Monday, January 28, 2013

Ghosts and Butte County

So something light hearted this week I was thinking…. Mainly because I had such a great weekend with my kids, my best friend and my boyfriend. I mean really is there anything better than laughter, sleep, Sims, tequila, Mexican food, working out, David Tennant and some angsty Torchwood? I think not.


So here we go…

I believe in ghosts, yeah that’s right I said it. I believe in magic, life after death and a whole bunch of things.

But for the purpose of this post I am writing about ghosts. This is spurred because last night I could have sworn for half a second there was a man standing at the edge of the bed, skinny and dark wearing black and white….Could it have been a figment of my imagination? Of course… but it did make me blink and my heart speed up.

I don’t know why, but for some reason they scare the crap out of me. Give me a good slasher film, or a monster pic and I am good to go…But a ghost movie or story? Especially one based on “truth?” Yeah, shivering in my seat, adrenaline coursing through me, scared and excited. Some of my favorite memories are sitting with Turtle on my coach and watching Scariest Places on Earth. Or sitting, covered in blankets with Turtle and Sunshine watching A Haunting and jumping when we heard a scary noise and then laughing at each other.

I watch all types of shows that have the paranormal investigation quality, like Ghost Hunters, School Spirits, GHI, and Destination Truth…. I like to see what happens to people when they actively hunt ghosts. My boyfriend is a non believer and thinks it’s all faked….Well maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean I can’t believe and enjoy myself.


I have had some haunted experiences and I have had friends who have as well. I have stood in the dark or in a daunting place and just known I wasn’t alone.


My best friend, Turtle’s child hood house is haunted and haunted in a kind of scary way…not a Casper the friendly ghost way. She grew up in a house surrounded by a TON of property. If you parked your car and looked out into the darkness you were always 99% sure something was staring back at you and 100% positive you didn’t want to see it.

She called me several times to come get her while we were in high school because she heard a car pull up and, thinking it was her mom, would run out to greet it and ….no car…Spooky right? Now my friends house lay down a one car road far away from main roads or any other houses…Lending to the creepy factors.

She had other scary things happen to her while she lived there, like lights turning on or off by themselves, sounds being heard, knick knacks moving. But the worst was driving away from her house. Many people have shared their experiences with me about this…When you drove away from Turtle’s house the intense feeling of being watched was always there, begging you to turn around and look back. A nagging in your brain would warn you, however, not to… Don’t turn around Renee, my mind would whisper, you don’t want to see what’s there… I mean somethings cannot be un seen.

My own house lay on what I liked to call neutral land. I always felt safe once I stepped through the gates, like even if something nasty had followed me home it would slam up against an invisible barrier. I don’t know if that was my imagination, the walls I had placed up magically, the love my parents had for me…Or if the ground truly refused ghosts, goblins and the eerie from crossing over… I won’t lie…I do have an active imagination.

My hometown I think is probably covered in spirits since it is an old gold mining town.


There is a cemetery near my home called Cherokee Cemetery and some of my creepiest experiences happened there. It is old and the graves are in all states of condition because you can still be actively buried there. But the feelings it gives off are the creepiest, like bugs crawling all over your skin and the feeling of being watched is super intense. The foliage in the back is dark and deep and once you cross the gate it feels otherworldly. I have seen moving shadow people, where there should not be and heard sounds that could not be. In fact the story is that the town sweetheart was murdered and buried there and after wards her murderer burned alive in his own home.

Lake Oroville, when it was created, covered up several small mining towns, including:

Bidwell Bar/Bidwell: a tent “rag city” and all that is left of it is the original bridge and clock tower.

Enterprise/Mountain Spring- another mining town

Bloomer- another mining town

The lake also covered up at least two cemeteries, the bodies not being moved beforehand. These types of towns are called drowned towns or drowned cities and when Lake Oroville is low you can sometimes see roofs and the skeletons of old buildings. I think all children grew up hearing stories of ghosts near the lake and the old mining communities and towns.


There is a road called Oro Dam Blvd, when driving it, down the back way from the Dam, past the old Raquet Ball Club, on more than one occasion my friends and I were chased down by a phantom car. There are not too many placed to turn off or turn into on this road, it’s very winding and very narrow. The head lights will just appear behind you and the car will pace you, far enough away you can’t actually see it, but close enough that it’s frightening. Then either a) they will suddenly vanish, and in a place where there is NOWHERE it could have gone or b) it vanishes right before the rail road bridge.

Plus I SWEAR I have seen the curtains moving on the top floor of Lott Home when I know, no one was in there.  Lott Home is a historical home the city keeps the maintenance on and they use it for tours and functions. Chico has a similar one call Bidwell Mansion...I have been there and it is creepy...But I have never seen or felt anything..It is supposed to be haunted as well.


There is also supposed to be a witches grave in or near the old Pioneer Cemetery, but I have never seen it. Though I have been over that way a few times.


Thursday October 7 1965 there was a horrible accident when two trains collided and people died In the Oro Dam Railroad Disaster. The tunnel is located three miles north of Oroville where Feather River turns east. It is also reported to be haunted, though I have never been there.

I have a love/fear relationship with the ghostly world of the supernatural. The blue twilight, hidden whispers and creaking doors of the paranormal have always frightened and fascinated me. While I don’t want there to be a bump in the night at my house I am always interested in hauntings all over the place.

My most favorite haunted place is Grey Friar’s Cemetery in Edinburgh Scotland. The cemetery is haunted by a dog that doesn’t want to leave his master. Also it is the burial ground for the 17th century Covenanters persecuted by "bloody" George Mackenzie in the Covenanters' Prison. People have been attacked during the nighttime tours of the cemetery and it is considered one of the most haunted places ever. I have listed a link below if you feel like reading some of the stories.


So hopefully this made you think back at all those sounds you were scared of, at night, in your bed…Or maybe of the urban legends and ghost sightings in your own small towns. If you read this through my fb feel free to tell your own story in the fb comments.



Have a great day!

Links:


Bidwell Bar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidwell%27s_Bar,_California



The Oro Dam Railroad Disaster

http://djkuba.tripod.com/index-5.html



Grey Friar’s Cemetery

http://www.angelfire.com/amiga2/poltergeist/poltergeist.html


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Single Motherhood


I decided it was time to write about the fact that I am a single mom.

When I first got pregnant with my daughter I moved to Utah, to put some distance between her father and I. I lived with some very nice people, had my baby and until she was one raised her by myself with no help from her father. Her father made me get her paternity tested and then, because he almost NEVER had a job, I eventually began to get sporadic child support checks.

My best friend in the whole world, Turtle, then moved in with me as a fucking GOD SEND. To help out financially and to give me a little extra support. I have been so lucky in that aspect. But even so…I have been on welfare, Medicaid and food stamps most of my daughter’s lives. Because I just do NOT make enough money to pay all the bills, afford day care or do much more than live pay check to pay check. I have to ask my mom to bail me out sometimes…As a grown woman this sucks and hurts my pride…But I try and that’s really what matters.

I have regrets, a lot of them… I was 20 when I got pregnant, I made some bad choices in my life, nothing, however, that has affected my kids.

I have done things I am not proud of and while I am constantly employed I have worked at call centers and I hate them…so I bounced around for a little while trying to find someplace I was comfortable. Someplace that didn’t make me feel like it was sucking out my soul.

After I got married things got better, we still got Medicaid but that was it, no food stamps, no day care money. When my husband lost his job I started getting food stamps again and when I had to kick him out I suddenly found myself back where I had been so many years ago…But this time with two little girls. Thank the Dark Goddess, again, for Turtle.

Even with the help from the government I struggled to get all my bills paid, work full time, go to school full time and lead something of a normal life. I prescribe to the belief that I need me time, I need down time. Without time away from my kids I become HULK MOM, evil and mean. And I think most parents would agree, sometimes you need a little you time.

So I dated and eventually met a great guy who I have been with almost two years who treats me like a Goddess.

I don’t mind being called lazy, I am….I like sitting on my couch with the TV or a good book and I hate to have to work and do chores. However, I do it, and my kids want for nothing. They are smart, beautiful and clean. They have a great loving support system made out of my friends and family. So when people use the term “living off the government” “welfare queen” and “abusing the system.” It pisses me off, obviously those people have never needed help, those services are meant to be used and they help a LOT of people. There really are not that many people currently abusing the system.

My girls don’t have a daddy. He left in January of 2011 and they haven’t heard from him since, not one peep. He didn’t just leave me; he left two beautiful little girls behind. He fought me on the child support so I took his ass to court and stripped him of his parental rights. Which he gave away willingly. My daughter’s father willingly walked out of their life and never looked back. He is legally no long their dad or responsible for them in any way and he was ok with that.

I know people judge me.... It is human nature to judge, espeically if you feel attacked, upset or judged first. Just remember if you want to judge me.... I can judge myself, turn that judgment back onto you and look with your special eyes at your own life...before throwing stupid, childish hatred towards me.

So I struggle, I live pay check to pay check…When I have extra money I do what every person on the planet usually does…I spend it… On myself, of my kids, on my family. I spend it to make the days a little easier and a little brighter. Our home is full of food, love, laughter and family.


On the dark days, the ones where I am stressed and depressed I always have that to hold onto. That no matter what anyone says about me, my life choices, my mistakes, I am a good mother a good friend, a good girlfriend and a good daughter. My daughters are well loved and happy. My friends love and support me, my family loves and supports me, my boyfriend is always there for me. And I usually love and support myself.


Everyone screws up. It happens, is this where I thought my life would be when I was dreaming about it at 18? Not really. Is this where I wanted to be now that I am about to turn 30? No it isn’t. But it is my life, and yeah a ton of crap has happened over the years, but a lot of laughter has happened as well.







Some interesting facts


85.2 % of single parents are mother and post make less that 25 thousand dollars a year


In 2007 there were 13.7 million single parents in the USA


79 % of single moms are employed


Most single parents get help from an outside source, i.e. a friend or grandparent





Some good links:


http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/parenting/being-a-single-parent.html

(This article talks about many of the things I do here, about having fun and taking time for yourself)



http://www.singleparentcenter.net/



http://singleparentsource.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/single-parent-statistics-figures-on-kids-being-raised-by-one-adult/



http://www.singleparentmagazine.net/

Friday, January 18, 2013

National Stalking Month and Violence Against Women

BTW January is National Stalking Awareness Month… Just so you all know.



So today I am inspired to discuss the Violence against Women Act. So for all you conservatives who didn’t want it to pass… The first thing I must say is FUCK YOU. And I hope one day you are put in a position where you WISH it HAD.


The Violence Against Women Act was a United States Federal law passed in 1994 that provided money toward the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. It also re opened a department in the DOJ called: Office on Violence Against Women.


It was again passed (or continued) in 2000 and 2005. However because conservatives were against the fact that the law was going to protect same sex couples (Oh dear Goddess! Not the GAYS!), and allow battered illegal immigrants to have temporary visas and protect American Indians living on reservations this beloved bill has failed… You know after doing so much good for 18 years.


First off I wanna say I love Joe Biden and NO ONE is going to convince me he doesn’t respect women. Especially since this law is his fucking BABY! Even as a Senator he cared about the people and I am damn proud to have him as a Vice President.


The VAWA did so many great things and I am now paranoid it will all end. What you may ask did the VAWA do for the American Population? Well here we go:

1) Stronger laws for repeat sexual offenders and holding rapists more accountable for their actions.


 

2) Creating a “rape shield” which means that in court one cannot hold the victims past sexual history against them


 

3) Victims do not have to pay for their own rape exams


 

4) Victim’s safety is top priority no matter where they live.


 

5) Developed law enforcement agencies whose main priority are sexual crimes and domestic violence ( Man I wish they were all like LA: SVU)


 

6) Making sure that police, judges and all kinds of law enforcement personnel understand domestic violence. VAWA funds trained over 500,000 people every year.


 

7) Established the Domestic Violence Hot line- which answers over 22,000 calls a months


 

8) Protecting Native American and Native Alaskan women and battered immigrants


 


Since the VAWA was instated the amount of crimes has also diminished. (Gasp you mean this law actually WORKED?)


Between 1993 and 2010 the rate of crimes between intimate partners has gone down by 67%


Between 1993- 2007 the rate of women killed from intimate partner homicide dropped by 35% and male homicides by 46%.


The BIGGEST deal is that is made many states change their laws in regards to domestic violence crimes. Like:



 

a) spousal and date rape are now a more important crime


 

b) Stalking is a crime


 

c) You cannot make a rape victim take a lie detector test (Yes some places actually DID this)




In April of 2012 the senate passed a VAWA reauthorization act that included new laws to protect women on college campuses, protect women who lived on tribal reservations, nondiscrimination language for members of the LGBT and provided safety for immigrants who didn’t want to come forward for fear of deportation. After this was passed the House passed a bill that took away these new protections as well and other protections that already existed under VAWA. (Can we say utter bull shit?)


And now as of January 2013 VAWA was not reauthorized, which means funding to the groups and departments that help prevent domestic violence and create awareness will dwindle. The bill provided 600 million dollars alone for shelters, counseling and police training to assist victims.


Now it doesn’t mean that the good the law has done ends, it just means the programs that rely on it are now under stress to come up with funds to keep them going. It also means that certain tides can start to change, back to the way they were prior to 1994. 200,000 people will now lose the help they have been getting from VAWA.


Why would conservatives do this? The bill would have given protection to over 30 million additional women. Are women supposed to think that Republicans care about them after this type of action? Rape and domestic violence are real things. They are real things that need to be addressed and that need to have laws like VAWA there to help.


Women do not deserve to be raped. I don’t care how they act, how they dress, where they hang out or even if they like to be promiscuous. When a women says no, that’s no (unless you are doing some kinky role play…consensually). I don’t know if she is your spouse or girlfriend, no sex without consent, no touching without consent, no ANYTHING without consent. And if a woman does become a victim of sexual assault then she has earned the right to be treated with dignity and respect, not called and liar and asked, “How is this YOUR fault?”


The government needs to get their acts together and reauthorize this fucking bill before things get out of hand….


No war on women? Fuck you…All I see are women being told that they have no say in what happens to themselves, without a man’s say so. The End


And on another bitchy note:




Rush Limbaugh go fuck yourself. The following statement from you just makes me even surer your mother should have killed you in womb.



You know how to stop abortion? Require that each one occur with a gun.

Read more at http://wonkette.com/#7ZcZSdpocx1qFps3.99







Helpful Links:



http://blogs.justice.gov/ovw/archives/2237



http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf



http://www.thehotline.org/get-educated/violence-against-women-act-vawa/

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dreams Shouldn't Die, or something like that

Do you have a dream? I sure do and it’s to be a famous author.


Writing is hard and it’s not something that everyone can or should do. Putting pen to paper, or in my case, fingers to key board can be stressful. It doesn’t matter if I am writing fan fiction, this blog, erotica, a new manuscript, a book review or a paper for school. I love to write, I love words and I love putting them all together and making something out of them. Making something either for myself or for others to read, enjoy, laugh at, and become angry with, just some sort of emotion.


I have always been told I am a good writer. I have had book reviews published in news papers, had great comments from the ones I have written online. I have been paid for erotica, gotten rave reviews in the fan fiction community and the people around me have always enjoyed my story telling ability.


Of late I have been feeling like either a) I am failing my writing or b) my writing is failing me. I have currently finished my third manuscript and it took me a year just to complete it. Maybe it would have taken less time if I hadn’t been dealing with kids, a job and a divorce.


Writing is a huge process. First I have to come up with an idea, then I have to map it out, outline it, then a more detailed outline, maybe draw a map for myself, make lists and notes until I have covered all my bases…Then I write, I write until my eyes burn and my fingers cramp. I write until there is nothing left for me to put on the paper. I re read the manuscript several times before Katie (my best friend) reads it through. Then I send it to my mom, who used to be the Editor of the Oroville Mercury Register.


I usually get it back from her filled with red marks, slashes and comments. Katie (such a good friend) then fixes it while I work on a query letter and a synopsis. Then the hard part really begins, taking this manuscript that I love and submitting it to literary agents. I send to agent after agent, praying, hoping, begging that someone likes it enough to read the whole thing, to take me on as a client.


And that is where I am stuck, right now. I have submitted queries to over 55 agents. That is a shit load of time and emails. It’s my hopes, dreams and fears in the hands of other people. But mainly, fear… Because of the other two novels no one wanted. Princess of Death is what the new novel is called. And so far she has gotten 18 rejections, not even one person has asked to see more. This is depressing. Nothing is quite like working your ass off for something you really want; on a product you think is polished and the best thing you’ve done so far, just to feel like the entire time you spent was a giant waste. Maybe you’re NOT as talented as you thought you were.


Which is where I am right now… Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer; maybe I will never see my books on shelves at Barnes and Nobles… Or maybe... I am being a pathetic whiner. Maybe I am brilliant and the agents are telling the truth, my manuscript is just not what they are looking for right now. Maybe I am just a genius and my stuff is way too good for the YA Shelf… I mean have you read some of the crap that comes out of that section? Millions of YA books come out each year and I read a ton of them. In the past two years I have read 66 young adult novels and of those 66, sixteen of them were complete utter crap. Sure that doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but I mean they were awful and most of my fellow YA reading friends agreed.


So if garbage like Twilight can be published why can’t mine? I could give up; I guess…If I truly wanted to. But I probably won’t, the lifetime dream/goal is for me to be a successful author and even if it takes until I am old and gray that is what I am going to become.


And here is a little me pimping myself time. My other two books sell fairly well self published on Kindle for amazon.com. I don’t make a whole lot of money off them because I have them listed for cheap…I mean c’mon they ARE self published. But they still do fairly good and I am proud of them. They were hard work and a lot of me went into those novels.



Just in case you are interested:



After Realm


http://www.amazon.com/After-Realm-ebook/dp/B005EC7DF4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357858883&sr=1-1&keywords=renee+travis
This is a gothic urban retelling of the fairy tale the 12 DANCING PRINCESSES

Hellebella is not your average teenager. She is a demon princess from the underworld. She does, however, have teenager tendencies. She is outspoken, blunt, funny and rebellious. When a final act of rebellion sends her father into a rage, he sends her off to the North American School of Paranormal Princes-sing where he hopes she can learn to become a proper young lady and do something constructive with her life.



Not the only princess being sent away to the NASPP, Hellebella meets a lively bunch of girls from different paranormal kingdoms, including fairies, a vampire and shape-shifters. But not everything is light and happy at school. The girls find themselves entranced by a secret and mysterious club in another realm. There, they are forced to dance every night, and if they do not the consequences are dire.



Helle, as her new friends call her, must find a way to break them free of the spell holding them hostage, figure out WHO is behind the malicious magic and struggle with her own love for her best friend’s brother. Hopefully she can save them in time, before they become ghosts powerless to stop the magic from harming someone else.



Rose Blossom (Warning, I started this BEFORE Twilight was popular but didn’t get it out until after vampires had already gone crazy wild through teen girl’s hearts. So yes it’s a bit clich├ęd and there are total stereotypes that you find a LOT now a days…But its cute, so I still love it.)

http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Blossom-ebook/dp/B004W9NCSW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357858883&sr=1-2&keywords=renee+travis
High school senior Rhodanthe Watson dreams of a life like any other girl her age; boyfriend, pick a good college, and find the perfect shade of lip gloss. But her reality is an overbearing and overprotective mom, and actually making it to college by surviving the heart condition she's had for years.

Meeting and falling in love with Julian, a handsome and mysterious new boy at school, was never on the list, neither was finding out that he's a vampire.

Being the girlfriend of a vampire has its dark side; especially when a jealous classmate decides to do something about her relationship; a move that threatens to destroy the dreams within Rhodanthe's grasp.

Rhodanthe must choose between her family, the fate that's been struggling to continue beating in her chest for years and a new love that comes with a high price...immortality or death.


So for anyone out there dreaming, hoping and wishin… Don’t give up… It may be corny but ask yourself…What would young you think of where you are today?? I know mine would be pretty distraught, but at least if I succeed in this one thing she will stand up in my chest, jump up and down like a freak and cheer me on.

Some fun Book links

How many times was Twilight Rejected?
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/01/twilight-was-rejected-fourteen-times-before-being-accepted/

Famous Authors who were rejected
http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/05/17/50-iconic-writers-who-were-repeatedly-rejected/