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On JOy and Sorrow

by Kahlil Gibran

This is for my family....

On Joy and Sorrow
 Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. 

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

updates, DFW Con, writing contest

Wow, it's been a rough two weeks. Bronchitis and just general yuckiness all around. I'm mending, but tired. Heading out to CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF from the Stolen Shakespeare Guild Friday night in Ft. Worth.

Don't forget! May 3-4 DFW WRITERS CONFERENCE in Hurst, TX! See ya there (after my morning tai chi session in Dallas)


2014 On The Far Side Contest


Got fantasy, futuristic, or paranormal? Then the On the Far Side contest is for you!!

Welcome dragons, witches, ghosties, psychics, vampires, shape shifters, unicorns, and any creature your imagination can conjure up in a galaxy far, far away, in a time long past, or in your very own backyard. Every category MUST contain a futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal element.


The 2014 On The Far Side will open for entry registration on March 15, 2014. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2014, all entries and fees must be received by the contest coordinator by this date.


Entry Fees:

FF&P Members in good standing:      $20 each entry

All others:                                           $25 each entry


Entrant Eligibility:

• Must not be published in full length fiction (40,000+) for the genre entering/or not published in genre entering for past 5 years
• First 20 pages of manuscript plus an optional (unjudged) 2 page maximum synopsis



  • 1st Place: $25 Amazon Gift Certificate, framed certificate, and Winners Graphic
  • 2nd Place: $20 Amazon Gift Certificate and framed certificate
  • 3rd Place: $15 Amazon Gift Certificate and framed certificate


To Enter: Click Here
Email address for contest:

Entries can be entered in the following categories:

  • ROMANTIC ELEMENTS: Any of the below categories with romantic elements (a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries. No HEA required. Think Gone with the Wind)
  • HARD SCIENCE FICTION/SF/FUTURISTIC: Set in the future with science fiction elements that include technological advancements; these stories may involve futuristic earth, other planets, aliens, or space travel. (Think Star Trek)
  • DARK/LIGHT/GENERAL PARANORMAL: Paranormal happenings are a major element of the plot. (Think JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood)
  • TIME TRAVEL/STEAMPUNK WITH PARANORMAL ELEMENTS: A character or characters travel back or forward in time; these stories can take place in a historical, contemporary, or futuristic setting. Steampunk should include typical steampunk elements.
  • URBAN FANTASY: Includes mythical creatures and magical/parnormal elements. Settings and time frame are current modern world.
  • FANTASY: Setting takes place in medieval world. (Think Lord of the Rings).
  • YOUNG ADULT: Novels appropriate for teen and young adult readers, typically featuring main characters in high school or college. These stories may take place in a contemporary, historical, futuristic, or otherworldly setting. Minimum word count: 40,000 words. (Think Twilight)
  • NEW ADULT: Specialty romance for readers ages 18-24.
  • HISTORICAL: Historical with paranormal elements. These stories must take place in the past – from ancient times to WWII.
  • EROTIC ROMANCE (WITH PARANORMAL ELEMENTS): No straight erotica – this means there must be a HEA ending or at least a Happy For Now and your entry must contain a significant paranormal element (such as a futuristic setting; time travel; paranormal creatures–vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, and or any other mythical creatures or magical elements typically deemed fantasy, futuristic or paranormal in nature.)


2014 Official Rules:

  • Entries shall consist of first 20 pages of manuscript plus an optional, unjudged 2 page maximum synopsis of the novel. A prologue and/or second chapter may be included if within total page guidelines.
  • Do not include illustrations, author bio/photos, vocabulary lists, or footnotes.
  • Entries shall be in standard manuscript format, 12 inch Courier, Courier New font, or Times New Roman font, 1? margins, and double spaced. (Format is not a judged component of the On The Far Side contest. No points are deducted for format infractions.)
  • The title and category should be on top left of the page, page number on top right.
  • The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis. Entries bearing the author’s name on them shall be disqualified.
  • Entries must be submitted by midnight EST May 15, 2014. If requirement is not met, entries will be unopened. Payment must also to be received by Contest Coordinator before deadline.
  • Entry forms may be submitted in advance of emailing your file. Entrants will receive an email with instructions for how to edit their entry form and email their files. No changes may be made after the contest deadline.
  • Entries must be received in RTF (Rich Text Format) files only. (To convert your file to RTF, open the document, go into File, click on Save As and choose RTF format. This will create a new document with the same title in RTF format.)
  • No more than TWO (2) entries per entrant per category.



  • First round entries will be judged by experienced, qualified, or published judges.
  • FF&P cannot guarantee judge commentary will be on every entry; however, we strongly encourage our judges to provide positive, constructive feedback.
  • Entries will be judged by a minimum FOUR (4) first round judges. Lowest score will be dropped to determine final average. Three highest scoring manuscripts will advance to the final round. All judged copies will be returned to non-finalist entrants following finalist announcement. Finalist entries will be returned after winners are announced.

To volunteer as a first round judge: ENTER HERE

The following is a list of judges who have already committed to judging the 2014 OTFS contest. 

ROMANTIC ELEMENTS – Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Inc.( Romantic Elements) 

HARD SCIENCE FICTION/SF/FUTURISTIC - Laurie McLean, Foreward Literary Agency

DARK/LIGHT/GENERAL PARANORMAL – Marlene Castricato, Crescent Moon Press

TIME TRAVEL/STEAMPUNK - Cassie Knight, Senior Editor, Champagne Book

URBAN FANTASY – Melissa Singer, Tor

FANTASY – Chris Kessler, Boroughs Publishing

YOUNG ADULT – Becca Stumpt- Prospect Agency

NEW ADULT – MaryAltam, Sourcebooks

HISTORICAL – Cat Cline, Sourcebooks

EROTICA – Kelli Collins, Editor-in-Chief, Ellora’s Cave

MARKET: Freedom Fiction

I definitely want to remember this site.



Flash Fiction Submissions now open throughout the year. Email editor @ with your flash fiction in 500 words or less. This is at present an unpaid gig. Also see, short-story length submissions below.

Short Story Fiction Submissions now open throughout the year. Email editor @ with your short fiction in 1000 to 9000 words. This is at present an unpaid gig. Every short story submission will receive a feedback as response irrespective of acceptance or rejection by us. Also see, novel length submissions below. : An eclectic mix of all flavours of genre fiction
submissionsSubmission Guidelines

  • Novella and Novel length Fiction works of genre fiction (all genres) or pulp fiction only

  • Word Count is to be minimum 30,000 to maximum 90,000 words

  • Payment is 8 cents per 100 words in year 2013. Please note this will change every year in progressive manner

  • Send detailed synopsis and “about the author” brief only. No need to send us the entire manuscript

  • Send MS Word or Open Office .doc file. No other option exists. Definitely not docX or TXT files. Email the Editor at editor @

  • For Art submissions a working web link will be sufficient. We would contact you if we have a specific artwork required for a story

  • If we choose to publish your work, we will require you to send us acceptance of our publishing contract which states that “you are the owner/creator of the work, willing to allow its publication in Freedom Fiction and all legal liabilities arising out of any copyright infringement due to plagiarism committed by you will be your sole responsibility”

Steps to publication:
1. Submissions reviewed
2. Submission selected
3. Standard Agreement drafted
4. US $ 25 for the first 1000 copies in print
5. Thereafter the author receives 50 percent of the profits as Royalty for every extra copy sold
6. The publishing agreement is valid for 2 years only
7. So if FFJ is unable to sell 1000 copies by two years time, all publishing rights revert back to the Author and FFJ withdraws from publication of the said book
8. Payments by
9. Ebooks will be the format offered by FFJ
10. Copyright is always held by the author
11. Exclusive publishing rights are required for the agreed two years. Thereafter the agreement is annulled and a new agreement is offered or it is agreed to part ways

Final Advice:
A Writer writes and that’s what you need to do to keep your creative motors running. The writer’s primary endowment is his good name, so don’t plagiarise and capitalise on goodwill.

So send in your creative works to the editor and we will get back to you within 90 days timeframe. On publishing – please understand that we have a good amount of fiction in the pipeline so acceptance of fiction/ art does not mean immediate publication. It will happen soon enough and will definitely email you to inform you of the same.

We nominate novellas, novels and stories for the Pushcart Prize every year. You can also join us at our Facebook Page for regular updates of FFJ.

March Madness

To many in the US, March Madness means basketball.

To me this year, it is both a good thing and a bad thing LOL.

The good is my friends & family plan includes lots of birthdays. Most notably (for moi, of course) are my grandson, Jake, who turned 16 yesterday, and my BFF, Yann, who is old enough to stop counting but not old enough to count his regrets and both have lots of new and cool stuff to look forward to, even if they might not think so.

My brother, Charley, is also at the end of the month. I don't get to chat with him as often as I'd like, even though we live in the same area (some call it a "metroplex" LOL), He is nine years younger than me (subtraction was never my strong suit), and like my sisters and my kids and grandkids, I always think of him as a "kid" and not a grown adult (his son will be a father soon, congrats Kevin!).

A writer friend of mine and local yokal, gloriaoliver, also has her birthday at the end of March.

And there's probably more that I've missed. If I did miss you, please accept my sincere apologies. I've been mega busy with tai chi (fun!), family (loves of my life), physical setbacks (yuck), and website woes (hackers).

Which brings me to today. All day, webwork. Hackers have infiltrated all my Wordpress sites and those sites of my (few) customers in the past few months. What they get out of it, I have no idea. We aren't big names. I'm not gonna pay for someone to fix it (just in case you were trying to sell me something). I'll just purge and redo, a slow process, a VERY slow process, which takes away from my writing (maybe they think I shouldn't be writing? they don't like my writing? fooey on them). Thanks to the great peeps at, I'm able to work on my sites and Rhonda Hopkins was able to move her site to (sorry to see her go, but totally understandable).

So, no, my site(s) are still a mess, but yes, I am working on them.

Spring has sprung!! I'm soo very happy. We've had a lot of freezing nights this year that I'm just not used to and tired of them, to boot. :) Hopefully, my knockout roses will bloom soon. Already several flowering plants (forgotten their names), have begun spreading their color across my front garden (tended to by my son, hugs). I still need to seed and plant a few more things. The freezing this winter caught me off guard a couple of nights and I lost some stuff.

Healthwise, (rolling my eyes). Let's just say it's frustrating. Waiting on insurance to OK getting facet injections (got them last year, really helped my back). I need a cortisone injection in my hip but I've been putting it off. There's just so much cortisone one can take, and as I'm a previous cancer bearer, I really have to watch anything that suppresses my immune system. But, choices choices. More pain meds or more cortisone? Pain meds don't really affect my immune system, but who wants to be zoned out all the time? Like I said, choices choices.

Overall, I'm busy. Writing and learning about writing and learning I am so luck to be able to do what I love (a lot of thanks go to hubby on that).

I hope you all are having a great Spring beginning. :) Spring makes me hopeful, happy, and I feel I can do anything. Then comes summer LOL, love it but it can get oppressive when the umpteenth dozen 100+ days roll in.

So please excuse my web mess and best to you all.

Alley (gettin' fixed)

Gog map

Here's the map that was on that silly website

Gog research

Today, I'm sitting in a Barnes & Noble bookstore in North Dallas after having dropped off my husband at work and I'm doing some Gog/Magog research just to get me going again on my semi-historical characters, sipping Starbucks coffee (not my fave but will do) and munching on an oatmeal raisin cookie.

I always like to know where my characters originated. Gog and Magog, in my fictional novel, are aliens who crash landed on Earth millenia ago. Unable to fix their ship, they went into stasis to survive the years until humanity's technology caught up with what Gog/Magog needed to fix their ship and go home.

I'm using these two characters from the Bible. Magog is often referred to as the "land of Gog" and sometimes given some reference as an actual person. For some reason, the people of Magog battle off and on with Christians (at least the people of the Christian Bible), and even make it into Revelation, where there's a big battle called "The Last Hours," which is where I'm getting the title for my novel (at least until I can think of something more clever.)

Sooo.. I go buzzing around the internet today and came across this site--Martus Ministry--while looking for old maps of Magog land. OMG. Kooky pooky. I often forget there are crazy people in the world. This site speaks of the "Obama Beast" and blah blah blah. LOL Now, I'm not a big fan of Mr. Obama, but I highly doubt he's the next anti-Christ. Seriously folks. Just makes me both snicker and wonder where these people get their education. Independent thinking anyone? LOL

In the meantime, I am developing my characters, Gog as the male and Magog as the female, and trying to give them some larger-than-human traits without making them superhuman. And all the while trying to avoid cliches (and the brown out we just had, eek!).

Ah well, back to the manuscript and yall enjoy this sunny and warm Dallas day!
Dallas Defense Doubly Difficult for the Dallas Stars

This is my latest article at

Can the Dallas Stars survive without their key defensemen Stephan Robidas and Trevor Daley?

The Challenger Disaster : Discovery Channel

The Challenger Disaster : Discovery Channel

airs Sat Nov 16 at 8pm central.

A show not to miss and one I'm sure will make me cry.

Nov. 2nd, 2013


austin taoist tai chi grand opening ceremony


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