lighting candles on the tree
lighting candles on the tree
holiday french toast
with eggnog—rum or bourbon?
darkness at rising
greyness during the midday
darkness on drive home
odd jumbled shape of
colored lights in the distance–
festooned pick-up truck
dentist’s chair meditation:
“and this, too, shall pass”
—apparently my body doesn’t recognize anesthetics well, much to my (and the dentist’s) dismay
It’s getting towards the end of the year, which is when I tend to start looking at my To Do list (aka a ‘goals’ list, or actually more of an ‘intentions’ list) and checking to see how I’m doing*. Am I on track to accomplish the goals I set out on January 1? How am I doing with the intentions I set way back then?
One of the barometers I use is my reading list. Lately it has been noticeably devoid of my usual suspects. Where is the urban fantasy? Science fiction? Good literature? Non-fiction? Classics?
Not on this girl’s nightstand.
Nope. It’s been a slew of romance novels, ranging from YA to Nora Roberts to Christina Lauren and on up, along with my daily dose of stoicism, and occasional hit of Pema Chodron.
<insert screech of record needle on vinyl>
Yeah, I know. Believe me.
Romance novels and stoicism? What kind of combination is that?
Apparently it’s exactly what I need at this moment in time.
Romance novels are guaranteed happy stories. Right now, I like knowing how the story will end, and knowing that it will end just the way I want it to—with people making mistakes, learning lessons, and becoming better (and more loving) people.
I like that message.
Stoicism reminds me not to take myself so seriously. It reminds me that I can only control my own actions, and that to try to control what I cannot is the way to insanity.**
Pema Chodron reminds me to breathe and to take a kind, curious look at what disturbs me enough to have me hiding my head in the sand with my romance novels.***
So for all my hand-wringing about not reading “good” books****, maybe that’s okay right now.
Maybe keeping my sanity is important enough to let the To Do’s and goals and systems and intentions go for awhile.
They’ll be waiting for me when I’m ready to face them again.
*I’ve been moving away from To Do’s/goals, and towards systems/intentions. I think it’s healthier for me, but it is a bit of change after so many years focused on Accomplishments.
**“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” I think Yoda understood that trying to control anything (situations, people, marsh creatures) would never turn out well.
***Not that I have yet found the courage to do this type of reflection, but it’s a good reminder.
****I define “good” books as those that challenge me, that give me insight into aspects of life I wasn’t aware of. I’ve read a number of “good” books that happened to have been romance novels, but those are few and far between.
Out now for your digital consumption: “Tea and Treachery,” the first story in the Seven Territories series. The stories all take place in a post-American Civil War world, where magic, demons, and zombies exist (and may have been behind the War Between the States). Think “Old West” with wizards, Chinese mysticism, and some actual facts mixed in (it is “alternate history” after all).
“Tea and Treachery” is about a woman mage at the end of her proverbial rope: her fiancé is dead, her magic was stolen, and her future is now hopeless. So what’s an ambitious mage to do? Get her magic back at any cost. But is the cost too high?
The story is available in digital form at the usual suspects (Amazon and the other guys). The print version will be available in early 2020 in a collection of the forthcoming Seven Territories stories.
Get ready for a wild Weird West ride!
My (very) short story “Bitter Spell” was included in the Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast, and Rebecca Galardo did a fantastic job reading it. It’s so different to actually hear your written words spoken aloud (esp. by someone else), versus hearing them in your head as you read. As I listened to the story, I thought, “I wrote that? Wow.”
You can hear the story here (at the 1:58:35 mark):
Credit goes to Holly Lisle and her “How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” course (it’s free!).
And now back to the writing…
Out of numerous entries, my (very) short story, “Bitter Spell,” was chosen to be read on the upcoming Halloween episode of the Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast.
Curious what this may look (er, sound) like? Check out last year’s Halloween episode. (Skip over the first 30 seconds to avoid the creepy intro.)
I’m excited to hear my work read outloud by a voice not my own, let alone possibly by Holly Lisle, whose classes I have taken. Validation FTW!
Have a Happy Halloween, and may your zombie ex-husbands not come after you.
crimson maple trees
blazing color in the rain
nature on fire