Attraction, Inspiration, and Crap I Found on the Road

Here’s the weirdest thing I’m willing to tell you about myself: I collect stuff off the street. Metal stuff, mostly, that looks like it fell off a vehicle.

It’s not as weird as it… okay, it is, but I can explain. I walk a lot. Like, almost every day, weather and health permitting. In the summer I have a lovely local boardwalk around a pond I can visit. And if I’m in the mood for treasure hunting, there’s a rocky beach not far away where I can find sea glass handmade by the ocean from the beer bottles people toss off of the nearby scenic lookout.

But winter means wandering the streets. Not much to see there.

Except that one day I noticed a ball bearing at my feet. I picked it up thinking one of my kids would find it cool. Trucks are kind of his thing.

And I liked it. It felt nifty in my hand. Really smooth and heavy and different.

So I kept it, and decided it would be fun to keep my eyes open for more (while trying not to worry about whatever vehicles were shedding these things around town). Sort of like wandering the beach looking for sea glass and shells, but more casual.

…And with more potential judgement from passing drivers who saw me bending over to pick up dirty metal garbage, but whatever. I have zero reputation to maintain, as far as I know.

Long story short, once I started looking, I started seeing. A lot of it was stuff I definitely didn’t want. Plastic bits (I mean, please, I DO have standards). Other crap that blew out of someone’s trash bags on garbage day.*

But I sometimes find what I’m looking for.

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I mean, not to brag, but guys? I’m kinda the Little Mermaid of crap that fell off of poorly-maintained vehicles. You want thingamabobs? I’ve got… well, three, but I’m getting more. Soon.

There is a point to all of this.

The thing is, I never saw any of this stuff lying around before I started paying attention to it. Just like how I rarely found sand dollars on the beach in Nova Scotia until I decided my prize was there if I kept my eyes open. After that, it was rare that I didn’t go home with at least one.

Same with sea glass.

Same with inspiration.

There was a time when I clung tight to the one story idea I had because I thought it was all I was ever going to get. This was THE THING. The story I had to make absolutely perfect because there was no guarantee that the well went deeper than this. I was miserly. I gave up frequently because the one perfect idea in my head never came out right on paper, and OH GOD WHAT IF I BREAK IT?!

Now? Now I believe ideas are everywhere, just waiting to be spotted. I don’t expect them to be served to me on a silver platter, though sometimes they are.** But I trust that if I keep my eyes open, if I believe inspiration is out there, my brain is capable of taking two random things I’ve seen and making something brilliant out of them.

Or something that’s the equivalent of plastic crap, but the point is that the treasures are out there. But I will never see them if I don’t walk around with my eyes and my mind open, believing they’re there.

I worry less about taking a chance and messing up, because there’s more.

I think this applies to a lot of other things in life, too. Like opportunities. Now, big opportunities are more frequent and easier to accept for some people than others, no question. Different people will have different doors opening for us, and not everyone gets kicked out of the nest with a great education or a “small” loan from his or her parents or a rolodex full of high-rolling contacts. But we all make choices that affect us, and we will have some kind of opportunity for something. But will we see it if we have our eyes closed, expecting nothing good come to us? Or worse, if we believe we don’t deserve opportunities?

I’m guilty of that one, and I’ve likely overlooked a lot of chances for success because I thought they weren’t meant for someone like me. But the times when I have believed in myself and been open to opportunity–to saying no to agents and publishers and going it alone, for example, or to joining in on a *shudder* group project with other amazing authors–have been very rewarding.

And if I believe that I don’t only get one shot, that success is not my only motherf*$%in’ option (contrary to what one Eminem might preach in that one very catchy tune) because I will see other opportunities, I can relax about messing up, take more chances, and dream bigger.

Or luck. If I believe I’m lucky and define luck as finding ball bearings on the street, look how lucky I am! If I believe I’m unlucky and won’t find any, I suspect the odds of me seeing them drop significantly. I just won’t be looking for them if I don’t believe I’m lucky enough to have them appear in my path.

What if I broadened my definition of luck? What if I embraced it and didn’t feel guilty about believing I’m lucky/smart/observant/whatever word I choose for it, and really stayed open to what might be out there?

I don’t know a lot about this law of attraction and manifestation stuff so many of my online acquaintances talk about all the time. Do I think the universe is a big genie waiting to grant my wishes if only I focus hard enough on what I want? Do I think opportunity and inspiration and luck and MASSIVE WEALTH spontaneously appear because I desire them enough?

Not really, no.

BUT.

I do see the underlying, practical logic of it. The psychology of it, maybe. If I focus on the good things in my life, if I’m grateful for what I have, I’m going to be more aware of them. Kind of like how you never notice blue Volkswagens until you buy one, and then they’re everywhere. They were there all along. You didn’t call them into being because you were thinking about them. You simply see what you’re paying attention to.

Inspiration.

Opportunities.

Luck.

Metal crap on the street, man.

So no, I’m not going all woo-woo mystical and trying to like… vibrate… or whatever it is. But I think, thanks to a ball bearing I almost kicked into the gutter a few months ago, that I kind of get it.

Good things are out there. Utter crap is out there, too, if we’re being honest. But I’m trying really hard to stay focused on the good.

Because what I focus on is what I see. It’s what I get more of.

I’m just keeping my eyes open.

——

*Though true story, I once saw an empty Vienna sausage can in a snowbank and sincerely hoped–and still hope–that my mental image of some guy wandering down main street casually sucking tiny processed meat sticks directly from the can as he strolled along and then tossing the garbage aside is accurate. It could happen.

*In bed, once. You can’t beat that kind of service.


Mondays


Beautiful Mess

Completely non-shocking confession: I’m a perfectionist.

I want everything I do to be perfect on the first try. Right away. Because something deep inside me thinks that if I’m not magically gifted at something, I shouldn’t try.

Now, I am also fully aware that this is BS, and I’m fighting it. It’s a stubborn mindset, though.

But I’m trying to change the way I look at risks, messes, and mistakes. Because sometimes? Sometimes you have to make a huge mess before you can create something beautiful, and you have to take a risk to get a reward.

I’m thinking about this today because I got my hair done. Well… half-done. It was getting dull after over a year of purple dye, and I wanted a fresh start from root to tip so I could get back to something brighter.

But do you know what happens when you bleach hair that’s been purple for 17 months?

Highlighter pink, that’s what happens.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 19.30.40

I mean, I think it’s kind of fun, but it’s not the end result I’m going for. The point is, this little OMG this is not what I want what have I done mess is a step toward what I do want. A necessary step.

I couldn’t get what I want if I didn’t move through the mess.

(And honestly, I’m now considering going berry pink for a while before I return to the Land of Purple. Sometimes messes aren’t so bad.)

Hair is a tiny thing, but it reminds me of a whole lot of bigger stuff.

First drafts can be like this, too. I can plan everything and still make a mess of it when my fingers hit the keyboard. That happened to me not too long ago, when I got to the mid-point of a book I was SUPER excited to write and realized it just wasn’t working.

I could have called it a failure and walked away. But my mess showed me what, exactly, wasn’t working. And when I had a consultation call with my wonderful editor last night, I was able to talk through those problems. Now I can’t wait to get back to it and start over (though I do have some other stuff going on with that whole urban fantasy pen name thing…)

Life can be like that, too.

I’m working through a few medical issues right now that are kind of hit-or-miss with medications. We try stuff, maybe it works, maybe I feel like crap for a month while we wait to see whether I’ll adjust to it, maybe we try something else.

While this is going on, my productivity is lower than it would normally be. It sucks. I panic and want to stop trying. I get sick of feeling sick. I want to give up. But I’m taking a chance, hoping that getting through this mess will mean things will be so much brighter on the other side that it will be worth slogging through the side-effect circus.

I’m making a mess so I can make it better, tearing down walls instead of just wallpapering over the cracks, making a mess so I can rebuild something solid instead of settling for a cosmetic cover-up.

And whether it’s did you mean to do that?! pink hair, stress-inducing dead ends on projects, or just trying to get my *stuff* together in life, I’m trying to be okay with the mess. Not every step of every journey needs to be pretty or perfect, as long as I’m learning and growing and not stressing too much in the meantime.

At least, that’s what I’m trying to teach myself. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 


“I’m real” and other lies we tell ourselves

All of the “me, too” here!

The Raven's Quill

That’s not to say it should be a lie, but more that, as I’ve learned, it often feels like one.

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you’re not actually worth your accomplishments and that, at any moment, someone could pop up and shout, “You! You aren’t actually the thing you claim to be, so sit down and stop pretending that you are!”

This sort of fear is good if you are, say, an actual fraud. Perhaps it will stop you from doing something fraudulent.

For the rest of us, it’s the irritating voice in our heads that stops us from celebrating/talking about/recognising our own achievements to anyone beyond our immediate toddlers or cats. And even then, it might be a whispered “Woohoo”.

hiding_behind_pole-s490x370-196110 Ever feel like this when people ask you about your goals and ambitions? This image basically sums up most of…

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COVER REVEAL: Shadows in the Garden Hotel by Krista Walsh

Hey, everyone! I know, it’s been quiet here lately. I’ll be back with updates on my new project(s) soon. I’m just surfacing today to help the wonderful Krista Walsh reveal the cover of her upcoming release, Shadows in the Garden Hotel!

The Invisible Entente series is a current favourite of mine, and I can’t wait to see Allegra unleashed on the world. Best of all, the series is now going to be available on all retailers! Kobo and iBooks readers, start your engines.

Take it away, Krista!

-K

—————

 

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*hands handkerchief to clean up drool*

Once you’re ready, feel free to check out the blurb for the story that’s coming your way on April 18th:

All Allegra Rossi needs is her beauty, expensive champagne, designer clothes, and enough souls to keep her succubus appetites satisfied.

Everything seems to be in place until a photo shoot at New Haven’s prestigious — and supposedly haunted — Garden Hotel sets her dreams for a perfect life crumbling. Not only has her handsome, charismatic boss captured her interest, threatening the careful restraints she’s placed around her succubus nature, but the hotel’s reputation turns out to be true. Worse: the specter has targeted Allegra as its next victim

If Allegra wants to stay alive and keep her heart intact, she will have to unleash her demonic instincts to shed light into the darkness before the shadows consume her.

As of today, The Invisible Entente series will be leaving the Kindle Select program and migrating to other distributors, including iBooks, Nook, and Kobo, as well as Amazon
Available now

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The Invisible Entente Prequel Novella

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Death at Peony House

Song of Wishrock Harbor and Shadows in the Garden Hotel will migrate over in April 2017. To be the first to know about these releases, be sure to sign up for my mailing list by following this link http://eepurl.com/GIJkz


Starting Out as an Indie Author published! This month only 99c

Okay, so I’m not exactly starting out as an indie author, but I am still pretty excited to grab a copy and give it a read! Ruth’s blog is a fantastic and honest look at writing and publishing as an indie author, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book. It’s on sale now!

Ruth Nestvold - Indie Adventures

Starting Out as an Indie Author EBook

Starting Out as an Indie Author has finally been published as an eBook! It took me longer than I expected, but then, what doesn’t, right? 🙂 It’s available now at most major retailers:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Apple
Google Play

You can find other retailers on Books2read: books2read.com/u/4jKvPY

For the month of March, I’m offering a special introductory price of only 99c to get the ball rolling. I can’t reduce the price on Kobo yet, however, because I signed up for a promo where the minimum price must be at least 2.99. Writing this blog post, I also noticed that the sale price has not gone through everywhere. Soon, I promise!

Here’s the book description and table of contents:

Starting Out as an Indie Author
A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing, Publishing and Marketing Your EBooks

Have you written your first book and are considering self-publishing? Perhaps you have started…

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How I Survived My First Live Reading

I’m just going to say this, in case there’s anyone who hadn’t picked up on it: I’m an introvert.

Beyond that, I’m also shy and socially awkward, and I’m non-confrontational to the point where introducing myself to someone or asking for something over the phone sends me hightailing it for the hills.

So when a lovely woman from the library board called me and asked whether I’d be interested in doing a live reading from my books during our town’s winter carnival, the answer was obvious.

“Of course!”

I mean, I started a YouTube channel so I could get more comfortable with speaking, didn’t I? And I have to get out there and do these things if I ever want to expand my comfort zone (or at least get used to stepping outside of it).

So yeah, I agreed. And then I freaked out, second-guessed myself, prayed for a blizzard, and hid my head in the sand before actually thinking to ask for help from people who do this a lot.

Thanks to help from those lovely people and readers who helped me choose passages to read, I survived. And I decided to pass along their fine advice and tips in a video, just in case anyone else can use it. 🙂

(here’s the link in case you can’t see the embedded video)


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