Female Gun Protection


Here at In the Woods Publishing we’ve shied away from polarizing topics such as politics, religion, and any other “hot button” topics, but I am breaking my silence on one issue. I, Joy Wood, own a gun. Yes, I am female, raising a beautiful 5 year old daughter in my house with a gun and I do not think, by any stretch of the imagination, that is a horrible thing.

I believe it to be a necessary thing.

Yes this is my opinion. Feel free to sign off now, flip to another page or go on about your day because the theme of today’s post isn’t going to change.

I’m here to answer your horrified “But WHY?”s

  1. Because I refuse to be a victim.
  2. Because I refuse to put my family’s protection in someone else’s hands.
  3. Because I still believe it’s everyone’s right to protect themselves and their loved ones.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Though it may have run dry the “vessel” always stands ready to be filled up again.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


A few months ago I was grocery shopping with Phoebe at a local store. As we made our way down the cereal aisle I noticed a woman with her two small daughters and one very small infant. Strapped to her hip, open for all and God to see, was her hand-gun (Nevada is a legal open carry state). It was just her and her precious babies out doing errands. She sent a clear message: “I am protecting what I love and cherish.”

  • I didn’t feel threatened.
  • I didn’t feel offended.
  • And, no, I didn’t fear for my child’s, or my, safety.

No one said a thing to her, everyone let her get on with her business. Out in the parking lot the bag boy happily assisted her in getting all her groceries in her vehicle while she juggled her babies into the car. Without the gun, she would have been exposed to potential muggers or attackers. Keeping that pistol on her hip evened out her odds.

This was not the first time I have walked into an establishment where a person was open carrying. Each and every time I’ve felt safer, knowing that someone can take care of an attacker if necessary.

I was raised in a home where there were guns. I knew where they were. Never, EVER, did it cross my mind growing up to play with them or show them off to friend’s. My Dad made sure I had a healthy respect for them and what they could do. He also made sure that I knew how to use it if I needed too.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation found other women to be of a similar mind set when it reported that 73 percent of dealers showed an increase in female customers since 2011.  The percentage of female gun owners has also grown 77 percent in the last 7 years.

It is also my opinion that if we don’t teach our children healthy respect then their curious nature will take over. If we don’t teach our children how to interact with a gun they will consider them “toys”. I understand that these opposing opinions come from a place of protection, but we’re not doing anything to protect our kids by leaving them exposed and ignorant.

blogpost2   For those in defense of the other side….. I thank you for taking the time to listen to my full case.  To those of you that still don’t think it quite strong enough I wanted to bring in a few statistics from the Department of Justice. Our own government has shown violent crimes in the last ten years decreased from 42.1 percent to 39.2 percent. Serious violent crime decreased even more dramatically, down to 42.9 percent from 47.5

Over the last decade rape and sexual assault decreased from 26.1 percent to 24.1 percent. Robberies also decreased from 56.5 percent to 51.7 percent.  Numbers don’t lie.  Source: Town Hall Magazine

I now leave the floor open to comments. I look forwad to your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,


Concert House Rocks: One vs the Many… and I Lost

bronx street fightThe sound crackled unintellegible through the radio. I couldn’t tell what was being said, but I knew something was wrong.  I was roving through the bathrooms downstairs when the call came through. I bolted up to the main dance floor. I expected to find another staff member when I made it to the top. Instead, I found two thick necked hispanics squaring off.

I immediately intervened by jumping between them. I pushed them apart, but their eyes were locked. I managed to keep them apart a few more seconds, but their fists started connecting. I got them apart again after a few swings.  Just in time to watch a taller hispanic in a red hat run up onto the reserved section.  He jumped ontop of someone pinning them into a booth. Wild right hay makers started to fly.  I ran across the floor and jumped into the fray.

I hooked my right arm around the guy in the red hat’s right arm to try and stop him from swinging. It lasted only a second. I felt someone’s arms snake around my waist. I was ripped off the man I was trying to stop.  We flipped around in mid air and I was slammed onto the concrete. My 250 pound assailaint on top of me and my elbow throbbing from where it hit the steps.  I scrambled.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Their feet were coming. I knew it. Once a group of that size has you on the ground they will continue to visciously attack even if you’re out cold. I got back up thanks to the back up that finally arrived. Two other event staff finally got involved.  I looked away from their task or restraint to see two more guys squaring off. They were smaller and easily ripped apart.

The music continiued to thump. I screamed into my radio to turn it off, but it just kept playing. I kept surveying the aggression in the room waiting for the next powder keg to explode. Three women began to scream as they all locked their fingers in eachother’s hair.  High heeled kicks flew as they attempted tokick and claw at one another. I went to break it up and was aided by the women’s boyfriends.  They were eventually ripped apart and the music kept playing.

stand offA newer event staff came up to me and pointed a guy out who had been fighting.  My adrenaline was still running high. I screamed at the guy to get out. He pretended to play innocent.  Two of his friends flanked him on either side. They began to throw excuses at me. That’s when I pointed to the other event staff  and said “They said you have to go.” They then began to throw excuses at her. I stepped in the way and said “Leave them alone. You’re dealing with me.”

That’s when his two little hispanic hands darted out and pushed me in the chest. His two buddies began to cuss at me and pointing their fingers in my face. I waited. They worked into a circle and kept just outside of my reach. They were begging for it. They wanted to test their manliness by taking on one of the biggest guys on the staff. One of them reached out and bopped me on the end fo the nose in an effort for me to swing on them. I stood there and waited for them to make a move.  Tension ran thick. They wouldn’t do anything, but taunt.

The other event staff showed up. I pointed out the three guys and they were kicked out. They were pushed out telling everyone around them how they were going to kick my ass and put me in the dirt.  Even after they were kicked out they couldn’t get them out of the alley where they threatened me again and some random taxi bike guy.

The music finally got cut.  We started pushing them out.  And if it wasn’t bad enough that I was getting my ass kicked and staring down three punks the promoter started to bitch about how the show got ended.  In fact he was the one I wanted to kick the crap out of the most.  He was the one on stage spinning.  He had the power to end it long before it turned into what it was and he just kept playing the music. I was instructed to leave him alone, after yelling at his underlings, and that the GM would be talking to him.

I was so pissed that my boss let me hang out on the clock. He gave me free drinks and said supervise. It didn’t matter I refused to clean anything anyway.

The whole ordeal shook me. I”ve never been in the thick of everything that deep by myself. I stood my ground, but I can’t help but think that things could have ended very differently.  I won’t lie. I cried when I got home. I was so relieved to be in my bed next to my wife. I wasn’t being threatened, or beat, or lied to. A comfort like that is something you don’t take lightly after its threatened to be taken away.

Thanks for reading,

Help the World by Helping The Borgen Porject

Borgen ProjectIt was an extensive summer long process, but I did it. I’m proud to say that after many applications I achieved my goal of acquiring a writing internship.  My hopes were to refine my writing voice while simultaneously gaining more publishing exposure. What I’ve learned has been more than I ever though I could, but I suppose that is what an internship is all about. I’ve never been one to talk about politics.  We’ve even made it a point not to discuss such hot button topics on this blog. Yet, my internship has thrust me right into the middle of the one thing I have tried to avoid.

The Borgen Project is a non-profit organizatin dedicated to the elimination of worldwide poverty. There mission is to work directly with world leaders to expand the awareness of poverty and the ways that it can be reduced. They do so through emails, phone call and, political meetings with Senators and Representatives.

One of the current focuses of The Borgen Project is the Energize Africa Act.  This bill has been passed by the House of Representatives and is currently waiting for Sen. Harry Reed to place it on the docket. This bill will raise funding to take giant leaps in bringing the continent of Africa out of poverty by bringing electricity to many of the remote areas.  This will enable many Africans to raise their standard of living by heating water, creating irrigation systems, and keeping food refrigerated.

Borgen Project1This is just one of the many ambitious tasks The Borgen Project has undertaken to raise the standard of living around the world.  I contribute by researching and writing article revealing to the world some of its autrocities and triumphs. I have become acquainted with Comoros, Canada, Mercer Island, WA, ISIS, and even reached out to friends in Nicaragua. As I try to enlighten as many of those around me willing to listen I, too, am brought up with them. No longer do I feel the need to be tight lipped about political affairs. I just might not have an opinion on all of them.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: For something to remain permanent in your life you must accept it as it is.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Another aspect of the poltical ring that The Borgen Project has brought to light for me is the accessibility of politics. Of course you could read about political action in the news or sign a petition. But beyond that I’ve never felt that there is much more than I could do. Even if I did take the time, in my earlier years, to create an informed opinion like I have now.  The Borgen Project has proved just how wrong I was and how easy it can be.  Their primary focus is poverty so I will use their cause, but this process can work to rally behind several differnt political causes.

The Borgen Project has listed all the bills waiting to be passed into law concerning poverty located here.  You do have to research your Representative and Senator’s phone numbers in Washington. Once you have that you click on the above link and then click on the bill you support.  The Borgen Project even supplies a small script so you know what to say when a Senator’s aid picks up.  If you care about a different topic you will have to reasearch the bill number, but the script can be easily modified for any bill.

If that wasn’t easy enough they also have links to directly email your Congressmen  here. Again, you click on the link fill in your address and the emails will be sent. These unfortunatley only work for the bills listed, but you could borrow the script to write your own congressional emails.

All this action causes a wave of notice within your congress.  They are given tallies, daily, on what issues their constiuents have contacted them on. These numbers are the deciding factors on what these representatives will do while in session.

Borgen_Project-optimized1For me it has been a very interesting journey through politics. I was always told that my voice made a differnce, but I didn’t really believe that. Now, that I have experienced a direct link to the poltical process I see that it can be heard and it does make a differnce.

I will leave you with some of the links of my published articles. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I like writing them.

The Borgen Porject is always accepting donations for its cause. If you would like to give please click   here. This is my personal crowd  source page as I am campgaining to rasie as much money as I can for this cause.
Gifts are given even in the simple gesture of the click of a mouse.
Thanks for reading,

Making It Work: Round 2

crockpot In the hopes of stretching out every single penny in our grocery budget this month we’ve gone back to the drawing board to try a new strategy. Last year it was baking my own bread, cooking with whole chickens and turning the leftover meat/stock into additional meals. It worked for a while, but variety is something our family craves. Not to mention the insane amount of time it takes to get all of this together.  You sacrifice almost all of your Sunday getting ready for the coming week.

I’ve seen the posts and pins about freezer meals. My patience and sanity immediately balked. The whole idea seemed daunting, especially when I saw the one for 52 freezer meals that involved at least an hour’s worth of prep and an additional able body to help. Whoa there, I want to ease into it. Not dive head long off the deep end. The idea of having dinners ready to go for a period of time was something that we need right now with our hectic schedule.

Since we didn’t have anything going on this weekend it was the perfect time to tackle the idea. There are tons of posts on Pinterest and Google that cover stretching your weekly meals by freezing them ahead of time. Not only did they all look overwhelming, it looked like a huge investment on the front end and the whole idea was not to go overboard here. Some of the recipes were too bland, others required cooking before freezing, and others would have doubled my grocery list. I finally found one where each recipe sounded delicious, required no “pre-cooking” with the prep, and I already had several items on hand which kept the costs down. I was sold.  The idea was to throw all the raw ingredients into a freezer bag and then cook everything in the crockpot from noon to six while I was at work.

Now, it says that it yields 15 meals, but if you do the math it’s only 13.  I found a great deal on the pork roast so I was able to double the Cranberry Apple Pork Roast recipe into two bags so I got 14 freezer crockpot meals. She also goes on to mention something about left overs, but with a hubby and growing child I doubt any of these meals will yield left overs unless they just don’t like the dish. It also mentioned to be prepared to cook rice, noodles or some other side to accompany the main dish (Yes, that all went into the total of what I spent).

While my husband does cook I know many men do not.  This process is so simple that it can’t even dissuade men from doing it. He grabs the bag out of the freezer, throws it in the crock pot, turns it on, and places the cover in place.

Once the frozen meal is in the crockpot preparing the side is the only time consuming part of the process. I will say there is a daily down side of cleaning the crockpot and you can’t save any of the freezer bags once you’ve ripped them open to get at the contents.

I tallied up just the items for the freezer meals from my grocery bill for this weeks trip and it came out to be $60.38. Break it down even further and that’s $4.31 per meal, that’s $1.44 per serving. Not too shabby! All that’s left is to put the meals to the taste test. If it goes well you might see me undertaking the great 52 freezer crockpot meals task!

A few notes on where I deviated from the Pinterest post:

#1. The original author used 4 whole chicken breasts per bag that means she bought 40 chicken breasts. Hell no. First of all my family does not consume that much chicken in one meal. We may get seconds if we’re super hungry, but we just do not eat as much as the average person. Buy enough chicken according to your family’s needs.

#2.  She used a lot more spices. I have a 5 year old that sticks out her tongue at anything spicy. She won’t even touch carbonation because she declares it to be “too spicy” so I had to watch what I used. Season according to your tastes.

#3. Everything I needed I found on sale at Smiths (Our version of Kroger). Shop smart! Use what you already have on hand and it helps keep the investment low.

We have since finished our first two week run of meals.  We enjoyed Creamy Ranch Chicken, Coconut Chicken, Sweet Apple Cranberry Pork Chops, Honey Mustard pork chops and a few others. We have enjoyed them all so far.  And as I budgeted there are no leftovers. They all cooked while I was at work.  The stress of not having to worry about dinner when I get home is nice to have off my shoulders.  This plan saves us time, money, and stress. If you can make it work for your family then I hope you get to reap the same benefits.

Half the part of preparation is figuring out what works for you and those around you.

Thanks for reading,

Inside the Cube: What Do You Do About THAT Employee?

stressed employee        If you are the boss or are close to the boss then you know the one. The one that gets people to cringe every time they hear their voice. They answer their phone in a vexatious tone that they’ll suddenly start using. The one who you go out of your way not to cross paths with.  Dare I even say make eye contact with them because you know the next 40 minutes will be shot to hell as they over-share every minute detail of their seemingly sad lives.

They go on to constantly interrupt you during conference calls because they’re problems are more important than yours, especially when you’re the boss. This person responds to any direction with a whiny “I know, I know, I know!” then turns around a minute later to ask you how to do what you just explained.

How the hell do you deal with them without looking like a bad guy?

I’ve tried the nice guy approach.
I’ve tried the teacher approach.
I’ve tried the buddy approach (THIS NEVER WORKS, BUT I WAS DESPERATE).
I’ve tried the constructive criticism approach. (To which I was met with a deluge of tears.)

Seriously, if you start asking too many questions to get an idea behind what in the world possessed them to carry out an action they dissolve into tears defending themselves.  Last I checked I was trying to help them not attack them. Yet, they react as if they’re on trial for a major crime. Many employers and employees would say they are untrainable.

So, what do you do when you categorize an employee as untrainable, unhelpable, and a drain on company resources? (Not to mention your precious sanity?)

3 Things, Immediately.

#1. TELL YOUR BOSS. If you’re like me, then your boss is already well aware of the current bane of your existence. You’re better off alerting them now. If you do neglect this you could be held accountable. By the time the employee has “hung” themselves they have also lost the company millions of dollars. Keep your boss in the loop so  they don’t freak out about the issue when it blows up months down the road.

#2. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Anything you mentioned to them. Document it. Anything you forwarded. Document it. Anything you printed. Document it.   An off-handed comment. Doucment it.  When they clocked out for their breaks and were on a  long gruesome personal phone call they took at their desk. Document it. It will all come in handy.

#3. GO TO Human Resources. HR’s first question will be, “Did you document this?” That’s why step #2 is so important. HR will take all your evidence and weigh carefully the options that need to be taken. If you’re part of a large corporation, and not a mom & pop place, you need to be bracing yourself for a potential lawsuit. Unfortunately, people can’t see that the fault of their unemployment lies with them and will often go after anybody they can to get compensations.

These are all starting points to consider when trying to deal with a troublesome employee.  Each company has a set of regulations to follow when dealing with these circumstances.  It is a good idea to check with your company and then mesh some of these ideas with what your company already has in place.

The prepared are who end up standing tallest after the bomb goes off. 

Thanks for reading,

Life’s Commitments: Where to Draw the Line

F.B.It feels odd to be away from the free writing that I’ve come to enjoy for so long.  It has been almsot two weeks since I sat down to just let my mind wander freely.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing quite the contrary.

Before I began the life long pursuit of self publication I had started down many other paths.  Many of them have the flexibility for me to enjoy all of my commitments while others demand much more.

As many of you parents are aware school has recently begun a new for the 2014-2015 academic year.   This means that I too must return, but this year is a first for me in almost twenty years.  Since I have been back starting in 2009 I have only gone to school two classes a semester.  This was so I could be available to take care of baby Phoebe and be the home maker I decided to be.

This year is the first year, since 1998, that  I am taking four classes a semester.  With this extra load it will finish my collegiate career by Christmas of 2015.  I couldn’t be happier to be this close to the end, especially after six years.

While many of these classes I have been waiting six years to take they are still very busy. I am studying poetry, finance, advanced non-fiction, and I am interning with the Borgen Porject.  Between the reading, assignments, and extra writings I have undertaken I stay busy.  (And that’s just with school. I have a wife, kid, and part time job.)

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: We are only trapped if we allow ourselves to be caught by the net .

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Recently, I have felt that I have been neglecting my readers.  I cherish each one of you.  While not everything I put up is amazing you still deserve fresh content. (Even I can only read my stuff so many times before turning off the computer.) It got so bad that I felt like I may never come back to my blog and that really started to scare me.

My blog has been what’s given me the most amount of confidence in my writing to date. Without my blog I wouldn’t have the practice or the ammunition to awe editors online.  Without you I wouldn’t have a blog.

I really started to work myself into a panic until I realized the flexibility of my passion project.  My passion is writing and it always will be.  As long as I’m working towards my passion in some capacity I will never truly abandon my commitments.  Even though I may not write every day on the blog, like I once did, it is not going anywhere.

The thoughts and ideas I have put into the world will always be waiting and as long as I don’t forget about them I will always be committed. (I just may not always be consistent.)

However, if you find your self decommiting yourself due to over commitment make sure you are letting go of the right things.  Too often we let go of something important because the commitment has become to difficult or tiresome.  We often find we want it back because what we sacrificed it for doesn’t bare the same rewards.

So, my line is right where it needs to be. I am in control of the pen and I control where the ink flows. If I need a break I take it, but I never forget which commitments bring the most to my table.

You are the author of your commitments. Make sure you have enough ink.

Thanks for waiting on me to catch school up,


Concert House Rocks: Return to the Cape and Scowl

I’ve been kicked, laughed at, made fun of, yelled at, lied to, cussed at, called names, and given unnecessary grief. I’ve caught jumpers, weed smokers, underage drinkers, taken tickets, attached wristbands, and attended the guest list all while working the door.  One of the promoters told me seven months ago that working the door was one of the most stressful jobs you could have at the Concert House.

A truer statement in the world there is not.

Over the past few shows I have been making more and more small mistakes.  This has compounded the amount of stress that is usually brought down on my head. It hasn’t been anything worthy of firing me, but it has brought forth a wave of scrutiny.

As of standing I am no longer the door man.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Your jaw might have just dropped.  I did enjoy the job, but now it weighs me down like a pair of shackles on a chain gang. So, when they told me that I didn’t have the position my back suddenly became straighter.  My mood elevated and I walked back into the venue feeling better than I had in a long time.

This is the same job I started with, roving.  When I first started I was very up tight. I could count the number of concerts I had attended on one hand. I had never been a bouncer.  I had no idea what was in the venue or what people were capable of.  I did my best to look tough. I don’t know if it worked because they put me on the door after a month and a half. After seeing so many people at the door, you start to get a feel of who comes to what shows.  You now roughly how many are going to walk through the door,  how they are going to dance, how much they’ll probably drink, and even estimate the number of ejections.

picture courtesy of music.cbc.ca
picture courtesy of music.cbc.ca

With this knowledge I glide through the crowd looking for the tell tale signs of mischief and wrong doing.  I don’t have to look tough. After being punched in the face and kicked a few times I feel tough and most of the crowd recognizes it. I am coming to enjoy the little things my boss asks of me.  No longer am I chained to the doors I get to be helpful in a different capacity.

For example I had a mother come in looking for her son who wasn’t supposed to be there. So, I got to escort her throught the concert until she found him.  She was not happy and I took the time to shoo away one of his little friends who wanted to ask him something before leaving.  We also aided in keeping several patrons sober of narcotics when we busted a fellow who was the head of distribution ring.  He didn’t have anything on him, but the excessive amount of cash in his pockets was enough to incriminate him. He has been permanently banned from the venue. I help the handicapped up and down the elevators, look for lost items and, clean up when necessary.

I will also have to engage the patrons more. Where it was once my job to keep them out now I have to throw them out. It is my job to escort those to drunk to party to the door. I have to walk underagers out of the venue when they get caught drinking. I take people’s funny cigarettes and crush them in front of them. I shoo people out of the dark corners of the venue.  During foam parties I walk out amongst the foam and at heavy metal concerts I stand near the mosh pit.  I am one of the ones whose job is to keep the heart beating safely of every concert that turns on an amplifier.

There are some rules I have to be tough on, but now that I have a feel for the crowds I get to pick an choose which ones I enforce and how thoroughly I enforce them. It is nice to be able to make those kinds of calls instead of being the puppet at the door.

You never truly start over as your experiences can never be erased from your person.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Concert House Rocks

Thanks for reading,


A Day To Make Dads Cry

Phoebe first day of schoolConfidently and unafraid she crossed the threshold with us in tow.  Just like we had shown her how to do.  Joyous and happy were the only words to come to mind as we embarked on this new chapter.  Phoebe would have smiled bigger, but her mouth wouldn’t let her. She couldn’t stop smiling until we had to say goodbye.  I did pretty well myself until she started to tear up.  My face flushed red and I joined her in little tears as we hugged away the last of her baby days.

It was the first day of kindergarten.

Arriving early we joined the other kindergarteners on the playground just for them.  There were about 75 new kids of various backgrounds.  Most were playing on the swings or the geodesic jungle gym (They still exist.) A few were staying close to their parents and one or two were taking turns talking to Mrs. Payne. Phoebe gave her a hug and a high five.  School began with everyone lining up and following the teacher into the classroom.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: The eternal presence of happiness works not against you, nor for you, but through you.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Mrs. Payne has decorated her room with a motif of bright learning colors and recognizable characters. There is three computers for the kids to share. A projector was  attached to the dry erase board at the head of the classroom. (I never had any of this.) Enjoying the first book of the year (The Kissing Hand) we watched on as Phoebe sat enthralled along side her class mates.  As this happened Joy and I added Phoebe’s supplies to the piles of others.  At the end of the book the teacher gave all the kids a blue paper hand. She told them to kiss and give it to us.  Then to say good bye until three.

That’s when it happened. Until that point she could look over, we’d wave, and she’d smile.  She now knew her rocks were about to walk away.

Doing my best to distract both of us I pointed out the various shapes, numbers, and colors that were a part of Phoebe’s name tag taped to her desk.  It did nothing.  Pressing her face into my neck she ignored anything Joy or I pointed out.

But she is a good girl and when the teacher said it was time to say goodbye she did.  Even though it was through tears.  Waving to each other Joy and I left the classroom. My tears continued to flow.  I couldn’t make eye contact with any of the other parents as we all shuffled out to our cars.

It may be obvious to many of you, but I had to really reflect on my feelings.  My initial thought was that my routine has been destroyed.  I’ve spent the last five years wiping booty, cleaning up snot, cooking food, and catering to most of the necessary whims of my daughter.  It wasn’t going to be there.  I had this before, but she was in day care when I was in school.  Now there is going to be days where I have the house to myself. This is a good thing.  There is plenty for me to write and work towards.

So, then I’m not upset because of the routine. If anything I may be able to structure it a little better. I had to talk to my dad. After a brief discussion on the topic it was found to be a relatable feeling.  He had done same thing.  Only his reflections yielded the word control.  No longer would I be the controlling force in my daughter’s life.  She has begun to walk down a path that she must walk alone.

And I’m scared.

Scared I didn’t prepare her.  Scared that she’ll meet an obstacle that will crush her and I won’t be there. I know that kindergarten won’t put insurmountable mountains in front of her, but my imagination tends to run away with me when I’m upset. I suppose it could be labeled as a feeling of helplessness.

However, it was all for naught. As the stay at home parent I got to be here for her when she got out of school at three.  She came out all smiles and couldn’t stop telling me what a great day she had.  I too managed to put together a few things for myself to do plus Joy and I got to have lunch just the two of us.

While it is okay to be scared of new chapters the only way to get through them is one word at a time.

Thanks for reading,


Fantasticalities Vol. 1 Issue 19

picture by Carl Warner  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/carl-warner_n_3682927.html
picture by Carl Warner

A thriller that follows dejected Detective Alex Braddach as he tracks down a mass murderer whose M.O. is to leave his victims dismembered and rearranged into grotesque works of art.  This first novel by F.B. Wood will thrill you from page one keeping you on the edge eager to keep flipping pages.  Its set release date is next year, but for you early birds here is an excerpt from Chapter 1.  

Without further ado here is Detective Alex Braddach in  the first chapter of Art Through Flesh.

Art Through Flesh

By F.B. Wood

Ch. 1

        Alex Braddach loathed driving across the river into Devonshire on a Friday night. It began a very long seven-day routine he performs fifty two times a year. The only time he ever calls a weekend is the time from five thirty to six thirty Friday night. His standing time with Madam Itami. From then on it’s one call after another compiling to a huge sea of white, canary, and pink paper. Braddach made an attempt at paperwork, but most of it ended up just occupying half the couch.

That was just life in Devonshire.

Braddach came to a stop at the address that had been flashing on the screen of his radio. It was one of the many mobile home communities that had sprung up in between warehouses. Braddach would’ve preferred to run down a dumped body somewhere then actually have to deal with this. He turned off his headlights and hoped he had blended in with the other beaten cars.  Blue spinning lights illuminated the faces of occupants hidden in the corners of pulled back curtains.  No lights were lit in any of the other trailers.  One of the uniformed police officers came walking over to the car. He leaned down and said with smile.

“Evening Detective.”

“What you got, Skip?” Officer Noirin furrowed his brow at the sound of his first name. Braddach open threw the car door and got out.

“It’s Officer Noirin while I’m on duty.” Braddach looked the young blonde officer in the eye.

“Sure, Officer Skip.” He said with a sneer. “What you got?” Skip inhaled sharply and responded coldly.

“Just another domestic. Guy strangled his girlfriend or something.”


Enjoying the story? Here’s another from F.B.

He saw the panicked look on Heidi’s face and in an instant Dwayne realized he was going to be ejected out of Mega Mall without the V.C. He grabbed the thirty-five kilogram V.C. and dashed off for the door, his heart pounding in his chest.

 Follow Dwayne Delaruse as he flees from security in “Six Billion Dollars in Debt”  featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


“Or something?” Braddach raised an eyebrow. Skip shrugged his shoulders and focused his gaze on one of the taller buildings back across the river.

“Guy shot himself. He’s in there dying on the floor. We’re waiting for the EMS, but you know how far away memorial is.” Skip walked to the trailer with Braddach by his side. The stairs creaked and shook badly as Skip ascended them. Braddach cautiously followed Skip listening to the steps groan twice as bad under his foot. Braddach could see signs of a struggle through the half open doorway.  Skip opened up the door for Braddach a little wider while he made his way up the bowing boards of the stairs. There was nothing on any of the counters. What would have been spaghetti for two lay splattered over the living room. A few shattered dish fragments and a bloody fork litter the area around the dead woman’s body. The young Hispanic woman would have been very attractive were she alive. Braddach took a moment to wonder what a pretty thing like that was doing here. Her long brown hair had been sweat soaked and now sat matted on her blue face. She was right behind the couch face down. Her black boyfriend had managed to blast-paint the other half of the living room red. He lay quivering with his hand under his jaw inhaling short shallow breaths. His red hand was covering a bullet hole that instead of going at an angle toward the brain went straight up and had exited through one of his eye sockets. Braddach stood over the scene just long enough to know he didn’t need to be there anymore. He walked back outside.  The red lights of the ambulance could be seen coming up the road. He trounced down the dilapidated steps. The small structure shook as he tried to stomp out what he had just seen. The last step broke under the weight of his anger. Braddach walked over to the squad car. Skip was standing there with an open notebook.

“Field notes, Officer Skip?”

“Yeah, but they won’t do you any good will they?” Braddach shrugged. He reached for the pack of cigarettes in the right front pocket of his coat, only to be disappointed.  He remembers telling himself he quit smoking, but every time he has to see another scene all he can think about is how well a cigarette can taste.

“How’s that no smoking thing going for you, Braddach?” Skip’s voice pulled Braddach from his nicotine desires

“Have you made it to hell yet, Skip?” Skip slammed his notebook closed.

“I’m done with you. Start doing your fucking job. I don’t want the DA barking at me because you don’t know how to write your name.” Skip’s eyes set like stones in his head as he glared at Braddach. He waived Skip off with his left hand.

“I got it.” Braddach said patronizingly.  He turned his attention back over to the mobile home. “Jesus, I hate coming to these places.  I come to one of these damn aluminum shit holes at least twice a week. It’s always the same damn thing to, Skip. Some domestic gone bad.”

“Cleaning out the gene pool.”  Skip said it without looking up from his notebook.

     “I don’t know what the hell it is.” Braddach scoffed. He thought to himself. “I just know that I’m tired of it.”

I hope you enjoyed reading a little of this future thriller. Be sure to check out the rest of  Fantasticalities.

Thanks for reading

F.B. & Joy

A Family Tree: Memoirs of a Matriarch

Joy' GrandparentsWhether we like to admit it or not every one of us embody a different parts of our family tree. Some parts of the tree are nutty, other parts are broken, some scarred, some cut short, some dead, and others budding to life with new growth. Each part uniquely culminates into the tree that stands today. I like to imagine that our Grandparents are the roots. Their growth and wisdom grounds us throughout life’s journey.

Saturday July 26th my Grandmother peacefully left this earth in her sleep. My father sent me a text the day before asking for prayers for my Aunt and Grandmother. I am not much of a tearful person. (Just ask my husband.) But when I read that my Grandmother didn’t understand why she was still here on this earth, I sobbed.

I haven’t had a good ol’ snotty sobbing session in a long time. On Sunday, when I got up, I got the call that my Grandmother had passed in her sleep. A huge part of me was happy. It is what she’d wanted for a while now. She was more than ready to go and it was just her time. I couldn’t be too upset since, but it is a void that will ache for a very long time.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: The eternal presence of happiness works not against you, nor for you, but through you.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to make it back east for the funeral. Luckily, I have an amazingly generous family. I was not only able to fly out myself, but I was able to bring my daughter with me. (That is a story in itself for another day). What an amazing experience it was for her. Phoebe got to see where I was born. Where I was brought up until I was four when my parents relocated to S.C. She was able to play where my cousins and I played as kids. She got to share in the delights of our favorite country store. She even colored at a forty year old desk in my Father’s child hood friend’s barber shop. The same desk I got to color at when I was her age. Although she only got to spend a brief period of time in her Great-Grandmother’s presence, my daughter was surrounded by family, love, and her Great-Grandmother’s influence.

No tree has ever stood for very long without a solid root foundation. It is the unseen and most vital part of any tree.  Nourishment, stability, and most importantly connection.  The roots my grandmother spent her life tending to sprouted into the unique tree that I am proud to call my own.   All weekend my daugher was exposed to this flourishing tree of connectivity.  With the love that resides with this tree she will continue to be conneted throughout her life.

My cousin, who preached my Grandmother’s funeral beautifully, said, “Grief is a gift from God, a gift that allows us to feel the depths of human emotions.” That was just what I needed to hear, that everything we feel as humans is gift, no matter how painful.

Thanks for reading,


Ellen Brock

Professional Freelance Novel Editor

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