Sharing thoughts

I’m always looking for new and fresh ideas to bring to my novels. And it seems I’m always pointed in the right direction, one I might call a synchronous direction, to fill in some of the blanks. In Once Upon a Tree, I found this wonderful book whose cover was Gwen made manifest in tree form. The book itself suggests that some trees grow in isolation, living a proud but precarious existence, a description that might fit the ex-vet, who lost a limb fighting on remote mountainsides. Her beauty comes from her courage, her fierce protective spirit, and in time she will rise, like the mighty tree and touch the sun.

While writing Can’t Be Tamed, I found an old film I saw in college that resonated. History was always my passion. I loved learning about people, times and cultures. I remember being entranced by the movie, haunted by the images and the meaning of what it represented. It stirred the first flickers of feminism, and those flickers have grown stronger with age. The Burning Times is one segment of a trilogy that separates the history of women’s spirituality into long-past, past and present. The pre-history speaks to the Feminine Divine ‘s existence, and how it was subsumed over time by the “sky”. (a reference to male power and domination). Where women were once the healers, the leaders, the planters, the wise ones, they were reduced to nothing; their way of life exterminated during what has come to be known as the witch trials. These executions didn’t only occur in Salem, Massachusetts, but all over the world. The Spanish Inquisition, another method used to diminish what women brought to the earth, and in the process, destroyed the organic way of life.

Thankfully, the feminine divine is reemerging. After centuries of oppression, women are offering inspiration, courage and community, something desperately needed in today’s world. Through myth, we see her as goddess, an archetype that lives within us all. It is spiritual in nature, the sacred center of our being, and it brings us to life. Many have been caught up in this movement of celebration, reclaiming their true selves, reaffirming their powerful energies, and connecting them to something bigger than themselves.

My series, Everyday Goddesses, explores the aspects of this archetype; nurturer,  warrior, protector, wise one, healer, story weaver, planter, and one who studies what remains after death. Each is a fragment of the whole, and when brought together, are able to exhume the long-forgotten awareness of who they are, strengthen their individual gifts, and foster the type of community that enriches them.

Here comes the sun…

and it is a welcome change. I was at my favorite coffee shop yesterday for the first iced chocolate marshmallow since they closed in March. They re-opened on Monday to the delight of the community. Everyone that came in was wearing a mask and keeping their distance, but the smiles at the semblance of normalcy, were deeply satisfying.

My days are full with editing, blurb writing, putting together an acknowledgment and a “to my readers” page for June first, when the completed manuscript of Once There Was A Tree will go to my formatter. All while I continue to write, Can’t Be Tamed. I’ve had to take breaks along the way to fully flesh out the characters that have found a home there. Cerridwen will come after Lilith and I’ve had to introduce her more fully into the story line, along with her nemesis, the male lead. Zain Bishara was absent when I began to develop the series, but he popped up out of nowhere as a new medical examiner. It screamed conflict and I’ve been having fun creating a man who will enflame Cerri in more ways than one. He was, after all, the man who Cerri claims caused the cave-in that almost buried her alive. New characters are coming alive on the page again and I am happily engaged in the process. 

I can’t believe I’m already on book four of the eight part series and as my mind wanders farther down the road, I can envision another four or five women entering the sacred circle that has been formed by the women of Eden. They did once talk about increasing their numbers to thirteen, the number of moon cycles in a year. Miko was an addition I didn’t anticipate, which means a story of her own, and Zain’s mother Kimani, is an anthropology professor who will bump up the median age of the group, and add a crone to the mix, if they let her in. The juices are flowing, and I am squeezing them for all they’re worth. 

I do love this writing life of mine. 

 

 

 

 

Good morning

Today I’m making peace of mind a priority.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and as I sit here, I ache for quiet, routine, and connection to my inner self. It’s been over six weeks since the dogs went to day care and my husband went to his “office”. The barking commences with every truck that goes by, my husband comes in and out of the house when the mood suits, chatting about what trade took place or how many Facebook likes he’s gotten on a post. Worst of all, my characters are no more than paper-doll cutouts rather than the three dimensional images my fertile mind used to come up with.

My dog has been sick for close to a month, the sun has yet to come out for more than a day or two straight, and my imagination has taken a sabbatical. Is it burnout or depression? A combination of them both? I think it has more to do with my inability to spend thirty consecutive minutes of quiet time with my thoughts. I want to conjure again, through the magic of my muse, but the space where I used to listen is gone.

Maybe what I truly want is the return of in-person, face to face connections. A place to go to people watch, while people talk around me, where I can read body language, listen to the tone of voices, as human touch through eyes, ears, and heart becomes manifest. I’m out of sync, missing eye contact, hugs, painfully aware of how our new normal has left us unable to match that “infinitely fine-tuned communication system” that our bodies and brains crave.

The new issue of Psychology Today contains many articles about our changed world and how it is affecting us, how we can adapt, how to change, and why we shouldn’t look back on the halcyon days that existed only a few months ago.  We’re all finding our way through this maze called the new reality, some faster than others. I have a feeling when the sun comes out tomorrow, my perspective will change and the day will seem brighter.

If I could only play some of my music, maybe the sun would come out today, if only metaphorically. And maybe, just maybe, my muse might be enticed out to dance again.

My husband will be going out to check his mail in a while…  I can’t wait to ask Alexa for some Stevie Nicks, Keith Urban, or The Dixie Chicks. They might make all the difference.

 

 

Good morning

It’s a wonderful today. Sun is out and although it’s blustery, it’s not raining. That’s an improvement. I intend to enjoy it because tomorrow the rains come again.

I’ve been spending most of my time on Can’t Be Tamed, book four in my Everyday Goddesses series and it’s flowing quite well. So well, in fact, that I’ve been checking out marketing sites and advertising venues. There’s so many to choose from that it’s often hard to know where to spend your money effectively. I’ve done business with KDPBuzz, had a tweetstorm through Shout My Book, and I’m now looking into other sites that promote new releases. (And old) Book Funnel offers a lot of new book promos but I’ve yet to dig in and see how it all works. That will be one of my upcoming projects in the days ahead, the ones where rain will warrant staying in and keeping dry.

I’ve found the best way to advertise is through word of mouth but so many who read my stories neglect to rate them. It’s pretty easy to do and would help my ranking on Amazon. (I’m now millionth+ in line.) Where can you give a review? On Amazon itself, on the  Goodreads website, and you can recommend it on Book Bub.

If you’ve liked any of my books so far, please rate them.  It’ll help me measure how I’m doing and it will bump my stats into the realm of potential sales and the fertile fields of possibilities.

I love writing and will continue to whether I sell a hundred books or only one a year but it’s gratifying when someone tells me they loved the story, that it made them think or feel, that they learned something new, or they just enjoyed an afternoon between the pages.

 

 

 

 

 

Oops

I guess I lost track of what day it was. Easy to do these days.

The blog is a bit late, but as I’m trying to keep my weekly ritual, I’ll give it a go today.

I’ve talked about character development, how I come up with a storyline, and have described what the next series is about: the Divine Feminine. In plotting what to write about today, I thought I might touch on the research I do for all my books.

My love of learning didn’t start with my writing obsession. It’s always been a driving force in whatever I was doing and that hasn’t changed. Whenever I’m sorting through my options for locations, careers, even styles of dress and music, I usually opt for a new topic that I can immerse myself in.

It’s the reason I write about different nationalities. Like Mateo in Clutch Hit. Giving him Cuban roots, I needed to dive into the history, understand their way of life, and get a sense of what kind of people lived there. I read everything I could about the Caribbean island, and watched documentaries wanting to know what it would have been like to live there before and after Fidel. In Thrown for a Curve, Izabella dos Santos hails from Brazil. I bought cookbooks to replicate some of the foods they eat there, scoured the map for a town she was born in, and created a family that had roots in the South American country.

In my new series, I’m including men from Serbia, Greece and Turkey, although with Gwen and Ioan’s army tour in Syria, I made it a point to investigate the White Helmets, why the army was there, and what would happen to their allies when they left. In Once There was a Tree, I also introduced the archeological piece that will come later in the series with Cerridwen and Zain. Greece is an ancient site for many mythological figures and places, with Heracles (Yes, it’s Heracles. He was named after Zeus’ wife Hera), Apollo, Athena, the Parthenon, and Delos among them. I thought it symbolic of the goddess theme I’d embraced. I learned a lot about Mykonos and as mentioned earlier, was surprised it had become the playground for the rich and wasn’t the quaint island I supposed. I’ve been eating a lot of Greek food these days, which has always been one of my favorites as far as flavor and spice.

On my research reading shelf, I have books on advocacy, forensics, medical examiners, archeology, life after suicide, judges, sacred circles, southern sayings, and how the numbers of unmarried women are on the rise. I read as I go, finding ways to bring my characters, their past and present, to life. It’s a learning curve every time and I walk away from each story with a better understanding of the people, places and things in, not only other cultures, but my own as well.