Changes and Celebrations!

I’m gearing up to begin the Vigil tomorrow, and there’s a feel of heaviness about the shrine. Before I settle into the solemn mood that the Vigil requires, I want to talk about some joyous things.

I’ve been working my tail off today, so that everything should be ready to go. The Vigil for the Bulls e-book is in review, and it should actually be live on time. (It’s live to buy now, technically, but I’ve got changes uploading, so you’re better off waiting. Trying to get the pesky ToC to work properly!. I’ll let you know when it’s good to go.)  The form and function of the accompanying site are firming up in my mind, and I hope you’ll be pleased.

I feel, finally, two years into the Subscription Project, that I have enough of an idea of what I’m doing, where I’m going, and enough discipline/understanding of how I am as a writer, to really commit to upping my game. My  Patreon is about to get way more active. I’m revamping my rewards in hopes to appeal to a wider range of people, while staying true to my longtime readers and fan-base. (eek, I have fan-base!) In August I’ll be announcing the changes, and all of my Patreon-supporters will gain a sneak peek of a Patreon-exclusive project!

I’m six hours into my workday, so far, and I’m ready to head into the day job for some rest. 😉 Which is sort of cool.

Favorite New (to me!) Authors of 2015

This list is in no particular order. I want to make that clear before I go any further.  I’m a bit of a bookworm (erg, was that too sudden? Do you need to sit down for a minute? Catch your breath; I’ll wait). Part of the fun of reading for me is thinking about the authors whose works I’ve discovered for the first time, whose works get me all jazzed over writing and reading, authors whose material being in the world at this point in time makes me grateful to be alive and able to get my hands on said  material. Even though I do write nonfiction, and even though Beth and various friends have thoroughly convinced me that nonfiction writing counts as real writing, when I reflect upon this, I don’t often reflect upon the nonfiction writers. Maybe I should; maybe I will. For this past year, I have not, and so that’s something I’ll keep in mind going forward. For now? For now, I want to share with you the authors whose work I’ve discovered and loved during 2015.

Annie Bellet. Now,  this might not be fully a 2015 discovery. I came across her work first in Nine By Night, which was a flippin’ awesome bundle (which no longer seems to be live; that’s too bad. It’s a great collection)  I read back toward the end of 2014. I did a lot of book binging during last December, and I primarily remember reading a ton of Lindsay Buroker, and I don’t remember if I read Twenty Sided Sorceress series before that or after that, but I don’t care. It’s a great series, and while it’s not the most favorite of my favorite new discoveries, it’s up there.

Meghan Ciana Doidge Picking my favorite author, or even my favorite author out of a distinct category (modern-day set/paranormal suspense/indie-published) is sort of like picking my favorite cat — it’s not gonna happen. Even if I can narrow it down to a small pool (three. Four if you count recently-transitioned-to-spirit companions. Six if you count beloved cats of beloved friends/family. Erm). That said: Meghan? Yeah, I really like Meghan. Maybe it’s that I find her easy to relate to (in a totally not-creepy way). Maybe because I know we’ve been to some of the same places. Maybe it’s the knitting. Possibly it’s the chocolate love. Likely it’s the Persians (it all comes back to cats. Cats are magic). Certainly it is her vampire, who is the most Other-ed of Othery vampire I’ve read since Robin McKinley’s Sunshine novel. I love the world of her Dowser and Oracle books.  I love the characters. I love everything about these books, and I’m so glad to have discovered them.

Jordan L. Hawk. This is a tough one. So — I was introduced to Hawk’s writing via her Whyborne and Griffin series, which starts with Widdershins (which you can get for free and you really should do that if you haven’t because, just, yes. Yes. Please, gods, yes). The series is based out of an alternative Massachusetts towards the end of the last century. Electricity is still  not overly common, automobiles are scary with their high speeds of 20 mph, and occult magic is a thing that happens and has real results. It’s one of those alternative histories where things are only a bit off, where you forget it’s not your own history, until something bizarre happens and you have no choice to remember because there are monsters trying to break into your world and destroy everything you know and love and — er.

Where was I?

The series made me homesick for a Massachusetts that never was. I’m surprised that I loved this series as much as I did. While I don’t mind reading about M/M love interests, it’s not my most favorite pairing, especially when the two involved are both human. How boring, right? Except, I found Whyborne so incredibly endearing, and Griffin intriguing, and really, I want a great story, I don’t so much care about the gender of the people involved. More than that, I was surprised to like it as much as I did because it’s very much based in Western occultism, and I just don’t care so much about that at all, at all.

Hawk’s writing is fantastic. She’s got some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve read, but also the sweetest, and it’s very much a glimpse into their lives. The stories are solid, and they do this lovely building thing that has me despairing of ever being that good. (I’m not a novelist, and I’m certainly not a serial novelist, and the building that’s gone into this has blown me away). I don’t want to brag, but I am a writer, and I am a bookworm, and I’m that annoying friend who,  without trying to puzzle things out, will have figured out the ‘who dun it’ of plots way early on. So having a writer whose stories can surprise me, even four or five books in, is pretty fantastic, and is certainly not something I experience a lot. It’s not every one , and it’s not even always the major things, but layer-y things that she works in that just utterly blindside me. Foreshadowing so deftly done that I don’t register it until the final piece slips into place and it all becomes so obvious. Fantastic. Oh my god.

She’s going to make me a better writer just by trying to be half as good.

Jennifer Lawrence. Specifically her book Fire on The Mountain, whose  protag  deals with chronic pain for much of the book in a refreshingly realistic way. I keep meaning to check out her second book, and I keep forgetting. Why?? Why does ordering from Lulu.com seem like such an ordeal. It’s not! It’s just not one-click. Oh, how lazy we can be.

N. K. Jemisin. Of my list, she is my most recent new discovery and I cannot wait to delve into the rest of her books. *rubs hands with glee* Her Inheritance trio is a must read for anyone interested in gods-as-characters, god shards in people, walking living myths, etc. So, so good.

I read way more than this, and I read a lot of books I loved a lot, but all by authors whose works I’d already come across.

What are some of your favorite discoveries of 2015? Doesn’t have to be books! (though, please, talk about books!)

More for me than for you — To Do List for NaNo prep

  1. Finish final edits on Igraine’s Flight (56 small corrections to make; why did I not catch this on the first five passes through??) and get that baby uploaded. Definitely Amazon, maybe B&N, I don’t know about Smashwords or Kobo.(edited: right now, just Amazon)
  2. Edit chapter 11 of Marriage of Land and Sea and get that ready to be sent out. Conversion can wait until closer to the due date, but get the bulk of the work done.
  3. Get first installment of We Are Our Stories drafted. Not sure if it’ll go live, and I know that the rest won’t be touched until after November, but this first one is almost all written already, just in my head, so we’ll see?

Monday and Tuesday are my next days off, and my last weekend before NaNo begins. I already know I’ll be AFK on Nov 7th, as Beth and I are having an acquisition day for Beth Wodandis Designs (woot!)

and yes, I did post this for the satisfaction of coming back to strike them through as I complete them. 😉

To my Patreon supporters: I’m hoping that NaNo will generate material to share on my snippets and teasers stream. I realize that I’ve got nothing up there, and I’m sorry, and thank you for your support. Time, you know? I need to find more of it!

Handmade devotional books and much more

I’ve meant to talk about this long before now — Silence is offering handmade, hand bound devotional books. He’s got some up for Loki already (made up of public domain material about Loki) and while that’s exciting (we love Loki here at the Nunnery) hat’s *really* got me bouncing in my seat excited is he’s offering to make hand bound books made up of your own material!

Customized prayer books. Stories that you’ve written and matter to you. A book, bound by hand, with a cover you want, with delicious paper; a book whose content could potentially be created by contemporary polytheist, bound by a contemporary polytheist — this is beautiful. This is exciting. I am finding myself wishing I had more poems and hymns for Poseidon, but you betcha I’m going through what I do have to see what I do want to include and get myself my own copy! Of my own, one of a kind, YAY POSEIDON hand bound book.

You should be excited about this, too. Not only is this project exciting (and I’ve got a journal book created by Silence, so I’m not just guessing at the craftsmanship of his hand bound books), it’s also extremely reasonably priced! Check it out!

Coffee at Midnight Designs

Finally I can stop teasing you and share the details of my new project. My Etsy shop now has hand bound devotional books for Loki and custom ones that can contain any content you choose.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe Loki devotional book contains an English translation of the Lokasenna (Bellows translation) and the Lokka Tattur from the Faeroe Islands (Borrow translation). The text is printed on premium bright white 24 lb. paper with 25% cotton content. It’s lush, dense, and perfect for such a special volume.

To make this special book accessible to as many people as possible, I have a custom listing where you can choose large print, OpenDyslexic font, and a different kind of decorative cover paper.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI know that many of us struggle to provide for our own material needs, let alone for the specialty religious tools we sometimes desire. To that end, I’ve chosen to set aside a portion of each…

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On Storytelling, or, Pay Attention Already, you stubborn git.

(Wherein the stubborn git is myself and no one else)

I’ve been sitting at (I thought) chapter 6 on the current WiP since January or February. The goal was to have the whole thing completely finished by March. I’m halfway there, and I love everything about this world, but I haven’t touched it since February at the latest, and in the convening months I’ve started to dread getting back to it. It’s become this huge weight, and this has as much to do with the magic of storytelling as the technical aspects of story telling, which is why it gets to go here. It deal with the spirit of storytelling, the drive, the desire to keep going, and how I keep tricking myself into losing it.

First things first, I do not have 6 chapters done. I have 7 kick-ass chapters and a good portion of 8 finished. The outline has this wrapped up in 14. It’s important for me to be able to say to my internal nay-sayer that I am able to say, “No, I’m MORE than halfway there, neener, now shut up, you liar!”

Secondly though, and more to the point, when I reach that far into a story and the desire to cease writing comes upon me, I really need to pay attention to what that says about where the story is going.

Yes, it’s historically been common for me to go two, three, five, even seven months between serious writing jags. But that hasn’t been true in years, and more to the point, I don’t want it to be true ever again. I’ve word hard to not require that much down time anymore, and I have too many things to write to be able to afford it again. Granted, much of that time I was in some serious pain, but ideally that should slow me down, not cut me off entirely.

I reread my material this week, and I considered the next few chapters I have outlined, and I realized they were wrong. They didn’t fit the characters, or the story, and I didn’t want to write them. My MCs are going  through some angst, but I tossed in a big misunderstanding that would drive a wedge between them that they would have to work to overcome, and I realized that that was wrong for them. Obviously I still need to torture the heck out of them, but I need to do it in a different way.

This reminds me, too, that my typical modus operandi with writing longer fiction is: write the bulk of it. Watch the second half fall apart. Re-write the second half from scratch. I don’t mind, because that’s how it works for me, but I thought with using an outline and plotting out each chapter before I write it that I would not be losing time to this method anymore. Instead, maybe not. Which, fine, whatever.

What I want to take from this is the knowledge that, if I find myself not wanting to write, something is wrong. Either I’m tired, I’m sick, I need mental refueling and rest, or something isn’t right with the story. Going forward I think I’ll give myself two weeks tops to see if it’s about being sick or tired or refueling, and then I need to seriously consider where the story is going. Stories make me excited; I love telling them because I love getting to know about them. Poor Roern and Charlie. They fought my destroying their budding relationship as best they could. They don’t get this particular angst, I need to save that for book two . . . .

A Rant Against Lazy Writing

Before I really dive into this, I have to admit to a few things.

The first is, in the reading of Bringing Race to the Table (review forthcoming) there have been a number of stories that have really ripped my eyes open and have broken my heart. One that has sunk in real, real deep was Reluctant Spider talking about searching for images of “Goddess” and finding page after page after page of white goddess images. (The whole book has hit me, hit me good and hard, and I’ll be writing about that soon). Reluctant Spider sharing this story went a bit beyond my interest as a person who wants to not be an asshole, who wants instead to be the sort of ally that is wanted, and hits me hard in the storyteller-vein. More than any article on systemic racism or institutionalized racism or the prevalence of white privilege, this sharing of seeking out a visual representation of the divine that resembles oneself and failing miserable made me stop and really, really look at what we are doing, at what we’re saying, not with our direct words, but with our myth and our poetry, with our legends, our books, our movies, our stories. So, while I knew before that making someone like Papa Ghede into a villain in a story irked me, it didn’t go beyond a “meh, whatever, Christians, blah.”

The second thing is, I’m sort of by accident reading an awesome collection of essays on Oshun, because when I was at the library the book was all, “Hey there. You’ve only got two books in your hands, I see. Look at me in all my splendor. You want to read about water deities? Yeah? I have all the stuff about the Mother of all Water Deities. . . ” If there’s a pick-up line I can’t resist, it’s any pick up line from a book, so, you know, that book came home with me.

The third thing is, Beth and I are making our way through the TV series Grimm. We adore it, we love the “in jokes”, and I am firmly in Camp Monroe. It’s entertaining, funny, and while all the German makes me want for Zie to show up for a visit (wrong fandom!) or Adam even (again wrong fandom, though dude, they used his name!), it’s not like, when it comes to mainstream TV shows I expect a LOT in terms of not being asses.

These things all laid out for you, and knowing that this post will contain spoilers for season 2 and 3, let me just get some stuff off my chest.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What the fuck did I just watch?

For the second-to-last episode of season 2, we are introduced to Papa Ghede. All nice big top hat. Tall, slender, attractive enough looking black man (for transparency: the degree of attraction increases with my viewing depending upon whether the character is supposed to be human or not — the more “not” the more attractive I tend to fiind them, so that’s my viewer bias kicking in) with a nice thick French accent. Already I’m groaning, because so far the “wessen” characters have almost all of them been white and have almost all of them been drawn from German/Eastern European myths and folklore — the show is called Grimm — and while there have been a few non-white folks to show up as the antagonists for the show, in my memory they’ve tended to be less “misunderstood shapechangers who had something go bad while trying to blend in, their crime is not their fault” and been more “working for the over-arcing bad guys of the series.”

It was clear before the end of the episode that Papa Ghede was aligned with the people we are’t supposed to like, and that he was a tad more sophisticated the the rest of the villains had been. Before the end of this particular mini story-arc it was clear that Papa Ghede was a shapechanger (they call them wessen — phonetically, vessen) and had been recorded in the Lore as a voudou priest back in the day.

I had a few immediate reactions to this. Having just watched American Horror Story: Coven, the trope of using one of the lwa as a villain was fresh in my mind and high on my list of annoyances. As a pagan and as a storyteller, I find an inherent laziness to using pagan or non-Abrahamic gods as villains. It’s something that will destroy my interest in a series right quick. For example: there’s a series out there that portrays Artemis as some vapid, sex-crazed villain. I liked the writing well enough, but once she was introduced in that way, I couldn’t continue. For another — and sadly surprising — example, I’ll point out on of Nora Roberts’ paranormal series, the Cousins O’Dwyer trio. I read all three, and I genuinely enjoy her writing — I love the way she weaves threads together and builds family. But in the last book, the driving antagonist turns out to be a demon (ho-hum) who then she decides to name Cernunnos. In a matter of a sentence, mere pages from the ending, she utterly ruined the story for me, and instead of it being good escapism, it’s a series I have to say I can’t recommend in the least bit. I can’t help but see this as anything but lazy story writing, and it bothers me so much.

But I’ll say it: it’s worse when we do it with folklore, myths, legends, and figures from the cultures of those who are marginalized. Why? Because as story tellers, we are use myth, folklore, legends, and figures as short-hand. It’s part of telling a story, and that in and of itself is not bad. What I find uncomfortable — deplorable, really — is what this particular type of short-hand says. “This figure, this myth cycle, is foreign. It’s unknown, it’s unfamiliar, and that makes it bad.” Every time we use this short hand in this way (Papa Ghede being on the ‘wrong’ side) we are re-enforcing the idea that this particular way of being different in wrong. We’re re-enforcing particular associations (dark skin, an accent, altars with candle stubs and what could be wax, could be blood, the creation of zombies, the portrayal of a veve) with the idea of a malicious sort of ‘other’. In contrast, in the show, another story-arc involves a witch trying to get her powers back. She’s another antagonist, and her witchcraft involves death work, but she’s a pretty, skinny white woman, and while what she’s doing isn’t necessarily good, we’ve gotten her back story, and she’s been written in a way that we are encouraged to have moments of sympathy for her. That is, she’s multi-dimensional, complex, etc.

This isn’t even touching the problems I have with the use of a marginalized religion of any sort being used in a dramatic way to build an atmosphere of mystery and unease. I get that in an hour long show (even a two-parter!) there isn’t time to get into it that deeply . . . but come on. You can get the culture of the region so spot on that one character is making blueberry quinoa pancakes with a spinach puree maple syrup, but you can’t not be lazy about this? Really? And all *that* isn’t even coming close to my issue with taking Powers and making Them less — which is a big part of my problem with Roberts’ use of Cernunnos.

Look, I’m a storyteller, too. And I write about gods and spirits, about Powers interacting with humanity. Not all those interactions are good. I don’t require that spirits and gods not fulfill an antagonistic role, really, I don’t. I, too, have written gods and spirits as the “bad guys” of a tale. I shy away from “good versus evil” and try to keep it more “hey, obviously we want our side to win and we think we’re in the right, but so do they,” but in the end, I have had gods and spirits that needed defeating or thwarting. So it’s not that.

Just . . . don’t be lazy about it. Be respectful, and maybe try to get it right. Don’t use something (Hi, Voudou. Sorry, Voudou. We suck, Voudou. It’s probably not going to stop.)(Looking at you too, all ‘demons’ ever) that is rich, complex, and already done to death as a short cut. It’s not a short cut. It’s lazy. Who wants to be a lazy writer when you could instead be digging deeper?

Knowing Thyself isn’t enough.

Knowing yourself is only the first step. In some cases, it may be a long, involved first step. And, true, it’s a step that you never really leave. That self-awareness, that self-knowledge is important and it changes as you change.

I wrote a bit ago about writing as spirit work. (And I’m not the only one who writes about this. I was so very excited to see this article show up in my email by C.S. McCath!) I’ve written also, with excitement, writing goals for the year, and how I thought they were manageable, even with the working full time (three roughly 50k novels from start to finish and editing up the Poseidon novel) and really, if I am writing 10k in a weekend, it would be manageable. I even freed up some time in February to work on the writing. But then Beth and I added our Sacred Marriage book, and then I took on the Pagan Experience, and suddenly writing became a chore, and suddenly, I didn’t really want to write. Anything.

I’m not sure why I do this to myself, but I do it fairly regularly. Now, I’ve changed some habits of mine when it comes to writing that I’m glad to have changed — I’m writing regularly in that I haven’t written less that 100k words in a year, in three years now. I’ve decreased my down time, so that I’m writing more often than not. I’m accomplishing projects. This is good, and I’m glad for it. I’m proud of it, even.

My secret? My bad, shameful secret? I’m not a driven person. I’m not a person with burning, hot passions. There is, besides wanting to be blissed out in the awareness of Poseidon, nothing I want badly enough from the future to make myself suffer for it in the present. I am too constantly aware of mortality, of the finite-ness of existence, to work and work and work until I drop and then get up and work some more, in hopes of some future pay-out.

Knitting and meditation are my go-to forms for working through the mundane worries and chatter in my head. Yoga (when I can convince this body with its various, conflicting ailments, that we want to practice) and meditation is my go-to for connecting with Poseidon in a deeper way than my day-to-day chattering at Him. (Oh, crap. Am I part of the chatter in His head?). Writing the stories that come to me is my way of honoring both the non-Poseidon spiritual world around me and my place as a part of the spiritual world. Every time I come back to “I’m going to work full time on my writing, I’m going to be a Professional Author, and it’s going to be about producing material!”, writing becomes miserable. It’s not that the stories go away, because they don’t. It’s not even that anyone (er, Anyone) else gets on me for my approach . . . it’s this thing of joy and wonder and magic becomes a chore, a job, a task, and a task that has no heart in it for me, and I stop writing.

I knew years and years ago that I did not want to be a person consumed by one passion. I look at the people who are on fire for this one thing, this calling in their lives, and I don’t envy them. I have my calling, and I love my calling, but I don’t want to burn for it, and maybe that’s because my calling, as I see it, is not one simple thing. It’s to be Poseidon’s, in this world, and that’s not one simple thing. Even writing. Even with writing,  I don’t want that to be the sum of all my parts. If my writing was more directly about Poseidon that might change, or so I say, but even when my writing is more about Poseidon, if I approach it with a MUST ACCOMPLISH IN X AMOUNT OF TIME I then because all writing meh.

~*~*~*~*~

I was upset about this, once again, yesterday. Shouldn’t I want to be driven? Shouldn’t I want to push myself? Shouldn’t I want these things? He says to me, “why are you worried about shoulds? Take the shoulds away, what do you want from yourself?” The answer always comes back to writing. And, I want to be disciplined when it comes to writing . . . but what I learned when I was working on McCredie’s story was, writing everyday does not work for me. Writing a chapter or two over two sittings is sustainable; working at a chapter or two a little bit every day for a week . . . it doesn’t bore me, exactly. It makes me feel depleted. There’s a certain amount of holding the scenes in my mind, poking at them, daydreaming about them over the course of the week, that lends them a potency, that lends me familiarity with them, that is as much a part of the story telling as the writing is. My best stories were handled that way.

Why do I ignore what I know of myself?

Poseidon shows me tidal energy. Not just the tides of the waters that rule our bodies so, but also the tidal pull of energy, and the cyclical nature of things. He reminds me of my bursts of obsession that come in small almost gentle eruptions, when all I want to do for a week or two is knit, or read, or write, or browse around. He reminds me that I’m at my most productive when I just let myself be. He reminds me that He did not become involved with me for some future person I might become, though He is curious also about how experiences will shape me, as we go. He asks me why I, then, seem only interested in this future self rather than honoring who I am now.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It sounds horrible, to admit that I’m not driven. That I’m not interested so much in striving-for, to the point that all I am is that striving. There are things I want. I want to support myself with my writing. . . . but not so much that I’m willing to make myself miserable writing in order to get that. And, I need to be more realistic with my goals. I need to keep it real.

And, this comes back to Poseidon’s influence in my life in this way: He does not allow me to get away with pretending to be other than I am. He . . . . celebrates? experiences joy? Loves me? . .. for who I am, and He has never once suggested that I am unworthy of His love or attention because I’m not driven toward one thing, because I’m not a passionate person. (He raises doubts about that passion, and He reminds me that when I’m before the sea I am nothing but passion, I am nothing but an ecstatic vessel that is consumed with yearning, and that I have moments of that even land-bound, but I mean in general. In general, i’m not passionate). He, more than me, insists that I keep it real.

May this lesson stick, this time. I swear I’ve gone through this before.

 

 

Questions about marrying gods or spirits?

I haven’t talked about it because I’m a tad superstitious when it comes to talking about writing projects before a certain amount of work has gone into them, but Beth has talked about it, so why not?

We’re writing a book on Sacred Marriage.

(Most important to note: we’re writing a book on our experiences of being godspouses for the last decade and then some. We are writing the book we wish had been when we started upon this path. It is not meant to be an authoritative “this is how you must do it” book — anyone who reads our blogs or knows us online should hopefully know by now that that’s not how we roll. We are far more in the “this is what works for us,” camp.)

Part of the book will be addressing questions, so if you have any to ask, now’s your chance! I’m not saying we will cover all of them, but we are going to be address the most common ones. If you have questions, if you’re curious about this thing called Sacred Marriage, if there’s a topic you’d like to see addressed, let us know! If you are upon this path yourself and there are things you wish you’d known in the beginning, please share! Email me (bluedolfyn at g mail dot com) Please title the email “Questions about god-spousery” or something equivalent so it stands out. We may not answer them all, but I will try to answer the ones that we won’t cover in the book here on my blog. And thank you, in advance, for your help with this project!

(Oh my god the typos. I kan rite reel good.)

Resolutions (TPE Week One)

(First, I’m so glad to see that someone has created this project. Not sure how often I’ll participate, but I glad to see other people writing on the topics. The PBP was a fun way to become exposed to more writers, and I hope this will continue, so yay!!)

New Year’s Resolutions have never been something I’ve made a part of my life. I’ve never been big on the “okay, NOW I’m going to get serious about X” because the way my mind works, that’s not a sustainable practice. If I have a goal to achieve, I need to make the steps toward that goal something I can incorporate into my life. I need to make them approachable. Things like “I’m going to be kinder to myself” or “I’m going to write more” or “I’m going to eat better” are great ideas, maybe, but I need the smaller steps, I need to focus on them. The end goal can simply overwhelm me way too much and then I’m defeated before I even begin.

In our tradition, Yule is our time to retreat, to reflect, to make plans regarding how to work toward whatever our goals are for the coming year. My biggies are: to get the trilogy written, to get Poseidon: a Narrative edited and released, and to continue with the Story Subscription. I’m freeing myself from any other obligations, beyond what Poseidon and Odin tell me are my obligations, to work on those things. A year of writing the things. I’m much looking forward to it — and enjoying it thoroughly already.

Looking ahead: plans for 2015

My plan for 2015?

Writing. Have I mentioned writing as of yet? Because, writing.

11. Laguz and Inguz: How do I work with my dreams? What seeds have I planted, and what have I sacrificed to nourish them?

How do I work with my dreams? Well, what are my dreams right now? Independence — I would love to be working on my writing full time. Even if I had to settle for flopping my schedule: day job part time, writing full time, that would be acceptable. I am, of course, nowhere near ready for that, alas, and working with my dream, working toward that dream means increasing my productivity. The plan for last year was to get all the things written. I went into 2014 thick in McCredie’s novel, and that was a planned quartet. I love her book, I love her story, and I realized at that midpoint that I really did not want to write that quartet. I had a huge, sweeping, end of the world and see it through to the other side series planned, but I just did not have it in me to write it. (I wonder, now that I’m plotting these out, if that’ll change?) The plan was to get those written, and go back to Brit and Thistle, get that first book written, release The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte novella outside of The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales as a freebie, get the collection out across the various platforms, and maybe see about going through The Fosterling and getting that out in e-book form. Oh, and to get Treasures from the Deep as well as Beth’s two collections out in e-book form.

Er, why, yes, while also holding down a full time day job and having a busy spiritual practice and taking care of critters and finding time to knit and keeping in regular contact with friends and family. What? That’s totally reasonable.

Ahem.

I’m not turning my nose up at my productivity. I’ve talked before about how much more I’ve written, each year, since I decided to get serious about this, and it keeps increasing, and that’s awesome. I’ll celebrate that for the success that it is. I’ve had goals that I’ve met and surpassed, and I’m grateful for that. I could not have anticipated the Surprise! dental surgery that came up in June/July, and I could not anticipate the support my Story Subscription would receive. I could not have discovered how stupidly my brain is wired in regards to deadlines real versus self-imposed and thus not real (?!) without the Story Subscription project, either, so there’s another important and unexpected lesson. But, a few months into the project, and I was already chomping at the bit, frustrated at my inability to get more written. I felt like I was treading water, staying just ahead of the subscription pace, and that wasn’t good enough, if I wanted to be writing for that as well as getting other material written to submit and/or publish on my own.

Which is why I decided to release A Marriage of Land and Sea to my subscribers, a chapter at a time. I am only five chapters ahead, but combined with my new approach to writing (thank you Scrivener!) and my goals for increasing viable wordage as I go, I’m hoping to get the whole first book finished by the end of February. It’s plotted at around 14 chapters.  (I’d love to get it done faster than that, and if my output increases as I get used to this approach, all the better!)  I’ll be jumping right into the next book in the series, and then the third, and so the plan is to have them all written by June, at which point I’m going back to Poseidon: A Narrative to get that rewritten and print-ready. Side projects include getting Igraine’s Flight released across platforms and the complete e-book sent out to my subscribers, because they rock.

Writing. Writing is the plan. What does that mean for the rest of everything?

I’d been trying to make this blog more active. I get into these silly mindsets. “Well, if I’m going to be writing more, I need to write more on the blog, on both blogs, and post more to FB, and revive my LiveJournal, and and and and . . . ” I decide that I have to write as much nonfiction as I do fiction, that I need to be equal parts storyteller and serious religious introspective blogger . . .but, you know what? I’m not. The blogging about spiritual stuff and/or living with Poseidon and/or life as a polytheist comes in cycles — one could say waves. It, heh, ebbs and flows. Writing fiction? Telling stories? That is what I want to write, that is what I want to put my time into. Oh, I want to blog as well — but I want to blog as I feel inspired to blog, which is what I do in practice anyway. Just, I’d like to drop the brain weasels that tell me how I ought to be blogging.

So, what seeds did I plant in 2014? 

  • My Story Subscription: this has provided me with a visible, tangible proof that people want to read my fiction, and that people are willing — nay, eager — to support the artists whose work they enjoy. It has also forced me to take a long, hard look at my approach to my writing, and helped me see the areas where I need to seriously change what I do, if I want to see a change in my output.
  • Poseidon: A Narrative is waiting for attention, and that is a nice seed that was planted in 2014, thanks to NaNoWriMo. This will be harvested at some point this year. Spiritual relations-wise, writing this with Poseidon as my sounding board has done amazing things both to our relationship in general and my understanding of how storytelling is the backbone of my spiritual practice.
  • Getting a handle on what my goals actually are — what I, and what we, truly want, rather than what we think we want or what we think we’re supposed to want. This is huge, and it’s made our vision of our goals that much clearer.

What will I sacrifice to nourish those seeds?

  • Time. For January and February — truly, for the duration of getting this series written, I’m going to be on a semi-hiatus from social media. I’ll be posting about the Story Subscription, will be posting excerpts, will be posting as I’m inspired to, but I’m releasing myself from any expectations outside of that, and I’m not going to be using social media to keep with people. My inbox is open, and anyone who wants to contact me is going to be able to best reach me via email. I am serious about getting these written, and beyond that, I’m moving into a hermitage-y feeling space, mentally, and I just want . . . quiet, and the space to work on this stuff. So I’m making that space.
  • Comfort. I’m planning on pushing myself, here. I’ve got the three jobs going at this point — day job, at Fiberwytch, and being an author with paying customers. I’m going to see how much time I can take back from social media (not that social media is bad, but that it is a time-suck) and beyond that, I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zones — in that I’m going to talk up my work, I’m going to put myself out there, I’m going promote myself. So there.
  • I’m surrendering the idea I have built up in my head about what sort of devotee I’m supposed to be. I am not a ritualist. Yes, my desire for ceremony comes out at Yule, and yes, there are specific rituals that I do hold for Poseidon, and I’m not giving those up. I’ll continue sharing those and observing them, but I’m surrendering any and every ‘should’ that originates from me. (When Poseidon or Odin says, “You should do X,” that’s something else entirely). I am a minimalist when it comes to ritual — except when I’m not — and I’m surrendering this vision of how I want to want to be. Enough is enough already.

It seems simple and straight forward, but for whatever reason it’s been hard. These are not elaborate goals, nor are they many. But, those are my plans for 2015. We’ll see how it goes!