My podcast, Down the Rabbit Hole, went sideways when I got busy. I’m streamlining things, changing tactic, and relaunching in September. I have some surprises up my sleeve including an interview for Gaming & Tech week (week three) and will be fielding others so look for updates! xo
I have 1,182 subscribers to this blog.
::blink blink:: Um. Well, hello there!
Call it me being naive, but I literally had no idea. I rarely get comments, I attribute that to too-busy schedules and “skimming”, but my site stats didn’t even know. One of my plugins apparently did, though. Wow. Um. Yay! So nice to be heard by all of you. Thank you so much for being here, it means a great deal to me. I do this for you.
Lift As You Climb
My intent has always been toward sharing not selling. I’m not big on sell sell sell on my social media and agree with licensing agent Lilla Rogers, “People buy your joy.”. However, I believe in supporting the tools that have supported me and I just posted a new affiliate link for Scrivener to the site. In the process of adding the new widget to my site, I added the blog subscription one as well to keep people notified when I post in case they aren’t on Facebook or other social mediums. When I did, the stats came up.
Supporting Good Things in the World
I’ve always said that one of my biggest missions in this life was to put more beauty out into the world my daughter is growing up in. That all our children are growing up in. It matters. Their generation is going to have to deal with and clean up our messes, so I make it a point to support good people, good companies, good products.
This is something I’ve passed on to my daughter as well. We’ve had discussions on why you shouldn’t wear brands whose missions don’t align with your beliefs, that researching things is important, and that how you present yourself is important. I’m not talking about impressing people, I’m talking about representing your true self for your own benefit.
First, this isn’t a paid ad. I really do love Scrivener. When my husband got stuck on his first novel, Remnant, I bought him a copy and he finished his book in two weeks. I use it for everything from blog posts to formulating short stories, to organizing my research and writing novels. Scrivener has been essential for me to stay focused and I am constantly sending people over to them.
Second, I really do hate selling stuff. ha I do shows to interact with people, to learn what’s people like, to meet the people who follow my work – apparently more than 1,182 of you, still digesting – and if I make sales in the process, I consider it bonus.
What’s of “Value”
Most of my life I’ve had a love-hate relationship with money. I think we all do. It’s a necessary evil since the world doesn’t work on barter, but people value their worth by it which simply isn’t true. My worth or value isn’t based on the money I have or can make, not even by what I can do for others since I can’t always. My worth and value are measured by how I treat people.
Live kindness, Practice gratitude.
Thank you for being here. Thank you if you are one of those 1,182 people subscribed to this blog by email. Thank you if you follow me on Patreon, with or without a pledge.
You mean a lot to me.
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.
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!
My lovely friend Beth made a post recently about what keeps her going in this crazy, beautiful, fucked up world we live in. It inspired me to list a few of my joys, just for me, but I encourage you to do the same. I originally posted this on Facebook, but thought I would expand on it better and pretty it up, just for me.
What keeps me sane?
A man I am ridiculously in love with who loves playing barista and doesn’t mind if I steal the bowl of cereal he just made for himself. (Love you Val xo hehe)
I don’t think I would have gotten through this life without the support group that I have. With as crazy as the world is right now it is even more important. I’ve made it my mission in recent years, especially this year, to remember just how short life is and to gather my joys. That includes lifting as I climb and making room for helping good people.
A daughter who loves looking after me, bakes like a madwoman, and loves doing giving work with me.
When my daughter was young, I remember my mother telling me not to get my hopes up that my daughter would be into the same things I was. When I was pregnant, part of my mantra was that this little gift had her own path and that I was just a guide. I’d walk it with her till she could navigate on her own, but it was hers and only hers. I was there by invitation.
Almost 16 years later she is so much like me it isn’t funny. She is very much her own person, and she puts her own signature twist on things. It’s beautiful to watch. She’s inherited the stubbornness that runs strong in our women, and that causes an issue at times, but she is unique and lovely and I love her strong will. I hope to see her hone her gifts and have them serve her well throughout her life.
Good music that I can loop till I’m sick of it.
I loop music. Mostly if I’m writing or working on something and want to tune out the world. It becomes white noise, which is helpful with a brain that never stops generating ideas. I have too many favorites to ever possibly begin naming, but don’t sell soundtracks for video games or movies short…
Adore this man. He sent me an mp3 of one of the first songs I’d ever heard of his, Primavera. I am currently working on a project involving his music and can’t wait to share it with you.
A sample of my favorite song from the soundtrack of one of my favorite foreign films. I could and have sat and listened to this song all day…and just write and write and write.
::happy dreamy sigh::
Good books and even bad ones that teach me and calm me and make me want to write.
I’ve read a lot of very different books. I’m one of those people that has a way-too-tall stack of books on their nightstand. We added three poetry books from local Kentucky authors today as well as a little Thich Nhat Hanh book on pebble meditation. I’ve updated what I am currently reading on Goodreads accordingly.
Sidenote – If anyone knows how to find your “author page ID” on Goodreads let me know. I’ve tried using my main profile ID for the WordPress widget to no avail.
Quiet moments with a deck of cards playing Solitaire to sort my thoughts…and occasionally win despite my grandmother’s rule.
I love playing cards. I grew up playing cards with my grandparents after dinner almost every night, EVERY night. We’d play Rummy to 500 points with house rules. Most times it would include my mother and I in giggle fits over her squeaky chair. Eye rolls from my grandmother would start my grandfather giggling, too, and it degraded from there. I learned to play cards really well.
My grandmother was a very serious card player. She and my grandfather ran a Thursday night poker game for eons. I started out very little, playing under the table with the chips, then progressed to her lap. From my perch on her lap, I learned to count and threw in chips for her. Older, I would help her make snack food for everyone. I remember the octagon shaped table with the green felt and cup holders on either side of the rectangular chip trays. I’d roll the table down the hall and help set it up in their dining room nook. Later, after my grandfather passed, she’d sold it. I remember how heartbroken I was. My grandmother was a very practical woman and had said I didn’t have room to keep “that old thing”, but I’d have made a dining room table of it with clear plexiglass and used it to hold mementos. I still remember the feel of the mahogany and the old hinges holding the legs on. I have their most used card decks and my grandfather’s poker chips which we now use in my own family. The sounds of the chips clicking together bring back good memories.
“He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect.”
– Sting, Shape of My Heart
My grandmother taught me to play Solitaire, too. Aside from cooking, I count it as one of the best lessons she taught me – stillness. To sit quietly with a problem in front of you and to know a myriad of ways to solve it, know that there was always more than one approach. Her house rule stumped me for a long time and still catches me to this day if I’m careless – you cannot leave an empty row until all the king’s are out and can only start a new row with a king.
Angry Orchard with Firefly and a room full of friends on cozy, overstuffed couches.
Running the Kentucky Browncoats is one of my passion projects and we’ve been doing episodal get-togethers. Two of our local Browncoats, lovely people with a fabulous dancers apartment, have been hosting us and it something I look forward to every month.
Friends who are as passionate and crazy as I am that give me nicknames like “Luscious” to make me smile. (I’m looking at you Jenni xxoo)
I met Jennifer in college online and we became fast friends. She’s been such an encouragement (and a kick in the ass) when I’ve needed it most. I adore the woman and she never ceases to make me laugh. I love having friends that feel like family.
Empty sketchbooks and Scrivener and waterbrushes with messy watercolor palettes.
I am constantly creating in one form or another, every new sketchbook a thrill of possibilities. I live a very digitally-analog life and blank pages in Scrivener thrill me equally. I carry my sketchbook, a mini watercolor kit, my waterbrush, and my aging iPad everywhere. Tools that fit any mood.
Teaching creative process.
Playing muse is second nature to me. I love passing on Aha! moments, tips and tricks, and seeing that light go on behind someone’s eyes. I love cheering people up and don’t believe in coincidences. I believe you are where you are meant to be when you get there and found myself in two situations recently with two different, very depressed friends. Someone telling me they are so happy they crossed paths with me makes everything worthwhile. Twice in one day and I’m over the moon.
Helping good people on their paths.
Lift as you climb. Always. There is room on this tiny spinning dot in the middle of vasty nothingness for everyone. Collect your joys, grow your dreams, and never give up.
Being myself and not giving a damn about validation from anyone.
I’m not always comfy in my own skin, but I’m too old to care anymore and there’s a freedom in that I can’t describe. I’m fiery, I’m blunt as a train wreck, and I’ll be straight up with you. If you’re one of my tribe you’ll do the same and I’ll love you for it. Life is too short to blow sunshine and I’d much rather be myself and enjoy you being yourself, too.
Be you. Love you. Live love.
Three months ago my family and I packed up and moved from Florida to Kentucky. We needed to make major changes, get somewhere we could dig in roots a little, surround ourselves with joy and just clear out the stagnant energies in our lives. I had lived my whole life, save for two years, in Florida and I had been wanting out since I was 13 years old.
33 years later I’d had enough.
I wanted mountains, greener living options, a more creative existence, more options and chances for joy for my daughter and my husband, and A CHANGE OF SEASONS. I longed to be able to actually see a difference in my environment from month-to-month. We’ve come up to visit multiple times, and the whole landscape is lovely. I liked Berea my first visit, but I’ve fallen head over heels for her since the move. Right now we are waiting for fall and I’m about to vibrate out of my skin.
My mother was feeling the pull, too.
With the help of family still living in Florida, we moved my mother up today. I’m so grateful she had their help and I’m looking forward to spending two more days with them before they head back. I know she is going to be in her element here once she’s settled, and I know how relieved to be out of Florida she is, because I was in that same spot very recently, too. My half-brother is moving down in a few weeks as well and I feel like it’s all coming together.
One of the things that I am most looking forward to are road trips with my mother to North Carolina. I grew up with her working for the airlines and it wasn’t uncommon for us to hop a flight to NC, grab a rental car, and drive to Gatlinburg, TN and just explore. We both get wanderlust in October, which was our ritual traveling time, and this year we’ll get to act on it. We’re also looking at Chicago to meet family, the Smithsonian, Michigan, and as far north as New York to visit friends.
For now, though, potluck dinners, board game nights, and card games will be peppering our coming weeks and I’m feeling pretty blessed right now.
Today was like a second Christmas for me. My husband’s aunt sent me a lovely card from their family for my birthday with the express wish that I buy something for myself. She knows that I would have spent it all on bills, but her request allowed me to give myself permission to do something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.
I bought myself a drafting desk.
Sitting there, I kept getting the urge to name it. I dismissed it at first, but this was something special: Possibility. Passion. Motivation. And for some reason it felt “male”. It’s a rustic, vintage style (faux) oak drafting desk with black metal fixtures, it’s soft, smooth, satin surface cool and comforting to the touch. It began to nag at me, though, so I finally entertained the thought.
Felix…(laugh) nah…hmm…a name, a name…Felix…that’s kind of an odd name…FElix. Hmm. FEE.LIX. Felix?
I laughed and my husband asked me what was funny. I told him that I had the urge to name it, that it was kind of nagging me (to which my daughter chimed in and told me I should then) and told him that the same name kept popping up in my head, but it was kind of a weird one compared to most of the names I typically come up with.
Val: “What name?”
Val: “It means happy in Latin.”
I could feel the smile creep across my face even as the tears came.
Felix it is.
No, nothing is wrong, outside of the normal. I pulled the Death card this morning, which would have the untrained freaking out. It doesn’t mean death though, that is usually the Tower card aka cataclysmic, not-so-happy change. But the Death card is a motivator. It means change is coming…which is why I pulled it.
I got wind of a job lead in the UK yesterday and am applying for it today. I pull the cards when I’m led and one always, quite literally, jumps out at me. Writing for gaming was one of the reasons I took the Creative Writing MFA from Full Sail. The job is a script writing position, one of two, with a game developer. I glanced over it, a pipe dream, till I read that they valued talent over experience. I’m not sure if I am talented enough in that industry, but I’m a quick study and I’m giving it a shot. It’s all a leap of faith. Let’s hope they would allow me to work remotely, otherwise it’s beg to be relocated.
“You are entering a growing phase. Acknowledgement comes slowly. No one will offer a helping hand unless you beg for it. Don’t take no for an answer. Avoid self-pity.”
The idea of moving isn’t a new one. We’ve wanted out of Florida for a long time. My health cannot take the heat or the allergies (bugs mainly) and I miss having a change of seasons, especially this time of year. We have been eyeing three places; Western North Carolina, Colorado (Denver-ish), or Eugene, OR as I have family there. We would need to be relocated via an employer to be able to afford it, so I’ve been looking. If we had to stay in Florida, Jacksonville. My dream home, though, honestly: New York.
“Get rid of some old habits. Stop doing anything that doesn’t feel right for you.”
This has been a theme for a while. I cleared my plate at the end of 2011, already a year of big changes for us with claiming our home, our wedding, and a clearing out of anything that didn’t influence us in a positive way. I took 2012 to regroup, refocus, get my Masters and complete a graduate certificate. I’ve been writing on an almost daily (more-so lately) basis and long for a job where I can use my talents. I’m focusing on the things I love that can help enrich our lives – getting my book(s) finished and uploaded to CreateSpace, designing products for Etsy, and working with hand-lettering (10.00 off a class with link) as well as an ongoing book design gig. I’m also submitting work to a couple of publications and a Christmas greeting card contest.
So we’ll see if the job and a move are in the cards for us. It is all in God’s Hands as to where He wants us, so we’ll just keep praying with an open mind and be ready for the challenge if I’m called. Speaking of motivator, time to consolidate so more and attack my studio! Artsy supply grab bags on Etsy soon…
The tools of the trade for a Christian-based pagan, I love this little deck. The artwork is fabulous, it reminds me of an old gypsy deck.
The goal is to blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; not only here but on Art for Cures, ArtfulLE, and Kraft Paper Muse. Why so many?
Different crowds, different subjects.
Art for Cures has gone through the fire and back. Rebuilding slowly from the ashes, it’s going to take a while to recover from my previous mistakes. I know the group has great purpose and potential, though, so I am not yet ready to let it die while there is still interest. The local interest that we have gathered over the years will start meeting once a month at the local library. I am looking forward to an influx of new artists into the group, hoping it will rejuvenate our veteran members, and it give me a chance to be more hands on with everyone.
ArtfulLE is a more personal project for me. I wanted to focus solely on my wellness journey without bogging down my main blog. I had posted a few times, not thinking anyone was even reading it, then someone in New Zealand (!!) posted a comment thanking me and letting me know they had shared the post on Facebook. Next thing I knew, I had a following.
Kraft Paper Muse is a culmination of my loves of publishing, tech, and art. The hardest to keep up with by far, solo, the Muse has high and lofty dreams of what it wants to become when it grows up. Being able to see your work in print, even digitally, and offer that opportunity to others is a thrill to say the least. It requires a discipline that I am having to relearn, though, as well as some major ADD management.
Renmeleon, up until now, has been the catchall. A conglomeration of random tidbits and the odd afterthought or soapbox. My goals with this site are to bring it back to its originally intended purpose: My freelance work, sharing what I’ve learned over the years, what inspires me, and forming a jumping off point for all of my other projects. I’m very eclectic in my interests and hope to share that diversity here.
All-in-all, the purpose of all of this is to get me writing again on a daily basis, get me “arting” again, and get myself back on a schedule of management (not as easy). I’m using my Monday, Wednesday, Friday as my “public” writing days (blogging) and my Tuesdays and Thursdays for project days. As I did today, I spent the morning hand-writing my posts in a spiral bound notebook, 11 pages for today’s, then transcribed them in the evening after I’ve had the day to reflect on all of it.
We’ll see how long I can pull it off. /fingerscrossed See you in two days!
I won’t get into a long rant about what my beliefs are and why, but someone asked me whether or not I would be following the election tomorrow. Probably, was my response as I knew they were baiting me to see what my opinion was on who should be in office. My basic mantra right now, though: “I’ll be happy when it’s over.” Maybe.
I’m right there with little Abigael.