Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reallocating My Time

Hi all!

Just wanted to let you all know that after a two month experiment, my Clockwork Conversations (writer interview blog) will be going away, the last week of October. Interviews are scheduled once per week beginning tomorrow until then (we have GREAT ones too, don't miss them!)

The problem wasn't even so much that it took up a lot of my time and available use of my limited sight to conduct and post the interviews (though it does) it's that my interview subjects are getting so busy that they can't fit into their schedule returning their interview answers to me in a timely manner; one that allows me to schedule the blog to run smoothly.

That being the case, I can't afford to spend the time on going forward with it.

I want to thank everyone who participated in what I feel is a fascinating series of interviews; I will be leaving them up on the web for those authors to reference as they like even after the blog is officially closed on 10/30. It was fun while it was working!

Overall, I am becoming much more conscious of how I am spending my time lately, and while I have always (and will always) want to be one who actively supports other writers, it is getting to a point where I just can't tweet and FB and talk about every book that comes out because there are just so many.

Everyone I know has a book out (or a series!) In fact it would be easier for me to name the people I know who aren't writers/artists/musicians and don't have something coming out soon that they need to promote. I can't be everywhere, I'm only one woman...though I will try to do my best to help out where and when I can.

This month, I'm focusing on trying to make the rounds to all the gracious bloggers participating in my own blog tour, to thank them for their posts (got a SWEET 4.5 star review for the One Wish Collection yesterday...woo hoo!) and then, after that, it's going to be a return to trying to focus on the writing that is right in front of me: finding my own words again.

I need to begin with the manuscript that I started in July that is patiently waiting for me to get enough distance to look at it objectively.

I have no idea if people will ever see this thing, but if I don't finish it, it will haunt and nag at me...that is how I know there must be something to the story. It is a retelling of an oft retold fairy tale, but I think the perspective that I tell the tale from is what makes it unique. At least, I hope so. We'll see.

Only time will tell...

I also need to be sure I'm allowing plenty of time for painting, which is the thing that seems to calm my soul most of all this year...

"The Bridge" 9 30 14


Have a great day...and thank you for spending a little bit of your valuable time here, with me, reading this.

Happy Wednesday!

bru

P.S. Did you know that October is National Dollhouse and Miniatures Month? It IS! I hope to celebrate by posting some new photos of my little treasures soon. (And the not so miniature. I just gave a 3 foot tall Elsa doll a makeover...)

"Playtime"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Regeneration? Reinvention? Rearranging My Mental Furniture


I don’t know what it is about INFJs (my temperament type on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter: If you’ve never taken the test I highly recommend it. It’s along the lines of Myers-Briggs but I prefer Keirsey’s writing on the matter…link to their site is on the sidebar) but we are constantly working to reinvent, and reimagine ourselves as something… I don’t know, is better the word I want?

More loving and compassionate. Kinder, and more patient. More creative and artistic. INFJs just spend their lives, it seems, striving always to be more than we were before.

It’s difficult to look upon projects that didn’t turn out as we’d hoped and let them go…but that is what I did today. I finally bit the bullet and went through some paintings from the past year or so that just didn’t match my vision, and today, I let them go. It needed to be done.

This one I sent off yesterday but because it was going to the home for which it was intended...a little square thing, easy to ship, and I hope it will bring joy.

"Looking up into leaves on an autumn day" ~ most recent painting, and gift for a dear friend...


But as far as today's purge...I needed to make room for new art to take their place. Art that more reflects where I am and who I am now, even if no one else ever sees it. As far as the vast number of paintings I’ve accumulated...yikes. If shipping wasn’t such a pain (and so expensive) I would send them all one by one off to friends far and wide and hope that they’d enjoy having a little piece of my heart with them. I wish I could have them all over for a day and let them sort through and take what they wanted.

"Starlight"


What is the point of this post?

I’m not sure. I find myself at the point of reconsidering how I go about everything…painting, writing, being me

I may be more myself now than I ever was when I was younger, but I feel like there is something more that I want to be, that I aspire to be and I can’t put my finger on it. I miss the non-profit work that I did years ago (that was the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done) but I’m not healthy enough for it now.

Maybe it's just the part of me that misses getting to be a mother to my daughter...

Another part of me wonders how much this constant rearranging of mental furniture so to speak is also a product of the Bipolar Disorder. Or distraction from the above mentioned separation from my daughter.

I’m not sure. But as I contemplate diving back into the last manuscript I wrote, I know that I want to give it time to breathe…to grow, to become whatever it is meant to be. It can't, and won't be rushed.

Even if no one ever ends up seeing it. I will finish it just because it is worth doing, regardless.

Do you seek out ways to constantly tweak and fine-tune your creativity? Or have you reached a point in life where you go through it all step by step to plan and know exactly what you want to create?

I wonder if I’ll ever reach a time when it—and me— will all just feel like ‘enough’. Here's hoping.

xoxo
bru

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Sharing a Moment Frozen In Time




My heart caught in my throat.

Tears sprang to my eyes, and I could hear the music.

Beginning with the ticking of the clocks at the start of the soundtrack to the parade: which is, in total, about 25 minutes long.

I remembered her…

First, though, I remembered the day we accidentally discovered what would become, as a family, one of or our all-time favorite entertainment events at Walt Disney World. I hesitate to call it a parade because it was so interactive…it was more like live theater in which the audience also plays a part.

I have never been one for parades…to me they represented the embodiment of the expression “watching life pass you by”. Unless you were in the parade, you were just a bystander.
Tapestry was different.

For one thing, many in the audience did become part of the dancing, puppetry, and general joy of the show. Thinking of it my mind flashed and I saw her again…in perhaps one of the happiest moments of her small life.

She was five.

She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and a pair of hot pink Minnie Mouse deelie boppers on her head that lit up like landing lights at the airport and were in perpetual motion, as she was.

Age 5...

She was, of course, waving to each performer as they’d pass, cheering on the drummers, dancing, singing. We had seen the parade the first time (as I said, by accident when we got caught in a crowd just outside of the Norway Pavilion) about six months before, and so it was high on our ‘must see again’ list when we went back. She knew all the music by heart by then, as we’d purchased the CD and listened to it often at home. She felt a part of the excitement, and her big brown eyes were alive with delight.

Then, he saw her.

You see, many of the performers in the Tapestry of Nations Parade were part of Disney’s international College Program, where kids from all over the world come to work at Epcot for a while; bring their culture to us, and learn a bit about what living in the US is like.

I don’t know where he was from. I just remember the grin on his face as he saw my daughter, so gleefully dancing. 

He reached out and the long, spindly arm of the ‘puppet’ he was manipulating as part of the parade offered my daughter its hand. She took it, and in an instant, she was no longer just a bystander; she was in the parade.

She laughed, she danced, she twirled and those little lights kept blinking on her head.

He laughed, too, and then at the end I swear I remember (I can’t bear to dig out the video tape of the event, it would be too much to see it just now…) him bowing to her, and the puppet bowed its elegant, tall frame as well; a gentleman thanking a little lady for a dance.

Then she was back at my side, still dancing, as the rest of the show passed by.

I cried then, and I cry now, remembering that moment frozen in time forever. I knew, absolutely positively knew in that instant that it was a memory that would last my lifetime. I didn’t realize just how many missed opportunities to make memories it would have to fill in for.

She’s not five anymore.

She’s almost nineteen...out there in the world…living her life, her way, determined to follow a very narrow path that excludes me simply because I do not share the same beliefs.

Every day, even as I smile, my heart is breaking. I try to put one foot in front of the other but some moments the tears come unannounced and unwanted; sometimes they are bittersweet, as the ones in my eyes now.

Because I can close my eyes and even as they spill and burn their path down my cheeks I can see my little girl. So beautiful, so sweet, so happy at the age of five.

And I remember.

I will always remember, and I will hope against hope that at least some of the love—of all the massive amounts of love—I poured into her heart are still in there, somewhere, waiting to be found again and returned to me, one day.

Then, we will hold hands and even if I can’t dance to the music, we will swing our arms, we will hug, we will sing, and we will once again “Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand.”

Thank you, Disney, for a most precious lifetime memory. 

A gift.

xoxo

bru

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Balance/Crossroads

Hey all!

I hope that this week is being kind to you so far. After a rough end to last week and a big start to this one, I'm a little frazzled around the edges, but I'm hanging in there.

I'm at a crossroads when it comes to this blog, and my writing life, in general. A lot has changed for me behind the scenes in the past few months writing-wise, and I am unsure what will become of the work in progress that I am hoping to start to revise as a NaNoWriMo Rebel in November.

It may be a book someday. It may be a little gem I hide away for who knows what use or when. I'm not sure yet. But I love the story, and that's a start. That is THE start.

I've talked a lot lately about promotional stuff here, and I want to thank you all for putting up with it.

I try to keep my blog personal (and am looking forward to blogging more about painting, poetry, and even my obsession with Disney and dollhouses here soon) but every now and then, like when there's a launch, I need to mention it here and I thank you for being patient. I promise I will try to keep such announcements as brief as possible.

To that end, I will mention quickly that I'm starting a blog tour to promote One Wish: Of Stardust, the Collection eBook set (it kicked off last night actually with a post at I Heart Reading--thank you!) and it will be going on for the next month. The schedule is posted here for anyone who wants to follow along...I will post it in the sidebar as well for future reference. I will try not to post repeatedly about the tour here but it is important to thank the bloggers supporting my writing as well, so again, I am walking a fine rope...trying to strike a balance.

This is all tricky enough for outgoing people: for me, as a 10 out of 10 in Introversion on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and an INFJ, it is really difficult for me to put myself out there!

It's easier when it's about things I feel are vital to discuss: as I've discussed my issues with Bipolar Disorder and all, my eyesight, and the situation with my daughter. Those things are right at the very depth of my soul and this is where I talk about them, too, so hopefully I will be able to strike that correct combination of sharing real life, sharing fun things, and keeping you in the loop on writing news when it happens.

Mostly, I just want to say how much I value those of you who have stuck with me and this blog for so long; those who follow me on Twitter and FB and those who support not only behind the scenes but at the forefront of it all, too.

I'm grateful to you all, and so today, I will end this with two simple words I hope speak volumes...

Thank YOU.

xoxo

bru

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thank you! Also, Clearing Up Some Confusion

Hi everybody!

What a day it was yesterday at the FB launch event! I am so thankful to everyone who was so generous with their time and participation, and gave the event such wonderful energy.

I had a wonderful time, and I hope those who attended did as well. I got to give away lots of eBooks, which made me happy, and even a couple of rare signed books (since I rarely sign!) to two lucky winners, Janelle and Ally.

So thank you again, everyone, for your kindness and cheers!

It was a little unsettling to discover, though, that there is some misinformation going around about the eBook set; so today I'd like to take a quick moment to clear things up.

Things I heard yesterday included:

1. People think "One Wish" is a new, third book my Fairy Godparents "series".

Fact: There is NO third book in the set, and there are no more books planned. I never planned it to be a series; I planned OF STARDUST to be a stand-alone: but then so many people wanted a sequel (and I wanted closure for Gus and Till) that I just had to write it.

"One Wish" is the name of the two-book set. The folks at my fine publisher wanted a name for the set, and that was what I came up with, since the concept of the powerful One Wish is a strong theme that runs through both books.

For the record, the two books included in the ONE WISH: The OF STARDUST Collection eBook set are:

OF STARDUST and IN STARLIGHT

If you bought them separately (or in print) they'd look like this:



When bundled together in the eBook set, the two books together have this cover:

As you can see, if you look at the 'spine' you can see the individual book titles. It costs dollar less to buy them together than to purchase them separately as eBooks (there is no print box set available, those must be purchased separately.)

The eBook set is only available from BN.com and Amazon, whereas you can get the eBooks individually also on iTunes, and you can get the print books pretty much anywhere online (and your local bookstore can order them in for you if you ask them to.)

Thing 2: I heard someone say that this is a 'steampunk fairytale' set.

Fact: The genre of this two book set is Fantasy/Romance, there is nothing steampunk about it. My first published novel, GODSPEED, IS a romance with steampunk elements. But you will find only Fairy Godparents in OF STARDUST/IN STARLIGHT.

If you are interested in reading a steampunk romance, the link to GODSPEED is in the sidebar of this blog. I love that book, it will always be my baby!

Thing 3: Someone asked when the third book is coming out.

Fact: Once again, just to be clear, there is no third book planned. I wanted to leave the story at a point where readers still asked for more: where they could imagine on their own what could happen to the characters next. To me that's part of the fun of it all... leaving something to the imagination. So that's what I decided to do.

I hope that this helps clear things up a little and avoid any confusion for anyone thinking of purchasing the set. It really is the way to go, as it is less expensive!

If you are looking for reviews of the books before you buy (the set doesn't have many up yet) you can check them out individually on Amazon and Goodreads and such to see what people are saying. Even better, you can check out some of the comments on Wattpad, where readers have REALLY fallen in love with these stories (and where OF STARDUST has more than 1.2 million reads...and IN STARLIGHT already has more than 42 thousand reads.)

In any event, thank you to anyone who decides to read and/or purchase the books, in any format...I appreciate it!

The blog tour for the eBook set is set to kick off later today (delayed due to tech difficulties...oh the world we live in!) so I will post an update here later when the first post goes live. I hope you'll come along for the journey, I wrote some special guest posts for this tour!

Thank you again for all your support and encouragement. I appreciate you!

xoxo

bru

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Best Days: Or, The View From Inside Looking Out

There is a song by that title by Graham Colton that I absolutely love…and you can hear it here:



I have loved this song for a very long time, and was unprepared for the emotions it brought up in me when it came on shuffle today on my iPad.

So many memories.

I remember dancing in the living room to this song with my daughter.

I remember us singing it together at the top of our lungs. I remember the stories it inspired, the laughs and hugs and all the times that I knew, even then, would never come again.

So many times will never come again.

I was thinking recently about how lucky I am: I have a spouse who supports me financially; I have, literally, all the time in the world to write, paint, sing; imagine. To play, to create, to feel joy.

But I am not free in my free time. I am never, ever free.
I have an invisible jailer called Brain Disorder; it is the taskmaster of my days and the thief of my nights.

Its right-hand man is called Grief.

Grief and Brain Disorder work very hard to control, waste, and steal my time. They lull me into sleep I cannot escape from; Brain Disorder requires medications that make me sluggish and each day unpredictable even though they are supposed to bring balance: any new stress, such as the two-week long illness I am still getting over push me beyond my limits and I just want it all to stop.

I want the world to stop spinning and making me so dizzy; I want the air I to stop making so much noise as it rushes around in my ears.

I want the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes when I think of my daughter to go away.

Totally random things can take me back to the place of raw grief over losing her presence in my life (by her choice, not mine, due to her joining a cult: see previous blog posts if you don’t know the story yet) such as seeing a little rainbow-colored stuffed unicorn in the check-out line at Michaels the other day. I looked at my husband and said “Who does that remind you of?” and he named my daughter’s favorite childhood stuffed toy: the one she left with me when she moved out: the one that is carefully kept in my closet because I don’t know what else to do with her.

We both got tears in our eyes.

Then the day went on.

I have tried to make some positive use of my time, of my ‘freedom’ since she has gone. But on some days it all feels pointless and I would just give anything and everything to go back to those “best days”. I hate to think that the best days of my life are behind me—if I accept that then not only is the battle lost but so is the entire war.

I have to live for hope; which doesn’t play well with Brain Disorder and Grief, but is forced to play anyway.

How I long for a sweet day when I could once again dance, in my fashion as I am able, clattering along with my crutch, with my daughter in my arms; spinning, smiling, glowing, as she does.

I want more “best days”.

And all I can do, with no guarantee that they will be there, is hope, and try to do something to make the time in between meaningful, despite the unkind mental and physical wardens that imprison me.

Someone’s life can seem one thing from the outside…when in fact they are living in a prison, just the same. I try not to view it that way because if I do then I might give up trying to get out; to do things, to make things better, as better as they can be.

I use the example so that others, on the outside may understand. You may have a day job that takes time away from your writing: be glad you have the health and independence to hold it down, I wish I still could.

Your children may take your attention away from your creative pursuits as well: let them, for their time with you is shorter than you can imagine and it will NEVER come again.

You may look at someone's life and wish it were yours: don’t, they may be hiding pain that would be beyond your ability to fathom. Your vision of their freedom may not include the boundaries of their invisible prison.

Live now, be here, be you. Make each day the best day it can be. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Don't envy me my 'freedom', which is, in reality, no such thing at all.

Carry the torch for those of us who often find we can’t, because we’re stuck behind bars stronger than steel.

Maybe one day they'll find a cure (or at least better treatments...) and I’ll figure out how to finally pick the lock.