Claudsy’s Blog—Audiobooks and Drawbacks


Having someone else read to you is a treat that began in most people’s lives during early childhood. The sound of a parent’s voice reading a story, doing all the voices, teaching the Bible lesson, or whathaveyou, soothed and eased the child’s mind. It was a time of bonding and closeness.

imagesWhen audiobooks became available decades ago, their fame was lackluster as best. They didn’t really get noticed until the average American life became more cluttered with tasks, obligations, and harried hustle and bustle. The nineties had arrived with a vengeance and suddenly folks didn’t have as much time to waste with a book in hand.

Finally, when Kindle came out, things shifted again. Audiobooks again took a backseat to additional pressure from a new tool for reading. They did disappear for one major reason. Many people lost their vision each year due to accident and disease, which was the original reason for creating audiobooks.

How do I know? Trust me; I was listening to them every day during the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. My magazine subscriptions at the time (i.e. Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, Amazing Stories, etc.) came to my home each month in the form of thin, vinyl records to be played on my special record player.

When traffic jams and other time-wasters became the norm, audiobooks rose in popularity with the non-visually impaired. Suddenly, college courses from sources like Great Courses took off, with users as disparate as news broadcasters to stay-at-home moms. By the way, I highly recommend perusing the offerings at Great Courses. These are fantastically done and a fun way to learn.

So, what are the drawbacks to audiobooks?

I have only one, but it drives me to distraction. The frustration created leaves me gnashing teeth and balling fists. Additionally, I’d be willing to wager that you would react the same way in my shoes.

Mercedes Lackey Valdemar SeriesThe problem arises from recordings of books I know intimately. I like having something running in the background when I’m working on non-writing projects—developing an editorial calendar, going through email and scanning newsfeeds, and the like. I have music on most of the time—instrumental in nature.

Lately, I’ve come across a free access to audiobooks for free listening. I was ecstatic. I could get entire series by some of my favorite authors; series I’ve read a dozen or more times. I went to that link with singing heart.

And plummeted almost immediately.

I don’t think I’m any different than the ordinary reader. When I read, I see a movie in my head. I “know” exactly how each name should be pronounced and these characters are as clear to me as anyone walking on a street.

The key phrase there was “How names should be pronounced.” Fantasy novels and series are terrific to read. By the end of the series, you have become a part of the places and people who inhabit whatever world resides in the book. You have family there.

Later, to hear someone continually mispronounce the name of a people, a character, or a place scrapes along your nerves like a whetstone along the edge of a sword blade. It grinds against the grain of your tolerance and brings you to the snarling point.

David Eddings Belgariad Series_For those who’ve read Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series in series, as I have, you know what I’m talking about. The same goes for readers of David Eddings Belgariad Series, Mallorean Series, etc.

You, the reader, know the proper pronunciation to every name, and when someone blows it, it’s like getting smacked in the face with a wet dishrag. It smells and drips.

That’s been my experience for the past couple of weeks, as I tried to work my way through the audio versions of these books. I applaud any professional reader who attempts to record fantasy books. It’s difficult for a first-time reader to get things right. And I know from the mispronunciation of other perfectly ordinary words, like perseverance, that these readers are doing a cold read. I still applaud their efforts.

I just can’t continue to listen to the slaughter of my old friends any longer. All of this brings me to a warning for those who are considering audiobooks.

If you’ve never read the book, go for it. Listen to the audiobook and enjoy it.

If you know the book well and want to revisit it, hands-free, don’t go there. You’ll find yourself resenting the reader and wishing you’d never approached the medium.

I admit to a prejudice on this topic. I like audiobooks, as a rule. On this one issue, though, I must pull back any endorsement for the reader who likes rereading favorite books.

And that’s my rant for the week. Until next time, a bientot,




Claudsy’s Blog—Silver Linings

Despair Or Hope Directions On A Metal Signpost

Despair Or Hope Directions On A Metal Signpost

Wordsmith’s Lament


Upon wings of letters

plucked from alphabet soup,

spread onto scrabble boards,

I soar or plummet each day.


Feathered meaning fringed,

I travel worlds unbound

by distances or cultures,

to experience time’s shift.


Into these worlds I pour

myself and lean into Change’s

wind, imparting my tales

to all who would listen


To my challenge call,

lest I wither and fall.


This is the first poetry I’ve written in a long time, and it was inspired by the feeling I experienced during a revision session of my first volume of my Wisher’s World Series. The piece that was meant to be only novelette length had blossomed into a full novel.

Stress. Woman stressedMore than that, my computer had also lost the original final revision by tucking it into a corrupted temporary file that couldn’t be opened. I had to begin again from scratch. I was blessed, though. I had a beta reader copy held elsewhere that I could use for the process. And I had more additions to tuck into the new revision.

Silver linings—ah, they make life much simpler when we can see those sparkling alternatives. I have a writing friend and mentor, Holly Lisle, who teaches a critical lesson to any students who come to her. That lesson is this—every problem, regardless of size or area of life, is nothing more than an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn, to change, to find alternatives, which—if viewed with an open mind—can take you further than if the problem had never arisen.

During the first revision, I learned many things about my characters and the history/cultures of Wisher’s World that I hadn’t known previously. In recovering from the loss of that file, I realized two things, both critical. Firstly, I remembered what I’d changed, added, and had discovered the first time round. 

Diamonds Background. Blue-Red Diamond Reflections 3D Background. 3D Rendered Diamonds illustration.

Secondly, I could add the details and tiny insights that add flavor and depth to any piece of writing. I had the opportunity to actually make a better story, to enrich this segment in such a way as to create gems of plot twists for later that I hadn’t anticipated at the very beginning.

My silver lining added story elements that I couldn’t have foreseen originally, because I wasn’t thinking the same way anymore.

Perhaps that’s really the definition for a “silver lining.” It’s when the mind steps back to regroup, to see the problem from a different perspective, not just to create a detour, but to find a different vehicle for the journey, as well. By rethinking through alternate channels, more effective creativity is brought to bear.

That’s my conclusion on the matter. I learned to look for the silver linings in all aspects of my life. That lesson

digital rendering of an eye

digital rendering of an eye

came several years ago. This experience with losing a month’s worth of writing work and delaying the release of the book by another month, gave me an insight as to how those blessed silver linings occur.

Now I’m curious. How do you see and understand the phenomenon? Do you see silver linings occur in your life? And if you do, how do you recognize them and feel when you take them into account? Drop a comment below and let me know how blessings and silver linings run through your life.

As always, until later, a bientot,


Claudsy’s Blog—Tuning In or Tuning Out

A rogue question skittered through my mind the other day and has roamed around freely since then. Sometimes it happens when a concept flaps its wings a little too loud and draws my attention. Sometimes it comes on tiny mouse feet looking for a piece of cheese.

When the question flashed by, I wore my headphones, imageswhich I do during work sessions or when I need to concentrate without distraction. I had the added reinforcement of the white noise generated by the fan in my office/bedroom. A voice broke through the barriers asking me a question related to that night’s dinner.

After I pulled out of that inner world and answered, the concept made its mad dash from ear to ear, taking the shortcut through the brain. Was I “tuning in” to my work or simply “tuning out” everything else?

I’d never really thought about the paradoxical nature of the phrase “tuning in”. Now, I was forced to address it. Tuning in is a mutually exclusive concept. The same is true of tuning out. And yet, they are also mutually inclusive, since neither can exist without the other.

ying-and-yang-glyph-icon_zJP_wTI_One cannot tune out incoming sensory data without tuning in or focusing concentration on a specific target subject. They are a yin/yang pairing of the highest order. According to one’s definition and perspective, they could also be called a positive/negative pairing.

So, what does this have to do with anything of importance? Well, I can give you a concrete example with what effect it has on me in the waking world.

If I’m at the computer, I generally wear headphones. I tend toward hypersensitivity to changing conditions in my living environment. Noise from outside the apartment, movement of those inside the apartment, telephones ringing, radio playing, etc. all distract me easily. Headphones with soft music playing and my small room fan drown out everything else and my concentration level goes up. I can work unimpeded.

Book and knowledge conceptThe only other time when I can completely tune out everything is when I’m reading an especially gripping book. I travel inside the story and get lost in there. The outer world doesn’t exist for me.

Take me out of the home environment to a coffee house, for instance, and the opposite is true. I can tune those extraneous noises out and work without being bothered at all, unless there’s very loud mechanical noise in the background.

Stress. Woman stressed

Stress. Woman stressed

Put me in a restaurant, though, and the noise of other diners—say, families with screaming kids—and it drives me round the flagpole, tosses me to the edge of the bend in the road, and then, stomps me flat. I can’t tune out or tune in, in that situation. I merely get frustrated.

I suppose the fact that my ability to use either mental device is dependent solely on the environment involved and it surprised me.

Meditation, in great measure, is the ultimate experience abstract_2008012903-1113int.epsof tuning in/tuning out. One tunes out the external world in order to tune into the inner recesses of mind and body. The tug-of-war between those two factors makes the practice difficult for some.

Having always been sensitive to noise and movement, I came to prefer the quiet long ago. Loud doesn’t impress me. Neither does it inform me. Loud has spread from the occasional need to world dominance, for no other apparent reason than to outshout the guy standing next to you. Finding peace close at hand has become a quest of questionable possibilities—at least for me.

So tell me, how do you tune in/tune out? Drop a comment below and share your experience with distractions in the modern world and finding peace in your daily life.

Until next time, a bientot,




Claudsy’s Blog—Epiphanies and Breathing


A while back I heard something that changed my thinking about many things. Questions flooded my mind. Time took on a different meaning.

The words which caused this shift were these: epiphanies don’t just cause you to catch your breath in an “Ah-ha” moment. They knock the breath from your lungs and then breathe new life back into you.

All sorts of ideas, images, and conclusions rushed to fill a void unrecognized until then.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

Think about that statement. Each of us has an “Ah-ha” take possession of us at unexpected times, But they persist in their surprise element. Perhaps it’s their infrequent appearance in our lives that catches us unawares and causes the catch in our throat in amazement.

Perhaps it’s our surprise that something so simple, so obvious (which tends to be an element of every “Ah-ha”) could have eluded us in the first place. The amazement comes with a gift card attached that says something like “if you’d paid attention, you’d have seen this a long time ago.”

Each time one of these sneaky  epiphanies drops down before my eyes, I have that reaction. How could I not have seen this obvious truth? And when the answer comes, it carries its own simple message.

calendars-6888067The truth is, we’re all so caught up in the minutiae of daily living that we simply don’t pay attention to the truth around us. When your bucket is filled with sand at the beach, it’s hard to see the tiny periwinkle shell in the middle.

For all that each of us has learned, stored behind mental doors and within file cabinets, we access little of that knowledge or understanding. It isn’t until a quirky trigger effect releases the accumulated correlations stored that we get that moment of revelation. It was there all along, but layered in psychic dust bunnies.

Girl Taking A Nap On Her Notebook Computer As Exhausted

Girl Taking A Nap On Her Notebook Computer As Exhausted

And when the dust is shaken off, and we’ve had our “ah-ha,” we begin to live differently than before. Oh, sure, we can silently choose to forget the knowledge again. We can go back to sleep. But that would mean wasting the gift we’ve given ourselves.

I choose to take the gift and use it to its fullest. Its size isn’t important. Only its effect has power. And isn’t that what each of us wants—just a little bit? A tiny impulse of power, even if its power over ourselves, our lives, our knowledge.

digital rendering of an eye

digital rendering of an eye

This is my challenge to you. Each time you receive a small “ah-ha,” spend time studying it and what it could really mean to you. Turn it over in your mind to see how it applies to you and your situation. But most of all, don’t allow yourself to go back to sleep and forget to breathe in the new life awaiting you. At least consider breathing deep and smiling at your genius.

Until next time, a bientot,






Claudsy’s Blog—Laughing at Yourself


I admit it. I rarely laugh at myself. I think part of that comes from innate personality—I was born a serious person with a dry sense of humor. Beyond that, though, I went through what a lot of kids do. I was laughed at a lot growing up. All for various reasons, mind you, but it hurt nonetheless.

biker-on-bike_MkSxqOBdThe earliest occurrences I recall involve my first bicycle and my father. I was five or six and we didn’t have a lot of money, but Dad found a used, little pink bike for my birthday. It was only sixteen inches tall, no training wheels, and made for me.

There a clear recollection of me taking possession of it. I was in the narrow side yard. Back then there were no helmets, knee or elbow pads, nothing like that. It was all bare legs and arms. If you fell off, you got back on or risked total nerdhood. And that was before the word ‘nerd’ had been invented.

I straddled that little bike, aimed it for the front yard, and took off. About five feet or so later came the first crash. Fury and disappointment roared through me. No thoughts of defeat entered my brain.

close up of an owl

close up of an owl

What did enter my ears was my dad laughing at me for falling off. It made me even angrier. It wasn’t like I had a lot of experience riding a bike. That failed attempt had been my first.

With each subsequent crash that day, the laughter followed me to my next attempt. Success arrived on the handlebars of the fifth or sixth trip up the side yard. That’s when I heard something like “It’s about time.”

From then on, I was set up for life. It’s taken more decades than I care to number to get past that experience. Why? Because someone I loved humiliated me with laughter. I didn’t need to laugh at myself. There was a handy soundtrack already embedded in my memory. A lot of reconciliation has gone into accepting the fact that my father had no clue as to the impact of his delight in my stubborn determination to conquer a bicycle.

Am I over it now? From the tiny tear running down my cheek as I write this, I’d have to say “Not really.” I can accept the ultimate reality of the experience so long ago, but the hurt went too deep and impacted too much to ever drain away completely.

abstract-musical-notes-background_MJS0eqv_You may also ask why I’m writing about this incidence from my childhood. It comes down to recognizing that we each come to a crossroads in our lives where we must laugh at ourselves or implode. I’ve never had much luck with the practice. Today, though, I chuckled at myself. Out of the Blue. I hadn’t done anything funny.

I was listening to some fantastic music written by Ivan Torrent. As my mind floated on the notes, it settled onto a long-desired dream of creating music. With today’s technology and the auxiliary instrument units that can be attached to a good computer, music is easier to create now than ever before. And the dream blossomed in my mind again.



That’s when the chuckling started to bubble up. An image of an acquaintance from years ago rose to chide me. Not for the dream, but to remind me of his analysis of me. Leo was a specialist in personality mapping. When he finished going over my results, he came back to me and said, “Girl, you won’t have an easy road. You’re one of those types who will never be satisfied with what you choose to pursue. You have too broad an interest range. You get bored too easily. You’ll enjoy many careers, but they’ll all be short-lived.”

I hadn’t thought about Leo in a long time, but I’d never forgotten his assessment of me. It was spot on. I tend to neglect that reality. Being bright, having a few talents here and there, all combine to create a kind of Renaissance person. That was me.

Here I was struggling frantically to finish a novella that was driving me round the proverbial bend, and my mind was off on making music for book trailers. How ridiculous is that? Okay, maybe not ridiculous, but certainly in character, albeit a bit premature.

Suddenly I could delight in a moment of  self-humor. It wasn’t vindictive or mocking, or filled with ridicule. It was an appreciation of a personal quirk and something that was more real than a misconstrued episode from decades ago. It also allowed me self-appreciation of another sort; one recognizing my uniqueness and potential—realized or not.

That was the gift I gave myself today. Regardless of our age, each of us has untapped potential left to pursue. How fabulous is that!

Enjoy your potential today. Chuckle over the things you dream of doing and know that you are unique. It’s amazing how freeing the sensation is.

Until next time, a bientot,


Words, Post Election
Photo Credit: e_walk

1st Monday: She


It did not take long
For me to wish I was
A he and not a she.

I chafed against
The norm and social sensibility;
A rebel with her own cause.

He or she would have
Made no difference;
All I wanted to do

Was touch the sky and
Make love to the moon;
I also craved my home.

In conflict and isolation,
This she found joy
In pregnant pauses;

Her breath molded faith;
Her tears hydrated dreams;
Her love birthed promise.

~ Meena Rose

Claudsy’s Blog—Life Lessons and Dream


If you think that life lessons and dream are mutually exclusive, think again. Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping and dreaming. The expanded time for processing the day’s events gives each of us an advantage over the rest of the animal world.

Here’s an example for you.

I woke this morning facing a life lesson because of a simple dream. Like most people, I sometimes work in my dreams. This morning my dream work involved the internet, blogs (no surprise there) and mistakes.



In the dream I’d gone back to blog posts from a couple of years prior and found many mistakes. (Again, nothing new there. We all make them.) My dilemma I was going back to correct those mistakes or letting them go, knowing that once something’s up on the net, it’s there forever. I was torn between making things perfect—to my standards—and going on with life and writing in an attempt to prevent future mistakes.

When my eyes popped open, my mind flashed a question in front of them. If a person is always going back to correct past personal errors, is there any room left for living and growing?

Life lessons are sometimes stark, but always necessary.

The question flashing at me from thin air was stark. Fighting perfectionism has been a long struggle for me; abhorring mistakes, no less so. My gut reaction was to scream NO!

A few seconds later, the reality of the situation sunk in completely. Whether it involves writing, or family relationships, or which residence one has, our choices were made initially for personal reasons. And in the now, those reasons don’t mean squat.

stock-photo-2-010None of us can correct anything done in the past. We can only strive to reduce repeats of the same mistakes, the same shaky choices, and the same outcomes. We can also work to repair damage done by those past mistakes. That’s it.

Using life lessons to produce better outcomes is always a worthy goal.

A person’s life changes in large and small increments continuously. Much of the time, we aren’t even aware of them. We take them in stride and move on.

stock-photos-v2-004-020Yet, this seemingly small lesson from dream will make a big impact on my coming years. The struggle to pull away from perfectionism toward my work just got easier. I can better understand that perfectionism is merely a response to fear; the fear of making a mistake and looking incompetent; the fear of disappointing somebody; the fear of not being good enough.

It all comes down to that one emotion—fear. Facing that lesson requires facing the imperfections that we all carry inside us. And looking into that mirror reflects the human condition.

stock-photos-v2-005-005In the end, we are all human, warts and all. We make choices based on the immediate moment. We make mistakes for many reasons—not least of which is imperfect/incomplete information. Like everyone around me, I don’t have to apologize for being human. I’m not a superhero with special powers, which is a good thing.

Can you imagine how big a problem superheroes must have with perfectionism and the fear from which it springs?

I’ll stick to my own life lessons, whether they come from dreams or my waking life. They make for simpler choices and better growth.

Let me know what you think about this subject. Do you have the same kinds of problems with mistakes and perfectionism as some of the rest of us? Share in a comment, please.

Have a terrific week, everyone. See you next time.

A bientot,




WIP Update – Halfway There

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for joining me on your Holiday weekend. I want to give you all an update on what I’ve been working on these past few weeks. I have started writing a book of prose/poetry that has the current working title “A Flame Through The Heart Of Rose”.

This book will have 12 chapters as well as an introduction and conclusion. I am happy to report that I have written the introduction and the first 6 chapters. I am targeting the end of June to have the first draft of this book completed. Then the editing cycle will begin.

I also have 5 other books as planned WIP that I can pull from as I finish the first draft.

Till the next update!

Meena Rose

Words, Post Election
Photo Credit: e_walk

3rd Wednesday: I Surrender

Hello Everyone,

I have so many writing updates to share with you but they will have to wait till next Saturday. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you Reclaim Your Bliss (RYB). RYB is a business that I’ve recently launched where I offer coaching and healing work. In addition, I maintain another blog over there. Do visit and check it out. At RYB, I will be blogging about the topics of self-care, being and mindfulness, and walking the Path.

Without further ado, here is this month’s 3rd Wednesday poem.

I Surrender

By: Meena Rose

I learned. It was hard.
A much needed lesson
For this time and place.

Two sides of a coin.
Always. Oblique angles
& learning go
Hand in hand.

To not lose, smoothly release.
To not give up, sigh your surrender.
To not shrink, sublimely let go.

I am simply being.
Teaching as I live.
Living as I learn.

Fortune favors the listener.
Always. Paradigm shifts
& living go
Hand in hand.

Grace, a reward for trusting.
Joy, a reward for gratitude.
Bliss, a reward for intention.

Claudsy’s Blog—Playing for Solutions

digital visualization of a chessboard

One of the things I’ve discussed over the years has been playing games and doing puzzles. For all the fun they provide to players, they also provide an opportunity to come up with solutions or problems a person might have.

For writers, Muse tends to hide in the shadows until the conscious mind is focused elsewhere. Then, she’ll pop out and waves a tiny red flag that her person either sees or ignores. With a bit of practice in watching for that flag of innovation, the writer can destress and find creative solutions to writing problems simultaneously.

Here’s how it works.

Sit down to any kind of game or puzzle—in the material world or the computer—with others or alone. Allow your mind to lose focus on your current story problem and gain focus on the game at hand. Relax.

5b6-052714-akpAs you play, your subconscious mind still holds onto the story problem—or whatever problem you’ve been saddled with lately. Soon little images or song snippets will begin to seep into your conscious mind. Perhaps you have the radio/stereo on while you’re at play. Even better. Music is a strong memory trigger, which can be channeled for creative purposes.

Don’t force anything. Just allow the process to unfold. Pay attention to the red flags; a new character appears—one surrounded by conflict or comedic relief. You might see a tool or device to eliminate info dump of backstory through dialogue between current characters. Along the way you might gain a new plot twist that actually incorporates the problem you’re trying to solve.

Whatever happens, you can return to writing with a fresh perspective. That, in itself, can be a boon to the story.

What if you aren’t a writer?

The process can work for anyone, on nearly any type of problem. Solutions are merely relaxed perspectives coupled with accumulated thought about a situation. In other words, the person relaxes long enough for those previous thoughts and considerations to come together in a logical manner and hand over the solution.

abstract_2008012903-1113int.epsThe key is relaxation. Many people meditate to find solutions. That activity works well for problem solving. Playing games or working puzzles does too. Varied forms of relaxation operate more effectively for different people.

For me, solitaire, in several forms, mahjong, jigsaw puzzles, etc. work especially well. Playing pen and paper games do, too; hangman is a great example. Play hangman in your head with someone else and serve several purposes; strengthen your memory, play with words you might not otherwise use, and relax.

But my problem is more complicated than that or more serious.

If that’s the case, you have even more reason to relax. Take a leap and brainstorm with someone you trust. Brainstorming is a kind of mind game that allows for free association and solutions on the fly. Give yourself a break. If you can’t come up with your own solution, another person might. That person can see from a different perspective, because their experience and life is different from yours. Take advantage of the opportunity. If you think about it, the old adage of “two heads are better than one” comes from the practice of brainstorming.

Whatever avenue a person takes, there is value in giving the mind a time out and doing something that seems like a waste of time. It’s been observed that when you see a successful person “staring into thin air” and “doing” nothing, what you don’t see is the problem solving or innovation that’s going on inside that person’s head.

Single standing robot. Black background

Single standing robot. Black background

Daydreamers give all of us our world. An idling mind may be designing the next big transportation solution, the next medical cure, or the newest symphony.

It’s okay to look idle. It’s okay to feel idle. The key is allowing our creative minds the freedom to explore solutions and innovation.

Until next time, a bientot,


P.S. I’ve got a hot game of mahjong to finish. See ya later.