Bored.

So I wrote a book.

Let me back up a little.


I’ve written several books. Six children’s books, two novels (well three technically, though that one is half finished) and I’m about to launch another in the next few days. Where are they? Oh, yea. Unpublished.

This year’s theme has been “Shine” for me for a reason. It’s been time to put my foot down, put my big girl pants on, and woman-up to getting my books out into the world. I’ve been hiding, in a way, but not for the reasons you think.

I’ve never been afraid of moving forward, except when it drew what I considered too much attention to myself. Dealing with permanent health issues that changed, sometimes drastically, how people would interact with me (Watch Shallow Hal and you’ll get the hint.) I became more comfortable leading from the shadows unless I was in a life-is-too-damn-short mood (in which case all bets are off and look out ‘cuz here I come). I started pushing past that fear a couple of years ago, emerging from the safe anonymity of being behind a computer and not face-to-face with onlookers. I took over the Kentucky Browncoats the week before we moved here, and I forced myself into public speaking in front of an audience, however brief and infrequent. It was, I felt, a necessary baby step in my own personal evolution.

So I got bored the other night and wrote a book. Quite literally.

This year I put my novel, Stalemate, into the critique process. I am still a few weeks off of getting advanced reader copies (ARCs) out to a small list of people, and have revisions to finish, but I’ve been anxious to start. So I didn’t decided one night, when I found myself with a little downtime, to write a book dummy.

Book dummies are paper book mockups, kind of like zines. I made up a few dummies last month in order to have some on-hand for projects. Restless one evening, I picked one up and literally wrote “What happens when I’m bored” on the cover and it just snowballed from there. When I was finished about 20 minutes later, I realized I had to make it. The message was one I’d been repeating to people for years. So I jumped on the iPad Pro, grabbed my Pencil, and opened a new project in Procreate. I wrote it all by hand, threw in a couple drawings, then headed to bed. The next morning I jumped on my desktop and compiled it all into a book template, uploaded it, created a cover, and viola! Book. Technically my second book – I’m revising the other one, so technically two more books in a few days – but it got me over the hump and out in the open again when I’d started to crawl back under my rock.

And that is what the book is about, just starting. Just doing one thing, one step to move forward, it doesn’t have to be a big one. But it just might be all it takes to bring down the wall and shine.

Music is breath


Music has always been the one constant in my life. It has been the soundtrack to my joys, my fears, comforted me in every emotion, and spoken my words when I could not. I am always seeking out new music and am so overjoyed when I find something new. Playing for Change isn’t new to me, I have been following them since they started on their Songs Around the World journey and what they bring together never ceases to amaze me.

Most people don’t know this about me, but I grew up with my mother’s love of Africa. (photo: My mother with us at Animal Kingdom dancing to live African music two days before she had surgery.) African culture, art, pattern. I think it is why I am so drawn to black and white, high contrast art, pattern, and texture. It is where my love of elephants comes from as well.

It may also have influenced that I have the heart and hands of a drummer. Though not what I would consider well, I played doumbek, djembe, and other hand drums for years. I cannot imagine my life without music, sound, rhythm, beat, percussion, the sounds of feet dancing in dirt, the sounds of nature’s heartbeat on the wind. Music of all varieties speaks to me and influences my creative force daily.

Africa has been speaking to me lately. Elephant keeps popping up as well as tribal patterns. (photo: a lovely gift from a watercolor artist I met recently, check her out here) It keeps me focused on my own personal strength and power as an individual, reminds me of my connection to the Sacred Feminine, and that with that power comes a duty to be compassionate. Compassion has also come up in that I recently reworked my logo. Moon Rabbit is compassion in Japanese culture.

A while ago, in response to some very disturbing discussions in the news about hunting elephants, I created this paper doll in protest. You can download a copy and print it out (I use 110# cardstock) for personal use! Feel free to share it*, just make sure to link to this blog post and not the PDF. Enjoy!

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*All downloads are protected under copyright and are not to be duplicated in whole or in part without written permission from Renmeleon aka Ana Maria Selvaggio. If you share it, please link to my  and not to the PDF. Thank you!

If you are a teacher and would like a custom doll for your classroom, please contact me. I’d love to make something for you!

2018 we’re going to SHINE!

Several years ago I ditched resolutions and challenges for the new year. Planning my year around one central theme helped me focus on things a little better and I found I was more productive. December each year I meditate on the past year, what I’ve accomplished, what I would like my future to look and feel like, and what I want to create going forward. This year, for 2018, “Shine” is our theme.

Shine, to me, is revealing my Self and my projects. It is of getting out of my own way and bringing to light the things I’ve been wanting to complete but have held myself back on out of fear. In my world, the fear of success weighs heavier than the fear of failure. Being in the public eye has never been appealing to me because of health-related wardrobe restrictions, so I’ve long hidden my light and it has not served me well. I am accused of being that “Too Much Woman” at times (first realized here) a title I am proud of because it means I am roughing up the ground and I am dangerous. I have always been eclectic in my interests, forever a student, and have a passion for life and learning that I am no longer willing to apologize for. Maybe it is my age, maybe it is my health, but life is too short not to make it the life you want.

My daughter @RockPaperFox and husband @RomanDeadGuy are joining me in these resolute plans…

OUR GOALS FOR 2018

I will update these as they are reached with links, etc as we go.

  • Launch Patreon for both myself and for my husband, Val, to help us reach the goals we want to reach. Money does not buy happiness, but it buys the freedom to create happiness. Patreon will allow us to vlog educational field trips, self-publish our books, do book tours eventually, and purchase product supplies while assisting us with covering our everyday bills and keeping food on the table.
  • Launch Val’s Classical Latin Minecraft series. Val will be teaching Classical Latin within Minecraft via a series on YouTube. There will be three videos a week on Monday (vocabulary), Wednesday (sentence structure), and Friday (week in review). Val is K12 certified to teach Classical Latin and will be going through the 3rd Edition Cambridge Latin course. We have been developing the videos and his backdrop world on our Realms server for the past several months.
  • Publish. I have several children’s books screaming for my attention, in the case of Clementine’s Garden quite literally. This Spring she will be the first to be released followed by the dual release of A Cat Named Pillow / A Dog Named Socks for summer reading, Scarecrow’s New Hat and the long awaited The Owl and the Mermaid for Fall. My daughter, Rock Paper Fox, will be illustrating The Shawl Monster for release in the Fall as well.
  • Publish. Stalemate, a work of fiction based on the script I wrote for my thesis, has been in revisions for several months. I am looking a Fall release for the book. Afterwards I will start script revisions and register it with the WGA East.
  • Complete editing and critique on Remnant, the first of three books by my husband, Val Michael Selvaggio.
  • Read. The entire Harry Potter series, just because, as well as a few other titles on my Goodreads. I’d like to read 50 books this year, some of which we will all be reading so we can discuss them.
  • Consolidate. I’ve always envisioned Renmeleon as a portal of sorts, combining all of my loves here in one spot. To that end, my magazine, Kraft Paper Muse, will be hosted via a page here and will be free to view. If you would like a printed copy, they will be available for purchase via MagCloud. Books will have their own domain names and will also be hosted here as micro sites. I am building a creative web to trap all of the pieces of me that will be fun to explore and even educational in some parts.
  • Retrain myself to work on a schedule. I’ve not worked a job outside of my home since before the onset of my LE in 2001. I have always been creative on a daily basis, but I would like to be more serious about it and with that comes scheduling. I have not had a dedicated creative space since we moved to Kentucky, so I’ve had to adapt my workflow and our home has become my studio.
  • Develop surface pattern collections. I am creating pattern collections for all of my children’s books for use as companion products such as paper goods and fabric. My focus this year is surface pattern design as the basis for all of my products.
  • Armor up. It should be no surprise that my family and I are all nerds. We got involved with the 501st Legion here locally when I took over the Kentucky Browncoats last year and have been working toward gearing up wo troop with them as well as developing our Firefly cosplay. Add in Victorian-era costuming for Steampunk and our yearly Dickens involvement and you’ve got a closest full of cosplay for various causes between the three of us. Mandalorian, Sith, and Jedi are all on the near horizon.

I am always drawing so I will have smaller things peppering my Instagram as I work on things. My daughter and I do three shows a year together now, both of which I am involved with – the Berea Makers Market (Berea) and the Kentucky Fried Zine Fest (Lexington) – and I will be showing films at the Kentucky Theater monthly starting in March through December. I’m looking forward to sharing all of it with you!

You can keep up with my daughter’s work on her site at RockPaperFox and my husband’s on his site at RomanDeadGuys.

 

Setting the Tone

I’m working on Stalemate again. Val and I have been meeting with two close friends for a critique group every couple of weeks and we have been breaking it down, chapter by chapter. It has taken on a life of its own and I am very grateful for the feedback. It has also been a small thrill as a writer to see them interested and on the edge of their seats ever so slightly meeting after meeting.

One of the most emotional scenes in the book just came to life for me. I found the scene’s soundtrack and it transformed everything, as music often does. To say Ludovico Einaudi was one of my muses would not be an understatement…

I put the headset on my husband’s ears and asked him to read the scene. Part way through he put his hand over his mouth, moved, eyes tearing.

This is what I wanted. This is how I wanted the reader to feel. I’m happy.

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