censorship abound, ‘The Metal Wire’ never comes to fruition.

The concept was great because I thought up the name and had a design in mind. There was something edgy and new when it came to conceiving my first ‘music’ newsletter back in 1989. I loved the idea of being my own executive editor, journalist, layout designer even though I had no access to any kind of design program since computers weren’t available. At twelve could I have sat for long hours trying to make Adobe Photoshop to work? Likely not. I didn’t warm up to technology in the least and wouldn’t for a good decade or so.

I decided to find something else and took up a hobby at twelve. I discovered 8 track tapes and the 8 track machine when I was in the fifth grade like they were these long lost ancient artifacts often overlooked in thrift stores. I would fix the cartridge tapes using whatever I had at my disposal and cleaned the 8 track players with cassette tape cleaning solution. And in a pinch I would use record (LP) cleaner for 33 1/3’s and long q-tips designed for cleaning electronics, and when those became scarce, I would tape a regular q-tip to the tip of a pencil and clean the tape heads and capstan that way. I loved to hang out in my attic bedroom working for hours on a solution how to piece together an 8 track tape that got eaten by my Lloyd’s 8 track player that was discarded in the trash at my grandparents house. I took the little 8 track unit home and cleaned it up, let it air dry for a few days and tested it out with those damaging pillow cushion over-the-head earphones. My mom promptly made me throw those headphones in the trash because she was very worried I’d damage my hearing and they could produce a much louder sound than ear buds do today. The old pillow headphones were heavy I might add and caused me many a headache from long periods of wearing.

I received my first hand-me down Walkman that ran on four AA batteries in 1989. The newest features this used Walkman had were fast forward, rewind, pause and stop. At the very least, the inexpensive less impressive cassette tape Walkmans only had play and stop. Depending how much money a person was willing to spend, the more expensive models had rewind, record, and fast-forward and maybe bass boost and both FM/ AM included.

Growing up me and my siblings had the basic Walkmans that lacked a radio. To conserve battery power I believed that using the fast-forward and rewind buttons would drain the batteries completely and so would turning up the volume. Walkmans were a new novelty to me when I was a kid, but how I love them still to this day and miss being able to hear one. I did find two at my local thrift store recently but didn’t buy them and now I’m kicking myself for not doing it. They were off-brand cassette Walkmans, but still that’s old school technology that’s collectable nowadays.

And the rock magazines filled the gap between catching concerts (if a person was made of money and had the chance to get tickets). Backstage passes I heard cost somewhere in the thousand-dollar range and that was unfathomable to me at twelve years old. I dreamed of attending a rock concert as a kid, but there was some intimidation holding me back. I worried about getting hurt at the concert and this is what turned me off from wanting to go to one. I heard horror stories and didn’t know that a nose bleed section was down front. Stage diving existed, but the barricades looked like the Grand Canyon in the live concert pictures in the magazines. But my height (or lack of it) went against me. Unless I could sit on a person’s shoulders I wouldn’t have been able to see the show.

The concert-going excitement was infectious, no doubt. There’s nothing like it in the world that can compare to it. When I listened to Kiss Alive II on 8 track and played the Alive! LP into the ground pretty much, I could be transported to that specific time. I could close my eyes and imagine being there in person to see the action, hear the amped up drums, screaming loud guitar solos, and vocal harmonies and the ‘sing-along’ audience participation that is typical of any band pretty much. And for that brief moment, I could see myself there among the throng of fans that were a wild emphasis of the 70s.

I returned to my rock magazines and thumbed through the articles. I may not have understood a lot of what I read at twelve since a lot of it went over my head, but I loved to read about the popular songs and bands climbing the charts. Metallica. Uhn, that’s a new band. Actually, they began their career in night clubs and bars. Fans used to call them ‘Alcohol-ica’ because the band members liked to drink. Okay, whatever. I didn’t get what ‘drinking’ was all about at twelve and didn’t care. To each their own, I thought. I had formed a crush on Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica. He had long hair, almost a ‘Lost Boys’ look about him even though he wasn’t a vampire. The Lost Boys had long-haired young male teenage vampires that were typical ‘bad boys’ of the silver screen. At twelve my parents still forbid me to rent that movie. I do remember vividly when it hit theaters in 1987. I wanted so much to go see it and glad I had waited until I was an adult. It wasn’t the R-rating this particular film received. It was due to one particular scene where the vampires attack a group of people partying on the beach that’s gory and very graphic. Now I see why my parents forbid me to see the film. Still, for its time the teenage vampires were handsome and the special effects makeup was impressive. I read on a message board that the film also used some CGI (computer graphic imaging) for some of the scenes and other die-hard Lost Boys fans dispute this and think it was contact lenses, fang caps, and a well-rounded cast of new young actors that really gave this horror movie its shock factor.

Either way The Lost Boys is an excellent 80’s cult horror movie that’s worth owning. I was happy to purchase an original vhs copy of this movie for 10 cents at my local thrift store a month back. I have the dvd to this movie along with the film’s series. Like always though I wanted an original vhs copy too. But yeah, the ‘Lost Boys’ look as I summed it up back in these days, all the rock musicians seemed to have a similar look about them. Long hair, tight jeans, ageless beauty, fame, fortune and so on. Oh, yeah and scores of girls, but that comes with the territory when you’re a rock star.

Had I been the intrepid reporter I strived to be with my newsletter I would have included critiques of albums, chart toppers, pictures, news, more credit where credit’s due, first-hand experiences by those who lived it, especially my [then] P.E. teacher related a story to me at recess one day of his concert-going experience seeing Kiss and that it was, “Loud like crazy.” He took his daughter to one of their shows and that was sometime when the band was already famous, so I guessed it was around 76’-77’ which happened to be the bicentennial year for our country (1776-1976).

I didn’t add that last part to my diary. I just quoted my gym teacher’s concert-going experience. And he added that on the way home from the venue he saw a lot of white-painted faces and he was shaking his head as though he didn’t understand it. That’s where I filled him in that the early generation of Kiss fans always painted their faces up like their favorite member of the band. By the time Kiss was touring in the 80s they had long since removed their signature makeup. He was quite impressed by my knowledge and the conversation ended when I had to return to class. And then another teacher waved me over and told me about the time she and a friend of hers shared an elevator with Kiss and her friend began to hyperventilate. It was only when the band stepped off and the doors closed, her friend said, “That was Kiss!” and that was before the band removed their makeup. I need to interject here that a photo of Kiss without their makeup was leaked in Creem magazine in the 1970s. I know this sounds like general knowledge to most nowadays, but back in 1989 this ‘famous non-makeup picture’ was still floating around as just a rumor. It was oral history like this that I penned in my diary so many years ago and reflect back on it like a kid that I was with insatiable curiosity.


Bulldogs, Not-Man and Doris Lady Justice- Mascots galore!


The bulldog depiction was my grade school’s mascot. In 1989 I received a gym shirt with the school’s name and the depiction of a fierce-looking bulldog. Instead of groaning, “Do I have to wear this?” I thought the t-shirt was so awesome, yet sadly, it never survived. I also had a school folder with the same depiction. The folders were glossy white with the name and bulldog in green outline. When the folder was opened there was a printed ruler and times table along with some typical useless public school highlights that wouldn’t benefit me once I got out into the adult world.


Not Man was Anthrax’s mascot, and I believe one of the members of Anthrax would don a head covering that resembled Not Man and go out in the audience to excite the crowd. Not Man is a cartoon depiction on their albums and t-shirts.


Doris Lady Justice is Metallica’s mascot. In 1991 one of the rock magazines printed a flyer for the band’s Justice For All album and Doris Lady Justice is photo-shopped out with the phrase, “…find out in twenty years.” For long-time Metallica fans out there I will need some clarification if my memory serves me correctly about this. But I remember seeing something to this effect either in RIP or Metal Edge.

And that about does it for this blog post. As always thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting, etc. I truly appreciate it. 🙂











Character worksheets and creating vampires.

Published October 2, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Well, looks like it might be back to the old drawing board as the saying goes. In the last couple of days I’ve had a lot of fun creating vampires and fictional locations for my self-published stories. What does it mean to fill out a character worksheet? It means you get a visual idea of what your character is all about: what they like, dislike, love, their favorite things to do and so on.

But the hardest part was finding a few pictures to ‘visualize’ what my vampire characters might look like. Then I had the fun (and daunting) task of morphing each photo into what I would think my vampires would appear (physically). I don’t have photoshop, so I had to do the next best thing and run all the pictures through an inexpensive photo shop-like program, play with the effects, colors and opacity levels and the end result? I believe I created some awesome vampires with what I had at my disposal. I’m doing this so when I go back into revise my stories I can glance at the worksheets and know exactly who goes where and get an idea of their emotions, what they’re doing, etc.

Right now I am repeat offender of writing in the “God point of view”. Instead of having a character say something I write it in the ‘third person’ which there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, it just shows that I don’t read much.

It would help if I would read—like really sit down and crack open a book. I do plan to find another set of the Vampire Files (by P.N. Elrod, one of my favorite authors), and actually take a step away from writing and begin by reading. How do the scenes flow? How do the characters interact with each other, what’s the basis of the story, what’s the plot about and most importantly, make it flow in chronological order.

When I write… I get inspired or get an idea stuck in my head and feel the overwhelming need to write it down not on scrap paper or even in my notebook, I write it into the story and that’s good if I’m planning to write back material, but I’m not. I’m trying to write a story.

But the character worksheets are a lot of fun! I believe I created no less than ten pages. I still plan to pack my camera with me and take some pictures of a few places, then weave these into my stories. One great thing when you write about fictional towns, residences, and cities, you pretty much write the laws. Yep, if you want your character to ride their bike on the sidewalk and not have to worry about receiving a ticket or a warning, you can write pretty much anything. In real life, (as I’m sure its law everywhere), you can’t ride a bike on a sidewalk, especially not in a downtown district. Recently where I live they put in bike paths and you won’t guess where. The new bike paths are right in front of on-coming traffic, and the city planners brought these paths out so far into the narrow streets that it also hampers motorists who may need to park by the curb.

Thankfully I don’t ride a bicycle anymore. However, I do drive so I’m always extremely cautious when driving around town. I feel the bike paths are a danger not just to the bicyclist, but also to the motorist as well. Oh, yeah, and the city planners also decided to run the bike paths right into the turn lanes, so when you need to make a turn, you may not see the bicyclist until they are right up beside you and since riding on the sidewalks is against the law, I’m waiting to see if these new bike paths will be removed, or what they plan to do about it. So far its received a lot of complaints. I assume this is ‘liberals’ at work.

The good thing about writing is you can make up any law and run with it in a story. And I do apologize if I went off topic there. Main thing is my writing and revising is far from over with. I do plan to leave all my stories up on Smashwords and Kindle Direct in the meantime until I am completely done going through my stories. Then I will upload brand new copies. I’ve also been kicking around some more ideas and really want to change a few scenes in my stories that I would like to expand on. As always thank you so much for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting, I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Sequel to Abide with Me is finished!

Published September 25, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

99, 403 is some marathon writing! Whew!


It’s not over yet, not by a long shot. There’s A LOT of editing, revising, formatting, book description– thank god, I already designed the cover ahead of time.

This vampire sequel took me approximately five months, many late hours of writing—contemplating in a Cathedral— (not at night, though), working, tweeting on the side, and clacking the keys in my spare time.

What’s the vampire sequel about? Without giving it away, it deals with vampires. There’s some good vs. evil parts, some sex scenes– which, let’s face it, those are difficult to convey in writing sometimes and still capture the passion, romance, and all five senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell– yeah, I forgot to weave those in. I don’t know how erotica and romance authors write steamy sex scenes and manage to really pull the reader in. Visualizing it as though you’re watching a movie, is one thing, trying to put it into words and make it flow is difficult.

This new vampire sequel ties in with Abide With Me, my first vampire story. I heard that some author’s like to put prologues into a sequel, kind of give the reader an idea of where the first story left off. And it boggles my mind. I also never inserted chapters into any of my previous stories which again, makes the story hard to read. I rely heavily on page breaks to start each new scene.

Yes, I broke the 80,000 word count “novella”. And I do believe, this staggering word count exceeds Abide With Me. Then somebody pointed out that they couldn’t find any tags for Abide With Me on Amazon. Therefore, I went to Amazon, fiddled with uploading some tags, and don’t know how authors get away with adding four or five tags. For example,

Fiction: occult, horror, supernatural
Fiction, horror, occult, vampires
Fiction, romance, undead, occult, horror

I tried to find these other categories with the specific “undead” and “vampires” included in the tags and had no luck. I could only select two: Fiction: occult, horror, supernatural and Fiction: occult and horror.

Well, that bites.

For some odd reason in the cosmos that I can’t begin to understand or come to a rational conclusion about, I cannot add these specific tags of Fiction: horror, supernatural, romance, undead, vampires so therefore, Abide With Me can’t be found in a romance section of Amazon.

What I am doing is working on the next step: adding in a book description right under the title. Yep, a book description so readers can view at a glance what the story will be about. I have never, ever seen a book description right before the start of any story. Then again I’m looking at paperback novels, not e-books. Plus it helps to add in a book description when kindle readers snap up a lot of titles at once.

Well, that’s a new one on me. And while on the topic of marathon word counts—(I cringe that I didn’t see this before self-publishing) I am going through Times of the Past and cleaning up all the corrupt file errors that magically (and mysteriously) appeared when I uploaded this story on Kindle Direct and Smashwords.

I began writing Times of the Past back in 2003 on a very outdated Word program using Windows ME edition. Then I received a new computer, so I transferred that rough draft onto Windows Vista. I was somewhat up to speed with Word pad, but again, the file was extremely corrupt. So I had to again revise my original story, and change a few things. I like my font set at 12 New Times Roman, but nope, my new computer decides it will make it very tiny and difficult to read, then it goes into some god awful sentence in another font… backspace, and everything returns to normal Times New Roman font. And then, I get a new computer in 2013 and again, the transfer is more than my labor of love can handle. I’m unaware that files do get corrupted and then stories appear to have been written using two different styles of font using three or more different settings. It’s crazy sometimes.

See the beautiful world of writing that authors and writers deal with on computers? It’s a lot faster than hen-pecking glass typewriter keys and far better than digging for correcting paper, a bottle of white out, and a dictionary. Oh, yes, and writing the old fashioned way didn’t give these billion choices for different fonts and you had to know how to double space in manuscript form on a typewriter (if you wanted to publish something in print) which was probably very frustrating I can imagine. And then there’s trouble when you run out of ribbon for the typewriter and can’t purchase another spool for that particular make and model… I sympathize with writers and authors of yesteryear that hammered the keys on manual and electric typewriters.

So I applied my massive brain power to make a very concerted effort to correct all mistakes and font changes, punctuation as I find them in Times of the Past. On Amazon it is still being updated for the right tags. I did add in undead, vampires, romance to the key words so I hope this helps. And really need to do the same to the Smashwords versions.

This current sequel I hope will have all those mistakes in punctuation and extra letters that don’t belong corrected when I run the story through paragraph return. That’s how I’m able to catch all these mistakes that aren’t visible when writing in Word pad.

Again, thanks for reading, sharing, liking, commenting, tweeting, re-blogging. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Velvet Blue and My Father’s Son short story series of mine.

Published September 16, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

velvet blue cover - 1600 pixels for smashwords

Velvet Blue on Amazon and Velvet Blue on Smashwords.

Also, the sequel to this is My Father’s Son on Smashwords. This sequel is also available on Amazon: My Father’s Son

my fathers son cover1400 2400As always thanks for liking, sharing, re-blogging, tweeting, commenting, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Faithfully: a short story and where to buy it.

Published September 16, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

faithfullysmashwords cover

Faithfully on Amazon and Faithfully on Smashwords. Enjoy and as always, thank you for re-tweeting, liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂  Most, if not all of my stories, are just e-published at the present time.

Times of the Past my book.

Published September 16, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Here’s the links for my book, Times of the Past:

Amazon for Times of the Past and Times of the Past on Smashwords.

This was actually my second attempt at writing a very long novel-type story and it came on the heels of my great grandmother’s death as I recall. Therefore, I was not only writing out my grief over that, but also inspired to create some  ‘good guy’ vampires. I let my imagination run wild with a plot that wasn’t thoroughly thought out before hand. Times of the Past was a combination of different stories involving three of the protagonists and how they crossed paths with one another. Somewhere along the way I decided to weave them into Times of the Past and try to condense them down.

Little I was I aware in my infancy of writing about vampires (and this was many years ago) that not all characters need to have every small detail of how and when they were bitten/ attacked and/ or brought across into their undead existence written into a story. And yeah, it would help a lot if I began adding in chapters instead of scene breaks which are two spaces to began a new scene in a book.

All indie authors/ established authors and writers will have to find “their voice” even if its descriptive and lengthy.

Enjoy and as always, thank you for re-tweeting, liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Times of the past cover 1 alt 1600x2400

A Dangerous Tune is out and available for purchase, but…

Published September 12, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Don’t expect A Dangerous Tune on Weebly. I don’t plan to be updating that particular site because its extremely slow and very frustrating to use. I have to add two things in a drag and drop method: the text and then a picture box.  And when I mean slow, I mean you can cook a three course meal, clean house, run some errands and the page you’re working on still hasn’t done much.

I opted for the free version of Weebly so I can’t expect much. My PC is running fine so its not an outdated issue effecting this particular website’s extreme snail pace problem. I just simply give up when trying to add new stories, books and book covers on there and don’t have time to just waste three hours or more waiting for the page to load. Sometimes nothing comes in, then I have to close out the browser and re-open it at least four times. I try to have everything written in advance. This way all I have to do is copy and paste. But the font isn’t right. The title can’t be changed once you think of one to add and that’s another headache I get when trying to update my Weebly site. Sure, I can go back in and re-write everything in the text box until my heart’s content. Therefore, if those of you want to snag a version of fellow indie author Evan Asher’s book, here it is:

The trouble begins when Kristol inherits her grandma’s antique phonographs
#books #romance #suspense

A dangerous tune smashwords coverEnjoy and as always, thank you for re-tweeting, liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. A sincere thank you! also goes out to Evan as well. Thanks for allowing me to be your co-author. 🙂

Those pesky extra ” marks and other annoying things your Kindle will display…

Published September 4, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I turned on paragraph return. I skimmed through just the first three pages of my Abide with Me cleaning up the extra ” marks that shouldn’t have feasibly found their way into my dialog, but they do and still continue to do so. My mind is numb from all this writing. I’m pulling double duty trying to add the finishing touches to my vampire sequel and being co-author for another story. My eyes are strained and it’s late. I keep working away and take frequent breaks. I skim through my stories on my Kindle to catch mistakes.

What is it with formatting? I feel there should be one universal word pad document that can be uploaded without problems. Trying to nit-pick those extra quotations marks and extra letters and the annoying fused together “ae” leaves me scratching my head as I try to realize why, after I went through the story a billion times, these little oddities in the writing realm keep showing up on the uploaded versions. I don’t want readers to think, “Aw, man… she can’t edit!” Show me one author that has perfect, flawless uploads and I will be impressed. I’m sure this happens to the best of them. I clack the keys. My finger seldom tire, but boy howdy!, the editing process is tiresome.

I don’t disregard the editing process. That’s vital to make a good story (actually any kind of writing) come to life. I just wish there was a faster process to catching and correcting all these annoyances without having to manually scroll through every page, read every line, and double-check the paragraphs.

Write like a crazy lady and oh, Father!: Protagonist development, writing, and inspiration.

Published September 2, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

priest black and white cover 5-12-14 smashwords1400It was no wonder nobody could find my stories over at Amazon. And that’s what happens when you just realize Author Central has a place to claim your book. Well, now that explains a lot and so does my inexcusable lack of loading tweet deck to promote my work like clockwork.

I claimed my stories, wrote my experiences with my first novel, Abide with Me, and found out I have more reviews to write to include with all of my stories. Whew!

If you’re me you can crank out 81, 356 words and 155 pages in a span of three weeks, give or take. The bad draw back to this is time constraints, loss of sleep, plot ideas and characters that are vying for my immediate attention. So better do what I do: keep a spiral bound notebook and pens handy and write like a crazy lady.

I’m a prolific writer. I absolutely love to write very long, descriptive fiction and horror stories. I will never declare “I’m the next (_______) and I’m the best!” Fill in the blank with your favorite author. I’m not the best out there.

The hours, weeks, months and years it takes to crank out a labor of love on Word pad is exhaustive, fun, and catatonic. But it doesn’t end at the last paragraph. If you can’t afford an editor and/ or just don’t trust your precious labor of love to anybody else, you can edit your work yourself. And that’s one of the most exhaustive processes. It’s very long, mind-numbing, and taking frequent breaks is a must!

Editing is the process where you nit-pick every chapter and paragraph. Hey, I’m guilty of seeing extra ‘h’s’ where there should be only one ‘h’. If you have paragraph return switched on these configurations are easy to spot and correct. If you don’t have paragraph return switch on and it resembles a backwards “p”, then you’ll never know how in a million years a word starts off something like this… “H h h is”

Wha—? Where’d those two extra ‘h’s’ find their way into the sentence. Ah! And its back to more editing with paragraph return switched on. Now, if you have a novel, I believe if its 80,000 words or more, it’s considered a novel and those are butt kickers to edit and proof-read. It will cause eye strain. And I recall my first several re-visions long before I knew about the existence of paragraph return, my brain felt like it was sucked dry. I simply had no energy to invest in the late night/ wee hours of the morning re-writes.

And then, there’s the muddled effect I come across way too often in certain scenes in my story. In my mind, I see the action taking place. I see what my characters see. I write how I think it should go and it’s really scatter-brained in word pad. In fact, I will need some additional help writing in some action-packed fight scenes.

Well, when searching for that right context to describe a knock down, draw out brawl between four or five characters, how about visiting an actual locale, instead? Oh, and while you’re there, don’t forget to cross yourself. And I did just that.

I got off early from work and across the street is a Catholic cathedral. There’s nothing special about its façade. But when you step inside it resembles a business lobby with the exception that it has a cruciform fountain filled with blessed holy water. Yup. Holy water. Once in a blue moon I would stop in to fill a bottle or two with holy water. Hey, can’t hurt to have some on hand even though I’m not Catholic. I had never been inside the actual Cathedral itself. I do drive by it all the time on my commute. And it wasn’t until the day before I had decided to pop in and see what they had to offer.

My mind was picked clean of any plot ideas to wrap up my sequel to one of my self-published vampire stories. I admire the cruciform fountain filled with holy water. For some reason I always gravitate to the fountain first. Then I gazed at the very spacious Narthex that resembles a business lobby. Dotting the walls are various portraits of saints, popes, and name plaques.

There was a lot of Spanish religious CD’s and other paper items written in Spanish. Yet I knew if I tried to go around the book shelf, I might find what I’m looking for and sure enough, there was free literature in English. But what I liked seeing was several saint holy cards. Okay, the saints names run together in my mind. I was up very late until 5: 50 am pulling an all-nighter and I managed to get myself to work running on very little sleep. But curiosity compelled me to stay a few minutes. I scanned the free literature and free holy cards, bookmarks, prayer cards, etc. Then a gentleman walks by and I very politely get his attention and ask if the literature, holy cards, bookmarks are free since there’s no sign stating it.

He was helpful and suggested some literature and told me he was going to go say the stations the cross. I had told him that I didn’t see any pamphlets on how to pray the rosary. And he said that the next time I stopped in, he’d be sure there were some left out on the bookcase. I kindly thanked him for his help and thought that was it. I proceeded to browse through the literature and a two minutes later he re-appeared, not sure if I was still around and told me, “I know you know this gonna sound crazy, but the Lord spoke to me and told me to find that girl and show her how to pray the rosary. That is, if you have thirty-five minutes? If not you can stop in any time.”

I thought about it, then thought about my poor celery and hard boiled egg going rancid in the heat of the vehicle in my lunch bag. The ice packs were likely warm, but not one to miss an opportunity, opted to take the man up on his offer. He told me his name and said he was new to the Catholic faith. I listened to him and we sauntered in the chapel.

It was dimly-lit with large inset lighting shining down. Cement columns that stretched from floor to vaulted ceiling. The walls and ceiling were dreary—sucked of color except their cement grey. The Cathedral gave off a cold, almost unwelcoming vibe. The nave was tiled. Pews were empty. Prayer candles flickered and it was the first time I laid eyes on a row of inset confessionals. They spanned a portion of the Cathedral. I didn’t see any priests wandering about and the place was very quiet. I felt both awed seeing the vaulted ceiling and intimidated by it as well. My eyes drew up to the altar. A massive catacomb of ramps and doors on either side likely branched off to the sacristy. But what intrigued me most, (and sent a slight chill down my spine), was seeing a massive crucifix suspended by chains from the ceiling. In near descriptive detail (sight unseen until this day, mind you), I had written a similar hanging crucifix in my fictional church in my sequel when I was describing what my fictional church looks like interior-wise so the reader could hopefully get a sense of being pulled into that scene.

Perhaps I’ve been clacking the keys too long. Maybe it was just coincide that it struck me with such awe and surrealism that my description nearly matched something I hadn’t even seen yet until that day. Oh, and I’m Lutheran. I sense a twinge of You don’t belong here oozing from Cathedral walls that went straight up. The shadows made the cement walls appear nearly black in places where light couldn’t reach. Stain glass windows were long and very thin. They didn’t depict the large breath-taking imagery churches are known for. Instead, these slim windows gave the impression of prison bars.

The man that showed me around became emotional. He just had never guided anybody around this Cathedral before nor had the Lord personally spoke to him until that day. I’m not one to doubt the Lord’s mysterious ways nor would I ever doubt those that claim the Lord speaks to them. I like to keep an open mind.

This man showed me a half-circular room with Our Lady of Guadeloupe statue, painted lime green walls and forest motif. On either side were small stands containing small photos of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mother Mary. I want to say this man referred to it as a shrine room, but could be wrong about that.

I have heard of the saints and read about them. In fact, St. Paul (the missionary), is one saint I do like primarily due to my attending St. Paul’s Lutheran in the later half of my grade school years and at the last leg of my Seventh grade year. I highly praise St. Paul’s Lutheran for shaping my later school experiences with fond memories. I can’t say my start in public school and tenure in that system ever taught me much. In fact, it was the exact opposite. There was (probably still is) a severe lack of well-taught, Christian-based curriculum. And I was quite shocked to read about lately in Yahoo news about an old portrait of Jesus being removed from a public school after one person complained about it just recently like this year. And the Jesus portrait was a fixture of this one school going way, way back and they were trying to find the donator who donated it back in 1958. I thought, One person complains and they get their way like a bratty child? I heard about the separation of church and state: but seesh!

And I wasn’t about to admit the other reason why I was at the Cathedral. I found myself at a very confusing point in my vampire sequel and needed to visually see the layout of a church so I could wrap my head around the fight scene that breaks out in a fictional church in my sequel. So I strolled down the nave, tennis shoes squeaking over buffed floor. The man that showed me around let me decide if I wanted to kneel at the communion rail or stand while he proceeded to teach me an extremely fast way to pray the rosary.

I knelt at the communion rail and the cushion wasn’t kind on the knees. I believe it was burlap and not stuffed. Before the thirty-five minutes were up, my body ached from my torso down to my knees, legs, and feet. My legs tingled painfully but I didn’t complain. It didn’t feel odd to kneel at the communion rail since I had been a member of my Lutheran church for a few years. I always looked forward going through the communion line they have at my church, and many times, have knelt at their communion rail which has a much softer cushion.

While the man was teaching me to pray the rosary, he would explain to me the Joyful Mysteries, The Sorrowful Mysteries, The Luminous Mysteries, Our Father’s, Apostle’s Creed, Glory Be’s, and there was a lot that was mind boggling to me. But I was very appreciative of the time he took out of his busy day to show me how to pray the rosary.

The only other person I noticed in Cathedral was a snow-haired older man that waltzed out of one of the side doors I suppose that led from the sacristy. And you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t name off every little nook and cranny of a Cathedral’s layout. I know where the Gospel and Lectern sides are in a church and where the transepts intersect in a cross-shaped church.

While this man and I were going through the rosary together—and I’m glad he produced a rosary since I didn’t carry one on my person. I do collect rosaries of all kinds and enjoy them. However, for a Lutheran to collect and try to use them I suppose is weird since I’m not Catholic. I paid attention to what the man was going over with me. Meanwhile in the back of my mind I could actually see my fictional characters in a place similar in layout and design as this Cathedral. Oh, and while we were going through the rosary, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a shadowy black figure took their seat in one of the pews.

And when we were finished, the man wanted to introduce me to Father—I didn’t catch his name. It was my first time meeting a priest of the Catholic faith in person. And I really didn’t want this man to interrupt him since he was praying with a rosary ring on his thumb. The priest was a very soft-spoken man. And the man that showed me how to pray the rosary was trying to get some feedback from the priest on how he did.

“I did good, didn’t I?” this man repeated his question to the priest, who didn’t look like he wanted to be bothered.

“Yeah you did. You slipped up on the forty days after Jesus was born.” The priest slowly spun the ring around his thumb, counting each bead.

I think the priest was directing the comment at me since he overheard most, if not, all of our quiet conversation.

What happened is that I got way ahead of myself, confusing the account when Jesus died and on the third day he rose again. And when the man was telling me forty days after Jesus was born that’s when I had unwittingly added, “And Jesus died and on the third day he rose again.” I’m sure that got under the priest’s skin.

Well, the priest and I shook hands and introduced ourselves. He reminded me physically of Norm Abrams. The priest forced a smile and very quietly answered all of the man’s questions. I couldn’t shake the strong impression that the priest was timid—not really shy, per se, but very reluctant to even speak. Until this day, I didn’t realize just how sheltered Catholic priests really are. And maybe I intimidated the priest by just being there. I’m sure it’s not everyday that a Lutheran stops in. And I wasn’t going to reveal I was also there to absorb the silence and picture my set of characters in the Cathedral and oh, yeah they’re vampires and one of them is a priest.

When I was revising and revamping Abide with Me I spent a good two solid hours in the Chapel at my church during evening service around Advent and sat in my favorite spot: third row and down front. I brought with me a notebook and pen and began taking notes of what the altar looks like from the pews. Since I had been a communion assistant and was heavily involved with my church life at this time, I sauntered up to the altar and gazed out at the empty pews, then returned to my seat. I had the visual aspect I wanted to bring to one of my main protagonists in Abide with Me. To see a church setting through his eyes, not mine. I’m just the writer trying bring as much realism as I can to my protagonist’s vocation.

To really submerse myself I bought a few Gregorian chant CD’s (which is truly beautiful and highly recommend them) for mood music. When I’m writing I like to listen with headphones so I can prolifically write without distractions. The Gregorian chants set the stage for certain scenes in Abide with Me. Other times, if I need something spooky, haunting, or some action, I’ll listen to Midnight Syndicate and the original Creepshow soundtrack.

I left the Cathedral that other day with a better idea of how to re-write the fight scene in my sequel, but parts of it are very muddled and the action will have to be refined. Oh, and I put in a lot of fluff which readers likely don’t want to see. Therefore, I promise, I do plan to cut back on the useless fluff in the sequel. Still not sure when I’ll get around to self-publishing it. When I do, I will tweet it out and post links here as well.

And that wraps up my first trip to a Catholic Cathedral, meeting a priest for the first time, and learning how to pray the rosary and where I get my story ideas from. Thanks for liking, following, commenting, tweeting, re-blogging, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂