Fear of Success


I used to scoff at the concept. But lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

Once upon a time I worked in New York. At CBS. At Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, aka, The New York Shakespeare Festival. At New York City Ballet. At a host of other venues with innumerable other denizens of the entertainment industry. Among the hundreds of people with whom I had contact, two performers stood out. One was a struggling comedian. The other a struggling actor.

Both were tall, dark, handsome men. Both were talented. Both had that depth and grace of soul that merits the label ‘genuinely nice guy.’ Today, the comedian lives in Atlanta, working as a headhunter for technology corporations.

He didn’t ‘make it.’ A couple of weeks ago I asked him why. A thoughtful silence ensued. But then, with the perspective of years… “I didn’t know how to market myself. It wasn’t enough to want it, or to be good at it. I needed to be a business man, too. I just wasn’t.”

Who knew when or if we’d talk again, so I took the plunge with what I considered much more important questions. “Are you sorry?”

“I wonder about it sometimes; what life would be like if I’d kept at it.”

And then the biggest question of all. “Are you happy?”

Not much hesitation this time. “Yeah, I’m happy. The way things turned out? I’ll take it.”

The actor, on the other hand, is by industry definitions, successful. He has television and movie credits under his belt. He’s climbed higher than he ever expected. He supports himself and his family solely by practicing his craft. In a strange quirk of fate, I found myself going over the same ground with him a short time ago.

“I don’t know why I made it.” His voice was low and contemplative. “I know I’ve been lucky. Maybe I was hungrier for it than the others? I needed it. Not sure…”

“But you’re happy, right?”

A longer pause than I expected from such an overtly ‘successful’ man.

“Sometimes. Not always.”

Maybe it’s because I’ve been contemplating success and its attendant obstacles. Maybe it’s because I have recently touched bases with those two very similar, yet extraordinarily divergent men. But now I watch others who are caught up in the throes of having their work acknowledged, and I see them discovering how different the journey is from what they dreamed and expected. I wonder even more. Does Fear of Success stem from an innate desire to sabotage ourselves, or is there something inherently scary about achieving it?

Why is success frightening? Why do we think we want it, if it is? Is it that any change, even when it’s what we’ve been striving to attain, is scary? Or are we afraid of finding ourselves trapped in a situation in which we feel obligated to remain, because everyone else thinks we’d be crazy to abandon it?

Answers are as numerous and varied as the situations and people involved.

As for me, I’m still struggling to reach that golden pinnacle where the air must surely be sweeter. But what if it’s so rarefied that breathing is impossible? I guess I’ll never know until I get there. In the meantime, I keep wondering.

It’s kind of scary…



Fae Anthology Cover Reveal


Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing; from the Old World to present day Indianapolis.

Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale tinged with urban fantasy, and horror with a fae twist.

Follow the link…step into the fairy ring, if you dare…for a chance to win a copy of Fae.


Edited by Rhonda Parrish

Release date: July 22, 2014 (ebook and paperback)



The Drive Home


She walks along the brink,
a land of moon-washed stones
and white-lipped currents.
Whispers hang over the water.
She inhales their damp,
dark call.

This late, only one car passes.

She is framed in his rearview mirror,
for a moment
at the edge.
Odd, he thinks, that someone
is there.
On the cliff.
So late.

He spares another glance.
The mirror reflects her absence.
But it’s late,
and dark,
and he doesn’t think
she’ll mind
if someone else finds
the body.


A is for Apocalypse Cover Reveal


How do you think the world will end? Worth worrying about?

I’ve long said that worry is the misuse of imagination. Here’s what proves me wrong: a collection of stories that turns dread into art, springing from the imaginations of 26 talented writers.

These select writers are being assigned letters of the alphabet, then given complete artistic freedom within a chosen theme. We begin at the beginning…a very good place to start…

 A is for Apocalypse

 A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what others have to say:

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

“Editor Rhonda Parrish gives us apocalyptic fiction at its finest. There’s not a whimper to be heard amongst these twenty-six End of the World stories. A wonderful collection.” -Deborah Walker, Nature Futures author.

Intrigued? Then get on the mailing list below for info as the launch, the apocalypse, approaches.

Win a free copy! Go to editor Rhonda Parrish’s blog and enter to win an ARC copy of A is for Apocalypse!

A is for Apocalypse
Edited by Rhonda Parrish
Poise and Pen Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0993699016
ISBN-10: 0993699014
Cover Designed by Jonathan Parrish


Editor: http://www.rhondaparrish.com
A is for Apocalypse on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21944844-a-is-for-apocalypse
A is for Apocalypse Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/TzDN9


Sparrows Fall





No one saw the sparrows fall
or noticed when they ceased to call.
For weeks their flinty beaks were still,
unable to announce the kill.

At night a wanderer fleeting past
saw the feathers in the grass,
felt the first foreboding chill
at tiny corpses on a hill.

Stumbled back when at his feet
bony wings began to beat.
Launched into the moonless sky
a flock of things that would not die.

So have a care when sparrows fall;
they may not be true birds at all,
only husks of restive dead
who fly a darker path instead.


A View From My Window

A View From My Window

On many levels, this is the writing process to me.
It’s bending over a keyboard, lost in your own little world, only to raise your head and see the marvelous things you’re missing.
It’s knowing you’d still choose to return to the places of your imagination even when confronted with such stormy beauty.
It’s a choice, every one of which carries its own rewards and regrets.
It’s knowing there’s an end to every struggle; a light at the end of every tunnel.
Unless it dead ends.
In which case, it wasn’t a tunnel at all. It was a cave.
So you find the safety of concealment, rather than light.
It’s all in how you look at it…


Dream Lover


Sleep is such a risky thing
knowing what the night may bring.
What visitations may come
before the rising of the sun.

What creature’s lidless eyes may peer
from ravaged face that once was dear.
What fetid draft may mist your cheek
redolent with graveyard reek.

Whose scrabbling fingers, jointed bone,
struggle for purchase on your own.
The twilight grin and tender touch
once adored, now missed so much.

But not the one from your mind’s eye
this fragment left when he did die,
beckoning with fleshless arms,
hungry for your mortal charms.

Leaching color from your skin,
a lipless kiss, a rictus grin.
Soundless whispers in your mind
trap you in this fevered time.

In sleep is when he comes to hold
a body free of coffin-mold,
when lust survives the fleshly state,
when bones and dust still wish to mate.