I’ve Been Pondering … Deeply | Part Two

YES, I’M STILL FREAKING OUT OVER THIS decision of cutting myself off from overseas travel—well … maybe not as much as I was when I first started thinking about this. I did promise two friends I’d visit their country … no, make that three friends … and now it looks like I’m going to have to renig on my promises. That’s something I seldom do. If I make a promise to do something, I like to keep it. But, sometimes, things get in the way … like finances—and, in the case of the three locations (India, Australia and Hong Kong)—distance plays heavily into the decision.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I could physically manage about 18 hours in the air. With my body’s slow meltdown after October, 2013 (I’ve had good times and not so good times—I never know when each will hit), there’s no way. Finances … well, I could probably figure that one out eventually (pull from “Peter” to pay “Paul” …), but the time spent in the air is a biggie. Even for a trip to/from across the Pond. I’m not thrilled about the travel time required for my 2016 visit to the UK and beyond, but I’ve already committed myself to this trip. And if I do decided to go business cla$$ (haven’t decided as yet), it’s going to eat into what I will be able to afford in the future.

A couple of friends have suggested to make the decision on a trip-by-trip basis: plan it, see how I’m doing … then if I’m doing well, make the commitment to go. If not, then … well obviously, don’t. Hmmm. I may have to take that under consideration. But in the meantime, I think … since I have time before my next big planned trip (after the 2016 trip … pattern is every two years or so), I think I will play with the shorter, on-my-continent trips to see how I do. There’s plenty to see in the States … and I have yet to make it up to Alaska, which is on my bucket list (actually, was on my husband’s list, too … and I still have some of his ashes destined for—hmmm … maybe Anchorage … or Denali National Park?) so, I’ll just have to see how that pans out. Right?

Looking at things in the short term is appealing, too. Long range planning is hard. Doable, but hard. Planning ahead a week, a month … even a couple months out is so much easier. Forking out deposits nine-plus months in advance, then paying the balance six-months out (to get the best discounts) for the delightful Celtic Invasion Vacations tour does have it’s drawbacks. With closer to home, shorter trips, costs should be more manageable also, allowing for more travel (insert huge grin here).

So, this is what I’ll do. For now. Hmm. Now, if I can just find the time … and solve Kaeli’s scrounging/scarfing issues, I’d be set.

Well, folks, I’m back to diving into last minute planning and creating art for my upcoming—yikes! It is just over a month away—painterly exhibition at Open Ground Studios. Deadlines loom (Sunday!!). Prior to the opening, I’ll have all of the art documented and live on my SquareMarket website for those of you unable to make it to the event due to conflicts (excuses like distance or prior commitments are allowed—wink).

 

Open Ground Studios showcases it’s Co-op Members artistic talents in an exhibition from November 25, 2015 – January 20, 2016
Debra Jameson Smith’s art and fantasy series will be on display
The Opening and Holiday Party 5:30-8:30pm will be December 4, 2015
1230 Fremont Boulevard • Seaside California

 

 

Competition

WELL, I DON’T THINK I HAVE A COMPETITIVE bone in my body. I don’t compete (I tried as a kid—on the high school track team … and that was more than enough). It’s never been high on my list of priorities, but the poor “loves” of my life definitely vie—they compete for my attention, my time … and my energy.

My painterly and writerly sides are in competition at the moment. Each vying for all my time, attention and energy. Both are racing to meet deadlines. I’m not sure who will win, but I’m hoping both meet their deadlines—though, the current Painterly deadline is far more important at the moment. (Teehee … re-reading this, I’m talking about “myselves” in third person—and it doesn’t seem odd … not at all. Should that bother me?)

I am scrambling—which is thankfully keeping my mind off the “travel dilemma” ahead—to get the required information and artwork (two pieces to hang … and any pieces that go into the art bin) completed before the November 1st deadline. It’s kinda hard to turn in information on art that doesn’t exist yet … oopsie—I’m workin’ on it! I’ve been working on a couple things, but have not liked the results. So this week and next will be spent sorting out what I want to do, creating/printing some art, then documenting it (photographing and writing up a description) for Open Ground Studios. The Exhibition for us co-op members will not be hung till the middle of November … and the Opening-slash-Christmas Party isn’t until December 4th (please mark your calendar if you’re local), but all information must be in by November 1st. All new work. So, I’m busy—beyond busy, trying to push myself to be creative … which isn’t that hard in the wonderful setting that makes OGS the creative place it is.

(Giggle …) Um … so, why am I working on this blog and not my art? Because I’ve made a commitment to being faithful to a weekly post. I’ve only missed it a couple of times and want to keep it that way. It’s only Tuesday (well, now Thursday as I re-read and fine tune) … and I’m hoping to get it done today (hope, hope … aah, well … so that didn’t happen, did it) so that I can focus on art for the remainder of the week. Today is more of a Writerly day, anyway. Tonight, I will be reading a small bit of my first book in front of an audience—which has me very, very nervous. A room full of writers, listening to me read from my flawed first book . Even I see flaws (little things like punctuation, ways I stated thing) in what I wrote—should I be saying this? … and errors not caught by my vanity-press publisher’s editors. My readers love the story … even if I do see all the errors. Are they simply looking beyond the errors or am I just hyper-critical of my writing? Ooh … that nasty feeling of doubt is rearing it’s ugly head. A writer’s nemesis …

Breath … deeply—and press on. And know that I’ve improved with each book I’ve written. And will continue to improve!

… And, as it’s now Thursday, I can tell you I did fine—even if I was a wee bit nervous. Nervous enough to forget to mention the book title in my introduction <giggle> but was able to use that nervousness to express the nervousness of one of my characters as I read. It was a good evening.

Oh! Did I mention that National Novel Writing Month is less than ten days away? Have I started preparing? Um … no. November 1st. Another deadline. These next few weeks are going to be crazy. But November will be equally as crazy—trying to keep my “routine as usual” on top of finding time to squeeze in an average of 1,667 words daily, writing with abandon. Fun. Honest … it is fun—and doable if I keep focused. Key word: focused (add winky face here as I’m sure I’ll have issues with that).

And, in the midst of that November chaos, there’s a book signing or two. I don’t think I know the meaning of moderate in my lifestyle. Sniggle. But, that’s part of who I am. Crazy, living life to its fullest … then crashing for a wee bit to recover, only to do it again. Yup.

Next week I’ll hopefully get back into my “usual” routine and post part two of my travel dilemma saga. Until then, I’ve listed a few of the things going on in my Painterly and Writerly life below—you might want to mark your calendar for a few of them:

November 1-30 24/7 (starts and ends at midnight)
National Novel Writing Month
Write with abandon all month, aim for 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th
Sign-up online: NaNoWriMo.org

November 14   Saturday  9am-1pm
Craft Show w/Book Signing
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
735 Ramona Avenue, Monterey CA

November 21-22   Saturday/Sunday 9am-4pm
Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Art (and craft) Fair w/Book Signing
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
Aromas Grange, Aromas CA

December 4   Friday 5:30-8:30pm
Co-Op Members Art Exhibition Opening and Christmas Party
Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside CA

I’ve Been Pondering … Deeply | Part One

OH, YOU KNOW ME … WHEN I START TO THINK—well, that can be dangerous at times. Have you ever thought about something for a long time, but feared voicing the thoughts? I mean, saying them out loud? It’s different to keep the thoughts in your head … or even write them on “paper”. Well, at least for me … for some reason, something happens when I voice thoughts. It changes the purpose. The circumstances.

I put a voice behind a thought a short time ago … and now I cannot get it out of my head. I love to travel. You already know that. I write about it all the time. I love Europe, Ireland, Scotland and … well, simply the idea of being over there, planning for the next adventure … then experiencing it. I love it enough that I’ve seriously contemplated purchasing a someplace to lay my head when I am able to visit. I put a voice to that several years ago. I actually started looking … seriously looking. Every time I was over there, I looked with the intent of finding something. I’ve talked to realtors, looked at ads, thought about consolidating into two small abodes so I could bounce back and forth whenever I could make it happen. Over the last year, I realized there were a few huge obstacles: 1) the cost of purchasing something—even renting a flat … or a room—would be very steep. 2) as long as I had critters, it wasn’t going to happen. My forever critters. I cannot justify giving them up just so I can travel for extended periods—nor put them into quarantine (“jail”) for months on end just so I can take them with me. And there’s no way I’m going to leave them behind to live abroad. All of that would be too selfish. Lest I forget my loving pet sitters—I cannot impose on them for repeated long stretches of time … so I figured, I could wait till the pets passed over the Rainbow Bridge. 3) then another realization hit me … as I wait, my health seems to be deteriorating to the point that these transcontinental flights are taking a heavier toll on me with each trip … what shape will I be in once I am pet-free?

I’m already contemplating moving up to business class so I can more comfortably make this next trip. That’s a heap of money spent just to get across the Pond. That in itself is a huge negative for me. I like to make the air fare and room as inexpensively as possible so I can use my funds to explore. So, another thought started pinging around in my head—one I kept stuffing, because I didn’t want to consider it. Logic and common sense kept dredging it back up. The thought I recently voiced was to make this 2016 trip my last trip abroad. Once voiced, the idea grew. Stop flying across the pond and instead, put my time and effort into visiting places within the confines of this continent. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. “Confines…” was the key word. But I cannot make it go away.

I love traveling so much—and the draw of Ireland and Scotland is strong. I just don’t know. It’s hard to imagine not traveling. In a way, I’m in mourning … it saddens me thinking that 2016 will be my last foray traveling abroad—traipsing amongst the trees and trudging up hills with hidden secrets … and experiencing the ancient ruins of our past. The States—and that which lies north and south of me—may be old, but Europe and the British Isles are ancient. I have fallen in love with ancient. I adore ancient. It pulls my mind away from the present, planting me deep in to the past of oh, so long ago. My imagination seems more alive as I wander over there. To think that I won’t be visiting any of these lovely places anymore leaves a huge hole in my heart.

What am I to do with this quandary?? My heart is aching over it. I cannot see a resolution in the near future, yet … I really must decide.

Steampunk … Here I Come!

AAAH. IT WAS A “QUIET” … YET BUSY WEEKEND for me—and my friend, Pam—as we made our way (separately) to the outskirts of Turlock for the steampunk conference. About two hours from home, Turlock is nestled between Modesto and Merced on Hwy 99 (which is east of Hwy 5). It really is a beautiful drive, if you like the stark beauty of naked mountains (which I do). Not one green blade of grass or leaf anywhere … well, except in the almond groves or other cultivated produce.

The shadows played beautifully with the curvature of the mountains and hills, creating some lovely contrasts. Unfortunately, I was “driven” to driving to my destination … and did not stop—not even once (unusual for me). I did not bring my good camera (foolish!), so was not as inclined to stop. I just visually soaked up all the undulations and shadows and stored them in my (faulty) memory. I believe this drive needs to be done again, without a destination or deadline planned so that I can stop at a moments notice … on a whim … and take photos.

Because of our allergies, as the time drew near both of us were concerned about air quality due to the fires blazing in surrounding areas. Fires were out and beautiful, clear skies greeted us—thankfully! And, although it was much cooler weather for locals (they’d been suffering with 116° heat until recently), the 89° was a bit toasty for us—especially in costume. Thankfully, it continued to cool down a wee bit more over the course of the weekend. But was still too warm for me to wear either the London Fog rain coat or the knit shell sweater—or even the 4th doctor’s beautiful trademark scarf for any length of time—to complete my Sarah Jane Smith costume. Oh, well.

I arrived at the hotel and unpacked before heading over to the Stanislaus Fairgrounds for the convention. Nice accommodations at the Comfort Inn at the convention rate. Yay! I had less than an hour left before they closed down for the night, so I simply drove over, picked up our passes and meandered through the venue to see what was there. I had to remind myself that it was their first year and it should grow quickly, so it was nice to see it in it’s “infant” state.

The SteamHouse Steampunk Convention will grow. I’m sure. There were vendors of all sorts: selling handmade steampunk clothes and accessories ranging from jewelry to goggles, to fun movable clock-gear pendants and cool pens made from bullets (I thought about getting one for one of my brothers … but forgot! I hope I grabbed his card). Two Whovian clubs were

The War Doctor and "Sarah Jane Smith"

San Diego’s War Doctor and I posed with K9

represented: San Diego Whovians (with a War Doctor cos-player) and Central Valley Whovians, plus more than a few steampunk Star Wars actors—I managed to not get their photos, but Pam did: the “steam Star Wars

Steampunk Star Wars characters

Courtesy of Pam Leja, a nice shot of the steamy Star Wars Steampunk crew.

crew. Star Wars Steampunk. They even have permission from the creator to use the Star Wars name! There was a video producer—though I was not interested, so I cannot tell you what he was trying to sell.

It was fun. I did have my cell phone camera, but found that I was having too much fun poking around and asking questions to be bothered with many photos. When I looked at the ones I did take, I had to shake my head. Mostly generic, vanilla shots! I’m embarrassed!

Vendors of All Kinds

Costumes, accessories, clockwork gearing were only a few things you might find.

The nice thing about new venues … they are small, not as well attended (which is a bad thing for the vendors), but it allows more time to chat. This group of vendors was delightful … talking about their wares, about little things—and I found two from my area … plus, the whole affair was far more intimate. That’s a good thing for a first-timer like myself. I had misgivings about attending, but shouldn’t have worried. The intimacy of the venue gave me time to warm up to the cool things I was seeing. And gave me ideas on how I could better steampunk my character for next time. Yup … there will be a next time if dates don’t conflict with my schedule.

Pam and I spent most of Saturday morning wandering around and

More Vendors

It’s a large space and in the future, it will be packed with vendors and attendees.

investigating what was available, chatting up the vendors. We even went into the next building where there was a holistic/crystal show going on (spend very little time there) … and we had a lovely lunch from the catered trucks (no “roach coaches” here—gourmet food, indeed!). Some came as far a San Francisco to cater to the crowd … including a cupcake truck from San Jose.

Clockwork Heart

Movable gears on this sweet little pendant. May work it onto K9 to Steampunk him a bit more.

Sunday, we came back over to the convention to find that many of the vendors had abandoned the show (remember … sadly, low attendance can mean low income for vendors). I had hoped to find a few things to buy, plus get permission to take a few photos. Oh, well. I did get a photo of me with the War Doctor and my dinky little K9. My little guy was quite a hit, by the way! Everybody wanted pictures of K9 with or without me. That made me happy. I even got a few compliments on my costume. Pam, on the other hand, had plenty of compliments … but then, she definitely dressed the part.

I was going to add more photos … but for some reason, they load into WordPress sideways (tried rotating the originals, but it was a no-go—insert extremely grumpy face) … and unless you’re game with side-ways photos, I’d rather not add them. They were so cute! One of K9 with his Steampunk hat and one of Pam with a few nicely dressed Steampunk vendors. Drats.

So, folks … it was quiet, but fun. Lots of cool outfits that I managed to not take photos of … good food and fun, chatty vendors to pass the time of day.

It does sound like the date is set now in stone for next year … and it’s the same weekend, so I won’t be able to attend—prior commitments at the Big Trees Scottish Gathering and Highland Games in Ben Lomond CA with the Gunn Clan tent will keep me away—always on the first weekend of October … sigh.

Now … a quick apology for the monster-long blog entry, then I’m off to prepare for the book signing that’s happening Saturday in Salinas! Have a great Friday plus a beautiful and blessed weekend, folks. Until next Friday … cheers!

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria Covers 1-3

click on for full image of the first three books

 

 

Facebook Author’s page Upcoming Events
The Scymarian at Amazon
Secrets Beyond Scymaria series at my SquareMarket

 

Too Much To Do …

OOPSIE. THERE’S BUSY … THEN THERE’S WAY too busy. It looks like October is just one of those months … filled with a mix of business and pleasure, leaving very little room for quiet time. I’ve been so darn busy trying to get ready for the release of my third book in the series, the book signing next week and the upcoming Steampunk convention—and failing miserably to get my costume the way I envisioned it (insert huge pout), that I have put aside my blog responsibility to the very last second. Literally. Yikes.

Also, in trying to make sure all my ducks were in a row, I completely forgot about book marks for my new book (groan … head/desk!). So … if I’ve time, that’s on my agenda today so I’ll have something for the weekend. Otherwise, it’s on my to-do list for Monday (for next week’s event).  Now I’m wondering what else I’ve forgotten. What was initially planned as  a low key event where I would meander through the vendor tables, etc. to distribute business cards, con ribbons and chat up attendees has become … um, well, almost a circus—with me running in circles, trying to get things to work out correctly. I keep misplacing things, only to find and misplace yet again (and, in most cases, find them again). Some things remain MIA, sadly … so I’m not able to do a few things I’d planned. But, I should be ready. A “scaled-back” ready.

At least, I hope I’m ready.

… And, I now have an added responsibility of trying to recruit interested Steampunk artists to teach at Open Ground Studios. I don’t mind—it’s kind of an honor, really … but I don’t want it to take away from any other aspect: having fun, passing out my con ribbons and chatting with attendees about Dr. Who, steampunk and my ever-growing series. I’ll figure it out.

So, as short as this blog is, I’m sure next week’s will be just the opposite … and should be filled with photos from the conference. Until then, I’m off to have some fun, so have a blessed weekend and week to come.

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books 1-3) available now at my SquareMarket (signed copies)
Inknbeans Press (book 3 only … at some time in the future, they will have all of the books in the series)
Amazon (book three)  (book 1-2) … having issues getting Amazon to recognize all are by same author.