Category Archives: support

Letting Go for the NEW New Year

Did you know that the Romans celebrated their New Year on March 1?

Mars, the God of War, oversaw the start of their calendar. Makes sense, because ROMANS.

terminalis statue wikipedia

As part of their ritual, they celebrated Terminalis, the God of Borders, Transitions, and Neighbors

I came across these facts randomly several years ago, and had the bright idea to use a random holiday as an excuse for a party.

It was great in DC, so I repeated it in Portland, as a way to meet my neighbors in the rather cold, anonymous apartment complex where I live. It worked out okay a couple years ago, but was less pagan-ritual and more corporate-ice-breaker vibe…

cheesy corporate icebreaker trust fall

So this year, in line with my intention to be more open to the mysteries, I deliberately invoked the pagan side of the holiday in my invitation.

I invited people I thought would be into rational discussion of neighbors. Borders. What being a good neighbor meant. What having a border meant.

My definition of neighbor expanded to include those within a few miles, since the people I’d met two years ago had moved on. We talked about the definition of neighbor.


I got 4 No’s and 2 Yes’s and 5 Lack of Responses. Portland.

My two Yes’s showed up and we had baked goods, wine, tea, and enlivening, enheartening conversation. It was brilliant. More evidence that quality over quantity is what counts.

It also affirmed my intention to Let Go of the effects of my generosity this year. For 2017, one of my intentions is to offer what I can, without the expectation of returns. This means not holding onto disappointment when no one comes on an outing, not seething with resentment when someone says they’ll come then blithely doesn’t show, not refusing to offer my generosity because I don’t get the feeling I desire.

It’s hard, but I’m learning. And my two Yes’s helped that little monster in my brain relearn the importance of a few deep connections, rather than the buzz of a crowd or the validation of popularity.

What borders around you need tending? What neighbors could you invite to your (metaphorical) hearth?


Images via Wikipedia, Expert Beacon, and property of Margaret Pinard

The Retreat

Quick Update from the NaNoWriMo Front: I am well on my way to 50,000 words by Nov. 30th, but it is looking like this story will be exceeding that, if my outline is any indicator. I am holding steady with my commitment to write between one and two hours, first thing in the morning, and it is exhilarating. Ok, back with more later…

lone house in field

I mentioned visiting Wordstock in my last post, and besides the historical fiction panel, there was another aspect of it that struck me rather forcibly:

more “writers’ associations” than one would expect from such a small city/ metropolitan area (although some did come from other parts of the state), and

a profusion of these that offered ‘Writers’ Retreats.’

Now, what are these? Writer boot camps? Silent timed writings administered by yoga teachers? I haven’t been on one myself, but I was knocked over the head by the imagery that each table-station used to draw customers in (and must admit, felt a strong pull too). What was the appeal?

As I saw it, there were two: ESCAPE and SAFETY.

Escape from what?

  • Everyday life
  • The daily grind
  • The rut you’re in
  • The troubles you don’t want to face
  • The truths you can’t bring yourself to admit

Escape to what? Safety in:

  • Like-minded individuals
  • Quiet setting
  • Anonymity
  • Atmosphere of Withheld Judgement

Wouldn’t anybody like some time with this type of environment? So why were they Writers‘ Retreats? Are the associations perhaps using this “Escape” marketing technique to get to the writer inside of all of us? Or just being opportunistic and catering to our fears and insecurities?

I’m not sure what to think about it, since I was simultaneously drawn in by the tractor beam and repulsed by its craven call.

What do you think, are they Writers Retreats, or just retreats? Is it an avoidance behavior, or a useful focusing tactic?

I’d love to hear your take on this, since I’m sure may have some interesting opinions/ experiences…


Image via Keepitlit

Don’t Miss Out on our Fall Kindle Sale!

Today is the day!

Memory's Hostage EB (300dpi 2700x1800)

The Kindle version of Memory’s Hostage, my first novel, is free to download from Amazon for a limited time, starting today. One reader called it:

Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen

…while another praised it as:

well-written and well-researched

This is your chance to get it free!

Book List subscribers got an early bird notification about the sale. If you’d like to be one of the pack, sign up here, since I’ll likely be having one more sale event before the end of the year.

Wait, you’re new here? You want to know what the book’s about? Here ya go:

In the England of 1883, the MacFarlane family has earned a reputation for being titans of the rail, coal, and textile industries. Elder brother Henry toes the line in all respects but younger brother Horace has allowed a shadow to fall on their spotless record with his dalliances with the ladies.

However, young Horace’s escapades are shoved into the background when a much larger scandal lands on the MacFarlanes’ doorstep, or in this case, their bathtub.

When a young woman is found with not a stitch of clothing nor a shred of memory in their house, the MacFarlanes must keep it secret while scouring their history and hers for any clues to why she was placed there.

With nothing to tell the police, the young woman is consigned to a private recovery until the mystery of her identity can be unraveled. Unfortunately, the police investigating her case run into multiple threads of blackmail, a secret agent of Her Majesty’s Government, and an anarchist plot, all while trying to pierce the mystery. Can she trust the policeman on her case, Detective Barton? Or his superior officer, Sergeant Ragby? What about the MacFarlanes themselves, who seem to have something to hide…

Surrounded by people who may or may not be allies, she must find someone she can trust. Ultimately, she will have to choose whether to reinvent herself and move on or dive back into her past to find out who she is. With so many parties interested in her memory, the question becomes:

What does she know?


That’s the blurb on the back cover.

The inside is even better.

Memory’s Hostage is available in paperback from CreateSpace, and free for download*on the Kindle RIGHT NOW. What are you waiting for?? Please don’t forget to review it on Amazon after you’re done; that helps the author a lot!


*Please note these are affiliate links to When you click through and purchase something from Amazon, I receive a tiny percentage. Thanks for supporting those pursuing their dreams in any way possible! :-)