Archive for January, 2015

50 Weeks of Living My Novels

As a pretend Fictional Woman of Action (is pretend plus fictional redundant?), the first must-do on my list is to clean out my energy.

Did you expect me to say, “Work out hard”?  Oh please, I’m already in pretty good shape, and no doubt I’ll spend a few of these 50 weeks hurling myself into harebrained jock stunts.  In the meantime, it’s my mind/ body connection that needs a lube job.


My character Layla doesn’t do any meditation stuff in her story, but in her backstory she’s dabbled in it.  My character Charity MacCay, in contrast, can be superstitious but doesn’t have a mystical bone in her body.  But then there’s Modesty Blaise, who I want to be in my next life and who spent time in India mastering advanced mind control.

Me? Hell, I’ll try anything.

Thus I found myself… um… kinda naked, lying flat on my back on a table in a dark room and receiving the sometimes painful energy massage of a Lomi Lomi ritual.  It’s from the Hawaiian spirituality of Huna, which has long fascinated me, and during it I felt  very exposed.  And weird.   Especially since I can get self-conscious over things like nakedness.

For me, relaxing and concentrating took a lot of effort on my part, but I though I succeeded.

Turns out only my mind went where I wanted it to.  The Lomi Lomi therapist told me that parts of my body never seemed to let go.   This explains why some muscles in my legs and hips that have tightened up from injuries still won’t stretch normally.   I’ve really got to work on physically relaxing.

See, one reason I used to meditate is ’cause I can go to bed and sleep while still so tense I’ll wake up sick.  Once I woke up with bad hives from nerves. Physical relaxation that others can take for granted I’ve gotta work at.  And Action Women have GOT to be in control of their bodies.


Funny and way-too-smart Mike Offut (www.SLC and I both have a thing for the show Sleepy Hollow, and he suggested that we pose a question to each other each week on our blogs.

Mike asked me, “How would you describe the moment you realized Sleepy Hollow was something you would watch faithfully every week?”

My answer:  When I saw Ichabod Crane, as played by Tom Mison, and fell madly in love with him.  And because I really liked Abbie’s character and how she and Crane used their brains and skills to escape the headless horseman.  Then there’s the atmosphere, which reminded me of Halloween, and the way Police Chief Irving appeared to be in on Sleepy Hollow’s ancient secrets, which go back to the American Revolution.  Oh, of course I’m a history buff.

I’m FINALLY changing this ol’ blog around.

Obviously Becoming Layla needs to be shaken up.  It’s tired.  I’m tired.  And I haven’t updated the ever-so-tame layout since I started this sucker.  It’ll probably take me another month to make the visual changes, but in the meantime we’re two weeks into 2015, which means there are 50 weeks left in the year.  That’s 50 once-a-week postings.

modesty in car

And what I’m gonna do each week for the rest of 2015 is this:

Anything I damn well please.

So long as I spend several hours every week living like a woman from an exciting novel.  Preferably one of my novels, but vintage Modesty Blaise stories (LOVE ‘EM) are also candidates.

I mean, here I am writing stories like The Compass Master and my two Charity MacCay historicals, and even a screenplay with a (very young) brave heroine, and what have I let my weekly life devolve to? Working in the office.  Coming home.  Either doing chores and errands or crashing on the sofa because I’m exhausted.  Putting off writing and editing and publishing because I’m so discouraged as a writer.  Not going out and having fun because of time and money limits or the weather stinks or there’s no one to play with.

So for my own sake and to give you something worth reading, I plan to do some fun, exciting, weird, glamorous, dark, or just plain silly stuff.  Then I’ll write a BRIEF and FUNNY report.  Definitely briefer and funnier than this sad post.

action novel

When I started this blog I wrote about becoming Layla, which entailed my learning to do what my Compass Master heroine could do, from skydiving to paragliding to parkour to lock picking and other challenges.  I’m still an epée fencer, of course, and once the weather warms up I’ll get in more physical action.  But instead of banging myself up this time around I’m going to focus on crazy or serious or just plain very different (for me) experiences.


If you have a book being published or in any way need a shout out from me, I’d be delighted to add them to a post or have a middle-of the week post about you and your novels and stories.

Got any great non-writing plans of your own for the year?

So you know how last week I mentioned (humorously) flying saucers.  In the comments I also wrote that my mom and sister had witnessed a weird UFO thing in New Mexico, and Carol Kilgore commented that she too had seen something weird there.

Carol, my dear – I WANNA KNOW WHAT YOU SAW!  Please tell me.


As for Mom and Sis – like I said, it was straight out Close Encounters.  You know the great scene with Richard Dreyfus in his truck being rocked by an unseen UFO?  After that we see a brilliant spotlight shooting down from somewhere above and onto the road ahead… and then nothing… and then farther down the road it shines again… and then nothing.

That’s what happened outside my sister’s home.  This was near Santa Fe where the adobe houses were widely scattered, with only acres of desert brush in between and no roads or streetlights or noise except for the occasional coyote yelp.  Mom and Sis were looking out the glass doors on the south side when a massive ray from above suddenly and in complete silence appeared… then blinked off.  Then a little farther along it appeared again… then blinked off.  Then nothing.

If there was a huge UFO up there sending down those lights, they never found out ’cause they stayed inside.


Anyway, this wasn’t the incident that inspired my (still in progress) sci-fi novel.  Instead, a story took root in my mind when The Denver Post ran a front-page article about a rancher in southern Colorado who had two bizarre cases of mutilated calves.  One night, he said, he and his wife saw silent and “translucent blue” lights in the sky.  In the following days the two calves turned up dead and with certain body parts neatly removed, yet there were no signs of predator or even human involvement.

And that’s how a weird news story gave me an idea for a story.   Have you ever come across something so weird it inspired you to write a book?

One Last Year

on January 5, 2015 in Misc 18 Comments »

For 2015, I declare that these are my literary resolutions.  The details may sound a little crazy to some of you, but that’s because I’m finally diving off the literary deep end.  See, one year from now I plan and really want to quit writing (except privately and for fun only).  So if this is my last year of trying to get published, whether traditionally or indie, I might as well go crazy and wild.

With this in mind, I henceforth resolve to…
cow 2

  1. Finish my sci fi novel.  This will entail photographing a flying saucer as it teleports a cow for dissection, then drops it back to earth in yet another mysterious case of cattle mutilation.  Besides the cool publicity this will generate for my similarly-themed story, my photo of the saucer (not the dead cow) can serve as the book’s cover.

  2. Finish polishing my two Charity MacCay novels.  I will simultaneously make frequent hiking trips to the mountains, where I plan to find and film a Bigfoot.  Odds of this happening:  better than the odds of my getting a decent book contract for my Charity novels.  At least the hiking will get me away from my computer once in a while.

  3. Finish my screenplay.  This means ghost hunting in Ireland, which is the setting for my supernatural-themed screenplay.  Such hunting may not get my screenplay read, but I can write off my expenses tax-wise.

  4. Finish and self-publish an essay, the short form of which is Layla Daltry’s master’s thesis in The Compass Master.  I must therefore obtain copyright permission from the estate of a late British author’s book in order to complete my effort.  Again, photographing Bigfoot might be easier.

bigfoot field

That’s pretty much it, folks.  The year 2015 will be for me the year of serious writing and crazy living.

Do you have anything crazy planned for your own writing year?

By the way, the UFO calendar and Bigfoot Field Guide were gifts I received at Christmas.   So in their own twisted way my family is being supportive.