More?

[This little gem was gleaned from a Note post I made on my personal Facebook page August, 2013. Because it’s still applicable, I’ve only made a few minor changes, then expounded upon it. Enjoy.]

SIGH. TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE ‘MORE‘ DAYS. You know the kind I mean.

When I woke up, I felt like I needed more sleep; after consuming a 6-cup pot of coffee, I felt like I still needed more coffee. My “energy” in a cup. After my shower (and nearly draining the hot water in the tank), I felt like I needed more time under the hot shower … and then a massage!

So, what do you do on those kinds of days? Many times, I’ll make another pot of coffee, or crawl back under the covers in an attempt to reclaim some lost sleep … but today, I think I’ll do something different.

Instead of more sleep, I’m going to exercise. Crazy, right? Reports say it gives you more energy. We’ll see …

More coffee? Nope, I’m going to stick with herbal tea and lots of water.

A hot tub would be nice, but aside from the obvious fact that it is prohibitively expensive, that would mean far more work than I’d like—just to maintain it. Instead, I opt for layers of nice snugly-warm ‘comfort’ clothes for both body & mind as I work on the last bit of my manuscript before submitting and preparing for the next phase.

Since I wrote this, back in August of 2013, a lot has happened. With these philosophical changes and new mind-sets, I managed to lost weight, became less dependent on coffee … or even tea (the herbal tea kick didn’t last long—nice black breakfast tea from Ireland for me, thank you very much) except on days where I still don’t get much sleep and need to get moving right away (then I need only one cups of tea—or coffee—to get my engine going). I fell in love with walking again—lots of walking—and finished my first … then my second book. And the third is nearly ready to publish plus now I’m working on the fourth in the series. Wheee!

In 2014, I managed a seriously walking-heavy trip (groan—but it was awesome!) in Wales, Ireland and the UK and am now planning for another trip to Scotland and England (to include a group trip to Cornwall, which will most likely be another walk-heavy adventure) and a maybe for including Ireland and N. Ireland) for 2016. I did gain a little bit of the weight back over the holidays—oh, bother—but I’m attacking it with proper diet and it’s on the downswing once again with walking. I got out of the habit over the holidays and it’s taken six months to get my act together. I’ll be rarin’ to go for next year’s trip—just you wait and see! I can hardly wait! Most of my trip is still in the planning stages, but I’m excited already.

I still think about the hot tub when my thyroid battles with my immune system (hmm … maybe that’s supposed to be the other way around) when I feel like I’m living at the arctic circle (when in fact, it’s reasonable weather). But for now, I’m enjoying the summer weather—next few days are supposed to be nice and warm. I didn’t used to like warm—or hot … but as I get even older, and with my wacked thyroid, I certainly do like the warmer climes.

Now, instead of overdoing, I’m learning to moderate. Well (as I think back on yesterday’s activities), most of the time at least. You’d think I’d have learned that lesson long ago. Ha! Moderating the food I consume (it allows me to have things that would be taboo if I Ate-The-Whole-Thing …), and after I did something to my ankle (insert very grumpy face), I’m reminded to not go the “all-or-nothing” route when I walk. Slowly build up my time and distance serves me much better. Now if I can only remember that one, I’d be good to go …

All of these things are so basic and easy, yet for some (me … raises hand energetically) it is so easy to forget. Plowing ahead without thinking. Enjoying life a wee bit too much … without thinking about the consequences. Sigh.

I do love my life with all of the complexities I’ve created within it. With all the complexities God has provided for me. With all of the beauty, great and small, natural and man-made that surrounds me. I cannot get enough of it. Despite my needing more of this and that now and then, really … what more could I ask for?

How about you?

 

Whimsical Art Exhibition

WRITING A WEEKLY BLOG CAN BE INTIMIDATING at times, especially when technology is against you. I was at least three hundred words into my blog for today and attempted to save it in the “quick draft” section—after I copied it completely (to be safe, right?)—and then … it decided not to save. No worries. I went into normal “new draft” section and pasted it in. Only three lines of the three hundred-plus words popped up on the screen. To say I was filled with dismay is a gross understatement.

When that sort of thing happens, it makes me wonder if maybe … just maybe, I’m not supposed to be writing about that topic right now. Sigh.

So … here I am, at the proverbial eleventh hour and I’m kinda at a loss as to what to write about (insert huge pout). The obviously easy way out is to slip in some photos—I have been taking lots of them lately. Nope. Or write a blurb about my upcoming release (which may be delayed either till next month or even later) … hmm. Or talk about an amazing young artist that is new to the area and to Open Ground Studios.

Indecision … (seem to be good at that this week) the pressure is on. Okay. Decision is finally made (actually, a no-brainer—sniggle):

In a little less than three weeks, Katie Crawford of Katie Crawford Art will have her first showing since she moved to the west coast. It will be on Friday and Saturday, July 10-11, 2015 at Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Boulevard in Seaside, California. She is working feverishly to get everything ready for the show. Things are looking absolutely beautiful. I am excited for her!

This creative young lady has a whimsical side to her and her art shows it. She lets

Katie Crawford at OGS

At Open Ground Studios, Katie and other artists are able to spread out and create in an inviting atmosphere.

her characters express her fun, frustrations and other adventures she has had since she and her husband moved out here. She writes a blog also, including these delightful drawings to tell of her real-life adventures. They are definitely fun to read. She is a sweet, thoughtful individual that has this amazing artistic side that I am quite envious of. If only I had a drop of her creativity (the ugly green envy monster is rising) …

We were so lucky to have her join our ranks at Open Ground Studios. She is a delightful addition and instills a wonderful work ethic—showing up nearly every weekday to work on one facet or another … from pencil sketches to preparing her “foundation” of old letters that she found at estate sales, adding the sketches, to water colouring the sketches … she is filled with ideas. The newest idea is to create a passport for each of her tiny critters that take flight on leaves, dandelion fluff—ants, crickets, worms (yes, worms) and others. It’s one of those “you just gotta see ‘em to appreciate ‘em” things. I adore her work!

And you can do that at her website: www.katiecrawfordart.com or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/katiecrawfordart. At her website and Facebook page, you can peruse all of her art (please remember, it is her work—no copying without her express permission) and I believe she has a link to her store to make any purchases if you are unable to make it to the opening on the 10th or 11th of July.

I hope you can make it—mark your calendar so you won’t forget. It should be a fun event! She will be delighted to meet you—and do let her know where you heard about it. Maybe I’ll see you there, too!

Until next week, may you be filled with blessings to make it a joyful week.

 

 

 

 

Techno vs One-on-One

WELL, I MISSED THE FIRST FRIDAY Art Walk in Salinas last week—I’d promised a new friend I’d make sure to attend. But, alas, it wasn’t on my calendar … my portable brain, so completely forgotten. Maybe today. Maybe …

I didn’t even get out and about till 2:30 or so that day. So, I also missed the Friday Farmers Market at Monterey Peninsula College, with all their lovely fresh fruits and veggies—and eggs. Plus the chance to walk around in fresh air. I just might make it this week (yay) as it seems I’m getting a better handle on getting my blogs done “on time” for a change.

“Curses to this computer!” I say … and to my smart phone! Sigh … too much—way too much—of my life is attached to it: blogging, my manuscripts, maintenance of my websites, keeping up with friends and associates on FB and the other social media sites, attempting to stay on top of emails (and failing miserably) … enough to make ones head spin. Unwillingly tethered to the technology to do the things I need and want to do to pursue.

Wonder how many other things I have forgotten and will miss because they are not on my portable brain(s)? I have the smart phone and a huge wall calendar that I try to remember to manually sync on a regular basis. I did so much better when it was just the monster wall calender. Now, many times I’ve had that nagging feeling there was something I was supposed to be doing, but when I find nothing on my wall calendar or in my phone … what can I do? (insert very sad face)

Getting out and being social is a good thing—away from the extremely non-personal social media of the internet. Yes, it’s fun to interact with near and far-away friends, plus it’s virtually (no pun intended) free. But, getting away from all of the technology is very freeing and allows for connecting on a more personal level. Sigh. I haven’t had much of that lately—the one-on-one stuff in real time—but when I have, it’s been delightful. Invigorating even.

I did manage to spend some time with a friend on Tuesday—it was delightful. An overcast—and eventually drizzly (yay! we need every tiny bit of it)—afternoon together, starting with a drink at Starbucks (well, I brought my own tea—I know, bad girl).

We continued walking around the Alvarado Street Farmer’s Market in Monterey, lingering at too many booths a wee bit too long (I eventually end up buying if I stay too long. Sigh). One place my friend wanted to check out was a used clothes store—we were there for a quite a while, managing a lovely chat with the clerk as we browsed the merchandise. I left with a beautiful pale green scarf. After even more meandering in the Market, we had a delightful dinner chicken special with artichoke and mushrooms at Rosine’s (I planned on having their salmon, but when he mentioned the special, I began to drool—oh, it was delicious!). There was absolutely no room for dessert!

Then, we popped into Old Capitol Books where a friend was doing a book reading (a tiny bit late—she’d already started her reading). My friend browsed the books while I listened. This is a neat store that I must revisit very soon and check their book selection. The monthly reading is definitely something I’ll have to sign up for. Looks like fun—and terrifying … intimidating for me with a fairly intellectual crowd of adults (country bumpkin that I am). Maybe a little too intellectual for a fantasy storyline? I did ask the group if they’d be interested in a MG/YA fantasy. They sounded surprisingly enthusiastic. I’ll be brave—remember, I’m a one-on-one kinda gal. I do okay in groups, but prefer small … very small. Perhaps I’ll even ask the proprietor if he’d be open to a book signing one of these days. We’ll see.

After even more wandering the streets of Monterey, we said our good-byes and I dashed home to take care of my critters. It was already dark. Five hours of exploration, interactions and fun. All in all, it was a wonderful reprieve from my time in the house (or coffee shops) on the computer. And for someone that hates shopping, all the outdoor walking made the shopping/browsing excursion far more enjoyable. The walking was delightful!

Guess I wouldn’t make a very good hermit 😉 I enjoy the company—personal, one-on-one (or three) interactions—of people too much. I do like my solitude, but … yeah.

I know I keep saying it, but I really do think it’s time to get back to Old School Ways. Get away from the Electronic Age we are so entrenched in. Ways I can do this is by working my manuscript by hand (to be transcribed into the computer later—can’t get away from that part completely), switching to a flip phone (just forward my calls from the smart phone to it), hand scribing my blogs (again, to be transcribed later) … so many things I could do to disconnect without completely giving “IT” up. Just stepping back a bit. Putting some space between me and all those electronic techno gadgets.

Engaging life again more fully.

Then again, there are days that are just the opposite—crammed full of things that I do, leaving very little time to breath. A little too engaged with life. Thankfully, those are only peppered into my calendar schedule … but some how this week had an abundance of those days scheduled in. Thankfully, a few of them fell through.

I know God helps me balance those chaotic days. Absolutely. Especially when I forget to do it myself. The unexpected call from my friend to spend some time together is one perfect example. Another is the last minute cancellations. He wants to remind me that balance in my life is important.

Now, it’s up to me to keep that balance. With His help, of course. It’s never wrong to lean on God when needed.

May your days be filled with blessings and balance.

Branding …

I’M PUTTING ASIDE A NUMBER OF BLOG ideas to post this one … time sensitive and all. Sorta.

Branding is a “thing” in many fields. I’m not really sure there is a field it’s not important, but that’s not the issue.

Businesses have their logos, musicians and artists have a certain way they create their masterpieces, whether spoken (or sung) or visual. Some even go so far as to dress, act (their mannerisms) or even talk a certain way. It is all a form of branding.

As I tippy-toe through this minefield of ideas, trying to determine what I want to do—how “far” I want to go—with the branding for my books, my business and myself, I wonder. My business is very direct: “God Inspired” is in the title because I know I could not have achieved what I’ve done without the talents provided by Him and he deserves the credit. But, do I create an alter ego that is the writer and businessperson? Do I anchor myself in who I am (sometimes a bit crazy, goofy), blowing off the staid norms of the industry, or find a balance somewhere in between?

I am inclined to lean heavily on being myself. Lighthearted. Joyful and full of life. A follower of Christ (at least, doing my best). In doing so, I am going against what I see as the norm in the writing industry. Will that hurt my chances of succeeding?

One “struggle” I had was whether to stay with the simple, conservative author’s photo for my book—my first two were relatively simplistic. Static photo of me with something in the background. But, a few months ago, friend and I were out “shooting” the scenery when I caught her taking a picture of me. I got goofy, pulled my hat off my head (it was very, very cold and blustery that day—we were well bundled … and still freezing) and pretended to throw it up in the air. She caught it on camera. When I saw it, I immediately felt like it captured the real me—others have said the same. Yes, I can be serious. But mostly, I am what I’d call a free spirit—even more so now that I’m older. I knew this was the photo I wanted to use as my official author’s photograph.

Crazy, right?

Am I dooming myself by doing so? Will people take me serious when they see this crazy photo? All of the articles about succeeding in the writing business say to keep it professional, to keep the “artsy” photos on Instagram, etc.

Well, I’ve spent a better part of a week grappling with this one issue and finally made my decision. Along with all the other legal bits and my manuscript, I attached a jpeg of my joyful photo to be used on the back of my books. I am relieved at finally making the decision to use it—in addition to the immense relief of finally having everything out of my hands as I pushed the send button.

My third book, The Scymarian is now in the hands of my publisher. I am excited, relieved and just plain ol’ joyful. The cover art will follow shortly, but they have everything that they need to get the inside galley and the marketing begun.

I’m going to place an order soon for some “con ribbons”—those lovely little self-adhesive backed ribbons with sayings and art on the front that is handed out at ComicCons, DrWhoCons, etc. I’ll use it when I attend any of these conferences—attending as myself (most likely … though that may change), wandering around passing out the ribbons and wristbands to interested attendees. The one definite exception will be the Dr. Who conference in February … I’m going to go as Sarah Jane Smith—insert huge grin—(one of Dr. Who’s companions in the Classic series and leading lady in her own series before her passing). I’m gathering the costume slowly, even now.

Back to branding. Companies switch out their brand—why, I’ve no clue. It’s disruptive to my poor little brain. If I like a company, I settle into it, logo and all. When they change things up, I get confused. Can’t find their products. Maybe it’s not their logos that need changing. Quit trying to please everyone in the world so much. That’s an impossible task and requires changing more than a logo. Perhaps they need to work on keeping their ethics intact. I don’t know.

I just know it’s so much easier simply being myself. I won’t have to switch back and forth, turning on and off my alter ego. I like who I am. So, I’m going forth as me … a person who also happens to be a writer, a photographer and an artist. I’m not going to change just so I fit a certain perceived peg. I am who I am.

So, be assured I will stick with my “me” brand. It may take some time to polish, but … what you see is what you get (insert huge grin) …

Just so you know.

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book one

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book two

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book three

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria series, book three: The Scymarian coming soon!  The first two books in the series are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and signed copies at my SquareMarket website. The Scymarian, available soon.