Finding Zen in Rebound Dogs

Over seven years ago, when I was at the end of my tether, I started a blog under a pseudonym, Carly G. I wrote it only to vent, to let people learn from my bad choices.  I didn’t think I’d have enough material to keep it going, but as time and life went on, and took turns I didn’t expect, it became my favorite thing to write. I don’t think I’ve written any fiction in at least six months, but I’ve kept my Rebound Dogs blog active.  This author blog has been quiet except for occasional recipes but worry not. I’ve been writing. It’s not fiction but it comes from the heart and is meant to share and to inspire.

This week the book version of the first 98 blog posts was released. HERE is the link.  to Amazon where you can read it all in one book. You can of course always go directly to the site and read for free. The first entry in the book is from May so be sure to check out the new posts. Here’s the Rebound Dogs link. 

Someday maybe I’ll get back to fiction, but for nowcover promo.jpg the happy stuff, the real stuff, the life experiences and observations I write about without a fictional spin are filling my soul.


Rebound Dogs

7 LilyI want to apologize if it seems as if I’ve dropped off the earth, and never update my blog. I have not, in fact, ceased to exist. It’s true I have not written any fiction in months and months. I have not published new books, or sold (or tried to sell) any short stories. The pilot and bible I wrote for the supernatural drama TV series is sitting in a virtual drawer.

I have however been pouring a lot of effort into my Rebound Dogs blog. This is a blog I created over six years ago under a pseudonym. It started as a way to vent about the horrors of dating, about weight loss, about getting a Rebound Dog instead of a Rebound Boyfriend.

As it turned out, in the midst my spewing venom, I met a nice guy in California (on Facebook). The blog chronicles my transformation from jaded, angry, steadfast New Englander to happy, well-adjusted Californian. When I go back and read the first entries, I’m surprised at how much I’ve changed, and how much my and my daughter’s lives have changed.

My publisher, Shadowridge Press aka, the Nice Guy From California, will be publishing the blogs in book form, starting from that first fateful day when I snuck off to Starbucks to type my anger into a newly created blog, to the most recent from a couple of weeks ago, when I wrote one I thought was a good place to stop. My eighth grade English teacher Mrs. Chadwick used to say, when asked how long something needed to be, “as long as it needs to be.” And that recent entry was a good stopping point.

The blog will continue, of course, as I find through my other self, my Carly G, that I’m able to dig deep into my emotions and write about them in a way I just can’t as Tracy C. It’s therapeutic for me and keeps my brain from atrophying.

Here is a link to the blog, which I encourage you to check out REBOUND DOGS. In a few months, the book form will be available in print and on Kindle and maybe I’ll even try to set up some signings.

Until then, this blog may be a little dormant except for an occasional recipe.

Have a wonderful day!


Putting Down Roots

This one is taken from my Carly blog.

I was at work the other day  talking to a coworker about my future relocation to California. She asked the valid question, “What if you move and it doesn’t work out? You’ll be stuck out there.” She’s not the first person to ask it. In other situations, that same thought would be crossing my mind on a daily basis.

I replied simply that, “Nothing will happen.” But even if  it did, like if Ryan died which I can see as the only thing that would prevent a long future together, California is eventually going to be my new home.

When I was in high school, I’d readied myself to go to Salem State College. I’d planned and dreamed and breathed in the ocean air, mentally preparing myself for this new life. I ended up not going last minute (something I regret to this day) and stayed in my home town. Eventually I met my first husband and we moved around quite a bit, all within a 30 mile radius. Each new town I made my own, the best I could. I loved Middleboro. It was by far the cutest IMG_0046town I’ve ever lived in. I lived there for about five years. I never got to know any of my neighbors well, and didn’t socialize much, but that town … I walked to the Boston bus for years, in front of the town hall. The church was there, and Ivy’s kindergarten. Each summer I’d walk down the street to the local fair and watch fireworks. If it weren’t for the life troubles at the time, it would have been Heaven. In some ways I guess it still was. I loved the cranberry bogs and flat land and the undeniable charm around every corner.

After the divorce I moved ninety miles north to where I live now, on the New Hamphire border. It was for a man and I knew nothing about the town except that he lived there. It was scary and hard, but I was excited for the adventure. The relationship didn’t work out, and now we are strangers, but this hasDownloadedFilebecome my town, as if I was born here. The hills, and winding roads without streets signs, and the ski lodge, and the river that runs through all the local towns have become my mental backdrop to life.

So when I think of Simi Valley, I am mixed with fear of moving to a new place, but excitement over settling in to another life, one that will eventually become my own, as if I was born there. This time it’s different because I feel truly connected to many people here, relatives and friends, and even just the sights in the town. And sometimes I worry that I’ll never see another town that looks like this one again. But one time Ryan drove me to Ojai and that was a darn cute little village. I wouldn’t live there (too far from work) but it’s drivable.

IMG_2448As much as I’ve grown to love the duck pond near my house, both shining in the spring, reflecting leaves in the fall, or frozen over in winter, I will learn to love the orange groves, staffed with migrant farm workers. I’ll learn to love the palm trees the way I love the pines. And the mountains, well they are already a part of Ventura County that take my breath away.

I know this blog doesn’t touch much upon my love for Ryan. That’s evident by now. But this is more about the other side of relocation. Forging a connection, nesting in the new place, while missing the other one. I’ll miss the sound of plows overnight, and dog prints in the snow, but I won’t miss the cold, or spending all my nights and weekends alone. And trust me, there is something intoxicating about standing outside in shorts and a tank top at 8 am and feeling warmth on my skin, and finding lizards in the closet.

For now, I visit as much as I can, and I’ve sent a few things on ahead, moving in a handful items on a time. I’ve sent a jar of rain and some acorns, some fall leaves. With my next box I’ll send pinecones and (melted) snow. Little by little I’ll make it my home. Ivy will be in college, hopefully not too far away, DownloadedFilein San Diego. Part of me thinks this is just like when she was six and we moved north, where I drove us toward a new life, car filled with our things and pets, toward an adventure. I guess it’s somewhat the same (though she’ll be eighteen and a half), pulling us both from what we know to start fresh. College and adulthood and a world so different from what we’ve known.

It’s all still a ways off, another eighteen months or so, but it’s on my mind, as Ivy grows older, SATs loom in the near future, and time rushes faster than I can track it. Each time I drive down the street I capture images in my head. Each time I meet with local friends or take the subway, I’m logging it all in.

Nothing will happen, and California is my future. But New England will always run in my blood.

-Carly G.

One More Christmas After This

get-attachment.aspxShared from Carly G.’s Rebound Dogs blog.

Last Christmas was the first one I shared with Ryan. We didn’t experience it in person, as we only met in real life December 6th, and two trips across the country in a month wasn’t a possibility. We opened our presents together over the phone. He picked all wonderful gifts which showed even in the few months we’d gotten to know each other, that he truly understood me. We knew then it would be the last holiday we’d spend apart.

But this Christmas is in two days and there’s no chance of us being together. The reality of the cost of flying back and forth and of limited vacation time factors in. We saw each other in November and now have a long stretch until February. So like last year I’ve got a bunch of presents from him that are sitting on my table waiting until Christmas Eve to be unwrapped. And he’s got some that I sent with much love.

It’s true we’ve spent more time apart than together in 2011 and 2012 but we’re still just as emotionally connected as ever. Sometimes I get busy at work and don’t think much about the relationship. Then suddenly I’ll remember that there’s someone out there whose presence has changed my life.

get-attachment.aspxI am reminded that just one more Christmas after this and the week-long stretches of gray rainy days and damp air will  give way to sunshine and palm trees and a whole different ocean. I am reminded that in less two years I won’t be a single parent anymore and someone will be there to watch over me, to literally (not virtually) stand by my side and help me in life.

I sit alone tonight thinking that just one more Christmas after this one and Ryan and I really will spend all the holidays together. I’ve baked all afternoon for family gatherings. All my gifts for everyone are wrapped. Ivy is out with friends. The tree is lit, and now it’s time to just sit and wait.

My life has become a continual emotional conflict. On the one hand, I can’t wait to start my life with Ryan, to move to California. They say you can’t run away from things, and that’s true. But you can leave towns and areas where baggage is piled up all around you like rotted trash. You can dream of living in a place where nothing is familiar, where nothing is cursed, and you don’t have to worry about running into someone  you never ever wanted to see again.

get-attachment.aspxOn the flip side, once Ivy graduates from high school, this part of our lives is over. I’ll still be her mother of course, but the 0-18 years part of her life will have passed. She’ll be well on her way to adulthood, and long gone will be the days when she sat on my feet when I walked, or held my hand, or trusted I had the answers to everything.

One more Christmas after this and it won’t just be Ivy and me anymore, sitting here with the pets watching our favorite movies over and over again. She’ll be at college and gradually starting a life of her own. And there will be another person in our family. Well one more person and his turtle. Can’t forget Tortuga.

It’s been a long hard year. And of all the years since Ivy was born, since it’s been just the two of us, none drove home testing the difficulties of raising a child alone like this one has. If Ryan hadn’t entered my life, even if it is mostly virtual, I don’t know how well I would have fared. There’s a limit to everyone’s strength and mine was tested.

get-attachment.aspxSo on this eve of Christmas eve, I am relieved that it’s just one more Christmas after this until the next stage of all our lives start.

I wish everyone a happy holiday and a new year filled with hope and celebration for good things to come.

-Carly G.

When Love Turns a Corner




Until a couple of weeks ago, all the times I’ve seen Ryan were on his turf, in his world.

Whenever I go to see him, there are no real life trappings around me. No dog, no cat, no teenage daughter, no house to clean, no food to cook. No snow. California is warm and sunny and pretty. It always feels like a long overdue vacation. If you’ve read my previous blogs, this whole relationship has been wonderfully romantic and magical.

Ryan has tried to stress to me the importance of my seeing it as it really is and I’ve argued that I AM seeing it that way, that my eyes are wide open.

But when Ryan came to visit Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago,  in my world, it was a whole different experience.

It was his first time in Massachusetts and his first time on an airplane as a matter of fact. He took a red-eye flight in hopes he’d sleep through it and avoid the angst of flying. He barely slept at all. I picked him up at 8 AM at Logan Airport. He was pleasant but tired. We got back to my place and Henry and Lily immediately claimed him as their own. He sat on the couch, covered in mammals and fell asleep.

He finally got to meet Ivy. In my mind, I suppose I was still looking to secure her a father, someone to look up to, to confide in. Ryan and I had often talked about how, despite our geographical distance, we were a family now. And I’d insert silently in my fairy tale mentality, “we’ll live happily ever after.” It’s become apparent that Ivy is more realistic and grounded than I am when it comes to fantasy. She wants none of it. Now is now for her. No projecting, no pretending. She was pleasant to Ryan.  There was no arguing but not much warmth either.

I’ve seen a few types of teens and how they react when their parents bring men or women home. There are the girls who will be pleasant and sweet and welcoming, and accept everyone without question. There are those who will hate whoever arrives, without discrimination or fairness. And then there are the Ivys. She’s pretty much hated everyone I’ve met, in short order; but ultimately her instincts have proven true. Out of three kinds of kids, I’d prefer honesty and fair judgement even if it’s just her opinion.

By Ryan’s first night here, he got the sniffles which turned into a cold and fever. Over the next couple of days, he developed a cough. And then there was the issue of weather. It was supposed to be 60s and raining. But instead it was in the 80s and sunny, then 60s and rainy, then 70s and rainy. He got to see how we New Englander’s live on a day-to-day basis.It was not like the California visits. Not by a long shot.

One night he woke up at 3AM coughing so badly he couldn’t fall back asleep and ended up sleeping on the recliner. He woke me up around eight in the morning the next day. Ivy was at school. He sat and gave me the “We have to talk” look. I was afraid. I’ve had a few of those morning talks where someone wakes up and decides I’m too much.  I was the Massachusetts Carly here.  Scattered and busy and dripping with dependent mammals. He’d acted a little cool since he’d gotten here, more reserved. I felt like now that he’d seen this me, not the carefree California Carly, well I was more than he’d bargained for.

“You know, you’re a lot more entrenched in this life than I realized,” he said. “Moving out to California is going to be a much bigger deal than you realize. Letting go of all this. You’ve got a whole life here.”

“Of course I do. I have an identity. I just want to be with you so I’ll give this all up someday and move out there. It’s okay.” I’m not sure how it looked from his end, but for me, I felt everything flash before my eyes. This was surely his way of ending things, of letting me down easy. When he reads this blog, I’m sure he’ll be surprised that I was going through all that, in my head, because it wasn’t his intention.

He merely wanted me to start seeing everything for what it was. A real relationship with a future where it’s not all heart and flowers. Where Ivy may never be thrilled with our relationship, where my relocating is going to rip my heart out, where one or both of us may sometimes be sick and not perky. I’m not sure why, but at first that realization rattled me. The voices of exes echoed in my brain, “You can’t handle it when a relationship becomes real! As soon as the romance turns real you run!”

I looked to Ryan. In that moment, we turned a corner. It was hard corner for me. Like I was letting go of one stage to move onto the next. I was nervous the next couple of days, the rest of his visit. I was still on eggshells, on some level sure that he was moving toward a different step, of running himself. I couldn’t be sure. I just knew I was afraid and it was another reminder of how much more he means to me than anyone else has.

But it was all fine. He went back home. I got some sleep, his cold got better. And we resumed our normal routine of nightly long phone calls and texts and emails and IMs during the day. But it’s been different for me since then. It feels more secure and permanent. The veil of fantasy was lifted and I’m truly happy with the future that is underneath.

Here’s to building a solid future-a real future.


For more on the life and writings of the real Carly G please see her WEBSITE or her Amazon Author Page.

2011-What a Time it Was

I haven’t updated this page in ages, but since it’s the time of year to reflect on the prior year’s successes and failures, I’m resolving to resume updating my life and writing here in this blog. 2011 was a big year for me, too busy and too many changes, but it was also a year of listening and of learning.

Where to begin? A year ago my first book was released. It was through a small press, not one of the big hitters. And it wasn’t big book either, not the type my Thriller Genre friends put out, or even my Horror Writer friends. But The Man of Mystery Hill was a long time coming, a YA based loosely on true heartbreaking events with some sci-fi and local paranormal sites tossed in. I wrote the book to give the real life events a happy ending, a sort of do over. I threw myself into promoting it wholeheartedly even though the book had some problems from the get go. I didn’t care, I was rushing ahead. For a number of reasons I won’t go into, it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

I was dating a man a year ago who seemed nice enough and relatively compatible. He had a toddler, and I thought it would be  fun for my teen daughter and I to have  a little one around.  The baby was delightful but the relationship between us grown ups was…well, too much like other ones that had crumbled in the past. The patterns were there early on but I didn’t care; I was rushing ahead. As with the publishing venture though, eventually reality caught up with me and it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

After his departure, I decided last summer I was DONE with relationships. Done making the same mistakes and choosing the same types of men and yes, watching them all end the same way, in utter frustration. In so many aspects of my life in 2011, I found myself walking down familiar shaky roads, then arriving in unsavory and familiar situations.

As 2012 draws near,  the biggest thing I have learned, above all else, is that sometimes Do Overs are really just recycled failures. Things fail for a reason. You can’t go back and simply redo what you did (Changing the players) or it will come out just like the first time.

On this New Year’s Eve, I am sitting contentedly in my home, looking at the cover of The Soul Collector. I heeded the critiques of The Man of Mystery Hill, and there were many. And this time, I cared. I changed the age of the character, tightened up the writing, changed the cover, the title, and yes, the publisher. It’s not a do over; I wrote it as a person who learned from her mistakes.

I’m co-chair of the New England Horror Writers, which now boasts almost 300 members. This was a successful year for us. We revamped and moved our website, increased membership by leaps and bounds, created an NEHW Facebook page and released our first anthology on 11-11-11 at AnthoCon. Epitaphs is an impressive collection. 2012 is going to be an even bigger year for us with several writing events already planned for the members.

I started a new blog last July, when I was militantly single, called Rebound Dogs. I wrote it anonymously as Carly G and recorded my bitterness and jaded attitude toward dating. For once I was brutally honest, publicly and to myself,  about what an utter fool I’d been too many times. I owned up to my own mistakes and  saw in startling clarity for the first time, men as they had been, not how I envisioned them. I even got a new puppy, Lily G, to keep me occupied, keep me from falling in love again.

But alas, as I was changing and growing, a man in CA was reading my blog, and enjoying it, not  horrified by how resistant I was. We began chatting on Facebook, comparing notes on the inherent downfalls of falling in love. We were kindred spirits in our mutual reluctance to trust anyone again. And certainly, having a male friend 3000 miles away was about as safe as I could get. No chance it could turn into anything…

Except it did of course, and now I am unexpectedly happy and content and settled. Yes he lives far away but we are alike in so many ways, so close, and such good friends, that the distance is manageable. It’s a different kind of relationship than I’ve had before. I guess I’m a different person than I was so that’s at least half of it.

I’m rolling into 2012 a changed woman. I’m neither bitter nor naive just sort of placid for the first time. I don’t have the usual list of resolutions for the upcoming year. I like how things are going. I look forward to focusing a lot more on writing this year though, and marketing what I’ve already written. It should prove to be an exciting and rewarding 2012.

I wish everyone a peaceful new year. I’ll end with a You Tube video of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences


The Soul Collector and Epitaphs are available on Amazon.