Do you ever look into the deep green shadows of a primeval forest and wonder what those secret depths hold? Do you like to write about your new and inventive discoveries while sipping a glass of fragrant wine? Do you enjoy the creative process? Then I hope you will stop a spell, enjoy the adventure, and travel with me as we imagine the possibilities...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Real, Honest to Goodness Reason Frogs and Toads Show Up After a Rain Storm

The frogs and toads, my friends, have been in hibernation.  Their entire make-up says that no handsome princes or beautiful princesses are out and about in the wicked heat.  It tells them that the beautiful people only visit the out-of-doors in the summer when the rains cool down the sweltering skies.  As we all, being intelligent folks, know, frogs and toads are in perpetual search for their soul mate.  The person who will one day pick them up and plant a nice big smackeroo on their little froggy lips, thereby enabling them to complete their final metamorphous from amoeba-tadpole-frog/toad to prince/princess.  Ergo – rain equals the arrival of a bevy of hopeful long-jumping, fly-eating caecilians.

So, folks, you have a job before you.  Have some compassion, some feeling for your fellow amphibians.  Do the right thing!  Pick up a greenie and lay one on it!

Imagining the possibilities,


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Story, Undefeated

Story, Undefeated

Have you ever had an idea for a story and yet didn’t write it down?  The story filled your dreams.  Followed you around like a lost dog, begging you to turn around and pat its head, to pay it attention.  At the oddest times, you think of that story.  Shopping for groceries, it slips into the conscious.  Putting clothes in washer and dryer, the story taps at your soul.  Write me, please, yet the paper/computer stays blank.  There is something else you must—do—see—feel.  You close your eyes and turn away, shutting out the small flame of an idea that is looking for receptive tinder…. 


The story is too much.  Too close to home.  It grabs the heart and squeezes.  It holds a mirror up to the writer’s soul, then reflects like a prism to the world things we may not want anyone to see.  What will people say if they read this?  What will people think about me if I put this in writing?  The story spark lights up places better left hidden for whatever reason.  It is simply too much to bare.  (I meant that word.) 

Let’s face it.  As writers, we share our deepest selves to anyone who reads our work.  Everything our characters do comes from our mind, heart, and soul.  We feel what our characters feel.  We give them life and meaning.  We determine everything about the people in our stories whether truth or fiction, therefore it reflects something about the writer.  What if Shakespeare had never written To be or not to be, that is the question? Or Charles Dickens never said via David Copperfield, I was born.  Or Lucas’ famous:  In a Galaxy far far away…

I’m writing this, because I caught myself avoiding a story for the past few days, and realized that life is too short to keep things bottled up.  I’m going to try to uncork the bottle of hidden ideas and let them come forth like a magical being.  I hope to light the pages up with lovely black letters and let ’er rip!  It won’t be easy – I do know this, but it is time.  If one of my characters wants to do something, I will not hold them back because of my fear.  When the spirit strikes, even If I can’t put the whole thing in final form, I’m going to write as much as I can so the spark will not be blown out or fade into oblivion because of lack of care.

Story now completed, I am imagining the possibilities,


Sunday, May 1, 2011

You Sang Me Fair

You Sang Me Fair

You sang me fair my pulse did run
As liquid flames red-ripe to plumb
From deepest depths a burning pyre
That bade my heart to leap and hum
Anon for furthest mount I strove
To reach the peak that in me thrust
And burst full blown a red-rose bower
As desert sands parched throat to rust
Your lips on mine assuage my thirst
Two souls implode with molten fire
Our hearts lay bare as fair and just
Love merged and quenched with fierce desire

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Contest UpAuthors has announced the contest winners for their First Chapter contest.  I am proud to say they chose my first chapter for Les Gens:  Into the Night as the winner for the genre:  Urban Fiction/Horror.  They also chose it as the over all winner. I am honored beyond measure.

Thought I'd share the chapter:

Les Gens:
Into the Night
By P. E. Kassees

Everyone died, Clint knew this, understood it since serving two tours in ’Nam.  Death could come fast, or slow and agonizingly brutal.  He always prayed that when his time came, it would be quick.  Looked like he was going to find out; not in ’Nam, but somewhere deep inside Tallahassee’s blood-red earth.
The air was freezing, so frigid, the lightening-bolts of pain which earlier had lanced through his shattered shins were now numbed to mere knife-pricks.  It would help if he could see, but there was nothing except a vile, moist blackness reminding him of a gook tunnel he’d crawled through during the war; and the air—it smelled worse than a cesspool.  Clint figured they’d put him here, wherever the hell here was, right after they’d murdered Mark. 
Clint remembered trying to help his buddy when one of the fiends knocked him out as cold as the hard ground he now lay on.  Odd that he’d lived through the hell of Dak To in ’67, only to end up alone in the goddamn dark with his legs snapped in two.  At least they didn’t do to him what they’d done to Mark.  Not yet, anyway, and not if he could help it.  Someone had to let the world know what was going on, and he planned to hang on as long as he could. 
  Clint pulled his body along the floor.  It was imperative to find a way out.  His right palm slid into something wet and slimy.  Cursing, he sprawled in filth—a sticky putridness that wriggled and clung and buzzed.  He felt a hand, and relief flowed through him that someone else was there.  He grasped it, and with a soft thlop, the appendage landed in the goo beside him.  An epiphany soaked in horror flowed through his body, and he knew: unless someone found him, death was going to be a long time coming.
 "OVERALL WINNER:  If there is such a thing as a perfect first chapter, P.E. Kassees wrote it."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Designing Woman

Menoly Anne Arnau, proud Floridian of Minorcan descent, Anthropologist by degree, government employee by day, and sometimes knit-wear designer, learns that not every twig holding mankind’s heritage was in her text books.  In a week, she witnesses a bloody murder on the steps of a church, meets Antoine de Chevalier, Interpol Agent and Les Gens extraordinaire, and becomes embroiled in the midst of an international investigation centered in Tallahassee, Florida’s capitol city.  Through all of her adventures in Les Gens: Into the Night, as she experiences horror, murder, and romance, she wears her knitted designs. 

Menoly is a designing woman.

And that is a good thing.  Knitting makes her happy, and it makes me, the author, happy.  It is also a marketing tool.  (BIG cheesy grin) 

When writing, It is much more interesting to have characters who are as real as people seen on the street, at work, or in the local knit shop.  My folk, and the people in books I remember and enjoy reading about, have loves, hates, homes, friends, acquaintances, families, hobbies, and on and on.  I read Anne McCaffrey said for characters to have a present, they have to have a past,or they will not be grounded.  I agree.  Characters won’t leap off the page unless the author gives them a complete life.  Raison de vivre… a reason to live.  That reason to live gives the author a plethora of opportunities to spread the word about her/his book.

Does your character like to play guitar?  Do you have music the character has written?  Right there, you have a place to advertise.  What about paint?  Share information in watercolor/oil/acrylic groups in your town and on the internet.  An author I know writes about a woman who works with her Sheriff’s Department as an adjunct diver and helps solve crime.  She joined a national diver’s association and attends their conferences selling her books.  Glynn Marsh Alam – sets a fine example on marketing her Luanne Fogarty series.  See?
Menoly knits, and not only knits, but designs garments.  I’m making designs for Menoly.  Some will be offered free, some will be for sale on this blog, or, if I can ever get one set up, through a website.  Now, I take designing seriously, having already sold some of my patterns.  I'm not blowing smoke, and nor should you.  Do your research. 

Take your writing and share it with others.  Look in your book to find places and people who will be interested in these wonderful characters you’ve written about.

But most of all – have fun as you breathe life into your characters!

Imagining the possibilities,


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The JOY of Research

There is a body on a steeple.  I’m not going to tell you how it got there, nor how it came down.  Neither the before nor after is very pretty, though it is quite interesting.  I guess you figured the guy is dead?  Yep, shore ‘nuff.  What I’m going to tell you about is the research involved.  (Did I mention that this is in my book, a fictional fantasy?  No?  Ooops!) 

Okay, I’d already decided a body would be on a steeple in the middle of good ol’ T-town.  Next, I needed to decide which steeple.  Our fair city is full of beautiful churches whose spires reach to the heavens and are topped by various styles of crosses.  I needed a church that would be visible from a wide area and have a cross strong enough to hold a body for four to six hours.  At least until our heroes spot it.

After checking out Tallahassee from the 22nd floor of the State Capitol, I found two churches that fit the bill.  The first Saturday morning I could, I drove downtown, parked, and investigated the grounds around the churches in relation to the height of the steeple and the effect it will have on the story.  Great.  Decision made.  No problem.  I go home.  Type.

Now I’ve got the dead guy on the steeple, and need to get him down.  That sounds easy, but wait!  Even though I delve into fantasy and fiction, I like the real parts real and to make sense.  That way when I need people to suspend belief for the fantastical parts, they will.  There are options, therefore I need to find out how tall that beautiful spire is so I can see if the Fire Department is able to reach the steeple.  Phone call to church goes somewhat like this: 

“Good morning, I’m Peggy, a local author.  I’m writing a book that takes place in Tallahassee.  Can you tell me the height of your steeple?  Please?”  Now, you may ask why I didn’t mention the dead body?  Well, what church is going to tell me the height of their steeple if they know there is a body draped on it?  And then, you see, I can’t lie to the church.  Do NOT want to piss off God.  Bad form, there.  Omission is a wonderful thing.  The young lady, after placing me on hold, came back with the information.  Very nice lady.

Now to contact the Fire Department and find out how high their ladders reach.  (Do not read further if you work in the capitol or one of the other tall buildings in town.)  Another question – have you ever tried to call the Fire Department just to talk to someone?  The only number I could find was 911.  Okay, I am NOT calling 911 to ask how high the Fire Department’s ladders go.  Not in this lifetime.  So at lunch one day, I hop in my beautiful red jeep and drive to the firehouse just off Tennessee Street, park in an appropriate spot, and walk to the large cavernous opening exactly in time to have the sirens blare and two huge red trucks to go barreling out two feet from my startled nose.  (My nose is still not happy with me after that, I assure you.) 

After the fire trucks leave, I carefully ease my upset nose around the corner and quickly follow it with my entire body.  There is a door waaaay in the back and I can see shadows through the milky glass which signifies people, or one very large Dalmatian.  The two men who opened the door, sans dog, after my knock, were very nice.  I introduced myself with my full name, that I was an author, and needed some help with research for a book.  Sure, they say and lean back in their chairs, grinning at each other.  One crosses his hands on his chest and tilts his chair onto the back two rungs.  (A little further, I think, and he’ll need the services of his own EMTs if that chair falls.)  I ask how high their longest ladders reach.  They ask, “Why?”  Oh, dear, here goes…  “I need to know if they can reach a body on the gold-bricked church’s steeple.”  It would be difficult to tell you how quickly those men leaped from their chairs, looked at each other, then sideways at me, and all but pushed me out of the way to stare outside.  “Not that steeple, I say,” and point to the majestic one slightly to the right of where they were looking.

“But there isn’t a body up there.”  They look accusingly at me.  “Of course there isn’t, I told you, this is fiction… in a book?”  Now they move a little bit away from me and once again look at each other as if to say… we’ve got a live one.  I know that look, I’ve more than likely had it on my face when someone calls my office and the first thing out of their mouth is:  “I’m not crazy….” 

After a moment of silence, I decide to remind them.  “Um, the size of your ladder?”  They tell me.  I thank them and, being the conscientious person I am, ask their names because I’d like to publicly acknowledge them in my book.  “Oh, you don’t need our names,” they both say and back away from me, hands palm out in front of their bodies.  “We’re happy to help.”    

So you know, the ladders in the fire trucks do not reach to the top of the steeple – not even close.  I did check out cranes, and they do, but it would take a long time to get one through downtown during Sunday morning traffic.  Awesome.  I now know how my guy gets off the steeple.  You know what they say, what goes up, must come down.

And I still want to say thank you to the Tennessee Street Fire Department for answering my question… and yes, I do know, they are always happy to help.

 Imagining all the possibilities,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Say It Ain't So!

You've probably heard, as I have, that one of the best ways to edit your writing is to read it out loud.

Don’t do it!

If you like the way your writing is when you sit at your computer and read it; don’t do it. If you enjoy the action and characters as you hold crisp white pages in your hand, feet propped up and a beverage nearby, again; don’t do it. If you think it is perfect and says exactly what you want it to say, and everyone who reads it will send rave reviews to Amazon/New York Times/NPR, well then… Don’t Read Your Book Out Loud! Because if you do, nine times out of ten, you will find things that need changing no matter how excellent you thought it was when you read it.

See, our wonderful minds see what they want to see.  We'll add the correct endings of words automatically.  Fix the descriptions, and because we are the almighty being creating new and wonderful worlds, we will know exactly what we meant when putting ink to paper.  If you read it out loud, the oddest things jump out and grab you by the throat.

If you decide to read your marvelous writing, don’t read it to the dog – he’s going to love it. He’ll wag his tail and look at you like you are Hemingway, Charles Dickens, or J.R.R. Tolkien. Maybe even J.K. Rowling or Steve Berry. Remember – the dog loves you so much, he’ll think everything you say is perfect. Read it to the cat. Cats won’t tolerate crap from anyone… not that your book, or even portions of it, are crap. If you don’t have a cat, imagine one sitting in front of you, eyes slanted half shut, tail twitching. Cats like rhythm, and will get all antsy if what they hear does not suit them. Oh yes, read it to the cat.

See, the written word is like a river – it ebbs and flows, swirls when needed, builds to thunderous waves, and throbs with the beat of a deep bass drum. When speaking, it’s easier for an author to hear that fluidity, or see the snags in the way. And when we make needed changes, readers will find our book more compelling and be willing to follow the current all the way to the end.

So, here I am – sanding and polishing, and reading to the cat. Neither the cat nor I like stagnant pools.

Imagining the possibilities,