Diving into a cold lake

Girl dives into a calm summer lake in the countryside of Vermont

As a writer, sometimes I struggle to produce a description in a scene or feeling I want the reader to experience. I am challenged to get the words just right, so that you understand and experience the emotion and sensations of the story and what the characters are experiencing. This is one of those times!

Every summer, I look forward to re-creating the feeling that occurs from diving into a cold northeast lake after sitting in the scorching sun on a warm summer day. That sense of shock when your hot skull hits the cold water, and then the refreshing tingle all over as you move to break through to the surface and the warm muggy air. Your heart is pounding from the shock and the breath you take when you come up shudders in your lungs. It’s a physical feeling that I love, which may sound crazy, but l think of it often.

It’s not easily re-creatable in a pool or the ocean. Those places have their own sensory parties. Especially the cold north Atlantic where doing this is actually painful due to the freezing temperatures of the water. In order to get this sensation, you must be in a lake, with green trees all around and weeds near the bottom that skim along your feet as you dive deep. The lake must also be deep enough to dive into and to produce the cold water needed for the shock of the change in temperature.

Do you know what I mean?

Maybe words are just not enough to convey that sensory experience. Maybe I am alone in relishing the sensations of diving in an icy lake on a hot day. My family and friends treat me as if I am a bit nuts when asking them to describe their sensations when doing this.

Maybe to me it holds more than just a way to cool off. That lake experience of my youth was pretty awesome. Those were the times when you left home to play in the morning and didn’t come home until supper. My siblings and I would walk in our cut off Levi’s’ cutting through fields and railroad tracks to the little local lake where groups of small-town kids spent their summer days. Hanging out in the sun and cooling off in the lake. Those were some good times.

We used to all go in the water in groups, all diving off the diving board on the dock and out to the raft floating out in the middle of the lake. We laid in the sun to dry off on that floating barge. Turning back when we got hot or hungry or sick of the boys pushing each other into the water.

We were exhausted at night, having walked, biked, and swam all day. Too tired to get into too much trouble at home. I think it’s why our parents loved to send us there. It wore us out.

That feeling of diving into that cold lake will stay with me until I die, I am sure of it. The memories of the banana seat bike, frozen snickers and teen loves. I hope to do it justice in the next in the series of the Stone House Inn books. Killer Recipe is underway and will be out before Christmas is the plan. So now you know there will be a scene–unless it gets edited out—of someone diving into the cold water!

Taking with a Psychic Medium

One of the cool things that writers get to do when putting together a book, is to research some of the material that is going into the overall published material.  For the Stone House series, I have had some interesting conversations with some very intriguing individuals.

The overall goal in talking to people is to gain a flavor of reality for the story. If I were to state something in the story about overall police procedures and have something glaring wrong – it would really put off people who know how it should be. Being a nurse, I actually get offended when I read stories that have medical procedures all wrong.  It really puts me off the story, and I believe that the author did not take the time to get the details right.

 I have spoken with police at all levels to understand some of the procedures they undergo when a murder is being investigated. I have researched how long it takes for a body to decompose and taken the time to understand how an incident command would be set up in the middle of the woods.

The most interesting conversation I have had so far in my career, has been the conversation I had with a medium – actually she is a psychic medium. I love to scare myself with ghost stories and will frequently watch TV shows that have mediums and cast members that claim to talk to dead people.

My goal was to find out if she could really see people who ‘are on the other side’, and “test” whether or not her predictions or her reading of me would be accurate.  In our conversation, I learned that I have a lot of Angel Energy and that I needed to make the change I was considering in my career. I thought the first was pretty cool but was a little shocked at the second. I had purposely decided to NOT share any information in order to have what I considered to be a valid reading. She should not have known that. I did tell her I was writing a book where one of the characters was a medium, and I wanted to get it right. She was glad I asked, as she had similar reaction to incorrect information in books as I did. I had not shared anything personal, except my name. hmmm

Back to seeing ghosts.  She shared with me, that indeed she could see spirits on the other side, she can feel their energy and they share information with her. Some are easier to read than others. She then shared with me that there was someone who was trying to thank me, she asked if I knew someone named “C…”  She mentioned my father by name, who had died several years ago.  Now she could have googled me or looked me up on Facebook for some of this information; at that point in my conversation, I wasn’t fully impressed.

But then…. And I still get chills when I think about this. No other person on earth knew what she next said to me. There was no way she could have known what transpired as my father lay dying all those years ago….

And I became a believer….