Thank you for stopping in. Your interest in my writing means the world. If you have not read my work, please visit my BOOKS page for more details. If you have read SOULED OUT, FRAYED, or TIN MOON, please leave a review online and be sure to tell a friend. Your voice matters more than anything. Word-of-mouth and reviews are the most important ways for authors to be discovered by new readers.

Thank you for taking time to stop in and learn more about me. You are wonderful!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Before you go out tonight, read this.

Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit, author of A Life Lived Ridiculously, is back to share tips on how to avoid falling prey to sociopaths. This is the best pre-Saturday night advice you're gonna get, so read, remember, and don't be affraid to judge others when you're out schmoozing and co-mingling tonight. Feel free, in fact, to print this out in case you need a reminder later.

Caution: If too much alchohol is consumed, give said article away so as to avoid an awkward tattoo chalk full of sociopath warnings that may become a problem in future relationships.  

But seriously, empowering yourself with knowledge (for any situation) can help you avoid the many forms of danger -especially if it comes in the form of a very attractive individual with nice hair and all the right moves.

Okay, I'll zip it now and turn the blog over to Annabelle's article:

Ten ways to spot a sociopath (aka con-artist) on your first date

There are people in the world who don't care about love, and who feel no remorse, empathy or emotional attachment to others. They don't even know what these feeling are. These people are called
sociopaths. Most people think of a sociopath as a deranged serial killer, but, with 4% of the population having the character traits of a sociopath, most sociopaths never physically harm anyone. Sociopaths do however ruin lives, empty bank accounts, and cause untold emotional trauma, using simply the fact that they don't care.


The Absence of Feelings: Sociopaths may seem to laugh or cry but they present with no depth of emotion. While easily provoked to frustration or rage, their display of feeling is little more than a momentary, isolated temper tantrum. To the sociopath, other people are tools to  get them what they want: money, sex, a job or other possessions. They live in their own amoral world where nothing they do has any consequences and where they owe no one anything. They have no empathy. Thus, they elude all responsibility for their actions, and can easily turn the tables, blaming their partner without guilt or shame.

The Relentlessness of Deception: Sociopaths lie all the time. As they don't view their spouse as a thinking, feeling person, they do not see this behavior as wrong. Their only quest is to serve themselves and, if this entails lying, cheating or even murder, they will do so. If one catches them in lies, they are brilliant at changing the subject, placing the onus on the other person, denying their involvement or trying to make their spouse seem crazy. They are even good at deceiving the police and the court system; sociopaths rarely end up in prison for their actions.

The Impulsiveness of Action: Sociopathic individuals rarely plan ahead. They undertake actions on the basis of momentary whims, often devious ones. Every act seems isolated in its own amoral universe. Thus, they cannot keep promises or repair the damage they've caused to others. When they lie, cheat or steal, the act exists solely for them; they believe it should have no repercussions or real world effects. They often appear to have "forgotten" they did something shortly after it happened. Their need for excitement encourages them to get involved in one night stands, shady deals and ill advised engagements. Sociopaths have no sense of commitment to their spouses, any children they may have together or the future.

Sociopaths have impressive social skills, thereby making them extremely hard to spot. They are charming, funny and exciting. This is why we need to be aware. If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He or she might be a sociopath.

1) Charisma and charm:
 They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting. Their manners are impeccable; they are well groomed; they fulfill the codes of romance and courtship to a tee. They are likely to be eloquent talkers who lace their speech with impressive sounding facts and figures. They may be fun, laugh a lot, sweep their partner off their feet with their sweetness. 

2) Enormous ego: They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

3) Overly attentive: They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and  friends.

4) Jekyll and Hyde personality: One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5) Blame others: Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

6) Lies and gaps in the story: You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth. If you probe deeper, you’ll find that their stories never stack up.

7) Intense eye contact: Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8) Move fast: They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9) Pity play: They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10) Sexual magnetism: If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

Some doctors call them
sociopaths, others refer to them as psychopaths. Either way, the terms are used to describe individuals who have a range of personality disorders. These people are NOT certifiably mentally ill; they are biological carriers of socially and personally problematic traits. Such traits may have been manifested from childhood in acts of cruelty to animals, property or people. These characteristics can disrupt relationships, create financial and emotional crises, and, at their worst, lead the person to callously undertake acts of vandalism, theft, rape or murder. Being aware what constitutes a sociopath can help one resist their charm and the errors inherent in establishing a life with them.

Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone. But they are social predators who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

You can’t ‘cure’ a
sociopath or help them to see the error of their ways. They don't see the world as we do, so the only thing you can do, is save yourself and walk away.

Dr Annabelle R Charbit

Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously: When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life
Buy A Life Lived Ridiculously at Amazon
Buy A Life Lived Ridiculously at Barnes and Noble

Maxine's brain is stuck. Everything around her feels wrong and the only way to fix it is to check, double-check, rearrange and count everything. What Maxine can't fix though is her parents' constant nagging over the absence of a husband. A humiliation that is further compounded when her younger brother runs off with Miss Perfect. Then she meets Sam, a smooth-talking charmer with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and enough terminal diseases to wipe out a small village. Maxine decides that Sam is her salvation, never mind that his life is more depressing than a Greek tragedy, and others are urging her to get away from him. The problem is that Sam has Maxine under his spell. Will Maxine escape from Sam before it is too late?

Thank you, Annabelle! This has been quite interesting. And A Life Lived Ridiculously is absolutely amazing!!! This book is for anyone in search of a great plot, unforgetable characters, and a good laugh.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Interview with Jenniey Tallman: mother, maven, published writer

It's time for an interview. Why? Because it's important for writers and readers to connect on a human level. And this is a special interview because I've known Jenniey Tallman since I was an awkward girl hanging out with her little sister.

When I was in middle school, Jenniey taught us how to steam our faces: Boil a pot of water and carefully lean over it -not too close!- while draping a towel over our heads and arms, giving the illusion that we're in a secret chamber. A hot-ass chamber that will catch fire if you don't keep your arms up! Remember to keep your arms up! Haha.

And in high school, I totally envied her yearbook photo: Jenniey smiling, kneeling under a beautiful tree that highlighted her red hair amongst a page of face-painted, hair-fried girls. Of course, I can't imagine what my own photo looked like that year. Probably no makeup, clothes five sizes too large, wearing one of my dad's flannels. So don't feel bad painted and fried girls.

My point, you ask? Jenniey is one of a kind. She always has been. And now the world gets to experience a little bit of that unique spirit through Jenniey's writing.  

Jenniey, your writing captures everyday events in a way that makes them magical, dirty, and sentimental all at once. I think many writers shy from such depth -especially the little details that are just this side of being fucked six ways to Sunday- because it leaves them open to the most personal and, consequently, the most humiliating criticisms. Yet you do it flawlessly every time. Your characters and stories resonate. Broken people and moments look gorgeous in their truths, even while they feel ugly because of them. Your writing seems to leave the impression that it's okay to look at an inverted reflection in the mirror and say, "Yep, that's me. If you don't like it, kindly go suck it."

Are you really that fearless in your writing?

All right, firstly — you are awesome. It is incredibly swell of you to say all those nice things.

Fearless? I don’t intend to be, but yes, I suppose I am —at least the writing part is, and here is why: I usually begin writing with brutal honesty. It isn’t always comfortable; for instance, sometimes I feel nervous about my language, but when I’ve tried to make things comfortable it feels safe, false, and boring. So I end up thinking, Oh, screw it all. I’ll write what I feel like. Nobody has to read this.

After that, I am less fearless — when I have to put the work out into the world. At this point I either find the guts to ask someone to read it (all the while thinking, Screw you. Fine, you will never speak to me again, but I can live with that), or I send it as a submission somewhere thinking, Screw everybody. I’m sending this out.

Sometimes, I do a lot of revision, with a couple of excellent friends’ input and critique — overall I feel much less shy of this work. However, quite often, I’ll have something published after little revision and when no one (outside of the editor) has even read it — I feel painfully shy of these pieces. So, in that way, I am not fearless at all. In fact, I often feel like withdrawing completely.

You have a background in women's studies and sexuality. Do you utilize these fields of study to promote certain feminine platforms in your writing? Or do they kind of coexist, sometimes mingling, fraternizing, goading, playing with the idea of that first kiss?

I would say that studying those issues was the logical next step for me when I saw the themes recurring in my writing. In other words, the writing came first, then the studies. Class and identity issues are very important to me: labels, women, minorities, “abnormal” people. There are perfectly good reasons for this: as you know, my family is made up of pretty much every type of person ever put into a box. My experiences have been formed through devalued, stereotyped, and misunderstood populations.

As for the feminine: I started out writing about mothering. It was my experience, so I wrote about it. I wasn’t aware that this subject in writing was not highly regarded until much later. I did not know that stories about socioeconomically disadvantaged poor people were undesirable. Now that I know, I don’t change my writing to reflect other people’s experiences. I do, however, try to trick people into reading my writing anyway. 

Do you have a "typical" writing process or is it different for each project?

I suppose it is pretty typical. However, my first and only writing teacher told me that being a writer was like being a magician and one should never divulge her tricks. I can tell you that when I am writing, it is all I can think about. My mood is altered by the story I’m telling, sort of like a method actor — kinda sucks for my husband and kids. I always read my work aloud to myself, sometimes going so far as to record it and play it back to get objectivity. The rhythm of the words might be the very most important thing to me, even in fiction.

What is the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself through your writing? (And maybe about other people, as well.)

This is a really hard question. I don’t know if I have an answer for it. Have I learned anything about myself through my writing? That I am a feminist. That I like minimalism.

Which project was the most difficult, and why?

No question: an as yet unpublished apocalyptic tribal fiction story. (A very kind rejection labeled it that, not me.) I am still working on it and worry that I may well be working on it for the rest of my life. That is all right though; I really like the characters so I don’t mind spending time with them. It is just hard because I keep thinking it is done only to find out that it isn’t. It also has the distinction of being the first and only straight fiction writing I’ve done. Fiction does not come easily to me.

I will always carry one specific sentence in my mind from your story 'Truths About Suicidal Women', published in the Alice Blue Review. "Suicidal women keep the magic markers and paints above the refrigerator." It makes me laugh, while a squishy, reserved inner part of me simply nods. What is one of your favorite lines or moments from your writing and why?

That is really sweet of you, Blakely. I like that line too. It was actually that line which led me to the title of the story and to use that particular format — the framework of suicidal women.

Off the top of my head: from “Into the Rainforest” (published in annalemma). I love the line that says something like, “We did not used to like eating small boiled fish, but now they taste good to us.” The truth is, I adore that story, but, that might be because it is something I would personally like to read. It perfectly captures the transitional moment when the narrator is no longer one of us. 

The "Mommy" question: With three sons that you "unschool", when do you write? What do you do when you're not writing? It's okay to lie. (Okay, that was a lie.) You have always been a "creator". That's how I picture you, anyway. I remember artwork covering your house growing up, and I suppose I've kept that image. Only now, I imagine three boys wreaking havoc in a high-speed chase through your house while you smile and find a table or wall to showcase their latest arts and crafts. Maybe next to one of your own. Am I totally wrong? (It's okay to lie here. It's also okay to admit that you do things that don't involve glue, glitter, paints, or the Victoria Secret catalog. (Yeah, I saw that blog post.)

Damn, Blakely. You pegged me. That is it, exactly. It is funny that this question follows the markers/paints, because that is a part of it. I do not keep the paints and markers out of reach, but if I did, I imagine I would be suicidal — it points to a lifestyle which is more concerned with order and cleanliness than with expression and spontaneity, and that would, quite frankly, make me suicidal.

When I write, it is with an invisible shield. I just let whatever is happening happen and put my blinders on. I get really, really, angry when one of the kids tries to pull me out of my trance. If they make a mess or a lot of noise, on the other hand, it doesn’t bother me at all. So, I write whenever I feel like it — as long as the boys aren’t sick or in need of parenting. I suffer from serious insomnia, so I do end up writing quite a lot when the house is asleep. Actually “suffer” sounds like a lie, to me. I suffered from it until I learned that I could write during that time, or do submissions — I do a lot of editing/polishing at those hours, actually.

I believe there should be 30 hours in a day. How many would you suggest?

Oh, I would completely agree as long as during the extra hours the kids would just sleep. Otherwise, no thanks. For a long time, nursing babies and whatnot, I lost track of hours and days entirely. That was good for me — having one long never-ending day. It drives some people mad, but it worked well for me. 

If you could pet any type of creature (real/mythical/mythological/supernatural/etc...), what would it be and why?

There is one particular kitten on Youtube — it is a Himalayan thing being unimaginably cute and soft. It makes me shake a little to think of it; I would eat it if I could.

You're not off the hook yet! Since I'm such a fan of the Actor's Studio with James Lipton, I'm going to require that you answer Lipton's "Final Ten".

1) What is your favorite word?
2) What is your least favorite word?
3) What turns you on?
Kittens. KIDDING! Squirrels.
4) What turns you off?
Regurgitated bacon.
5) What sound or noise do you love?
A baby’s first attempts at speech.
6) What sound or noise do you hate?
Loud unexpected noises make me cry (Have you seen The Catherine Tate Show? <>.
7) What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck-a-duck (and make it cluck).
8) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’d love to own an Inn — a place for weary travelers to stop for a bite, a brew, and a bed. I’ll do the cooking, Chris will do the brewing, the boys can do the housekeeping… we’ll be like the Green Valley <>.
9) What profession would you not like to do?
Anything commercial.
10) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Sincerely, I’m an atheist. I’m not saying that is what I’d like to hear; I just mean: really, fish don’t ride bicycles.

Here are but a few of Jenniey's published works:
'study, nine', Elimae:
'Into The Rainforest', Annalemma Magazine:
'Truths About Suicidal Women', Alice Blue Review:

For the latest Jenniey news, kindly visit her website:
or her blog
She is also "not" on Twitter :) here:!/jennieytallman

Thank you Jenniey,
for a lot more than your words!