Monday, December 10, 2012


I've been going back and forth and double posting between Blogger and Wordpress.

My fickleness has now come to an end.

I must consolidate and I'm going with Wordpress. This will be my last post to this Blogger site.

I really appreciate those who have followed me here on this site. I hope that you will follow me over to Wordpress. All of my posts have been transferred over and I just need you to transfer as well as I can't move you myself.

Here is the URL address to go to, There is a follow button and a follow by e-mail follow button. Please chose both, one shows up in my stats, the other doesn't.

Also, if you haven't done this yet, please like my Facebook Author page. The link to that is, or you can click the like button on my Wordpress site.

Thank you for your support and I really, really hope you follow me to Wordpress.

A very grateful,
RG (Robin) Calkins

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Cups of Coffee and No Food

I've done this a few times in the last week.

Wondered why my body felt as if it was fuzzy or teeming with electricity.

Then that heel of the hand to the head duh moment occurs.

I had two cups of strong coffee and didn't eat a thing.

So, when I look up from my laptop and the job applications that I've been sending out and see that it's two in the afternoon, I've looked at all the job boards have offered for the day, and I'm shaking from malnourished brain cells, running on caffeine fumes, I shouldn't be surprised.

It's also December. Not really my favorite month, but I do like the holiday that it was bequeathed with. What I don't like about it is the commercial, coma inducing, frenzied shopping that goes on. I avoid malls and other retail establishments, if I can, in normal months and on normal days. Even going to Panera Bread, at SW Plaza Mall, for my critique group borders on insanity to me. Just goes to show how masochistic I've become in my pursuit of writing.

This year, I'm not yet in the spirit of things. For one, we haven't had that much snow. Even in the mountains. That is not a good thing in Colorado. A few days ago, it was like September in the weather department. What's with that?

Seeing lights go up on the houses has helped a bit, ours are up too. Maybe if I decorate inside, it'll be more festive. However, I like seeing a bit of snow around this time of year. I feel a little bit like Bing Crosby and entourage in White Christmas, when they get to Vermont and there's no snow on the ground.

Anyway, I'm going to make the best of things, avoid people crushing mall crowds, ignore all the ads TV and internet, and concentrate on what the season is supposed to be about. Love.

Love your families, even if they try your patience sometimes. Life is too short not to. Love your fellow man/woman/child. I know this is a hard thing to do, but believe me, a little act of random kindness goes a long way.

Okay, that's my caffeine induced, ramble.

If I want to drink coffee and not eat anything until after two in the afternoon, that's my issue, right? (Just don't tell my daughter. I just lectured her on how she needs to eat and not skip meals).

Love and peace to you this Christmas season,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Short Is Sweet!

Over the past month and a half, I've written three short stories, submitted two to a monthly contest, and one to a friends blog for the Halloween season. This little writing side trip has been fun, revealing, rewarding, and a palette cleanser.

In September, I entered and won the Darker Times Fiction contest with my horror short, No Lights. I surprised a few folks who weren't aware of the darker side lurking beneath my surface. In October, I entered Pay the Piper, a supernatural piece, and was rewarded with second runner up. Both of these stories will be published in the Darker Times Anthology (date to be announced) and will be available in e-book and paperback. This has me pretty giddy as they will be the first pieces I've had published since a poem, in another anthology, in 2000.

In the spirit of Halloween, I also rallied to a request from a friend to write flash fiction (although mine is over the word count a bit) to post on her blog for the haunting season. I'm going to keep this one under wraps as I may be able to enter it in the November Darker Times contest.

While I hope that I can add more short stories to my repertoire, the next big goal is to get my novel published. That brings me back to why this venture into the dark side has been cleansing. It has made me eager to dive back into the revisions on my book, shown me some things I need to do to make it better, and helped me realize I have a character that needs some TLC.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Farewell, but not Goodbye

Recently I bid a fond farewell to my friend and writer’s coach, Janet Roots. She is returning to the land of her birth, England and will be near my daughter, who is in Wales. This is not goodbye as we plan to keep in touch through the ether.
I met Janet when I attended a group she started called the Golden Wannabe Writer’s Group in Golden, Colorado. I had just started jotting down ideas for a book when the invite popped up in my e-mail. I had other such invites, but none had felt as right as this one, so I attended the first meeting. That was in June of 2010 and I stuck with this group right up to our last meeting with Janet.
Over the almost two and a half years I’ve known her she has encouraged me, mentored me, taught me the writing craft (still learning), introduced me to my first critique partner, and became my friend. I’ve met some wonderful people through the group, some of which have become good friends and all of whom make me a better writer.
As I said before, this is not goodbye. Our little group wants to stay in touch. To do so, we created a Facebook group and we’ll meet once a month at our regular haunt, Bean Fosters. When Janet is settled in England, we will Skype her into our meetings. We hope to still offer the support each of us needs to reach our goals, whether they be to write and get published, to write for ourselves, or to find out if writing is our thing.
I’ve made other acquaintances in the UK. Some are my daughter’s new friends and others are fellow writers whom I’ve met through blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. I hope to be able to visit in the near future and meet them face-to-face.
Until then, 
I wish Janet all the best and I’ll be in touch!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Watching You

I have been all over the page lately. My brain on overdrive.
Maybe it’s the change in weather.
Maybe it’s the month.
Maybe it’s just that my imagination feeling rather hyper.
The way my brain feels.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a little review piece to further send the synapses into acceleration.
Anyone know John Reeves? No? Well, you should.
He’s the hero of an action/thriller series by Kirkus MacGowen. The book I’m going to talk about in this post is Wrath, the second book in the series. The first one is The Fall of Billy Hitchings if you want to read them in order.
Wrath picks up with John Reeves return to his hometown where he’s dealing with a little bad family blood, working with an accountant and wannabe, although inept, private detective, and a vengeful, psychopathic, serial killer.
Wrath is a visceral read. It makes you feel the action and some of it doesn’t feel that great if you’re a little squeamish. I found myself drawn in with most of my senses, the descriptions acutely visual.
The one issue I had with it was I wanted a little more John Reeves. This book dealt with his relationship to his ‘estranged’ brother and I felt there was enough of the brother, but not quite enough of John. If you read both books, you’ll see what I mean.
However, that one issue doesn’t keep me from giving Mr. MacGowen’s book a huge thumbs up. I’m looking forward to reading the next John Reeves adventure.
The psychotic in this novel got my appetite ready for the Halloween season. The next two reviews are witchy in nature. Although both have a little vamp and ‘other’ supernatural in the mix.
First is A Discovery of Witches, a supernatural tale woven by Deborah Harkness.
Diana is reluctant to embrace her witch heritage, but when the historian of alchemy stumbles on a ancient manuscript that only       opens for her, the supernatural world around her closes in.
Deborah Harkness creates a rich world of witches, vampires and daemons in this book, the first of three. I did not want to put this                    down. It kept me engrossed and pulled me from England to France to New York and then into time itself where it left me, anxiously waiting for more.
I guess I have to get the next book, huh?
Next is The Forever Girl: Sophia’s Journey by Rebecca Hamilton.
This was an intriguing read about a young Wiccan who discovers that she’s a descendant of elemental witches and a forever girl. I’m not going to go into all that because I want you to read and find out for yourself.
There is mystery aplenty in Ms. Hamilton’s first book of the series. Cruors (vampiric beings), Strigoi (shifters), and many more paranormal beings. There’s also an unsolved murder or two.
This is more of a YA or New Adult read, but I enjoyed it immensely. I did have one issue. The ending. I wish it had left me with a stronger feeling that there is more to come. It did and it didn’t, so I would be okay if it was a stand alone or a series. Since it’s billed as Book #1, then it needs to be a little more leading.
That’s it for book reviews. I would like to throw in a theatrical review even thought the musical is ending this week.
I recently saw a production of Three Penny Opera at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, Colorado. I just want to say Bravo! Also, if you love the arts in any way, shape, or form, check out your local theatre productions. The big stage is not the only place to see excellent theatre. Support the little guy.
Well, I succeeded in throwing my head into a more frenetic tail spin. Anyone have something they’d like to recommend?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Frustration & Release

I haven't been on here for about a month. This is one of my frustrations. It's completely with myself, because I know that I should make time to blog. I have many of these niggling, nagging, frustrations and I could put them off on other things, people, etc., but there's always going to be a little 'me' in the mix.

I've been job hunting, missing my daughter, worrying about both my kids, cheering my son's promotion efforts from the sidelines, worrying about my parents and sister, trying to write at least a little, finally getting to this blog, etc.

You can't totally get rid of all life's worries, but you can find a release.

I found mine in June of 2010. Well, maybe not found, but set it free. The strange thing is, I had been thinking about a story that was sparked by a song. Thinking about putting it down on paper, but not acting on it. Then . . . I got an invite to a group on The Golden Wannabe Writers Group. In retrospect, it came to me at the perfect time. Something I strongly believe in. I attended the first meeting to see what it was about and got hooked. The week before, I had put down the first words of my story. Through the tutelage of Janet Roots and the support of this group, I finished my first manuscript in September of 2011. I am revising it now. Taking it to two different critique groups to help me polish it and working toward publication.

There are those who think this is strange. That it's a passing fancy. That I might be slightly off.

The truth is, I've always lived in my head. I've always been making up stories for myself going as far back as the little, red timeout stool that I sat on--a lot.

It's hard to explain to someone what it's like for me to write. Let me try.

Some people like to watch sports or participate in sports, some like to scrapbook (I do as well) or do other types of art. Others hike, bike, ski, do yoga, work (yes there are some that find this a release), sew, drink, smoke (insert tobacco of choice here), knit, cook, the list could go on and on. My point is, think about what gives you release from your frustrations, think about how it makes you feel.

This is what it's like for me to write. It's exhilarating and yes frustrating in a good way. To create a world that I hope someone else will get caught up in as I did writing it.

And then there's the reward. The excitement I felt when I first saw the anthology my poem, My Heart's Song, was published in, sitting on the shelf at the Tattered Cover Bookstore. The rush of pride at second place in the Creatively Crazy short story contest and having that story read by actors at the Miner's Alley Playhouse in Golden, CO. The giddy elation that I recently had when I learned I won the September 2012 short story contest at Darker Times Fiction with my entry, No Lights, which will be published in their anthology and available on in the next couple of months.

I know this is not something that only happens to me, that there are people in all walks of life experiencing the frustrations and releases that go with life.

What's your greatest frustration and how do you release it?

#iamwriting ~ RG

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I visited my parents recently. My daughter traveled with me as she wanted to see the relatives, especially the grandparents, before beginning her studies in Wales.

This visit brought up the subject of mortality. You see, my mother has vascular dementia and disease. Progressing rapidly. Every day that she still knows us and her mind, is numbered. My father is also afflicted with the ravages of age. Minor strokes and broken bones make it hard to get around and to get certain words out without slurring or giving up on them completely. Then there is the forgetfulness. I think it breaks his heart not to be able to help his ailing wife.

It's hard to watch. Hard to think about. Hard to listen to them say they are a burden, or one doesn't want to be around without the other. This difficult, but eventual part of life...well, it just sucks. Not everyone will be this way, but aging is inevitable. We will all do it. Some of us more gracefully than others. It's really all in the genetics and, being adopted, I just don't know how things will go. I guess life is just a mystery that we have to live/work through.

And, bless my sister's heart! She has taken on our parents care and I so appreciate everything she does. I pray strength and patience for her every day. The task is not easy. I'm here to listen to her whenever she needs to vent, or needs someone to cry to, or just needs to share whatever outrageous behavior the parents exhibit. I love her more than she will ever know.

My sister and I, as well as a lot of our friends, have reached that age where the role of parent/child has been reversed. When my daughter and I left Texas to come back home to Colorado, it was with the knowledge that it might be the last time at least one of us would see them.

I'm grateful that my mother was not so confused that we didn't have a good visit. She doesn't remember what day my daughter leaves, or when she might come back for a visit, but she did see and know her while we were there. Mother still asks about everyone, although it's repeatedly as are the answers. Dad still cracks himself up at his well worn jokes.

It was a good visit. I hope there are more, but I'm prepared if there are not. Until that time, I will call each week and chat, talk to my sister and get updates, and tell them all that I love them as much as I can. ~RGC

Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

  • Act I, scene 2, line 72. ~Hamlet