Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Godspeed's BookBub Day: On Sale for 99 cents today!

Hi everyone!

Just a very quick note to let you know that today is GODSPEED's long-awaited BookBub promotion day, and so the eBook is marked down across formats to 99 cents for the day!

Here are links for you, if you'd like to take advantage of this bargain while it lasts...

GODSPEED for Kindle:

GODSPEED for NOOK

...and it is also available through iTunes.

Thank you to everyone who has read and supported the GODSPEED already, I appreciate you all.

If you haven't had a chance to become acquainted with the good Doctor and company yet, now is the perfect chance!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

xoxo

bru

Monday, March 17, 2014

As I Am



I have avoided, for a very long time and until only recently, having anything glass around my home.

Every picture frame has had the glass removed before it is brought into the apartment; all drinking glasses replaced with (nearly) indestructible, if inelegant, plastic tumblers.

This is mostly because of a long-standing history of being told by my mother that I am a klutz; that anything I touch that is made of glass will surely end up broken.

It has also been a practical matter when it comes to the drinking glasses; with poor dexterity (left sided weakness) since my small stroke in 2000, I do lose my grip on things sometimes, and so much the better to drop a plastic tumbler than a glass one.

Lastly, losing my eyesight made it impossible for me to safely be around anything made of glass for a very long while.

It has only been lately that I have had to specifically remind myself that I am not completely blind any more. Even though all I can see without my special aphakia glasses is light and motion (legally blind) I am not completely blind anymore. In fact, the fifth anniversary of my first eye surgery is approaching; and the third anniversary of my last one has just passed. Six in total, and hopefully, there will be no more.

Only lately have I fallen in love with colored glass; pink, specifically, and starting with tiny votive holders from Michaels before moving on to a couple of larger glass vases. Heavy things, hefty to the touch and something that I felt comfortable displaying on my kitchen countertop; the one where we keep pretty, sparkly things since we never pull up barstools to eat at it. Or scattered on a bookshelf, here and there. Add some LED candles and voilĂ : pretty!

Several times I have passed over more elaborate pieces I admired at art shows: not only were they expensive but there was still this voice in my head—my mother’s voice—calling me the unkind names she called me as a child when I would trip over feet that we didn’t realize at the time were actually malformed; or sprain ankles that were not built to support the weight of my body due to a genetic mutation we wouldn’t know I had until I was almost 40 (and that to this day, my mother calls ‘nonsense’.)

If she lives to be 100 she will never let me forget the time that the peanut butter jar I swear I never touched fell off the shelf in the grocery store when I was four, and I cried so hard (and offered to pay for it out of my allowance from my grandparents) that when she gave me a severe scolding and name calling, a store employee actually came out from the back room, approached me, dried my eyes and told me that it was nothing to worry about, that it was an accident and accidents happen. Then she gave my mother a look that should have caused her to spontaneously combust.

I swore to myself that day that if I was ever a Mommy and my child broke something, I would never yell at them. And I kept that promise to myself; I never did.

So anyway… yesterday, I saw this vase…


 It was on a display table outside the Castle Shops in Frankenmuth, Michigan. My husband actually saw it first, and when he showed it to me I found that the way the ‘crackling’ in the glass caught the light and reflected the colors of the flowers in the pattern fascinated me.

The vase was inexpensive, so there went my excuse about being afraid of spending too much money on something I ‘shouldn’t’ have.

Then I found out that it had two matching votive holders…and I decided to take a chance. I decided to bring them home.

After getting them home and putting them on display just as I imagined, I began to panic looking at the vase.

What if Mom is right? What if I can’t have anything ‘nice’ or ‘delicate’? What if I really am the ‘bull in the china shop?’ What if…

What if I break it?

Worse, my OCD and anxiety said to me ‘what if it spontaneously shatters?After all, it is cracked glass already…

My husband reassured me that it is in a safe location. That it won’t spontaneously shatter.

That it will be okay.

Then, I did a little looking around online and found where more than one person said that it’s actually only one layer of the glass that is cracked, then fused between two other layers. 

So you can see the cracks, but there is more to it.

I think it was in that moment that I realized why this piece spoke to me so much.

It’s the ‘cracks’ in the vase that catch the light; becoming facets reflecting the beauty of everything around them.

It is the ‘cracks’ in who I am that reveal me, as I am. My scars tell the story of my life.

Instead of trying to hide them or worse, spackle and paste them back together, I am learning to layer smoother glass over them, to reinforce my strength. To wear my scars, my ‘cracks’, with my head held high.

We can’t control what life does to us: to our faces, our bodies, our minds, as sickness or even just age creep up and steal the prettier (or in my case, at least younger) facades we used to be able to show to the world.

Still we can fight, always, to retain our dignity.

We can fight to keep the scars from hardening our hearts or worse, shattering them completely. We can fight to keep the scars from taking the beauty from our souls.

We can fuse more glass over the breaks; insulating them inside like that layer of cracked glass in the crackle glass vessel. People may be able to see them but they won’t be able to touch them; and they might even find something of value reflected in all of the things that we have survived.

We might begin to see ourselves, too, in a whole new light.

The vase might break one day.

Then again, it might not.

It must be handled with care, to be sure, but then, it is a lesson to me and a reminder; sometimes we have to risk being broken to show the beauty we have inside of us.

Maybe we all need, in the end, to be handled with gentleness, and care; especially when deciding what voices playing out in our heads are going to be allowed to win.

I shouldn’t let the words that hurt me in the past win out.

Maybe we can overcome those messages, still.

Every time I see that vase, I’ll remember…

I’m not that defenseless little girl any more.

It’s long past time I stopped feeling like I am.

Friday, March 14, 2014

So Sad

I am at a loss for words today.

Rest in peace, George Donaldson.

Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world, we were all better off for it.



Monday, March 10, 2014

Seeking A Quiet Introduction to Spring

Yesterday I had about an hour of something I haven't felt in so long I didn't even know what to do with myself.

I felt calm.

New painting: "Climbing the Beanstalk"


That is something that could be entirely attributable to (another) slight med adjustment, made to try and help with the PTSD (and the worsening panic attacks I have been having lately) but I really hope it was something more.

I hope that it was the beginning of a process that I can encourage and cultivate.

During that rare span of serene thought (as serene as I get anyway) I scribbled down a list of words that I want to carefully observe for the rest of the month of March. Before things shift into high gear on In Starlight (The sequel to Of Stardust, which is, as of this writing, in the process of becoming a 'real book'...) Then I posted them on my inspiration board where I can see them every time I walk past.

Rest. 

Restore.

Rebuild.


Those are just a few of the words on my list, perhaps the most important.

Though I woke up this morning in a state of near panic again and to be honest have had my share of tears already today, after giving in to my body and going back to sleep for a few more hours I am feeling a little better if not 'well'.

I hope to slowly ease my way back into that calmer state I felt yesterday, though I know that instant may have been a rare and valuable (and carrot-on-stick) sort of gift; a state of mind that will elude me to a greater degree the more I try to pursue it.

Maybe calm can't be actively fought for.

Maybe the secret of attaining it lies in the giving up of the struggles you're facing (as much as is possible) and not fighting yourself is the only way to find it.

Maybe people like me (INFJ) aren't meant to ever truly find it.

I just know that it's something I wish I could have, and hope to keep hold of in a more sustainable way, one of these days.

So, aside from the Godspeed Bookbub promotion day (exciting!!!) coming up on Wednesday, 3/19 I am taking  a mental vacation as much as is possible the next few weeks.

Time to heal, play, and sleep, and be as quiet as my mind can be; in hopes that I will greet spring this year with gently open arms come April, and not still have my arms wrapped tightly around myself in a futile attempt to defend myself from the daily life that feels, so often, just too much.

Calming art and happy images are going to be a focus here when I do blog the rest of the month, so I leave you with something new that makes me inexplicably happy: the new Shabby Chic bolster pillow I bought at Target over the weekend. It is just what I needed to put in my favorite rocking chair to support my back, and it's so pretty that when I'm not in the chair I just love looking at it. It's reversible too, the opposite side has a rose print on it.

I hope you find something small in your day that brings you comfort.

It's a big, far too often unkind world out there, everyone. I know I don't have to tell you that.

Please be kind to each other today. Every day.

In the end, what else is there we can do that can really make any lasting difference?

xoxo

bru

Friday, March 7, 2014

Where The Sea Meets The Sky, and That's a Wrap!

Today's painting isn't one that I did during my marathon in February, it's actually one I worked on over several days this past week. It felt good to be able to get some painting time in, even with all that has been going on with the blog tour. I really hope you will enjoy the textures and variations in this one:

"Where The Sea Meets The Sky"
Now without further ado, here they are: the final stops on the OF STARDUST blog tour. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me while I posted all these! I really appreciate it.

March 7:

Ebook Escapes - http://ebookescapes.com - Review
Once Upon a YA Book - http://onceuponayabook.blogspot.com - Review
Reading and Things - http://readingandthings.blogspot.com - Review
Divergent Gryffindor - http://www.divergentgryffindor.blogspot.com - Review (CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!)
Dark Novella - http://jenniferweiser.blogspot.com - Promo Post
 
 
Thank you again to YA Bound Book Tours for organizing, to my publisher Booktrope and my wonderful book manager Wendy Logsdon for making it all happen, and to all the bloggers who so generously shared their time and space with OF STARDUST! Thanks everyone!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend.

xoxo

~bru

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Painting and Day Four of Five...

Hi All!

I'm a bit tired today, so this will be a short post. Again, I want to thank you all for bearing with me as I post the stops on the blog tour-- tomorrow is the last day! After that I will be back to blogging as usual (which for me is, as you know, whatever occurs to me whenever it occurs to me.)

Today's painting: "Waiting in the Wings" I imagine this as a very nervous ballerina backstage on opening night. I hope I haven't posted it before, I know I pinned her on Pinterest and with all the paintings I've done recently it's getting difficult to keep track.


Hope you like it!

Before I dash off, here are today's blog stops: thank you to everyone who has participated and come along for the journey! Don't forget to enter to win one of two print copies of OF STARDUST (US ONLY) or one of seven eBooks (international). Be advised, some of the reviews contain spoilers.
March 6:

Breezy Reads - http://www.breesreads.wordpress.com - Review
Dizneeee's World of Books - http://dizneeeesworldofbooks.blogspot.com –Giveaway/Blurb
Pink Fluffy Hearts - http://pinkfluffyhearts.blogspot.com/ - Review
Magick Inside Pages - http://magickinsidepages.weebly.com/ - Review

Library of the Seen – www.libraryoftheseen.blogspot.com - Review
Addicted Readers-- http://addictreaders.blogspot.com/2014/03/of-stardust-by-february-grace-blog-tour.html Playlist of songs I listened to while writing OF STARDUST!


 Happy Thursday!

xoxo

bru

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Another Painting, Dickinson's Method, and Day Three of Five...

Electric Roses


Happy Wednesday, all! I hope you enjoy the painting.

It's done in fluorescent paint, meaning that if you see it in person and stare at it long enough, it makes you a little dizzy. It's a larger painting, 20X20 I believe, and I just wish I had a place to hang it. Unfortunately it would clash terribly with the art I have on the walls now. So it sits patiently waiting its turn in the rotation later on, which I am sure will come.

I learned something (well a lot of somethings but here's just one something for now) during my 28 day painting marathon: and that's that it's the fact that I don't 'have' to show my paintings to anyone if I don't want to that frees up my creativity to do it in a lot of ways.

It started me wondering if this writer's block I am struggling with (still related, in largest part, I believe, to my Bipolar meds) isn't also complicated by thinking I have to worry what others will think of what I write, now that I have put a few things out into the world.

I have to remind myself that I used to (and can go back to if I want) keep what I wrote mostly to myself: calling it the "Dickinsonian Method" (Emily Dickinson supposedly stuffed most of her work in a trunk, they say, and left it for her relatives to deal with after she died. A plan I really like.)

Maybe I need to try that again: writing something, anything, just so that I am WRITING SOMETHING. Even if no one else sees it. Ever.

Whether or not I can actually do that remains to be seen. I am just really grateful that I wrote the sequel to OF STARDUST last year when my medications were different, and I was able to do it. I think writing the bulk of it during Camp NaNoWriMo helped, too... I got myself worked up into a good and manic frenzy, the kind my doctors do not wish to see in me again. (Hence why they forbid me participating in NaNoWriMo last fall and likely will in future *sigh*)

So...there it is. I'm still not writing at this point, but did I ever paint up a storm in February, and that taught me that I can still be creative somehow going forward. Even when I can't paint, I can crochet a little, or I can make collages, which I love to do. I can do something. I just need to be sure I remind myself of that on the worst days, when nothing feels possible.

I just have to remember to begin to try.

Before I go, here are today's confirmed, participating blog stops on the tour, in case you want to check out the reviews or enter the drawing! Day three of five of the tour, please bear with me a little longer!

March 5:
My Book Addiction - http://mybookaddiction.com – Review
Musings In Fiction Alley- http://musingsinficitonalley.blogspot.com/2014/03/blog-tour-review-of-stardust-by.html -- Review (SOME SPOILERS!!!)


xoxo

bru