Thursday, July 12, 2012


I recently discovered some praying mantises in my yard and judging by the size of them they appear to be quite young. An adult mantis can reach lengths of 6 inches (15 cm) and these measure approximately 2 inches (5 cm). In order to control the insects in my yard, (I have seen black widow spiders and I have a small dog!) I bought two praying mantis egg cases from a local home supply store. I have checked daily for the hatchlings, but may have missed them.

The photo above shows the second mantis I found and noticed it was in an unusual position (upside down) with seemingly extra legs. Research told me they shed their skin, like reptiles, in order to grow. The photo below shows the mantis fully emerged from the shell of its former self.
As I continue on this path of transformation, I, too, am shedding the shell of my former self. Yet, unlike the mantis, who can walk away from its shell with nary a backwards glance, I will carry the memories and emotions of that former self with me hidden deep inside ready to rear up and envelop me again.

The praying mantis exoskeleton, after shedding
As I was writing my first novel, When Love Calls Your Name, scheduled for release this October from Seventh Window Publications, I was writing a scene between the main character and a former lover.  In my mind, I knew where the scene was headed and as I approached a pivotal point in the scene, the character suddenly took over and carried the scene in a completely different direction I had never anticipated, therefore changing the tone for the rest of the novel.  For the better.

I was completely overwhelmed by the character having the strength to take over the scene (and me) and not allowing me to write the scene as I felt it originally should be. And I absolutely love what he did!!

But where did the character find the strength to do what he did, both with me and within the scene?

My now ex-husband, offered to read the novel, but said he couldn't get into the story because he was unable divorce the character from me as he felt I had put so much of myself into this character. He never finished reading it. (He was never a good reader anyway as he suffered from severe vision issues and ultimately needed corneal transplants.)

But, back to my question: where did the character find his strength?

He found it in me as I gave birth to him, I created him and as the ex-husband says, there is a lot of me in him. So if that strength is in him, it is also in me which means that I am stronger than I have given myself credit for.

I have the strength
  • to walk away from my former self;
  • to stand up for myself;
  • to take care of myself;
  • to protect myself;
  • to love myself.
I just have to remember to call on it as needed in order to not fall back into the trap of the past.


  1. Jeff - I LOVE when this happens (and its happened to me several times). Characters become real and tell us where the story goes even when we think we know it. SOOO thrilled you are gaining such strength from your own writing and can't wait to read WHEN LOVE CALLS YOUR NAME.

    1. Greg- I can't wait for you to read it either! It scared the heck out of me at first then when I let it happen it was wonderful. Now, if I could focus and get to work on other projects. All happens in time.

      Thank you for your comment and support! It is much appreciated!