Renovation

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Mercury is in a retrograde season, as are Mars and Saturn. This is a nudge from the planets to review, research, rewind, renew, and the “re” word-of-your-choice.

The rocks Ed is standing on with our dog and 7-yr-old grandson are only accessible during low tide. This image is how I feel about retro energy as it reminds us to go-with-the-flow. We have the opportunity to look beneath the waves and know there is both a solid foundation and sandy streams that are often hidden with the currents.

Natures rhythms are not something to fear unless they include earthquakes, hurricanes, eruptions, bolts, and turbulence. These phases are reminders to communicate clearly, relax, and be aware that all actions have a reaction. Sometimes it’s a boomerang reaction, sometimes it’s delayed, but if you inhale you need to exhale and I always recommend doing both.

Renovation has been the theme of my life for the past year and we are in the process of the building a small home, the one we debated and dithered about for six years because we couldn’t picture what to build. It was like a blank canvas (actually a plot of scrub grass) and we only had a clear vision of needing a flush toilet and a large metal building to store the toys of my family for summer camp outs. Now we are creating a nice living space to be comfortable in all seasons. Alas, we now have to remove that flush toilet and cut through four inches of concrete to correct the drainage. This is another example of retrograde energy – deconstruct and rebuild.

I’ve learned to appreciate pause and review retrograde seasons, though this one has a strong “spinning wheels” flavor. That term was coined about fifty years ago because the cars were designed so if you had one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake the tires would spin and burn a lot of rubber, going nowhere. While I am spinning my wheels I can look around and see that I am creating a fun future I would never have dreamed of, despite the sewage issues.

I’ve heard a few people state they are “living the dream” yet the sarcasm is strong when they say it. I don’t understand the appeal of chasing dreams when creating something is tangible and vibrant. Now I’ll close with the nasty RE word, responsibility. It is required. Be responsible for your happiness, your life. Creating because of a dream requires actions and often – renovations.

Love in the Movies

Robbie's 2nd Birthday party!
Robbie’s 2nd Birthday party!

A few years ago I discovered our local Good Will store has a few shelves of DVD’s in their book section. I found some great movies to entertain my grandchildren when they were babies. Now I check those shelves monthly because I am building my library of feature films, comedies, and romances from the 1990’s and 2000’s. During an all day Story Mastery workshop a few years ago, Michael Hauge stated that Hollywood doesn’t make good romantic comedies anymore. I think I understand what he meant then. Studying classic movies is a great distraction from the current political news.

In my opinion, this current election season in America is being watched and analyzed by a lot of very smart people, especially college students, around the world. If you want a lighter side look – Mike Rowe gave a great recap in his “That’s Debatable” article earlier this month. If you don’t know Mike from the show Dirty Jobs, you may recognize his voice as the narrator for a few adventure shows on the Discovery Channel.

No matter who moves into the oval office in 2017, I expect that escapist fiction with uplifting endings will still be sought for entertainment. It amuses me that The Donald and Ivana Trump had separate cameo appearances as themselves in what are now classic comedies from the early 1990’s. A wonderful movie released in 2008 features the Clinton campaign of 1992, and beyond. I may not comprehend politics while it is in process but it does shape our lifestyle and history even in romantic comedies, and especially when the Tom Hanks character states he hasn’t been in the dating game since Jimmy Carter was president.

I don’t remember if I ever viewed a full uncut version of “Sleepless in Seattle” until a few months ago when I found a 10th Anniversary Edition for three dollars.  In the special features is a commentary by the director Nora Ephrom and her sister, Deliah, as they reminisce about writing and filming the movie as they watch it together ten years later. They don’t discuss plot-points or bloopers but how maps and magic were themes; and the importance of having action buttons to end a scene. They chatted about the color palette and specific use of red and how it was limited until a certain point in the story, and that Nora hates royal blue and seldom has any blue in her movies.

One comment Deliah made during the commentary of “Sleepless” is that we watch these romantic stories to fall in love again. We only fall in love once and go to the movies to recapture those feelings through experiencing others falling in love even though we know it is “love in the movies” and not love in reality.  I can relate to that concept personally. I specifically relate to romantic comedies when they include ensemble casts and I am fascinated when the settings are a character on their own, like how the Ephrom sisters include NYC as edgy and dynamic flavor for the story.

I was scanning through news headlines last week and noticed a tiny item relating to Nora Ephrom and that one of her sons has completed a documentary about her life and works. This was a delightful confirmation that learning about Love in the Movies is worth my attention.

Rite of Passage

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My book and swag displayed at a cocktail reception.

This shortest month of the year, even with an extra day, has been flavored with activities sort of like it’s after graduation and I’m now doing the new career among my Romancelandia peers. The first event was getting seven romance novels to read and judge for the RITA awards which are presented like the OSCAR but for romance novels.

The second event was being on display as a romance novelist for a public event sponsored by my RCRW chapter. Both of these events activated my inner giggles while also requiring my time and effort to meet deadlines specific to my books and career.

As a contest judge, it was my duty to read some of the latest romance novels in my genre by unknown to me authors. Five of them were a thrill to read. There may be some networking with those authors in the future as I work forward on my WIPs. The arrival of these novels also made me reconnect with the local used bookstore that operates on an exchange credit and discount program. Instead of donating novels to the library, that has limited shelf space for genre fiction, local Paperback Exchange stores are great for readers to find new authors.

bus cards 001As I prepared for my first promotions in Romancelandia I wanted to do a give-away for readers and wandered around a local craft store. I decided to dress up my business cards with a pair of earrings. The front of these cards has my name, photo, tagline and website. The back has the cover of my novel and email which is what a potential reader needs as this wasn’t a book selling event. Fortunately my sister makes jewelry so I was confident she’d show me how to do it, except she ended up just making them herself. What do you think?

I’m really having fun with this promotional aspect of my career, and handing out books, and having readers ask for when they can get my next one. I promise, they are in process.