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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coffee and Confessions

Remember when you were young and had girlfriends, the ones who gave you alibis, held your hair when you were sick, stayed up all hours giggling and chatting when you should have been asleep? I highly recommend cultivating those friendships, no matter your age or stage in life. I have such girlfriends, and my personal and writing lives would be insane and much less fun without them. One such friend is De.

Fellow author DeAnn Sicard and I are on a new joint adventure, that of publishing a monthly ezine called Coffee and Confessions. Just what it says--confession stories, tips and info on coffee, recipes, and even a monthly guest bit in which they offer up a free read. The first edition should be out within a week, and this one is FREE. I'll post the link as soon as it goes live on Amazon.

Since De's a tea-sipper, and I'm the java maven, we will do issues later on called Tea and...Something. There will also be issues with beer (beer-battered fish recipes, etc) and short mysteries. Murder On Tap. And, yes, for those who remember my erotic romance stories, we will even have issues like Cocktail Teasers...spirits and sex.

For now, however, we're concentrating on coffee, because it's a passion of mine.

On Oahu, I passed coffee plantations, visited a macadamia nut farm, and thoroughly enjoyed a few cups of locally grown Kona coffee. And with those delicious Hawaiian cookies? Heaven!

A few weeks later, while in Old Sydney, I browsed local shops and discovered the Baker's Oven. Quaint al fresco seating, crisp autumn weather, and the best mocha ever. I sat by myself, taking photos, unabashedly eavesdropping--Aussie accents are to die for, and journaling. When I finished my coffee, I realized the shop had delivered a message inside the cup: Sharing the Passion.

That's what De and I wish to do with Coffee and Confessions. Give readers a coffee break with passionate yet tame stories (even if the titles are a tad titalating), information/facts/folklore on coffee, and a recipe readers might try when they have time.

Join us in a few days. Again, the first issue is free!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rested, Rejuvenated, Ready

If I've been slack with the blog, I hope I've made up with the writing. A girl's gotta earn her keep somehow. But, oh, the adventures I've had this year at age sixty!

Trips. Within four months, I visited Hawaii during spring, lived in Australia during their winter, had a nice summer jaunt to Las Vegas, and soon afterward spent a wonderful autumn writers' retreat with old friends and new in historic Ft. Scott, Kansas. All within a matter of weeks and months.

What I've learned on my safari of the soul this year would fill volumes. My goal on the blog is to share important highlights and offer insights as to how we can all grow as writers.

The magic lies within each of us to create our own journeys. Sometimes they involve miles: more often than not, the milestones are how we mark and track our adventures. Yes, doing the unusual is inspiring--one of the most deeply felt instances for me was having a dolphin near Waikiki kiss my cheek. His smooth, supple skin against mine, his nose nuzzling me and his chin in my palm when I kissed him...spiritual, core-cradling love and a connection like no other to the mysteries of life.

Seeing tears spring to a new writer's eyes (subtle wave to Chris) when others praised her efforts, hearing a passage being read from yet another writer who has grown tremendously over the past year (Hello, Kim!)--those, too, were blessings. Chris stumbles over a few words, but I've no doubt she will grow into a fine writer. Kim began at ground zero and has taken class after class, written page after page--and watching her progress both thrills and inspires me.

Both of these women have courage for beginning their journeys in such a fluctuating business in which even pros have difficulty staying published.

Courage is paramount when we offer up our dreams and aspirations. Sometimes our hopes are shattered, while often they soar on wings of encouragement. The important thing is that we try with gusto, continually challenging ourselves, giving our own shoulders the atta-boy or atta-girl when no one else is able or willing.

Dolphins are by nature wild creatures. So are untamed writers. For most of us, it isn't in our nature to play unsafely. But the joys of daring are delightful when we do so with hope, courage, and determination.

Risk is imperative for us. We gain nothing but complacency when we remain in our comfort zones. As dear friend and author Alfie Thompson reminded me recently, it's not the things we've done that can fill us with regret so much as it is the chances we didn't take. If you've dreamed of publishing and haven't sold a book, keep trying. If you've sold fifty or a hundred books but haven't reached your goal of winning a specific award, or if there's another genre in which you haven't reached your goals, don't brush your needs aside. Work harder. Use what you've learned to lay the foundation for a new path. But don't quit! Keep growing and getting better!

Take your opportunities. Challenge yourself to live the life you desire and to write the books of your heart. Whatever the obstacles, overcome them rather than play it safe. Spirit is mighty when fueled by love and backed by action.

In not-so-chicken-soup-motherly-advice, love yourself and writing then get off your ass and do the work. Unlike the typical parent sending their child to school or camp, don't say take care, be safe. Advise yourself to take calculated risks today.