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 Unpublished.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!

Of Squirrels and Type

Diggory made the trip with us.

One of my favorite sounds in the world is that of a typewriter. There’s something primal to the creative soul about the sound of a key striking paper, leaving an impression behind, and that metallic clinking. Tap tap tap tap tink tap tink tap.

My daughter and I spent our Sunday evening at a Type-In hosted by Bryan Sherwood, aka the Kentucky Typer, at A Cup of Common Wealth in Lexington; check out their fun little Pay It Foward, you can even buy me a drink online! There were typewriters everywhere (read heaven), people swapping them across tables and making the rounds to try other models out. We took two of mine, both gifted – a small, blue Royal and my Underwood Leader.

I was gifted a little Easter egg about my Underwood: The H key was backwards, apparently a rare thing, and I was told to leave it that way. The color was also discussed, as that particular shade or patina was unusual. I felt like a proud mother, though I already was with my 15-year old sharing my love of these wonderful machines.

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An IBM Selectric sat at the end of our (door made into a) table with a typewritten note in the top (above). I hadn’t realized that model had originated in Lexington, and it made me feel even happier that we’d moved up to Kentucky. My mother had worked on one of these machines back when I was in high school, and I remembered the gentle whirring. My daughter turned it on and swooned, continuing the time honored tradition of laying your head on the keyboard to listen to its gentle hum.

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Overall the event was a big success and I think thy got double the turnout they were thinking they we going to get. The woman next to us, Anne, was actually from Winter Park, FL, my old stomping grounds growing up. We got to meet with a couple people I knew from Instagram, one even recognized my name which was a nice surprise.

@TypewriterRevolution on Instagram was there with a binder full of his lovely ETCetera publication (that I am now hooked on).  As soon as I am able, I’ll be picking up a signed copy of his  book, it looks fabulous.

I also discovered the Typosphere, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole…

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Because goals.

My family and I recently saw Kubo and the Two Strings (make sure you stay for the credits).  We were in awe. I am a huge fan of the work that comes out of Laika, and even applied for a job with them once before Boxtrolls was released. The story was wonderful, as all Laika stories that I’ve seen; i.e. Coraline, ParaNorman. Stop motion itself already has such a wonderfully rich history, the new work I have seen coming out of several newer studios is no exception.

And just because. Out of Laika came HouseSpecial. Originally Laika’s commercial arm, now a standalone studio. This is one of my absolute favorite commercials. Enjoy!

Now that we’ve settled in a bit, I’ve been working on The Owl and the Mermaid again. As this year has been one of remeasuring comfort zones, I’m toying with the idea of doing a book trailer and was totally inspired by this.

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