I love loving in Iowa. It provides an ample supply of beautiful landscapes and an endless supply of corn and all things corn related. My family is here. My friends are here. And, most importantly, I can write to my heart’s content here.

The one thing about Iowa or the Midwest in general, is the damn weather. If it would make up its mind instead of fluctuating everyday of the week, we might get somewhere. Sure, it’s warmer today than it has been in a while, but it’s supposed to get cold and snowy again by the end of the week. No wonder my husband wants to move south to avoid the constant shifts in temperature and the relentless amount of snow.

But, as I’ve mentioned, I love it here. For some, unknown reason, I can’t see myself living anywhere else. Unless I hit the lottery and buy myself an island. That’s a fantasy for another day.

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2018…You suck

This year has not started out so great. My hopes were high for things to go good. In the first week, something bad happened and I knew it was going downhill from there.

Our dog, Baer, of almost twelve years old, went through his third surgery procedure to get a tumor removed again. His first night home wasn’t great and we had to rush him back to the vet the next morning. He started showing signs of doggie dementia, but after three weeks he was starting to come out of it.

Then, out of nowhere, last Thursday he gets real sick. He wasn’t eating and refused his snacks which was not like him at all. I begged him to pull through and be there Friday morning when I woke up and the stubborn dog didn’t listen. He passed in his sleep early Friday morning.

I’ve dealt with losing a pet before, but something about losing Baer was worse. He was my big baby. I looked forward to going home to see his goofy face and take care of him. It’s weird not waking up in the middle of the night to his raspy, maniacal breathing that told us he needed to go potty.

We’ll get another pup at some point in the future, but getting over Baer will take some time. He was a great dog. As my husband puts it, Baer was the best worst dog on the planet. We’ll love and miss him until the end of time, but I know he’s up there in doggie heaven rolling around in mounds of dog treats and toys.

Joy to the Holidays!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or just a great holiday season in general. There are too many holiday traditions to count, but I hope it was great all around the board.

I, for one, am kind of glad the holidays are coming to an end. Although I love spending time with family and seeing the delight on my nieces’ and nephews’ faces, the end of the holiday season means it’s that much closer to warmer weather. I’m a summer kind of gal and I am more than ready for this single digit temperature and the snow to disappear.

Here’s to 2018

Well, the year is almost at an end. That means it’s time to start thinking about what’s going to come next for 2018. Other than the fact that we’ll all be writing 2017, scribbling it out to correct it with 2018. I’m among the millions with that problem.

My plan is to go into the new year with my head held high and hope for the best. Not only for myself in my own prospects, but for the country and the world. I hope things go smoothly all over the place. We don’t need a repeat of whatever horrible decisions we’ve made in the past. We need to push forward and make things better.

So, here’s to the holiday season. Here’s to spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. And here’s to a great future for all of us.

One Bad Dream

I had a horrible dream right before my alarm went off. I was at work. I was sitting on my uncomfortable chair, staring at the computer screen and the usual program that’s open. The phone rang and I said my line to the customer. It was a typical day at work–in other words, it was a freaking nightmare.

It’s bad enough that I wake up and go to work Monday through Friday. I try to forget that place exists the moment I clock out at the end of the day. My brain should know by now not to let it pop up in my dreams. I’d rather spend my night visions running from bad guys or fighting for my life against monsters. Not sitting at my boring desk like I already do in a daily basis.

Get with the program, brain! Never let this happen again.

Poem: Running Through a Daydream

I wake up in the morning,

Throw my hair in a bun.

I lace up my sneakers

And head out for a run.

 

I’m out of breath

By the end of the block.

Still I push myself harder,

Never checking the clock.

 

All this time I spend running

My daydreams take shape.

I go into a world

One I cannot escape.

 

There are monsters and demons,

Zombies and vampires too.

A red-headed stalker

With eyes oh-so blue.

 

There are heroes and good guys,

Someone there to save the day.

It wouldn’t be a fantasy

Without them out to play.

 

There are castles and oceans

And skies with bright stars.

I see chaos and beauty

And love hidden behind by bars.

 

All these things that I see

As I jog through the world

Are created by one thing;

My twisted mind unfurled.

 

I can run on forever

In the madness of my mind.

And keep going and going

Until the end of time.

 

But, alas, I cannot

For my breath has run short.

It is time to head home

And rest up from the sport.

 

I’ll start again tomorrow

With my dreams set on high.

I’ll see where they might take me

And always reach for the sky.

 

Copyright 2017 T. R. Justus

 

I can’t Write Normal

This weekend I was asked why I don’t I write something “normal” or something that isn’t filled with things that could never in a million years happen. I was asked this because the person would really like to read something I’ve written, she just doesn’t like those action/adventure, out of this world, fantasy, science fiction novels; whereas I do.

As much as I’d love to write something that she would really enjoy, my mind can’t seem to grasp the concept of normalness to fill the pages. Sure, I can start off on a new project with my mind set on making it your average, run of the mill book. The type where the guy gets the girl and they spend their lives proving their love to one another. My project might start out this way, but something happens and my mind switches to the abnormal very, very quickly.

The idea of my characters falling in love will almost always take a drastic turn for the dangerous side of things. They’ll hit a speed bump (literally) and run into monsters or bad guys or some sort of alien that drops down from the sky to ruin everything. (There’s a little inside on what The Day The World Burns is about.)

I thrive on the stories that are so packed full of fictional adventure that I’m not sure if I’ll make it out alive or not. My head enjoys the thrill of the ride while reading and writing stores or books that get your heart pumping. The ones that keep you on the edge of your seat with action and perilous tasks that leave you wanting more. I know romance novels and coming of age stories, and other types along that line are also filled with edge of your seat words and there might be a day where I find myself sitting down to write something like that. However, at this point in my life, I just can’t do it.

I can’t do normal when normal is boring.

The Music That Moves Me

Every night as I sit at my desk and get to work on my stories and books, I plug my phone into the speakers and let the music take me to a place that sets my fingers in motion and the words flow onto the page. I’m not the only one out there that has to listen to music while they work–no matter what that work might entail. I can’t listen to classical hits or tunes from the 70s and 80s eras. Although, I do have a few Queen and Journey songs on my playlist.

What gets me motivated the most? The songs that have a good beat. Rock music, mostly, but I do have a few hipper songs on the list. However, if you go through my phone you’ll notice that the majority of songs come from my all time favorite band on the planet, Fall Out Boy. They have been my favorite since high school, so about 15 years. (Man, that makes me feel old and I’m only 29.)

But, it’s with these select songs that I’m able to get over any writing slumps that stand in my way. They help me see the story happening as I punch the keys with delicate and, sometimes, angry care. Without music, I believe the world would be a very dull and boring place. What would we have to sing badly to? What would we have to fight off the dreadful silence of the night while we sleep? How on earth would we get to work without pumping our favorite tunes as loudly as the speakers will go?

I don’t think humanity would survive without music or books or any of the creativity that drives this planet forward. It’s in the arts of all generations that makes this planet spin smoothly.

And thus ends my rant for the evening!