Oh It’s A Good Day

Oh my Gods!  Look!  It’s a REVEAL!

I finally settled on a title for Rolf & Birdie’s story and now I have a cover.  

Would ya like to see it?

Would ya?

Oh… I don’t know…

I’m so pleased with it.  It took ELEVEN attempts – and a lot of input from Val – to get it right.   The background is a picture The Boyfriend took a couple of years ago at Lake Huron.  

Now, would you like to see it?

Of course you would!  

Glorious, isn't it?

Glorious, isn’t it?

Now I just need to finish the story and start editing. 😉

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Beauty and Texture

Good morning!  

It is the first time in weeks that I can mostly see in the light without wanting to tear my eyes out so I thought I would share a few pictures from the past month with you.  The first one is from over the Christmas holidays.  Terror and I were at the cottage with The Boyfriend for a few days.  We draped a blanket from home over the big chair by the window so the feline would feel more settled.  He spent a lot of time there and there was this one moment of sheer perfection that I just had to capture.  

I did change the contrast slightly but other than that ...I changed nothing.

I did change the contrast slightly but other than that you see what we saw.

Next (in chronological order) I have some texture for you.  I’m not going to tell you what it is just yet.  I altered the hue and sharpened the edges of this macro shot to make it just a little more challenging.  

Texture Within

Can you guess?

Haven’t figured it out?  

No, it’s not bread.  

Not a muffin.

That’s right!  It’s cake.  Gluten free, corn free, soy free cake.  Girlkid turned 14  at the end of the year and I made her a Mortal Instruments cake.  Turned out rather well, considering I had to cut the glyph from sugar paper.  (It tore a little but GK said that made it look like it was battle worn.  *chuckles*)   The cake came out light and fluffy. 

Yesterday we were about an hour early for my doctor’s appointment.  Neither of us is entirely sure how that happened but I decided I wanted to brave this arctic chill to get some pictures.   It was so cold the air glittered.  Seriously.  It sparkled.  We’re not entirely sure why but it was like any moisture in the air was freezing.  Fuck it was cold!  Our picture taking venture lasted all of 6 minutes.  *laughs* 

I tried to photograph the sparkly air…

...but it didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

…but it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

You can see it a little in The Boyfriend’s back (it looks like your screen is dirty, no?) but other than that, not so much.

I did,  however, get some pretty hoar frost pictures.  These two pictures I leave you with were the best of the bunch.  I did a colour overlay with the second one (in an attempt at a sepia tone) because I liked the idea of doing it in black and white but I didn’t like the result.  I liked the hint of blue sky in an otherwise light and shadow picture.

I leave you with the pretty and go do some work.  I have a lot to catch up on.  Thanks to the almost-three-week migraine I haven’t been able to do SFA because I haven’t been able to concentrate.  Today is somewhat better so I’m going to work at finishing Birdie & Rolf and allow myself room to be distracted.  

Muah!

Bright berries! Tweaked the contrast a little.

Bright berries! Tweaked the contrast a little.

I promise you, the object in the center had no colour.  The only colour is the hint of blue in the sky.  Love the picture.

I promise you, the object in the center had no colour. The only colour is the hint of blue in the sky. Love the picture.

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Reading Revelations

 

I have been reading The Bodhisattva Warrior for days doing a chapter by chapter summary so I can write a synopsis. It is a long book and it’s not even done yet. I’m 36 chapters in and I’ve found the best line so far.

Rolf has had the piece of himself that is Hephaestus unlocked. At the moment he is having an inner conversation with that God fragment. Rolf is experiencing doubt and fear so, in an attempt to reassure him, the Hephaestus fragment says, “You were never just human, you were just unaware. Now you know. This knowledge is a double edged sword. It can help you or harm you.” 

I think that we all have potential locked inside us.  We have to work to unlock it and free it.  Until we do, or until we’re tested, we are all unaware of what we are capable of.  

Fear is a double-edged sword; it can propel us forward or it can freeze us in our tracks.  It can help us or harm us.  Same with knowledge.  Help or hinder.  Free or cage.  It’s all down to free will.  

I’m not quite sure what my point is but I do love this line,  “You were never just human, you were just unaware. Now you know.”  It is quite wonderful.  What what does Rolf do with this knowledge?  

Well, *chuckles*  you will have to wait and see.  I hope to publish in September.  That’s a lot of work between now and then.  I also want to get HW2 out there.  

Mostly, I want you to think about fear, potential and being what you already are.  What are you?  How can you manifest your potential?  What is your potential?  What is locked up inside you that you need to set free?

Me?  I’m a mom.  I’m disabled.  I’m a fighter.  I’m a writer.  I’m a published author.  I am a successful, well known author.  (<- That last one is still locked up.  I am slowly removing the chains.)  I am Me.  Unique, wonderful and soon to be successful.   Tell me, what are you?   

 

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Healthy Writing & Manifestations

Good morning!

And it is, despite my pain levels.  

I want to talk about the one thing that happens world wide when the Roman calendar changes over to a new year – resolutions.  

Why do we insist that “a new year means a new me!”?   ” I’m going to quit smoking!”  “…eat better!”  “…exercise more!”  “…read more!” Whatever.  Why can’t you make that decision in August?  Or April?  What makes it so pressing to do starting January first?  Do we think that the previous year and all our mistakes are wiped away at 00:01, January 1st?  

Believe me, the mistakes of the previous year are still here.  The effects of those mistakes, that laziness, those choices are still here.  

In this past year I have had a multitude of problems with my hip and my back.  My stamina for walking and standing is down to less than 5 minutes without pain.  I have trouble standing from sitting or lying down.  I have pain twisting to reach for something and bending over.  It is making my quality of life next to nil.  (And it makes The Boyfriend worry so.)  

Oh there is still a LOT to be grateful for, trust me.  But not being mobile is worrisome, annoying, frustrating and scary.  It’s fear that got me here though.  When my back went out at the end of February I got really scared.  Scared that doing this or doing that was going to hurt it.  So I got lazy.  I became afraid to move, to do anything that might tweak it just wrong and land me flat on my back. 

And you know what?  It happened anyway. Again and again. I get hurt sitting still or just standing there. I can’t tell you how many times this year my back has gone out.  It seems like it’d just get better and I’d feel (relatively) safe to move again.  And it would go out.  For weeks.  So I stopped.  I stopped doing the things that will help.  Stopped moving.  

What I need is to strengthen my core.  Strengthen my lower back and my hips.  

I was given these exercises last spring.  They’re tough and painful and yet fairly easy to do.  The movements are simple and difficult to cock up.  So why didn’t I do them?

*sighs*  Simply?  I couldn’t be bothered.  I was also afraid that I’d get hurt doing them.

And what did that manifest into?  Nothing changing.  Pain levels staying high.  Back going out repeatedly.  The Boyfriend in caretaker mindset.  My apartment being the same.  No options for housing.  

None of that works for me.  I like The Boyfriend passionate and handsy.  I want out of my apartment and into a place that is safer and without stairs (a bungalow, or at least somewhere with a main floor master bedroom).  I want my pain levels to be manageable.  

So yeah, I’m guilty of looking at the calendar and thinking “You know what?  It IS a new year.  A clean slate.  It’s time to set goals.”   And setting goals means making changes.  Nothing I want to do is workable with high pain levels (because that means high pain meds).  I want to publish two books this year.  I want to move. I want to complete HW3 and the Birdie and Rolf story. 

I want to go to Scotland to get a feel of the land of my ancestors and see The Other Boyfriend.  In order to do that, I have to be able to withstand the travel.  

ALL of that is on me.  There is nothing so important in my day-to-day life that means I should keep  my ass in this chair from sun up to sun down.  But there are long term reasons to add my rehab and my elliptical (and resume my beach walks).  

There is nothing about permanent degenerate diseases (Fibromyalgia, degenerating hip joint, arthritis in the other joint in that pair, osteoarthritis) that means I should be sitting on my ass.  In fact, there is a LOT of research that says movement is the best medicine.  Movement within reason.   And there is empirical evidence, to me (my experience), that proves movement is the best – if I don’t move, I end up where I am now: sore, unable to keep up, often in tears and taking too many pills. (And celibate for weeks at a time *grumble*)

So here I am, taking responsibility.  And telling you that I am going to make weekly check-ins.  My goals aren’t about my weight or about inches.  They’re about reps and pills and pain levels.  I’m going to talk about my reps and my pain levels.  I encourage you to go along with me.  Be accountable for your own goals – whether it’s weight loss, quitting smoking or, like me, reps.  I also want to be able to move up to the Intermediate exercises by March.  Seems like a long time but it’s only 6 weeks.  (That website wants me to spend $60 to get a year long membership. Snorts)

My most immediate goals are to be able to get to 10 reps on both sides in each exercise.  These are my current stats:

Eight.

Eight.

Right: 5; Left - 3

Right: 5; Left – 3

Eight

Eight

R - 5; L - 4

R – 5; L – 4

R - 5; L - 5 (but I have to do the right leg first or I can't stand there long enough to do all 5 without pain)

R – 5; L – 5 (but I have to do the right leg first or I can’t stand there long enough to do all 5 without pain)

R- 5; L - 3

R- 5; L – 3

R- 5; L - 4 (and again with right leg first)

R- 5; L – 4 (and again with right leg first)

So there’s my start.  I can’t call it progress because it isn’t. Rehab is supposed to be this 3 times a day but I’m going to call it good at once.  I know how much discipline I have and how much tolerance for pain I have.

Weekends are for beach walks.  (Or the food & wine show this weekend. hehehe)  My goal is to be able to do the private beach again.  I cannot do those 42 stairs right now.  Not even if I go up them backwards on my ass (which I’ve done).  I want to be able to do that by April.  Also by April I’d like to be able to add the resistance bands for my upper body.

I am a HUGE believer  in like attracts like.  That means if I put it out there that I am making positive changes then positive opportunities will arise.  Routine in my house has changed in a very small way too – I have fish to feed (which is a huge difference in the appearance of my home too).  And already a sign for a 3 bedroom house for rent has popped up.  I have serious doubts about being able to afford it but the opportunity is there and I will call.  

What are your goals?  What are you hoping to manifest this year?

A Sneak Peek

I am excited to be back to work. I’ve been working on the pages for my website and I thought I would offer you, my lovelies, a sneak peak at a couple pages.

The site will be set up so that you can see lists of books and your favourite characters. Each one will be clickable, leading to a more in depth view.  There will be book summaries, character explorations, blog access, samples and freebies  (in general, freebies will be NaNo books offered at a chapter a week.  We are still trying to find the best way to do that but we will figure it out!).   Oh that reminds me, there needs to be more buttons.  One more at least, “Freebies”.  

Today I am sharing portions of a book excerpt page and a character bio page.  Let me know what you think!

All of the biography pages are set up the same way.

All of the biography pages are set up the same way.

The excerpts will be linked too from the bottom of the related book summary page.

The excerpts will be linked too from the bottom of the related book summary page.

I am trying to make the site as easy to navigate as possible.  With the buttons across the top you’ll be able to find the section you’re looking for and then you can go from there.  Trying to describe what I want is confusing (according to my daughter anyway) but it’s basically like nested links, I think.   Let’s give it a shot:

To start with, you get the home page:

 

You click on my name and it will take you to the Highland Wolves book page (I think, we haven’t decided where clicking the banner will take you).  Across the header are buttons.  If you click on Characters it will take you to a list of Highland Wolves top six characters.  Each picture will be clickable.  Clicking on Anna will take you to the in depth character bio.  Clicking the back button will take you back to the list.  

There are some navigation issues I’m still working on and things I need to talk to Val (who was given the title of Manager a few months ago because she helps me with absolutely everything) about.  I would like to hear from you all what pisses you off about your favourite author’s webpages, what you find most difficult and what you would change.

Hmmm… I do like the Connect button on Kallysten’s site (it lists other places to find her- Twitter, Goodreads etc).  

So tell me!  I’m listening.  (Admit it, you read that in Fraser Crane’s voice, I certainly said it that way *laughs*)

Gratitude Attitude Part Deux

Happy new year to you.  

January first, and the week before it, is often a time of reflection for people.  It’s about the previous year, where they are now, where they want to be, things they wish were different about themselves or in their lives.  Nearly everyone indulges in this exercise and nearly everyone finds their lives lacking.  

I don’t see why.  To be perfectly brutal:  Your life is what it is because of the choices you make.  “I’m fat,” “I’m out of shape,” “my stuck in my job,” “no one loves me,” “I’m with the wrong person.”  All of them are choices you’ve made.  And that’s because life is about choices; choices we make when we’re young, decisions we make every single day and, mostly, the choice we make when we get up in the morning.  

It starts when we’re little – “What do you want to wear today, Johnny?  Superman or Spiderman?” – and gets harder when we’re in our teens – “What do you want to be?  You need to decide NOW so that you can go to university!” And then, one day, we’re adults.  We’ve chosen our career path, or not.  We’re in relationships.  We have kids.  We decide to stay in that dead-end job because there are health benefits, or enough pay that the lack of doesn’t quite matter.  We eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much.

One day we wake up and we’re middle-aged and wondering where the life we imagined went.  Where is our career?  Our trip to Europe?  That trip we wanted to Disneyworld/land?  Where is that house with the backyard I can BBQ in?  Where is our spouse and 2.2 kids?

You could spend a LOT of time asking yourself these questions.  

Your answers are either bemoaning your life and figuring you’re stuck or they’re looking for the positives in what you have and being grateful for them.  You can also choose to be a positive person, waking up each day seeing the light; gratitude practiced daily helps with that.

Either way you have a choice – change it or no?   Can you change what you’re grateful for?  Why would you?  

Why?  Because sometimes a roof over your head isn’t enough.  That’s good; it’s great to have dreams and aspirations.  I certainly do.  I want to be a well-known author.  I want to get out of my one bedroom apartment (that I’m grateful to have) and into a 3-bedroom house with a master bedroom on the ground floor (a bungalow would be best).  I want a bigger income than I have now.  I want to be healthier than I am.  

Those aspirations don’t make me any less grateful for what I have.  Last year I started the Gratitude Jar.  I have to admit that after four months I stopped writing everything down.  There was just so much to be grateful for that I couldn’t keep up.  I do make it a point to spend time every day contemplating what I’m grateful for but let’s see what some specifics are.

– The Boyfriend does my laundry almost every week.  

– On January 3rd, BoyKid came to spend time with me. 

– On the 4th, a food vendor gave me a bottle of water, no charge, while at the Motorcycle Supershow.  (I am unhappy we missed the show this year but there’s a smaller one coming up.)

– Also on the 4th, my ex and GirlKid went and bought me frozen strawberries simply because I wanted them.

– January 12th, The Boyfriend took me to London’s Food & Wine Show simply because I wanted to go.  He didn’t expect to enjoy himself.  I’m hoping we get to go again this year.  (Hint: It’s in 10 days.)

My life is full of small-medium things like that.  Laundry, visits, treats.  Then there are the big things like when my back went out last year.  From February 22 to March 6th, The Boyfriend took care of me.  At his house.  Along with the cat.   Drove me wherever I needed to go for medical care.    Then a week later, he spent two days cleaning my house.  

On February 9th, after being ill for a few days, I felt better enough to go to the beach.  Being able to go to the beach is something I am immensely grateful for.  

I also made new friends this past year.  Some were fleeting.  Some are, so far, standing the test of time and my absentmindedness.

April and October were banner months:

April:  Dad paid for my glasses, two years of website, GirlKid’s new laptop and allowed me to indulge a little bit.  The Boyfriend helped me shop, paid for half the PS3 (as a stress reliever, have to admit, gaming does it for me), set aside money for my trip to Scotland (which WILL happen this year!), was there with me through the ODSP tribunal and bought the photos for my website.  Val bought the first 5 pics from Shutterstock for my website and was very generous towards GirlKid’s graduation trip fundraiser.  AND The Grandbaby was born.

October:  My ex, his girlfriend and the kids went way out of their way to make my 40th birthday something special.  Dad spoiled me with a shopping spree.  My party was smaller than I would have liked but I was no less grateful for the company I kept on that day.  

In May it looked like the other man in my life, the Scotsman, might be dead.  The Boyfriend changed the plans he had for that day and spent the entire day with me.  

Christmas was a lot of work but it turned out well and people were happy with their gifts.  I am grateful for the family time I had, even if some of it was a problem.  

I am always grateful for the love in my life. Even when it’s hard to see.  I am grateful my children are brilliant, compassionate and healthy.  I’m grateful my ex-husband and I are friends.  I’m grateful for The Boyfriend and Other Boyfriend.  I love them both an incomprehensible amount.  I am grateful for Val.  And for Cindy, krissy, Kitty and all the others I call friends, those I speak to daily and the ones I don’t.  

I am grateful I get to see another year.  I am grateful I have the support to do what I want to do this year.  And I am grateful for all of you.

Every day I am grateful for something.  Every day, regardless of my pain levels, I see the light – even if I have to fight to see it.  It is my wish for you that the light always be present, shining for you, even when you’re the only one to see it.

From my family to yours, have a wonderful year.

From my family to yours, have a wonderful year.