Hello out there!!!
With spring finally here, and my littlest peanut already 7 months old, I’m finally stepping out of my winter/new-mom hibernation and preparing some exciting things in 2018/2019!
I’ve been doing a ton of research, tapping a bunch of excellent writing resources, and carefully editing Book I and more deeply sketching out my entire seven-book series.
Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting updates in 2018/2019, including a detailed progress report and an ETA on a final draft of Book I. Stealth mode for now.
Photo courtesy of Barrett/Flickr.
It has been quite some time since I’ve posted, but I’ve been hard at work. Research and writing continues, and life’s experiences continue to inspire the details and depths of my characters and story (dear life, please let me up for air).
This year has been a challenging one, and despite a profound sense of loss (or maybe because of it), I feel more deeply thankful for all that I have – a family that I love and can’t live without, friends that make me laugh, good health, a roof over my head, a job that pays the bills, and the freedom to be myself and choose the life I want (a huge thank you to all responsible parties).
In six years, I’ve lost my dad, my brother, and most recently my mother. Losing such major keystones has shaken my foundation beyond what I am able to express (still working through it all with the pros), and has given birth to a very real fear of future loss. Nothing is certain in this life except for death, and that is a truth that most of us (myself definitely included) work to avoid facing on a daily, regular basis. On the whole, that is a good thing – it is unhealthy to dwell on such morbid realities, and doing so would prevent us from living our lives and embracing all the amazing things in it. But when death is thrown in your face over and over again, before you can even get on your feet from the last knock-down blow, it becomes really difficult to ignore that death and loss is very real, and it is absolutely terrifying.
Heartbreak tears us apart, but in the process it deepens our understanding of ourselves, it makes us more compassionate and empathetic to others who have or are enduring it, and it forces us to re-prioritize our lives. It shakes us out of complacency, allowing us to see everything with a renewed sense of appreciation. It makes us more thankful than ever for our loved ones, because we know that there is no guarantee that they will be here tomorrow. Though I wish there was another way to cultivate such profound appreciation (and a way to keep my family safe in a bubble), experiencing pain and loss is a rite of passage and this is the only reward. Appreciation, gratitude, thankfulness…these are gifts. Without them, you can have the world and still feel empty and unfulfilled. With them, you have everything you need.
On this Thanksgiving, I wish you and your loved ones all the blessings that life has to offer. Be well, and spread the love.
Photo courtesy of Don Graham/Flickr.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything – William Shakespeare
Happy Spring everyone!
In New England, we’ve finally emerged from our snowy tombs after getting slammed all winter with the cursed stuff. Mountains of snow survived into April, and 20 degree days made us wonder if there really was such a thing as spring. We did walk outside in short sleeves and flip flops once upon a time, right? Just last week, we were still in our winter jackets. Thankfully, May brought the sun back to stay, and our hyacinths and tulips are blossoming in celebration.
Being holed up this winter did have its benefits. I did a ton of research and finished a bunch of Great Courses lectures: The Peloponnesian War by Kenneth Harl; Ancient Greek Civilization by Jeremy McInerney; Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World by Glenn Holland; Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire by Kenneth Harl; Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean by Robert Garland; and The Aeneid of Virgil by Elizabeth Vandiver. Right now, I’m finishing up The History of Ancient Rome by Garrett Fagan, and then I’m onto my next adventure: The Aeneid by Virgil. Elizabeth Vandiver’s course on the Aeneid was awesome, and I’m so excited to dive into the epic itself (after falling in love with the Odyssey last year).
All my research goes to good use. I’m plugging away with my writing and having lots of fun with character development, plot twists, metaphoric parallelism, and all the stuff that makes writing (and reading) so addictive. Ancient Greece and Rome is fertile ground, and my favorite place to search for seeds of creative inspiration.
Happy reading (and spring frolicking)!
Photo courtesy of Gary J. Wood/Flickr.
Happy New Year everyone!!!
It’s 2015, and another year of possibilities is ahead of us!
New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap because so many of us set goals, but only a fraction of us are committed to the steady progress it takes to achieve them. But why the eye roll or the scowl from so many folks every time we utter the word resolution this time of year? Should we instead just stop hoping and dreaming, give up on setting goals, be complacent to drift along the river of unrealized dreams because we might not ever accomplish what we set out to do? Best to scrap that gym membership or that online course before we even begin, eh? So negative. So grumpy. Such a buzz kill. Those voices sing their song of woe from a glass half empty. Dump it out, and reclaim your glass. Then, fill it to the top with what you want most. To me, a New Year’s resolution is just the spark I crave as I kick off my journey toward achievement. Thinking about getting there gives me momentum. Fire at my back urging me on, and fire up ahead beckoning me. The act of setting and sticking to goals is born from our dreams, and also feeds our dreams; when we begin to see that our consistent effort is actually changing things, creating progress, moving us forward, it is electrifying.
As I look back at 2014, I’m feeling really proud of myself for sticking to my goals and making solid progress toward realizing my dream. For me, it was a huge year for research. I finished Professor Grant Voth’s lectures on Myth in Human History; Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days; Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Professor Elizabeth Vandiver’s lectures on The Iliad of Homer and The Odyssey of Homer, followed by the heavy hitters themselves – the Iliad & Odyssey; Vandiver’s lectures on Classical Mythology and Herodotus; Professor Jeremy McInerney’s lectures on Ancient Greek Civilization; and in December, I started Professor Harl’s lectures on the Peloponnesian War.
As I kick off 2015, I am filled with gratitude and the motivation to make this year just as epic as its predecessor! This month, I’m wrapping up my research and shifting my focus back to writing. I’ve drawn in loads of inspiration, I’ve got the momentum of a growing support network and fan base on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads behind me, and I’m ready to finish writing Book I.
Whatever your goals are this year, say them out loud, write them down, proclaim them from a mountaintop; the louder, the better. Let’s ride the New Year wave and go get ’em! 2015, here we come!!!!
Photo courtesy of Vincent Kaczmarek/Flickr.
We all have something to be thankful for…life, love, friendship, family, health, peace, joy, freedom, independence, acceptance, satisfaction… The list is endless, and each is a gift. It is so easy to take blessings and miracles in our lives for granted. Thanksgiving is a great time to reign ourselves in, recognize the beauty in our lives, and let it fill our hearts (while we fill our bellies with turkey day deliciousness!).
I’m thankful for family, friends, health, and the freedom and independence to educate myself and to do what I love (and I’m thankful for those who protect and defend this freedom). I’m thankful for all the little things…enchanting moonlight, fiery sunrises, the beauties of nature, hot coffee, blueberry pie, loving husband kisses, and a little smiling face that calls me mummee. I’m thankful for the beautiful days, and I’m even thankful for the hard, painful, gut-wrenching ones because they help me grow and evolve into a stronger, wiser, more passionate person. Every day is a gift and a miracle.
I’ve always loved to write, and I feel blessed that I have finally embraced my desire to write my first novel. I am thankful for all the writers and teachers past, present, and future who educate and inspire. I’m a sponge and I can never absorb enough. Last month, I finished Professor Elizabeth Vandiver’s lectures on The Iliad of Homer and The Odyssey of Homer, followed by the heavy hitters themselves – the Iliad & Odyssey. The Odyssey is now my absolute favorite story of all time. It is amazing in every way a story can be amazing. Until now, I’d only ever read or heard fragments of the story, but the Odyssey as a whole blew me away. This month, I finished Vandiver’s lectures on Herodotus, and now I’m onto The Histories by Herodotus, and Professor Jeremy McInerney’s lectures on Ancient Greek Civilization. My inspiration for my novel is bottomless thanks to these amazing professors and pioneering authors of olde.
This turkey day, I wish you full hearts and full bellies. Put the spotlight on all the beautiful things in your life and bask in their glory (as you stuff your face with pie)!
Photo courtesy of Nick Kenrick/Flickr.
Happy October, friends!
Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. Nature’s amazing spectacle warms us with beautiful blasts of color before winter settles in. Pumpkins are carved into scary faces, hayrides deliver us deep into apple orchards, magical candlelight stirs our imagination as we share scary stories, and warm ovens tease us with irresistible treats. What’s not to love?
Samhain, or Halloween, marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark half of the year. From sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st (which is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice), the traditional belief is that the veil between worlds becomes thin. During this liminal time, spirits and beings from the other side can more easily cross over to our world. Bonfires are lit for their cleansing and protective powers, offerings of food and drink (trick or treat, anyone?) are left for visiting spirits to placate them, feasts are held to welcome the spirits of loved ones that have returned to us, and masks are worn to disguise oneself from harmful spirits and evade their wrath (better dig out the face paint!).
Though I love reading (and writing) paranormal thrillers, I’m a huge scaredy-cat! While writing my novel, there have been many nights when my laptop almost left the land of the living as I tossed it to run for shelter (my husband, fast asleep in our bed) and escape the boogeyman outside the dining room window. But alas, I just can’t get enough. And this time of year, my cup (and my DVR) runneth over. Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Grimm, Sleepy Hollow… they are all back on. Sleep-deprivation, here I come!
My fellow lovers of sleepless nights and espresso shot mornings, go kill it in those costumes, get your pumpkin carving on, fall into a trick-or-treat candy coma, and have a spooktacular October!!!
Photo courtesy of Great Beyond/Flickr.