Everyday Goddesses

The series I’m knee deep in, is based on the beautiful, whacky, wonderful, crazy, idea of women’s friendship. As one of my goddesses says…Her friends make sure to straighten her crown without letting the world know it’s crooked. It’s powerful, enduring, non-competitve, loving, nurturing and what we all need in our lives.

When ruminating on who, what, when, where and why, constructing the basis of the series in my head, I wanted to pull in all forms of goddess. The maiden, mother, crone and a fourth, because there are after all four quarters, the Queen. The four elements, fire, air, water and earth. Symbols like the labyrinth, spiral, egg, ankh, lioness, tree, and more ancient forms that represent the Divine feminine. For this reason, I decided to write about eight women, and as one of my heroines states, with the possibility of expanding it to thirteen to complete the moon’s yearly cycle.

It all takes place in the town of Eden… where a cafe owner, army vet, judge, forensics specialist, nursery owner, family advocate, librarian/storyteller and empath who owns and manages a horse stable encourages and supports each other during the ups and downs.

And of course there’s a little bit of magic and romance thrown into the mix.

The goal was to delve more deeply into my earlier involvement with the goddess. I spent a year or more reading everything I could on the sacred feminine and why it’s important that we bring her back into consciousness. We, all a part of humankind, need to bring balance to that which has become partisan. (In other words shift away from complete and total patriarchy and sprinkle seeds of matriarchy into the now fallow ground.) It takes both genders to create life, and it takes both genders to create harmony. A forgotten memory or a buried one.

Rhea, Gwenhwyfar, Minerva, Cerridwen, Inanna, Brigid, Lilith, and Hina, all real goddesses who carry within an aspect of who we are. They represent light and darkness, life and death, earth, air, fire, water, intelligence, empathy, nurturing, warmongering, healer, warrior, emotion, stoicism, and so much more- all aspects of all women everywhere. We are immanent and transcendent. The potential for all things exists within us.

We need to remember that we are all everyday goddesses, innocent, wise, young, old, childbearing, menopausal and have the power to change the world just by tipping the scales and owning it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween

It’s the time for masks and costumes, for tricks and treats, for returning home with good stuff to eat.

I remember being a kid and walking around our neighborhood, my Dad with me and my brother as we knocked on doors, yelled trick or treat and had a candy tossed into our pillowcase. When we got home, we’d go through our bounty with excited glee, picking out our favorites, eating some then and saving some for later. My Dad would always want to share… My brother had the confidence to say no, whereas I was a pushover. Unfortunately we liked the same kinds of candy, almond joy, snickers, and anything with caramel, so I gave up handfuls. He was the one with the sweet tooth so I really didn’t mind so much.

That was a long time ago.

Today, I enjoy watching my grandkids prepare for a night of dress-up fun. They’ve just moved and their neighborhood holds a gold mine of goodies. There’s even a woman who holds a special event for the kids at her house. She hands out a special potion for adults to drink, while she tells the kids a story. I’m hoping to be part of it, but rain is falling and that slows up traffic so I might be late for the party.

It’s okay because I tend to look at it differently these days. Hallows Eve originated as a Celtic festival when costumes were worn to ward off ghosts. It was believed that Samhain ushers in the dark half of the year, and the veil thins, making it easier to connect with the dead. (Still is for those of pagan sensibilities.) It is cyclical in nature, and celebrated throughout the world with rituals that include feasts and gatherings.

Some suggestions on how to celebrate it other than knocking on doors and begging for candy? Nature walks. Decorating the house with jack-o-lanterns. Learning about your ancestral roots. Honoring those family members who have passed on.

However you observe it, I wish you fun. Samhain

 

 

 

It’s all about the process

I’ve been having a running email conversation with my editor about process, how we go about our daily task of getting words on the page in some semblance of order.

When I first started, I hired an editor who kept asking me about my storyboard. I did not know what she was talking about so of course I Googled it and was horrified she expected me to use one. She wanted me to plot out each chapter, on sticky notes, so that I had an outline of sorts, that would propel me through the story from beginning to end. I tried, I really did but it is not my thing. I fired her soon after.

I work in reverse, from end to beginning. I come up with an ending, and a theme, create the characters to fit it, using a character guide that helps me build a persona, including traits, idiosyncrasies, family trees, emotional or physical wounds, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Once those are developed, I go to the page. And write. I’m never sure what’s going to spill out. I have a direction, sure, but take whatever path pops up along the journey. I might hear something on the news that ties in to the storyline, read a book that inspires a different slant, (It’s how I came to include Rumi in Clutch Hit), watch a documentary, or a biography. I stay open to signs, and depend on my intuition to bring the characters to life.

Music is a huge part of my process. When I was writing League of Her Own, I listened to a lot of Brazilian styles and it put me in a Brazilian frame of mind so when Rique took Fiona dancing, I could feel they way he should be moving. When writing Clutch, I switched to Cuban music. I have grown to love it.

Spontaneity is the part I love about writing. Every morning I get up, do my thing and go right to write. I never know what’s going to come out, or where the story will go that day. If I had to plot out every chapter, I’d miss a whole lot of good stuff I didn’t know was inside of me.

Every one has a process. Mine might be just a little bit out of the ordinary but then…so am I.

 

National Days…

I bought a calendar at the end of last year that serves me well. It is a one-stop glance for those days when I’m wondering what to post on Facebook.

A few years ago, when I was still in the childcare field as assistant director, I would always add a piece of history or a tidbit of interest to the break and lunch schedule I made out each day. It made it more interesting for me, and hopefully for the teachers as well. I’d check on-line for those odd holidays that might add some spice to a very boring task. I found the website for national days and loved the variety they offered. Some of them were off limits, like National Nude Sunbathing Day, but some fit well, like Talk Like a Pirate Day. Everyone at the school would mimic those scoundrels from the past, with an “Aye, matey.” or “Batten down those hatches.”

The national day calendar still serves me well because it dovetails with some of the my books, and the characters in them, so I can add a bit of marketing along with the post. Today it’s I Love Horses Day and I added an excerpt from the book that spoke to Mia Fisher’s love for her stallion.  She’s one of the women in my Fire and Ice series who grew up on a farm in a small town close to where I lived as a kid. It’s her passion, something she’s relegated to “when I find the time” pile. Only when she goes back, and she renews herself, is she able to give her husband another chance at Rekindling the Fire.

I loved writing about the animals, because I have an innate love for them. I’ve taken lessons, watched them galloping around a field, and have breathed in their grace as they munched grass in a meadow.  My father happens to own a horse farm near Ocala Florida and the most peaceful times in my life have been spent there. It was pure joy to include them in Mia’s story and I hope I did them justice.

 

Check it out…

I have a new website page and I am excited for all of you to see it. The wine’s gone, and in its place is a coffee cup…much more me. (I spend a couple of hours everyday at KJ’s Caffe) The typewriter remains. My son gave me a ceramic model in my Christmas stocking, after I told him it was my dream and it has become a symbol of my writing life. The crumpled paper signifies how much editing is needed when you give your all to a story. Some days it flows as effortlessly as lava, some days it doesn’t flow at all. Those are the days I keep reminding myself to stay at the page and keep typing. There is usually something worthwhile that comes from it and that’s the part you save and build on.

My partner in this endeavor is wonderful and I feel like I’ve connected with a kindred spirit. She’s awesome to work with and is becoming a friend. If you’re looking for tech support, give Colleen at Stargazer Sales a call. You won’t regret it.

I had supper with a friend of mine last night who made some suggestions about blog content and I’m going to give one of them a try. My books are written around relationships. Women friendships, male bonding, family interactions, and characters who grow along the way.

We all need connections, harmony and support. I receive  that from my friends, and my family is an integral part of my life. These are the personal spaces from which I draw my inspiration when developing characters. The Scalera’s are Italian, and many of the stories within the stories come from my own experiences. Sunday dinners, Italian sticks and cannoli, cavatelli, red sauce, braciola, and a matriarch who holds the family together. The Woodley and Fisher law firm was built by strong women with causes, with expertise, with heart. It is the deep friendship between them that propels the series and is the foundation for their successes.

I’m in the process of delving into baseball, the players and the women who come into their lives. It’s more about those relationships than the sport itself but the boys of summer have been a part of my life since I was a kid and I thought it would be fun to create histories for the Greenliners, an imaginary team making a run for the World Series.

As you can see on my website, the second book League of Her Own will be out sometime next month.