Hopes and Dreams for a Better Future Or At Least a Better 2019

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First up, publication announcements!

If you’re not already aware, I am a self-published author at this point, and I will probably continue to do so for some time. I had an amazing revelation the other day about why I’m currently dissatisfied with some of my works (including those already published), and, because of that revelation, my hopes of finding a traditional publisher who will back me is very slim. Mind you, when the time comes, I’ll still try, if only because I want to know what it feels like to get a rejection letter. (And if I’m pleasantly surprised upon querying, then I’m pleasantly surprised!)

At any rate, because I am self-published, the “company” producing this work is my brand, the name of my Facebook page, and of these journals, Enchanted Realms Fiction, and I am quite pleased to announce the following:

The 2019 Publishing schedule:
The Summer of Dragons and Fireflies, Book 1 of the Maepyrian Chronicles, and Ravensrealm, Arc of Fantasy Book 3, are slated for February and July publication dates.
Rune Stories was originally intended for December, but it is now off the 2019 schedule – mainly because there are events going to happen in the four Maepyrian Chronicles that will affect the events in Rune Stories, and thus Rune Stories will be a big spoiler for some of that. So, upon completion of all four books in the Maepyrian Chronicles, Rune Stories will be published at some later date.
Rune Stories will be replaced with a current work in progress to be announced at a later date.
The Summer of Dragons and Fireflies is due out Tuesday, February 5, 2019. An in-person and online release parties are being planned for that time, to be followed by in Tulsa sales at the upcoming Crash-Landed convention.

The 2019 Convention Schedule:
Crash-Landed, February 15-17, the Cox Convention Center, Tulsa
Tokyo in Tulsa, July 12-14, the Cox Convention Center, Tulsa
Heroic Tulsa, November 8-10, the Cox Convention Center, Tulsa

I will also be doing what I can to host meet-and-greets/author signings throughout the Tulsa area through May of 2019 for certain. May is going to be the tricky month as I want to move out of Oklahoma before the summer hits. I love a good, hot summer, but not to the point where I’m being chased inside with the A/C running.That’s not a good summer, so I’m doing what I can to head north.

For the record, I did move out of Tulsa in 2016. I lived in Gretna, Louisiana, for a month and a half. Because I had no real life experiences of living with others, I ended up coming back to Tulsa, which has been of a great benefit for me. I’m actually getting out more, meeting with newfound friends, and just enjoying what my life has to offer.

Still, the mountains call me, and that’s where I’m going to go. After May 2019, when the dust settles from another move, I’ll be looking for local bookstores in my new area in which to promote and sell my books or even restaurants.

And that’s pretty much it for right now. For all of my writer friends, I know it seems like you’re getting nowhere, the rewards you’re dreaming of just aren’t there yet, but, in order to reap those rewards, to know that joy of holding your own book in your hands, I encourage you to stay strong.

Seriously, stay strong. Writing has never been an easy gig nor one with instant gratification. Very few authors actually get that right away. Even the ones who “appear” to have done so, well, they worked hard, they believed in themselves and their abilities even as they struggled and fought their inner demons and critics and self-doubts.

Your story is in the shape of someone else’s wound.

Heal it!

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On Womanhood

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My grandmother died probably a very miserable woman at the age of 84.

I say this because I bounced around a lot from August 2014 through August 2015. I’d lived with her twice before moving to Washington, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma (for one day) and then Oklahoma again, where I’ve managed to stay for the better part of three years. During that time, I listened to her misery.

I listened as she prayed, every day, to Jesus for help but never appreciated the small forms of help she actually got. I listened to her lament, at the age of 82, how she wished she could go back to work because no one told her that it was actually okay to rest and to take care of herself for a change. I listened to her just be miserable because time took from her what it will take from all of us: mobility, strength, endurance, our wit, and everything else that society says makes us valuable. She was never taught how to be happy, that she could have been a good source of wisdom . . . if she hadn’t been so focused on how things used to be, how they were supposedly so much better, and how horrible things are in this world. She worried over her weight, her daughters’ weights, her granddaughters’ weights, and tried to control my portions of food at one point. (That doesn’t work very well. I know I’m fat, and I’m learning to be okay with that, even in the face of the body shamers and the haters.)

I write this now, as a 41-year-old woman, in a state of transition. My life has taken some very interesting turns over the last few years, and I know that, when it comes time for me to die, the only thing I want to be is content and ready and happy with how my life has turned out. I write this now as a woman who grew up in a family who adored little girls but wanted to dress them up like dolls and put them on a shelf of permanent youth and beauty and stasis. Little girls weren’t supposed to climb trees. Little girls weren’t supposed to be interested in playing the mud or with toy cars. Little girls weren’t supposed to be bold and courageous in the face of new challenges. Little girls wore pink and lacy, frilly dresses, their hair curled at the tender age of 7.

Little girls weren’t supposed to believe in magic and fairy tales. Little girls were supposed to find a good husband who made more than enough money so they didn’t ever have to be without.

Time makes the generational gap all the more interesting.

I recently watched a Goalcost video of a woman who spoke about how dangerous it is for a woman to love her body. There are people who are somehow threatened by a confident woman and will do anything and everything they can to dim her light. Her response by the end of the video was amazing.

You can’t dim the sun.

And that is so true. You can’t dim the sun. The clouds may cover it from time to time, there are days when it rains almost endlessly, but the sun still shines even behind those clouds. We can’t always see it, but we can always feel it.

My move to Tulsa is one I’m starting to embrace, just a little, but I know where my heart truly belongs. It’s in the mountains and forests of Colorado. But, while I’m here, I’m learning more and more about what it means to be a woman, defining that without someone else telling me what it’s supposed to mean.

For me, womanhood is comprised of so many things, but most of all, it’s the gaining of wisdom and experience. It’s loving every aspect of both my body and my existence, even when it hurts, especially when it hurts, even when someone else believes I’ve made a mistake.

It’s learning how to overcome the traumas of childhood, of friendship betrayals, and teaching others how to overcome the same things. Because life is messy, emotions complicate things, but realizing at the end of the day, we’re all seeking the same thing: a little bit of attention and a whole lot of love for who we really are.

It’s so much more than what words could ever actually define.

My paternal grandmother died at the age of 84, surrounded by her children, but miserable because no one ever told her it was okay to grow old and enjoy her golden, greying years. No one told her it was okay to celebrate the aging process. No one told her that little girls were actually living, breathing, feeling, thinking human beings who could be so much more than the perfect dolls she and my aunts tried to make me and my cousins into, even though she saw it for herself. Seeing it is one thing. Believing is another.

Bleeding once a month was something never embraced. It was a nuisance to be endured.

These are all of the things I’m shedding from myself. Life might be messy, it might be dark, but embracing who I am and all of the messy bits that go with it are what I’m using to define myself as a woman.

For me, it’s an amazing concept, one that, upon having a daughter, I plan to instill in her so she knows that it isn’t men who define womanhood. It’s her.

#IAmNotADoll

Updates, Some Ranting, and Getting Back on Track!

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Okay, my lovelies, I have books that need to move as soon as possible. I will be seeking places to sell – I know of a couple of places where I simply need to talk to someone about getting set up – but otherwise my last round of paperbacks from CreateSpace are through me.
Here are the titles and prices
Portal to Gaming, $13.99
Sigyn’s Flowers, $9.99
The King and Queen of Wands, $8.99
The Sons of Thor, $17.99
Non-Tulsa residents, please let me know in advance that you are not in Tulsa. I will need to charge for shipping, based on your location. I will accept check or money orders as well as PayPal. Oklahoma residents, I do need to charge sales tax.
Tulsa residents, please drop me a line in the comments section, and I will make arrangements with you to finalize the sale. I accept cash and credit card payments. (Let me know in advance how you plan on paying so I can bring my Square Reader with me.)
Please like and share to help me spread the word. I have limited quantities, and I want to get paperback distribution up and running again through Lulu. I’ll be setting up a new PayPal account by the end of next week, too. My old account, I somehow got locked out of, and I’ve just never gotten it straightened out. The new one will be under this name, anyway.

Now that I’ve gotten that bit of business taken care of, it’s time for a few updates.

I recently spoke on expanding the Enchanted Realms Fiction page, not just the Facebook page but this blog as well. I mentioned doing videos, setting up something on YouTube. I recently decided to investigate a Plan B while I continued on with this writing career, which will involve schooling. All of this is going to require money and time, and I’ve recently gone back to my serving job at IHOP in order to make a few things happen. I’m also looking at leaving JCPenney before the holiday rush really starts to kick in and kick my ass once more. I did that last holiday season. I got the job at JCPenney on the recommendation of someone who is no longer speaking to me, at least for this moment in time, and I just can’t keep putting that energy into to just barely surviving, barely able to get out of bed in the mornings, especially for as little as I’m being paid there. I’m not leaving just yet – I have a few things I need to do before I put in my notice about when my last day is – but it will definitely be before Thanksgiving. I also, right now, make just a little under $9 an hour. Even if I had tried to make the retailer my primary source of income, it wouldn’t have worked. I can’t pay all of my bills on that, and I’m working on changing my attitude for while at IHOP. My serving job is going to be my springboard once more to get me to where I want to go, and I will need (and want) to focus more on getting my books written. That’s why I’m planning to exit JCPenney, as I said, before Thanksgiving.

Why before Thanksgiving? Because I will not get to see any family members for any given length of time if I stay at JCPenney. Last year, I was scheduled from 1 pm until 10 or 11 pm, and I didn’t walk out of the store until a few minutes after midnight. Even then, I had to literally run out the door before I got stuck there again. People commented that it just wasn’t right that I had to work that day, but, you know, if they actually were that concerned, they’d have kept their asses at home. If you’re going to complain that a holiday is a time to spend with family, stay at home and spend it with your family. Yes, I’m ranting a little bit about that. I’ll still be working at IHOP on Thanksgiving, but I’ll at least get to leave after a certain point and spend some time with my family and just rest once I’m done. And the plans I have for my life will also ensure that I get any days I want off to spend with my family, I will have off. A little bit more on that in just a moment.

Next month is also NaNo, and I’d like to try and participate in that again. No, I will not be starting a new project. If anything, I want to use it finish up a project or at least make a considerable dent. I’m pondering either Ravensrealm or Rune Stories for the moment. We’ll see. I still have until the end of this month to decide.

I’m just ready to channel my energy where I really want and need to channel it. That means letting go and possibly limping along for a little while. I can handle that, at least until I have enough money to move out onto my own or until I can find a better paying job, or both. I’m tired of being drained because my energy is tied up in the things that don’t really set my soul on fire.

One thing I’m looking forward to doing is actually spending more time on writing and on critiquing. I’m working on that foundation to keep building up this career, so I’ve made the return back to Scribophile, too. It’s the one site that did help me learn and grow as a writer. If I ultimately find I need to move on, I will, but I actually need to try first before I actually give up.

In terms of getting out there to promote, I’m gathering the funds necessary to register for a few local conventions in the Tulsa area. I will be aiming for Tokyo in Tulsa once more, and, if I’m able to do what I wish to do by the end of this month, I will be registered for it and the two sister conventions new to Tulsa next year. The first one is in February, and it’s called Crash-Landed. It’s a science-fiction and independent filmmaker convention, and I’m super stoked about this. I have a very good feeling about it! The other sister convention is called Heroic Tulsa. I can register for all three in one go. That’s going to be amazing!

I did check into one of the massage therapy schools here in Tulsa. While it would be beneficial for moving to a new city to take the classes while in Tulsa, it’s just not financially feasible at this time. I’ve made too many financial blunders to be able to afford the schooling – at any of the schools – and pay my bills. I’m not giving up on the idea. I’m simply postponing when and where I get started. I have to get myself back on track to get to where I need to go.

And, finally, I turned 41 on Monday! Happy birthday to me! I’m looking forward to making this next chapter of my life absolutely amazing!

It’s a weird entry, I know. I hope to expand on the journals themselves with other things beyond writing. I love food, and I’m interested in taking up gardening and other forms of crafting. Making candles, oils, and soaps for the retreat I want to create in the future has a certain appeal to it!

I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s happening!

Have a great weekend, my friends!

So Much!

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I have a lot on my mind that I want to cover for today. It could be quite the lengthy journal entry. It might not. It’s very hard to say.

Some of this, I am going to say right now, is pretty much geared towards one person. I know the chances of her actually reading this don’t actually exist. She’s made it clear, twice now, she has no intentions of learning more about me and allowing me to learn more about her. Staying in a particular comfort zone for friendships is a thing, but it’s also rather boring, at least for me. I’m the type of person I don’t care if we have a whole lot in common, if you have a good energy about you, I want to know you and hear your story.

Anyway, some of this is primarily for an audience of one. If she reads this, she’ll know who she is.

In regards to everything that happened in the past, so what. You received a few rejection letters from an agent. Less than a handful, if I remember correctly.

So what. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling received more than that before they were finally published the traditional way, and look at where they’re at now. Amanda Hocking received more than three rejection letters, kept on writing, and self-published everything she’d written. She became the first self-published author to earn a million dollars on Amazon. Publishing houses began to court her after that.

You’ve had a lot of people tell you the “right way” to gain publishing success, so much so, you bought into it, allowed them to douse the flames of your passion, allowed them to whip “the horse” to the point of being broken and nearly dead. You’ve started a few novels since then, but you’ve completed nothing. The fear you’ve allowed into your heart over the rejection, the verbal and mental abuse of the critique group, the idea you have to write something “marketable” has dictated to you that somehow you’d be a failure no matter. You didn’t get your instant gratification, like we’ve all become accustomed to receiving in this day and age. And, yes, I, too, have succumbed to instant gratification. How can I not? The internet is this amazing thing! Post a story to a website, a piece of art, a video, and it’s available, immediately, to millions of people. Everything we could ever want is available at the tips of our fingers, next day delivery sometimes guaranteed.

You wanted the traditional route over self-publishing. That route is filled with pain and determination. What would our world be like if every author who has published a story did so because they feared the rejection and the pain and humiliation that comes along with it? What would our lives be like if we didn’t have the magical, allegorical world of Harry Potter in which to entrench us and to teach us? What would our mental states be if we didn’t have the darkness that pours from the pages of Stephen King and Dean Koontz to confront us on the deepest, darkest aspects of our souls?

You don’t see self-publishing as real publishing yet every self-published author will tell you how thrilled they are to have copies of their books in their hands. Self-published is also not for the faint of heart, those seeking that instant gratification and success. It’s hard work. It puts the fate of your career in your own hands. It’s your chance to prove to the world that you can do this, that you are strong enough to handle this.

The flames only die, the horse only reaches death, when you allow it, when you stop feeding and nurturing the very things you claim to love and care about. Yes, take that criticism. Learn, grow, IMPROVE. Don’t take every negative remark to heart about how “lousy” your writing can be. Not everyone who leaves criticism has your best interest at heart, even if they claim otherwise.

Why, you might ask?

Because there is no clear path to success. The way there is filled with turns. Sometimes you have to trace backwards. It’s a mess of scribbles, blood, sweat, and tears, but the final product is well worth the sacrifices along the way. Because what has worked for one author may not necessarily work for you.

Now, I can’t make the decision to be a writer for you. For anyone. That’s something everyone must do some serious soul-searching on because writing is HARD WORK. It’s hours and hours of rough-drafting, second, third, editing out, revising, and loathing the process. It’s moments of hair-pulling stress and aggravation. If any tells you that they haven’t done such a thing, chances are, they’re either lying about being an author or just don’t care enough about what they’ve written to put the effort into the project. This path is not easy. And, yes, you need a day job before greater success comes your way, but there is always success in every little thing you did. You got a rejection letter? Great! What did that actually teach you? Did it fill you with dread and despair? Or are you going to decide to learn to do better? Are you going to decide to keep taking the chances on yourself and prove to the world that you are worth the time and investment?

A wise man once said we invest in what we value.

So, if you see this some day, maybe even today (I don’t know – again, while I hope that this person will see this, I do know she feels I am not worth the time of day), let me ask you this:

What are you going to do when the desire to create becomes too much? What happens when the strong desire to crank out something true and authentic to you overrides all of your senses? Are you going to kill those urges? Or are you going to listen to the voices of your guides, who truly know you better than me or anyone else on this planet, and follow your heart? If you are a positive thinker, negative thoughts about writing should not exist in your heart or your mind. Positive thinking chases out the negative. Warmth and love banish it even further.

I truly believe if you didn’t love to write, you wouldn’t have tried again. Chase away your fears. Silence the voices of your naysayers, and just write your blessed and beautiful stories.

Do this because it truly makes you happy. I know you’ve experienced the thrill and the rush of completing a story. Remember that. Draw that exhilaration into you, and use it as fuel to propel you forward!

Now for everyone else.

I have experienced from family the encouragement to do other things with my life. To pursue the more “practical” side because getting published was a long shot. It just didn’t happen to “ordinary” folks such as ourselves. Yet, if you stop and think about it, what was truly extraordinary about Stephen King? J.K. Rowling? Dean Koontz? Anne McCaffrey? Or any hundreds of authors out there who have been published? Was it luck?

Perhaps but not as nearly as much as we’d like to believe. Most of these authors were, at one point, ordinary folks. Just like you. Just like me. They, too, experienced rejection. Words of discouragement. Everything every artist has ever endured since humans started to veer away from artistic pursuits in favor of the office cubicle or industrial work, yet such people have still relied on the arts as a means to ease the mundaneness of their lives.

Remember my last entry where I spoke about what of my biggest influences for my life?

The Bangles. One of the biggest, most popular bands of the mid-1980s comprised of four women who learned how to make music, either by learning on their own or being taught by a family member. Four women who spent copious amounts of time practicing their craft, working out the kinks to lyrics, drumbeats, guitar chords, and keyboard arrangements.

What separates the wannabe author from the published author is the following: Grit, determination, faith in him/herself (self-doubt is present, too, don’t get me wrong on that) on his/her success, and a strong desire to succeed. I can tell you there is nothing like holding a copy of a book you’ve spent countless hours on. It’s such an indescribable sensation. It’s giddiness, it’s disbelief (is this actually real? Oh my gods, it’s real), and it’s just sheer . . . joy.

It doesn’t matter if the book comes from a traditional publisher, a hybrid publisher, or through a site like Lulu or CreateSpace. I will say that again. It doesn’t matter if the book comes from a traditional publisher, a hybrid publisher, or through a site like Lulu or CreateSpace. YOU WILL FEEL THAT JOY, THAT DISBELIEF, THAT EXCITEMENT. It can be your first book, your fifth, or your tenth. That happiness will always be with you, that testament to persevering, and accomplishing a goal. Everything else after will fall into place.

And, yes, you, as an author, will need someone to keep you in check – always believe yourself capable of learning and improving your craft; if you feel like you don’t need an editor or a critique group, you will fail – so here are some basic steps to help you improve.

1 – Find a critique group.
I’ve joined three, but I’ve only utilized one. Trust me, there are more out there, but the three that I know of are AbsoluteWrite, Critique Circle, and Scribophile. Critique Circle looks interesting, but I’ve not popped over there to use them just yet. I can’t give any testimonials for or against them.
AbsoluteWrite left a bad taste in my mouth (and was also the same site the person I spoke to utilized; her experiences were enough to make me wary, but I forged ahead anyway).
Scribophile is where I’ve had my success.
To beginning authors, I recommend joining the sites and hanging out in the forums. If a critique group gives you a negative vibe, listen to that and walk away. I don’t care if it’s Scribophile or some other group. Trust your instincts. You know where you’re going to have your success at by gauging how the older members of the groups interact with the newer members. Mind you, some of the older members can be bitchy and will give inane advice on “be grateful for anything you get because you’re not owed anything” but trust yourself in that you know what works best in improving your work. If you don’t know what type of critiques will work for you, you soon will. I discovered at Scribophile that I detested other people rewriting my sentences for me. Why? Because it didn’t teach me how to rewrite sentences for myself. The critiquer in question wasn’t allowing me to use my own critical thinking and creative skills by coming up with the solution for me. (If someone’s doing line editing for you, too, they’re also not taking into consideration that the line they’ve spent some time on editing for you may end up deleted. That is the painful part of editing – deciding what’s no longer working and cutting it loose.) Striking out the things they thought were unnecessary and not saying as much is also an aggravation. Truth, I’m looking for content, cohesion, flow, character development, and overall flow. Mechanics mean nothing if your story’s content is utter shit.
Don’t be afraid to say what it is you’re looking for in a critique, okay? However, if someone tries to focus on the story but can’t because of bad mechanics, fix those errors and try again! You have no idea how much bad mechanics can ruin a story. If someone tries to tell you that a certain critiquing style is the only way they can be effective, gently remind them that effectiveness is in the eye of the beholder. We all learn what works best for us!

If you can’t find a critique group, create one. Don’t be afraid to critique, either. I’ve found my skills as a writer improving when I take the time to actually critique someone else’s work. I find where I get repetitious or overuse words.

Never underestimate that value!

2 – Set aside the time to actually write and some daily goals.
Writing is just like going to a regular job. If you don’t show up, you don’t get paid.
Simple.

3 – Build your audience.
We’re in the lovely age of technology so building an audience before you query out or self-publish is a good thing! I wish I would have taken a bit more time to build up more of a prospective audience by the time I’d published Portal to Gaming.

4 – Be prepared to promote and write at the same time.
Unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, whose names sell for themselves, you’re going to be spending as much time promoting yourself and expanding your audience base as you are writing. Even if you go the traditional route.

5 – Don’t just pick up pen and paper (or open that word document) to write. Know what you like!
This is actually something I’ve seen happen a few times in some group on Facebook. A new person joins, they want to write a book, but they don’t know what to write about. This problem can actually be oh so easily avoided by knowing what it is you like to read about. That’s what you’re doing as a writer. You’re writing the stories that YOU want to read. I can’t pick the type of story for you to tell. I can only pick the stories that I want to tell.

I’m keeping it simple here. There’s more you can do, but you have to decide what it is you want to do. This is simple preparation. It’s up to you, the unpublished author, the “I’m testing the waters” author, as to what you want to do and how you want to get there.

One thing I look forward to doing upon either getting into a larger room in this new house or upon moving out of this house (whichever is likely to happen first) is creating a writing atmosphere. Being science-fiction and fantasy, I would love to have dragon, wizard, and unicorn figurines decorating my small but wonderful writing desk. Yeah. I’m not going after the behemoth Stephen King had, the one that took up an entire room. I actually love my little writing desk that I have right now. It’s just doing dual work of writing and spiritual. (And both are a bit one in the same for me, too. My only problem is the number of my Oracle decks and rune sets keep expanding! I need a different table for them! LOL)

To the person I initially spoke to at the start – I wish you the best of luck. If you were to publish your first two novels in two weeks to Kindle and to other PoD sites, you’d have enough in sales to make everything worth it. You’re the only one who can truly determine whether or not you’re a failure. Not me. Not the rest of the world. Success is how we define it!

Moving forward.

In regards to Ravensrealm, I’m debating if the current fight I’ve engaged my party in is going to be part of the final chapter of the book or if I’m going to keep pushing forward to the questing group’s final destination. I have a feeling a few things are going to be cut.

And that’s okay!

In the meantime, I have a notebook and a pen to retrieve.

Please check out my ebooks at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
https://www.amazon.com/Victorea-Ryan-Meadow/e/B00MQF33K6
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Victorea%20Ryan%20Meadow%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

Making Some Additions to Enchanted Realms

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Hello there once again, my friends! It’s been a busy month, September has. I’ve recently finished reading a few non-fiction titles that are helping me to reshape my life as it is – trust me, it’s been a mess for many years, and I’m now cutting away what’s no longer serving me – and I’m solidifying on a few other concepts.

For sure, I will still be writing. In fact, one of the things I’ll be working on today is setting up a foundation for myself on how to be better at writing. One thing for sure is I need to get myself into the habit of writing daily. I’m learning a lot about some of the characters that have come to me through writing, and it’s just . . . amazing and breathtaking. One thing I will be doing is making it a nightly habit for live feeds. You can catch up with the live feeds on my Enchanted Realms Fiction page on Facebook. I’ve provided the link below along with other sites where you can find me along with the Enchanted Realms Fiction page. Please like and follow because that’s where I will be doing updates on upcoming publications and events. (I will be posting such things here as well, along with sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.) I have a creative streak that knows no bounds, and writing is one way for me to channel that.

I’ve decided to go back to school for massage therapy and to take a few Reiki courses. I have a nebulous idea for starting a writing/spiritual retreat in the mountains of Colorado over the next few years. I need to get to one of the colleges that teaches massage therapy and get myself set up to start taking the courses. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m good at giving massages, and this will help me land in something that actually pleases me. I love helping others to heal, and positive touch is one such way to heal. (This will also free up more time for me to pursue the writing. I’m currently limping along working in retail and doing one other thing, and I’m dissatisfied with both. I prefer learning and growing environments above all others so creating a retreat is right up my alley.) I’m excited about this prospect.

I’ve also decided that I want to expand on what I do with Enchanted Realms. I want to do more than just write books to tell my stories. I want to create videos so people can watch them. I want to keep on creating, to see that the words I put down, the images I present to those who watch, and I want to make sure that everything I do somehow heals those who need that healing. It sounds crazy, I know, but I do believe in the power of creativity. I believe in the power of healing. I was fourteen when I first read The Lord of the Rings, but, in looking back at it, in remembering how much I cried that first time when Frodo left Middle-Earth behind, I realize that it’s an insanely powerful metaphor about healing, about realizing that something within us has changed, and that it’s okay to accept that change. That’s how we grow and how we heal. And it’s amazing that words on paper, images on a screen, amazing that all of that can teach us those things without us even realizing it.

Now this expansion will take me a while. My life is still in transition from this move, and it’s taken me a few weeks and some personal readings for better insight to get this far. I also know that I could moan and whine about having to go back to school for what I’m considering my back up plan, but I’ve also realized that we are meant to do more in this life than just be one thing. As a wise woman once told me (and recently at that), we are born with more than one talent. I personally have been blessed with a knack for healing, for writing, and for singing. (And for cooking and baking and with a tremendous amount of courage to go and try new things, even when it seems scary at first.) And, while I have an amazing computer in Viking (Thor, my first laptop, is in need of some repairs and TLC), he may not have everything I need in terms of space to do editing. I don’t have everything I want or need to start creating my own videos (which will appear on YouTube when the dust settles even further), so there’s a lot I need to learn and experiment with first. (I have limited space at this point, too, so elaborate setups are currently out of the question.)

Finally, I want to write a little bit on grit and determination. If you’ve followed me on this blog or have known me for any given length of time, you know I’ve cited the Bangles as my all-time favorite musical group. I’ve been a fan since I first heard “Manic Monday” on the radio back in May of 1986. I have so many reasons to admire them and to be inspired by them.

The main reason is THEY NEVER GAVE UP. They practiced their craft. They worked day jobs to get by, and they played in clubs whenever they could. They wanted to make music. They wanted to hear their songs on the radio. They could have stopped after hearing their music on college radio, but they didn’t. This was during a time when female musicians were still thought of as novelty acts.

I recently reflected on all of this. I have many heroes throughout my life – my mother for standing up for herself, the Bangles for following their dreams, to name a few (and there are others, too) – but the Bangles are the only ones who have demonstrated grit and determination to me. Mind you, there are others out there who have as well, but I haven’t followed them as ardently as I have the Bangles. Because of them, I wanted to be a musician. And I may still take that up at some point, too. Only time will tell.

If you’re out there, wondering why you should continue with writing, please remember that it takes time. I still need to remind myself of that when things don’t happen fast enough for me or when I can barely crank out five words to something. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes grit and determination and, yes, a day job in the meantime. A handful of rejections only defines your failure if you allow it. Everyone thinks of giving up. It takes strength to keep going, to keep nurturing those dreams when the rest of the world will tell you to quit. The only one who can allow the world to douse the flames of what sets your soul on fire is YOU.

Be strong. Be brave. Keep fighting the good fight. Without the creative souls, life would be dreary indeed!

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Books recently read: The Women’s Wheel of Life by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard; The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz; Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Makers and Creators

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It’s coming down to being one whirlwind of a week. I’ve made some major changes in my life, and I’ve come to a few other realizations as well. Given my creative nature, I’m no longer interested in holding a job that’s on a restrictive schedule. At least, not in the capacity of working two jobs. I still need actual work in order to pay my bills while I crank out the remainder of Ravensrealm and Rune Stories: The Daughters of Odin, Volume One, but I also know I need to not be crunched in my time. While I was working two jobs (I’ve let IHOP go), I had little time for anything. So little time, and I was fighting and clawing for what I wanted and needed in order to just get a sentence or two written down.

And we’re moving. It’s finally underway, and my challenge here has been to keep my ass calm amidst this chaos of lack of planning and so on. It’s crazy. These lessons keep popping up because the people around me refuse to learn from them, and I’m the one caught in the center of it all.

But these are also lessons for me, too. Patience for myself, with myself, and better organization are among them. And refusing to shoulder more than what I need to shoulder.

I am looking at some avenues for income, ones that allow flexibility in scheduling. I also need to take the initiative to shore up money come the dry months, as I deem everything after the first of the year. (January sucks for retailers and restaurants alike.)

Anyway, that’s the whirlwind that’s my life right now, along with a focus in tending to my spiritual needs.

Now for the title of those post.

Recently, I tried to reconnect with a person I met on Livejournal. It seemed to be going okay at first, but, because I’m this crazy ass weirdo who loves writing as much as it frustrates me, I couldn’t shut up about writing. It’s kind of a taboo subject with this person, but that’s also because I can see how she neglected that wound from her time at attempting to be a writer and, well, a few other things.

One thing she brought up to me was something she’d observed with a family member of her own who loved to do something but no longer engaged in that activity. One thing I’ve wondered, and I would love to ask her (but I’m also trying to halt all conversations with this person due to her negativity towards writing and her toxic positivity – yes, it is a thing, toxic positivity) is how come she never asked this person to make her something? I actually live in a family of people who like to make things. Though he doesn’t actually do anything with it, my brother can come up with a fantastic story line. My sister draws. My mother crochets, and my stepdad likes to knit. (He uses the knitting loops and got me started on that a few years back. It’s actually rather fun!) Me? I like to write, I like to learn, and I love baking. I love writing stories as gifts for my friends. I would so love it if a friend told me, hey, for Christmas (or birthday or whatever), could you write me a story? That would be awesome.

One thing I have learned when it comes to people who like to sew, write, draw, crochet, bake, and so on, is that they’re willing to do the thing once they know someone out there will appreciate the time and effort put into the task itself. My mother put together a jacket for cosplay for me, a nice velveteen piece for an alternate costume for Fayt Leingod (based on a fanfiction story I’d started to nurture). Everyone who has seen me in that jacket has loved it. It’s incomplete, too, but I love it. My mother hates it, but then she knows where her mistakes are in the garment. Does it matter to me it’s incomplete and that there are mistakes? No. I love it. I chose the material and the buttons and paid for those myself. I will wear that jacket at every convention I go to because it’s what I wanted, my mother put the time and effort into it, and no one else knows where those mistakes are, anyway. I asked my mother almost two years ago (it’ll be two years December 25) that she did know if she crocheted me stuff for Christmas that I’d be happy, right? She did that last Christmas for all of us, and it was the most peaceful Christmas I’d experienced in a long time, all because I didn’t have to hear, “Sorry there’s not a lot under the tree this year, but we just didn’t have enough money”.

If you know someone who likes to crochet or knit or sew and the holidays are coming up, ask them if they’d be willing to make you something for Christmas, even if you know they haven’t done the activity in a certain amount of time. If they tell you ‘no’, it’s one thing, but, man, just knowing that someone out there would appreciate that effort makes two worlds of difference for that person.

And, yes, I want to ask this person why she hasn’t asked this family member to make her something. I just haven’t because I don’t expect an answer back from this person, and, despite the number of years that have gone by, in some ways, she hasn’t changed. I’m not interested in being friends with those who wish to remain stagnant and closed off from those who are different from them, be it on a political or spiritual or even career scale. I’ve lost interest in being right but have gained more in being wrong because at least then I’m learning, I’m growing, and I’m becoming a better person for it.

This is a strange entry from me. And I love it.

Once the move is over and we get things settled, I aim to post more.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

A Commentary on a Common Science-Fiction Trope, Words of Wisdom and Encouragement: An Update

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Hey there, everyone! Been a while once more! As you may have surmised, my real life has been super busy. It actually hasn’t let up that much since around March. It’s kind of the price I pay for working two jobs while building a writing career, patching what I’ve torn apart in the career, and continuing from there.

I feel like I’ve made some huge mistakes since December, but I’m also determined to learn from those mistakes. There’s an innate wisdom in here. We should be looking to the past to learn and to grow from our failures, our goof-ups, instead of trying to relive those moments and rewrite them. When we try to live and rewrite, we get stuck. We hash over and over, again and again, all of the things we wanted to say, be it in anger, be it in love, be it in remorse . . . whatever the reason, that’s why we do it. And, in the end, the only thing doing all of that rehashing does is make us miserable. The moment still has passed. What’s been said and done remains unchanged. Feelings remain hurt, and grudges fester and poison our souls the way lead poisons our blood. When we do that, we’re torturing ourselves worse than what any other human being could ever do to us. Some of the best words of wisdom I have come across is this: You will spend more time with yourself than you will anyone else. Treat yourself with kindness.

Basically, what we tell ourselves is what we believe. If we treat ourselves with kindness, genuine kindness, we, in turn, treat others with genuine kindness, and that’s where change begins. It starts with us being kind to ourselves.

On the writing front, my mistakes I’ve made might seem a tad bit monumental, but then I’ve also listened to advice from non-writers who have scoffed at the insights I’ve gained from listening to those who are in the business, both the traditionally published author and indie author. While the insights from the non-writers is just as valuable at times, it can also be quite detrimental because, like I have, they get stuck with the notion that their thoughts and insights need to be heard above all others. It’s their guts telling them this or that. I’m working on getting back on track from that poorly timed advice I’d taken and gaining some momentum. This is what I’ve chosen for myself. I can listen to everyone, those in the business and those not in the business, and feel my way through the bits that are going to work for me. That’s my main encouragement right now because success as an author isn’t set by some pre-determined path. What worked for Stephen King may not work for me or the next guy. So feel it out. As a writer, we’re going to be blasted with all kinds of advice, and, if we allow it, the advice will overwhelm us and leave us wanting to quit.

Stay on your course. Stay strong while recognizing another’s insights. It’s going to be difficult, and that’s okay. Enjoy those moments for what they’re teaching you and helping you to be.

With all of that said, onward with the update on the personal front of my life. I’ve gone through some upheavals in the last month. July was just . . . ugh. Parts of July, I don’t even want to talk about! It was actually that bad, but I made it through alive and in one piece. One thing that happened is, well, I’m not going into too many details because I don’t know the final outcome just yet. Those paths have yet to be taken and tread, but know that I’m in a position where I’m seeing I can define myself in the ways that I want to, that are right for me, and my end goal for all of this is just to become a stronger, better person in the end.

I’ve also decided to go meatless for my diet. While I wish I could say in the end that it’s because I want to save our planet and the meat industry is this big, bad evil that needs to be taken down, the truth is actually a bit far from that. At a group meeting last week, I met a woman who spoke of having some interesting meditation experiences after she’d gone without eating meat for three days. The notion intrigued me enough to want to give it a try. The end result is that a lot of pain I’d been experiencing in my knees, pain so bad it hurt to bend them just to pick up coffee creamers from the floor and being unable to lift a five-gallon box of chocolate milk from my restaurant’s walk-in, is now almost gone. That was in 24 hours of the decision. I now have research to do because I do have a thyroid issue, and one of the main things to aid with it is eating red meat while avoiding soy, gluten, and peanuts. So totally going vegan wasn’t quite an option for me, and the only thing I’m truly giving up, gladly so, is meat. (I love cheese and yogurt.) After that, I’ll be working on reducing my sugar intake. The fact my decision, while based in self-love and a tad bit of selfishness, helps to aid in caring for our planet is simply a bonus. I’ll touch upon the pitfalls of trying to convince everyone to go meatless another time. Suffice to say, a lot needs to change first before “meatless” will actually be beneficial to our planet.

Now that the personal update is done, let’s get on with this trope I mentioned, the main reason why I wanted to write this entry in the first place. My friends, my fellow writers, my beloved readers, I am speaking of the trope of a non-human teaching we humans, we readers of stories and watchers of movies, how to be human.

It’s something I actually noted on Facebook a while back when I thought about the last Resident Evil movie and Data from Star Trek. Mostly spoiler-free here, anytime there is a non-human character or even a humanoid character, said character is written to be more humane, more compassionate, and more caring than the actual humans surrounding that character. It even gets noted from time to time that the clone, the non-human, or the android is more human than an actual human being. This is being brought back to the forefront of my mind after reconnecting with a fellow writer and checking out her YouTube Channel, Mighty Mayhem. (The segments are called Upon Further Inspection, where they watch movies about robots.) The episode I watched was about Wall-E, a movie I’ve yet to watch. (I haven’t, mainly due to a lack of interest. There’s a lot of movies I haven’t watched due to a personal lack of appeal on my part.) While she and her partner delved into a different aspect of the movie, once again, upon listening to her analysis, I realized yet again Wall-E is another example of a non-human showing more compassion and charity to humans and other non-humans than what the humans in the story are actually demonstrating. I know I’m going by what I’ve seen from her episode on that movie, but I find it to be an interesting social commentary all the same. It’s such a strong, running theme in science-fiction and fantasy alone. Why science-fiction and fantasy? What is it about this genre that allows us to explore these concepts that are seemingly lacking in all other genres and at such great depth? Yes, other genres do deal with the “Love Conquers All” ideal. Make no mistake on that, but, based on the number of romance authors I watch through my promotion groups, I see more stories geared towards dominance and revenge than I do compassion. Maybe it’s just because I’m not interested in revenge-style stories, where the person slighted does everything in his/her power to show the one who slighted them that they no longer have the power, but I can’t attest that compassion isn’t a key ingredient in these stories. I personally prefer a good, meaty adventure filled with sword fights or epic space battles or even both! In any event, I do hope authors in other genres chime in on how their genres actually delve into the human condition or even if they do. Science-fiction is considered speculative fiction, and maybe that’s been the whole point the entire time: What happens when we humans lose our human-ness and our compassion towards ourselves, towards the other life surrounding us, and need that reminder? We create something non-human to remind us that, yes, we can lose that, we’re in danger of losing that, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

It’s amazing to me, humbling as well, that kindness is actually the key ingredient to nearly every science-fiction and fantasy story out there.

Again, if you’re an author in a different genre, I would love to hear what you have to say about this!

Have an excellent Monday, my friends!