The Alien Landscape of Grief

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Books

I wrote a short story. But this one is far divergent from anything I’ve ever written. It’s sci-fi, different from my usual mystery-thrillers. It’s written in the voice of a teenager, again not my norm, but some things put you in that headspace. My other novels were plotted, scrutinized for ebb and flow. This poured out of me. 

This tore me apart. 

Because the entire story IS me, though in a metaphorical sense. It’s everything I felt after I lost my father. 

It’s about rage, because some horrid, omnipotent creature stole someone you love. About the pointlessness of it all, the horror, the fear of moving on in this huge, scary world without someone who has always been your rock, whose mere presence was enough to convince you that things were going to be okay. It’s about how loss has the ability to drag you back to when you were most vulnerable. How feeling abandoned rips your guts out and reduces you to this childlike space where you just want to throw a tantrum because you cannot fathom how else to actually deal with those big feelings. It’s about the way I obsessed over finding the people who got his organs, these little pieces of him that someone got to use but that would always kinda be my dad. 

This story is about loss and grief and heartache. 

It’s about knowing that things will never be the same. 

But it’s also about the way my dad used to make me smile. About the way he always joked around, the way he could laugh harder than anyone I’ve ever met. The way he loved poker and olives and puns. How he had the uncanny ability to turn negatives into positives. About how I grew up knowing I was worth it, that I could be anything. It’s about how, every day, I try my damnedest to be the person he’d have wanted me to be. 

It’s about loss and grief and heartache. But it’s also about love. 

I wish I could say that grieving stops, that the pain goes away, but grief is not really a thing that ever disappears. I imagine that I will sob many years into the future on Christmas eve, as I did this year, wishing I could hear his voice again. And in five years or ten years, on the days when the sorrow is as fresh and poignant as it was the day it happened, on the nights when I feel hollowed out like someone punched me in the gut—I will accept it. 

My father lived his life well—he made sure I knew love. He made sure I had something worth grieving. Grief is not some horrendous, fearful thing for me, not anymore. Today, the pain means I was once loved well enough to make it mean something. And that I would not trade for the world.

For all who have loved and lost…this is for you.  (For more, check out On the Loss of a Parent: Grief from Love and 10 Things I Learned in the Year After My Father's Death.)

Alien Landscape is now available on Amazon, iBooks and Nook

From the Back Cover:

Be brave, little girl. Daddy’s here. 

As far as thirteen-year-old Katie is concerned, her world might as well revolve around her father. But lately, things have been strange on their North Dakota ranch. It’s not like Daddy to miss a private joke or forget to read a bedtime story to baby Jack. And the cattle are acting funny, too. Just last night, they woke Katie up with their bellowing. Or maybe that was part of her nightmare, the one with the brilliantly purple sky.

But dream or no, Katie is sure something’s wrong. She can feel it between her shoulder blades, like a pair of clammy flingers climbing up her spine. Nevertheless, she has faith that she and Daddy can fix it. There’s never been a problem they couldn’t solve, as long as they had each other. 

But Katie’s about to find out that some things are too horrifying to understand, let alone fix. 

It’s a brave new world out there. 

And in this world, bravery can’t save you....  continue reading

It's Not Me. It's My OCD: The Evolution of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum OCD, and Obsessive Personalities

Tuesday, March 07, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Every day, people use the phrase "OCD" to describe any number of behaviors, from being meticulous about appearance to the desire to get things completed a certain way: 

"I just cannot go to bed with dishes in the sink. I'm SO OCD." 

SPOILER ALERT: That ain't OCD (though it might be a different condition, so read on). 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a lifelong condition that usually shows up during puberty or early adulthood and is identified by (you guessed it) obsessions and compulsions. OCD is equally likely to occur in men and women, and affects around 2% of the population1. And it can be absolutely debilitating. This is not a "sink full of dishes" type concern. OCD can be a "I'm not leaving my house today because I'm too busy scrubbing my hands raw" kind of concern. 

Aside from the obsessions and compulsions, most with OCD tend to worry, usually about how worried and anxious they are. But make no mistake; whether they are seen as over-reactors, as overly sensitive or as obsessive, the whole thing is scary as fuck. I really think that phrase should be a part of the clinical definition of OCD, which is why they will never hire me to write that book, though I guarantee mine would be more entertaining to read. Maybe I will write my own, dammit....  continue reading

How I Finally Conquered My Panic Attacks (and you can too)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

We all acquire anxiety issues a little differently. We all get through things a little differently as well.  Some use cognitive behavioral skills, including humor techniques, deep breathing, thought replacement, self compassion, mindfulness and vocalized defensiveness to get through their panic attacks or scary thoughts. Today my guest poster takes you on her journey towards healing. 

By: Misty Browne

As I step out of the SUV at the airport, my boss’s mother asks me if I’m feeling OK. 

“I’m fine, just a little under the weather,” I respond. 

In line for security I get the same question as the wand runs across my body. I nod and move on. By the time I’m at my gate I can’t breathe. I rush to the bathroom. “Maybe I’m getting the flu,” I tell myself. I splash cold water on my face. Outside of being a touch pale, the mirror reflects green eyes and brown hair falling neatly over my shoulders, the same as always. But I feel different. I feel like I’m going to die. I can’t breathe and my heart is pounding so hard I can hear it....  continue reading


Thursday, February 16, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Books

Today, I have my very first short story up for you: Crimson Snow. And it's FREE on Amazon (HERE) and Nook (HERE)! My husband is convinced it's half love story, half creepy. I think there's a lot of yearning underneath all that crimson snow. You be the judge. 

From the back cover:

Green Valley was once known for its fertile farming, picturesque mountains, and abundant wildlife. Now snow and ice cover all but the tallest homes. The only sounds are Maverick’s boots clumping through the snowdrifts and the frigid wind hissing down the mountain. Even the beasts in the woods have gone utterly silent.

But the path forward is clear, especially for one emboldened by optimism. So Maverick keeps moving, trudging through the abandoned town toward the desolate tundra beyond the forest, marring the snow with his bloody footprints.

To leave is a risk. To stay might be suicide.

Either way, no one leaves these mountains alive.

Intrigued? You know you are. Get Crimson Snow NOW before this offer ends....  continue reading

"I'm Not in the Mood." The Usual Decline of Sexual Interest (and what do do about it)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

“I just want a quickie.”  

“I feel used.” 

“I think we should have sex more often.” 

“I think you need to show me more emotional support first.”

“How about just a blow job?” 

“How about a back rub?”

“Why do you always want sex?”

“Why don’t you want it more?”

“God, I’m just so…bored.”

Sound familiar? If you're like thousands of other couples this Valentine's Day, you might be having one of these conversations. We can't all be like Shannon and Morrison in my second novel, Conviction. (Rawr.)

Sexual issues come up often in relationship counseling, and they can be tricky to tease apart, unlike your husband’s legs. (Ba dum dum, ching). While sexual activity is at a peak in early relationships, it tends to decline over time. But why? We surely love our spouse more now than we do when we met them, don’t we?

Why would our sexual desire so reliably go down (and not in the fun way)? There are quite a few reasons, and obviously all of them cannot be discussed in one post. But while this isn’t a universal truth for everyone, there are a few, very common reasons for a loss of desire. And while I will be addressing the ladies here only because I more often see couples where women have lower drives, keep in mind that these roles can be reversed. 

Come with me. (heh) Let’s check this out....  continue reading

The Pain Disorder That Saved My Life

Thursday, February 02, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Pain and depression can go hand-in-hand because of the way brain chemicals like serotonin affect both of those conditions (more on depression here). But did you know anxiety can follow similar patterns? So much overlap. Neurotransmitters are kinda jerky like that. Some people even experience panic attacks related to food sensitivities

And sometimes we stumble upon these relationships by accident. Today I have a guest post from a lovely woman who found out just how closely linked pain and anxiety can be....  continue reading