Full Moon Glory!

Full Moon Glory!
Luna Bright, Full Moon Light!

Lullaby by Nox Arcana - Absolutely Lovely

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Writer's Nirvana - My First Writer's Conference!

Its hard to know where to start, or exactly how to put into words, my feelings and experiences from my first Writer's Conference.  I'm still "high" from it.  Never having been to a Writer's Conference before, I have nothing to compare the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's 2013 Conference to, but I know a good thing when I find it.

I've never been around a more open and friendly group of people.  Never before have I been around so many people who are deeply passionate and excited about their craft.  Who knew being around approximately 400 Writers for three days, would be so overly stimulating and intellectually satisfying, that at one point my brain actually hurt from the input?!

When I checked in and got my swag bag, I dove right in, being hardly able to contain my excitement, at what goodies awaited me.  I was ecstatic to find that the pitch appointment (more on that later) with the agent, I had wanted, had been granted.  Also included was a free book by one of the keynote authors, a flashlight, a pen and of course a RMFW journal, for note taking.  What  I was really excited to find was my name on my Conference badge.  I was official!  However, also attached to the badge was a sticker (to be attached) that said, "First Time Attendee".

Hmmm.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to put that sticker on my badge.   In my past experiences,  I have found sometimes its not good to walk around with "Newbie" plastered on your forehead.  I hesitated putting on the sticker, and then I noticed other attendees walking around with their "First Time" sticker on their badge.  And then a seasoned attendee said to me,  "You should put your sticker on.  People will come up and introduce themselves to you."
So I put my sticker on and lo and behold, it was if a magic wand have been waived.  People did start coming up and talking to me, and I too said "hello" to other "first timers".  It was the first time, when being a "newbie" was actually a benefit, and later at the awards dinner, all the first timers (and there were 100 of us) were recognized!

The Conference wasn't just great because of the friendship and camaraderie, but also because of the high level of nuts and bolts workshops and panels that were offered.  There were so many good ones, that I wished I could have taken more.  Here's a list of classes that I took:

Visiting Author Panel  
I listened to best selling authors Rob Thurman, Ronald Malfi and
Margaret George, describe their lives and and paths to publication.

First Sale Panel 
I listened to authors who had sold their first novels, this past year.  It was fascinating and inspiring.  I learned there truly is no one way to get your book published.

Romance, Myth and the Divine Goddess - Sharon Mignerey  
This was a fun, fun class.  Sharon was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher.  We had great class discussions and I learned how the seven goddess archetypes are used in Romance novels.

In the Middle: Pluses and Minuses of Small Press Publishing - Katriena Knights  
I learned a lot about small presses and the advantages and disadvantages of going with a small press.  I picked up some great lingo about the publishing industry.  Katriena Knights was a great speaker as well and a fun person to spend an hour with.

Chinese Ghost Lore - M.H. Boroson 
What a wonderful 2 hours spent learning all about the Chinese Culture and their relationships to  ghost, spirits and their dearly departed.  M.H. Boroson gave an intriguing and enlightening workshop.  I learned about "Hell Money", "Hopping Corpses" and so many other things, I hope to use some day in a story.  Great class!

Plot, Structure and Pushing Your Characters - Hannah Bowman  
I felt like I couldn't breathe after this class.  Hannah Bowman was on fire!  Never has an hour passed so fast.  She shared so much information in so little time, with so much intensity, that I could hardly keep up.  But I loved being in her class and listening to her and more seasoned writers dialogue.  I know what I learned is in my mind somewhere.

Agent/Editor Panel - Hannah Bowman, Karyn Marcus, Kristin Nelson 
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sit and listen to agents and editors speak openly and candidly, about their business, how they run things, what they look for, their relationship with each other and with the writers they represent.  Truly, truly a wise investment of my time and it was just fascinating to be in the room with them and listen to all they had to share.

Writing Is Rewriting: The Art and Science of Revising Your Work - Cindi Myers 
If I ever needed a class it was this one!  Seems like that's all I've been doing is revising, and Cindi Myers gave tips and helpful suggestions, that I was able to put into use as soon as I got home from the Conference.  Her workshop was so packed, that every available seat was taken, and the staff had to bring in more chairs.  Apparently all writers need all the help they can get, when it comes to revising our work!

These were just the workshops I took over the weekend!  This doesn't include all the wonderful conversations held at breakfast, lunch, and the great dinners in the evening, or even in the elevators while everyone was making their way to their destinations.

And then there was the palm sweating, cold chilling, knee knocking,  "10 Minute Pitch Session."
All writers who were pitching were told to arrive at least 10 minutes early before their session.  When I arrived for mine, I learned there were 6 other writers who were also going in at the same time.  Our names were called out as if we were lining up to see the principle.  One guy said his palms were sweating, and they rest us chatted nervously like school kids and my mouth felt dry.  I felt like I had disassociated from my body, and only a holographic image of myself was actually walking into the "Pitch" conference room.  But damn it, I was going through with it!  I know that sometimes life gives you opportunities, ones that may not come your way again, and even though this was my first conference, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to meet an agent face to face!
I'm happy to say my say my session went well, and I've got some serious writing ahead me this winter, which is just fine with me.  I'll have something to focus on while winter passes, which will be a good thing for me.

I can't finish this post without giving thanks to my friend and author, C. R. Richards, who told me to get my butt to the Writer's Conference.  What a blessing it is to have her friendship and mentorship.  If someone successful is in your corner, I feel its best to listen to and follow their advice!

So, if you've never attended a Writer's Conference, I would definitely recommend attending one.  For me it was a Writer's Nirvana.  I've been inspired to be in a better place with my writing by next year's Conference.  I've got some goals and deadlines to meet.  I am looking forward to accomplishing them.

Here's to Happy Writing!

Monday, September 16, 2013

13 Goddesses

We just passed September, Friday the 13th!
That day I felt the power of thirteen powerful Goddesses.  Below are thirteen powerful Goddesses whose energy and Spirit, coursed through me that day.
Two of them are not "Goddesses" per se, but this list would be incomplete without them:

Goddess Lilith - the primordial one.  She who refused to lay beneath Adam! 
Goddess Kali Ma - Destroyer, Creator!
Goddess Freya - Warrior Priestess for whom Friday is named! 
Goddess Hecate - Keeper of the Crossroads, send your hounds! 
Goddess Sehkmet - Great fierce lion-headed Queen! 
Goddess Isis - Great Mother of All!
Goddess Cerridwen - Dark Mother of the Cauldron! 
Goddess Oya - Powerful African Mother of Storms! 
Goddess Minerva - Great One of Battle, War and Water! 
Goddess Bellona - She who shall not be conquered! 
Goddess Persephone - She who conquered the Underworld! 
Marie LeVeau - Great Hoodoo Queen of Conjure! 
Tituba - Dark and Powerful soul sister of Magick! 

On Friday the 13th, while I was listening to my favorite dark and powerful band, Nox Arcana, these words came: 

Thirteen Goddesses at the door.
Lilith, Hecate, Oya and several more. 

Battered, bloodied and bruised,
I bow before them. 

Crawling on my hands and knees
I stand before the Goddesses of the Dark. 

Hear my cries,
Hear my pleas,

Oh great Goddesses 
I am on my knees! 

You survived,
You overcame .

Help me,
In my time of crisis,
To do the same! 

"Daughter of Light,
Of powerful, fierce, and loathsome Night. 

Do not crawl.
The light is brightest after the fall. 

We know the darkness of which you speak,
We too were cast down amongst the meek.

Our way is not for the timid or small. 
Your Power is magnificent,
Stand brave and tall. 

The small-minded,
And shallow,
Shall always try,
To belittle the ones,
Who are made to fly. 

Hear the Raven,
The Magpie,
And Hawk.

Pierce the sky, 
Stand tall and walk. 

Do not fear,
What you cannot see,
We are with you,
So Mote It Be!" 

The season of the Witch is upon us.  I've taken to wearing a bracelet of tiny skulls.  I like it.  The number 13 is powerful and magickal.  May we embrace the power of the Goddess, remember Her and keep Her ways.  Blessed Be.

Loving Kindness

Yesterday my husband and I toured "The Loving Kindness" Tour at the Zen Center of Denver. I have long been fascinated with Buddhism as it seems to mirror so closely my own Spiritual path. As a Shao-lin disciple of Kung Fu, the practice of mindfulness and daily meditation has become even more important in my life. After traveling to China in 2011 with my school, and seeing the bigger than life size Buddhas, I've grown to have a fondness in my heart for the Buddha. 

Years before I studied Kung Fu, I was blessed to travel to the two Stupas located here in Colorado. What a blessing it is to have two Stupas in our state. One Stupa is located in Red Feather Lakes, CO, which is in the northern part of the state and the other is located in the mystical town of Crestone, which is in the southern part of the state. Our state is grounded between the two Stupas, one in the north and one in the south. And even though we as a state, have suffered through some horrible acts of violence (Columbine and Century Theatre massacre) I still feel the presence of these holy places helps us on some level, whether we know it or not. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for the Loving Kindness Tour. For years we have wanted to enter the Zen Center of Denver, just based on the building itself. The Center is located in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, which is a beautiful neighborhood filled with large old trees and brick buildings. The Zen Center is located in old, beautiful building that just by looking it gives one a sense of peace. I was excited for the opportunity simply to enter the building. 

Before we could enter, we had to remove our shoes, just like when I go to Kung Fu class. Without being told, immediately we felt the silent instruction, to speak softly, and walk softly. I've seen on other sites where the tour was held, people waited in long lines for hours to see the Relics. However for us, there weren't more than ten people ahead us in line. We stood on the staircase leading up into the sanctuary and quietly waited our turn. 

The room was filled with a golden peace and immananence that is hard to explain. Another one of those blessed, mysterious, moments of life, that can only be felt and not explained. 

As my husband and I walked the display of relics, we stopped at the places on the display, which were interactive and asked us to ring a bell, pour water, say a prayer or read a text. We also paused with reverence at each relic display. We are not Buddhists but we could feel the sacred energy emanating from the display and we bowed appropriately at each one. 

At the last display, there was a sacred text, which said just by reading it would help to enlighten one. I was thrilled when I saw the text included the word "Goddess".

 At the end of the tour, we bowed on a cushion and received a blessing from the relics. We also took a small offering of holy water, that the Zen Center gave to everyone who took the tour. The water has been blessed by the relics.

 This morning as the church bells rang from the Catholic Church, which is a block from my house and whose daily, hourly, ringing of church bells, disturbs me greatly, I found peace knowing the Zen Center is just a few blocks away. I felt peace knowing they are one end, the Catholic Church is in the middle and I am on the other end. It brought me great peace to know the Buddhists are alive and well in my neighborhood. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Passion For Writing

I've hit a milestone. I "finished" the story I've been working on for the past several months, which I actually started 9 years ago. Next week I'm headed to my first Writer's Conference, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Gold Conference, which will be held here in Denver.

I'm nervous, scared and excited about the Conference.  Writing is my passion and naturally I want to make a good first presentation.  Thankfully I found a a wonderful Youtube video by Teresa Funke, which has been extremely helpful in preparing to "pitch" at a Writer's Conference.  If "pitching" is in your future, I highly recommend it!  As a writer, I would scribble on walls if I didn't have paper or a computer. I am one of those people who appreciates the opportunities technology has brought to share one's writing. And I thank anyone and everyone who takes time to read my writing!

Now that I've put my story to rest for a while, I find myself wondering what next story or opportunity will captivate my interest. I've got story fodder dancing around in my head, which is good - so I don't feel I'm at a loss for material. I did my New Moon Tarot reading, and it appears doors are opening for me.  Yay!  I'm going to step through them, whether my mundane self is ready or not!

I'm working on getting over my sadness of Summer leaving. Each day I see the leaves change and spiral down to the ground.  I love warm weather, my garden, flowers and green trees. Yesterday I spent the morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens and took in the beautiful colors of the season. 

Spiritually I'm not looking forward to Winter.  I'm not looking forward to scraping ice from windshield, wearing 50 pounds of clothes and brown knuckling it, through icy roads and crazy drivers. I know I can't control the weather, no matter what kind of Witch I may think I am, so I've got to find a way to embrace to the upcoming season. And don't get me wrong, of course I love Halloween, but after that its pretty much downhill for me, until Spring.

I hope wherever you are you are enjoying the last days of Summer and if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, the ending of Winter and you're looking forward to Spring!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

City Life - Not So Much

I've just returned from a glorious vacation to South Fork, CO, with my husband and our little dog.  We followed our favorite highway, Hwy 285 to Hwy 160 and into the town of South Fork, CO.

For many years I've gotten the towns of South Park and South Fork confused.  Lots of folks recognize "South Park" from the cartoon, but the town of South Fork is something completely different, and much farther away from the city of Denver.

I've lived in Colorado my entire adult life and have been blessed to crisscross travel, its mountainous terrain several times.  And each time I cross over the Western Slope, I never want to return.  We are so blessed that just 30 minutes away from Denver, you can see the Continental Divide and a few hours later, you can be in some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness on planet Earth.

As this was our first trip to South Fork, we weren't exactly sure what to expect.  What we found completely exceeded our expectations.  We found a quiet town, sitting on the Rio Grande River.  We found the quaint, jaw-dropping beautiful towns of Creede and Lake City.  We followed the trail of the infamous Alferd Packer, Colorado's Cannibalist and sat in the Restless Spirits Saloon and had a shot of whiskey.

We bowed in reverence when to our delight we stood at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.

We walked in grateful silence in the quiet mornings and watched the Sun rise.  We sat in stillness and listened to the water of Mother Earth flow:

Each morning I rose and faced the four directions and greeted the dawn with reverence.  Nature opened her arms to us and we fell into Her.

I was born in the city.  I've lived my entire life in the city.  And yet every time I get away to the mountains, spend quiet evenings in a cabin by a fire, rise early and walk in the meadows, something deep, deep, inside me relaxes and acknowledges that I'm truly in my right place. 
The City with its constant challenges is really starting to lose its appeal.  Perhaps its because I'm getting older and I need a slower pace.  Maybe its because my Pagan Spirit needs a mountain town to truly bloom.  But one thing is certain, Nature is calling and tugging at my heart.  I'm open to any and all avenues for change.  The Wheel is turning in my life.