What year is it again? 2022 you say? Really? Okay. If you say so.

From The Ancient Egyptian Tarot, by Clive Barrett: [Death] indicates the casting off of the past. A change of thought or approach. Now is a time for looking to the future. … This is a turning point in one’s life. …There is a new and brighter view of the future.

I have been MIA the majority of the last 18 months. I’m sorry. Things have been heavy. I know you know what I’m talking about. There are different heavinesses and different reasons, but I know we are all feeling the weight of the pandemic in some way.

If there has been an upside to this, it has been the opportunity for self-reflection and growth. That looks different for everyone and there is no comparison or judgment here, just me relating my experiences.

I’ve realized how siloed we have become and how easy it is to fall into an echo chamber of one’s own ideals. I won’t go on about it, but every now and then, consider listening to someone who doesn’t see things your way. Listening doesn’t mean you change your principles or encourage theirs. But it does allow for perspective. And as beneficial as self-reflection and alone time can be, it can also make it harder to get along with others and their way of seeing things. And at the end of the day, we are all humans and we all need others to survive. Yes, even you do.

Anyway, that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about, but I am easily side attracted.

The real reason for this post is to announce that I am unpublishing my first novel, Turning Point. It’s okay. It’s a good thing, actually. I worked hard on it, I put a lot of my time and my creative energies into it, but I never felt like it was the novel I set out to write. I still like the story and I love the characters. They are all alive and well (well, most of them) inside my head. And they have stuff to say.

All that said, I am doing a complete rewrite and rebrand of Turning Point. That means it’s got to go away. It is changing into something different, and my hope is that it tells the stories (yes, plural) I set out to tell. It’s going to take time. I am not the fastest writer. But I intend to complete it as soon as I can, and I expect that at the end of the day, it will turn into two, possibly three stories on its own. Plus, I have a follow up already written (it’ll need significant changing, but the bones are strong as written).

So, if you loved Alice, or Adam, or Sarah, or Jake and Leo, or even Drew (I don’t hold out much home for him, though), watch this space. Eliza will probably be there, too. And some new friends. But, more on them later.

For now, THANK YOU to all my friends, family, and readers (though I think those categories overlap extensively), who have supported me and my creative endeavors over the last few years. I have had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the craft of writing and how I approach it. And I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, so this suits me perfectly.

If you’re interested in having a piece of history (ha!) Turning Point will remain on sale on Amazon until probably the end of January. There are a few things I’m waiting on, but I’ll keep it up until at least then. You can buy it here (ebook or paperback).

I’ll write updates as I have them. But for now, keep yourselves safe and take care of each other.

Barrett, C. (1994). XIII – Death. In The Ancient Egyptian Tarot (pp. 44–45). essay, Aquarian.

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My heart is heavy today. Rest in Peace, Anne.

She Writes

Today, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite authors: Anne Rice.

The featured image was first used in a post about how I came to be in possession of the books shown. Click here to read it.

When I was 20 or so, a friend of mine lent me her copy of Interview with the Vampire. I devoured it. I couldn’t get enough of Louis and Claudia. Even Lestat, bad guy that he was, got under my skin and found a permanent place in my heart. I had never read anything like it. And to find out there was a series and a whole universe of the sexy, mysterious, melancholic vampires out there. I needed to know more, to read more, about them.

Over the years, I’ve read several other vampire authors, and don’t get me wrong, I love finding a new series or a new author, but…

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Hey friends. I’m back. It’s been a while. We froze over here in Texas this week, but things are finally starting to settle down (for some, there are MANY others who still are not out of the woods with this storm). If you or someone you know needs assistance, here is a list of resources that can help. Stay safe, stay well.

Now, on to the interview! I had the great pleasure to be interviewed by @Nina_Soden aka #theredheadedauthor. We chatted about Turning Point, my current projects, and surprising connections between us. It was great fun and I hope you all enjoy it, too. Check out the links below.

Also! There is a giveaway. You’ll have to watch the video and comment on it (the video, not this post) to enter. Woo hoo!

Nina Soden YouTube

Nina Soden #TheRedheadedAuthor

As always, thank you for your support. For independent authors we rely on word of mouth more than anything. So thank you, sincerely, for liking and sharing.

Until next time…

Part III.

Continuing my Year in Review. The Fun Fall.

Eventually, the USTA ruled that tennis was safe to play outdoors, provided proper protocols were followed. I gladly followed them and returned to the courts ASAP.

We celebrated birthdays and milestones. September through November are packed with them. This year’s events were small, but fun and full of heart. Steve turned 50. We enjoyed the celebration, even if the balloons failed to show.

Halloween was muted, but the kids did hit a few houses in the neighborhood. Most people just left buckets of candy on the porch and kids took a couple of pieces. It wasn’t perfect, but we avoided crowds and lines.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at home, though we dearly missed being with friends and having family join us. The food still rocked, though.

We all acquired new skills, whether they were dealing with all things virtual or learning to climb rocks or help others do so. Projects were started, many were even finished before the stroke of midnight tonight. Others are still ongoing, but it’s all good, at least they’re going!

Instead of traveling too far, we decided to make the house even more fun. (See if you can guess this “ongoing” project in the pics below!)

Steve and I even enjoyed a mini getaway to San Marcos, just the two of us. A beautiful city that gave us many happy memories. Go Bobcats!

Grammy joined us in December to ride out the remainder of the year. We’ve already had a lot of fun together making treats, taking a short day trip to Galveston, and just chilling at home.

That just about wraps up the year that wasn’t. It looks pretty good from where I sit. I know it hasn’t been easy for everyone and nearly every single human has felt the strain of COVID in some way. My hope for next year is that we can find our way through this, as a planet, and as a society. We are all humans, all of us, and we all deal with challenges and opportunities in different ways. Let’s remember our individualities and take care of our collective selves. Let’s celebrate joyful days and provide comfort to those who need it.

May you and your families enjoy a safe and happy New Year celebration and may good health and love see you through the next year.

Bye for now. xo

Part II.

Continuing my year in review. Enjoy!

J’s first ride in an ambulance (mine, too).

In February, my son had to have an emergency appendectomy (is there any other kind?). That was exciting. Back when we were able to be there in the hospital to support and comfort our family members in distress. He made it through without issue, but it certainly wasn’t as fun as he makes it appear in the picture from the ambulance. Our house is down to one appendix. Unless animals have them? I don’t think so. Anyway.

We spent January and February worrying about if and when the virus would reach us. But, ever the intrepid (or perhaps not very bright) travelers, my son and I traveled to New York City over spring break. We saw the last show of Hamilton on Broadway. We took the subway and the Staten Island Ferry and touched things that other people had touched. A lot. We used hand sanitizer when we could, but it hadn’t become a staple yet. I was concerned, especially because we were staying with a friend and I didn’t want our actions to jeopardize her or her partner’s lives, and at the time upstate New York was dealing with the virus pretty heavily and it was making its way to the City. It still seemed a little unrealistic then that we as a nation would be where we are today, so we made the best choices we could at the time. We chose fun. I introduced my teenager to Indian food. We didn’t hit the “best places” in the city for it, but we had a great meal that afternoon, and now the boy asks for Indian food often. Score. The day we flew home was the day they shut down Manhattan for all intents and purposes. But, the four days we spent there are still with me. As expected, really.

J tries Indian food!

Just one more anchor in my life holding me to New York. We moved there just under twenty years ago. If you had told me then that I would one day have all that is New York coursing through my veins, all the grit, all the glamour, all the noise and busyness, all the adventure and fear and natural and manmade beauty, and art and joy and love, and food, so much food, and the people, from everywhere and right there, with different views and ways of expressing themselves all cohabitating with relative ease, I would’ve scoffed. I had been excited to move there, but I wasn’t convinced I’d love it. Now, it lives in me. We went through Hell. We came out the other side. We got married there. I threw roots down that I didn’t know I had. They’re still there, waiting for me to come back. I hope.

No, really, we did. Just from the Staten Island Ferry.
We saw the Statue of Liberty.

Annnyyyyway, enough about my love for New York.

After that we learned all about virtual learning. New terms and ideas seeped into our vocabulary and daily lives: synchronous, asynchronous, virtual learning vs homeschooling (they’re not the same), proper mask etiquette and protocols, how long to wash your hands so that it actually counts, social distancing, face-to-face vs virtual academies, grab-n-gos, virtual learning platforms (and all the headaches associated with those), navigating not only learning subject content but how to find it and upload it and show your teachers you’ve understood it. Zoom took over our lives. And we went through so much printer ink.

Then summer hit and we were all bored. We made the most of it, seeing friends outside when we could, or over zooms or gaming and social media platforms when we couldn’t. Our family took a short trip and wore masks and kept our distance and washed our hands. Doing our best to balance living our lives with the protocols of the new normal all while keeping the safety of ourselves and others ever-present in our thoughts and actions.

And of course, I played tennis. When the pandemic first hit our area I stopped playing with other people. I trained on my driveway – my sloped driveway – and hit balls against the not-at-all flat brick walls of my house. I learned how to react quickly when the ball doesn’t go where you’re expecting it to. Silver linings abound.

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