Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Return of the Arcana Series!

So, a year ago yesterday I released my latest book, Ghost City, a mind-bending post-apocalyptic ghost story about kids surviving after the end of the world. While I’m extremely proud of that stand-alone novel, the (belated) one year anniversary of its release feels like the perfect time to make an announcement about my NEXT book! I’m excited to say that 2015 is the year I return to the dark fantasy world of The Arcana Series with the sequel to The Hierophant!

Are you ready for the title?

The next book in The Arcana Series is…

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(btw, this image you’re about to see is associated, but not the actual cover…)

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16-Major-Tower

 

the tower

 

Ta-da!

I’d like you to do me a favor and forget anything you may have ever heard me say about this book/book 2 in The Arcana Series. Like its author, this story and how it will be told has undergone many (messy) transformations since the first draft was written. But I am pleased to say the time has come for Ana’s story to continue, and for people other than the infinite monkeys typing in my brain to be a part of it. :D

If you haven’t had a chance to read Book 1 (The Hierophant), feel free to check it out HERE, or read the first 9 chapters for free, HERE!

 

(The above image is from the Vertigo Tarot Deck from DC Comics, and is courtesy of tarot.ucoz.ua)

Wordless.

I have started and thrown out more blog posts and journal entries this year than I can even begin to remember. I’m compelled, periodically, to write about this intense feeling I’m living with, this intense faith, that has propelled me into writing two novels at the same time while working a full-time job. I feel like the energy that’s filling my brain with whispered inspiration should be extolled with glorious words, captured on the (digital) page, preserved for all to see.

But it just ain’t working like that. Every time I try to capture the details, they slip through my fingers as my brain sharpens its focus. The focus is somehow misdirected, away from the truth. I know I’ve had various drug related experiences that would call this ego-interference, or something along those lines. I mean, after all, why write a blog post about something if your ego wasn’t getting involved?

So here’s the truth, as near as I can describe it: I’m optimistic. But more than optimistic, I have this sense–this borderline knowing–that good things are just around the corner. I have words pouring through me again, a path lighting up before me, and the promise of some kind of freedom in the near-ish future. And the recognition of the freedom I do have, now.

Life is not perfect, and yet it is. No, I’m not making my living from my writing–yet. But I am writing, and loving it. No, I don’t live near the ocean in an adorable New England condo-yet. But I do live in a city that is going through a terrific renaissance, in a beautiful little house that keeps me warm and dry, with two excellent roommates and a menagerie of furry, loving pets. No, I’m not rich–but I’m solvent. No, I don’t have everything I want–but I have a life full of freedom, love, and the promise of adventure.

And for me, that’s what life is about: being free, loving others, and having one adventure after another. Even if that adventure is as small as trying a new way of cooking vegetables (have you tried sous vide yet? It is perfection.), or as big as putting 80,000 original words and countless hours of toil, love, and heartache out for public criticism and consumption. (That’s publishing a novel, in case you were wondering.)

It took me a long time to realize that what I wanted out of life was as simple as that, but I’m glad I did. I might even venture to say that I think, in the end, it’s that simple for most of us. We want to be free. We want to love and to be loved. And we want to feel alive.

When was the last time you asked yourself: what do I really want from life? Go ahead, ask. And listen. Sometimes the answer will surprise you.

2015: The Empress (Part 2)

(For Part I, click here)

The Empress

image courtesy of paranormality.com

All my life I’ve been enchanted by the mystical, mythical world. I love, even if I do not wholeheartedly believe in, the idea of fortune-telling and psychics and second-sight. (You may have gathered that from my tarot-based book series.) I’ve even joked with my friends that I collect psychic readings, from Lily Dale, to Salem, to any psychic fair that passes through town. I don’t rely on them for anything but entertainment, but they do satisfy some deep, eternal sense of wonder that I’ve both carried and contained for all of my adult life.

One of my favorite forms of divination outside of tarot is numerology. Like astrology, numerology uses things like your birthdate to determine where you’re at and where you’ve been and where you’re probably going. It’s based on an idea that humans and all things go through maturation cycles, and this rotating cycle of 9s permeates your days, weeks, months, and years. Last year was a 2 personal year for me–The High Priestess, as it relates to tarot cards–a year of inaction and solitude, of internal processing and development. I can’t argue with that description.

This year is a 3 personal year for me–The Empress. A year of abundance and expansion, of creativity and vitality, being physical and sensual, and social. I felt this year creeping in towards the end of 2014, when I started my new kick boxing class and my new writing regimen, and when all of a sudden I realized I was financially solvent for the first time since my ex moved out. And as 2014 drew to a close I began working on a project that had been escaping my grasp for almost two years. Even before 2015 rolled in, I’ve had this feeling–this knowing–that 2015 is going to be one hell of an amazing year.

2014 was long, dark, and agonizingly slow, but those slow dark moments forced me to take a hard look at the way I want to live my life versus they way I thought I *should* live my life. And in 2014, I effectively banned that word from my reasoning vocabulary. “Should,” I have decided, is the most dangerous and destructive word in the English language.

So what changed, really, from 2013 to 2015? Just this one thing: I realized, deeply and profoundly, that happiness is a choice that we have the power to make, every day. I realized that relying on circumstances and other people to dictate my emotions was the essence of powerlessness, of giving my power away. I learned that trying to be someone and create something that others wanted, that didn’t line up with what I wanted, could never bring lasting happiness. You can’t please everyone all of the time. You can’t even please a few people all of the time. And it’s not your job to please anyone but yourself, anyway.

And as selfish as that sounds, this has been a year where I’ve felt more compassion, more empathy, more patience, love, and understanding than ever before. Because if I choose not to let the actions and words of other people derail me from my choice of happiness, then I have no other choice but to love them just as they are, right where they are, regardless of how they’ve reacted to me. When you stop giving people the power to hurt and upset you, it suddenly becomes so much easier to accept them as they are.

But more importantly, with love comes forgiveness and healing–and with all of that, comes hope. And when you have hope? It’s so much easier to keep choosing happiness.

So if 2014 was, for me, the ash-phase of the Phoenix cycle…then 2015 is definitely the year I rise again. And this year I rise as something more than I was before, something powerful, in command of my own destiny: this year, I am the Empress.

So it’s a little late, but happy 2015, everyone!

 

fancy-horz

 

PS: If you’d like to calculate your personal year for 2015, here’s how! Take you’re birth month and day, and add the numbers together until you get a single digit, like so:

(May, 17) 5+1+7=13 –> 1+3=4

Then do the same with the current year: (2015) 2+0+1+5=8

Then add the totals together until you get a single digit: 4+8=12 –> 1+2=3

Viola!

2015: The Empress (Part 1)

The Empress - Ride-WaiteTo fully appreciate my perspective on 2015, I have to go back to New Year’s Eve, 2013:

I was driving to a friend’s cottage to spend the holiday and weekend with them for a mini writing retreat. My first Christmas after separating from my husband had been hard, even though it was anything but traditional–my family and I spent two weeks in England with my brother, his wife, and her family, and overall it was lovely. But while I was there I managed to hit an emotional rock bottom–or what I thought was rock bottom: after a situation with my family triggered every conceivable trigger I have, I spent the night sobbing, alone, in the dark, hoping to fall asleep because I was having my first panic attack in months. I was done. To be perfectly honest, I was ready to die. I couldn’t, because of Rusty (my dog) and my cats. But I wouldn’t have been upset if I fell asleep and never woke up.

And even though my general mood improved, that feeling didn’t go away. I was so tired of feeling like I literally sucked at living, and I was tired of the specifically exhausting pain of stopping myself from hating a person that I once thought was my soul mate. I was so fucking exhausted of telling people I couldn’t afford things, can’t afford things, won’t be able to afford things for a long time. When I came home, the empty house was a gut punch, the loving faces of my pets a tragic reminder of the little family I was losing, the mounting responsibilities in homeownership (that I never would have signed up for without a partner) a big fucking mountain of sand pouring down on me.

I was low. Even without the drama of panic attacks an sobbing, I was the lowest I’d ever been because I didn’t even feel human any more. I didn’t feel like a person. I didn’t feel like a woman. I didn’t feel like anything but a giant pile of things I didn’t want to do but had to.

And I didn’t even want to fix it because I was, more than anything, tired of trying and failing.

Maybe it was my fate to be that way. Maybe I was a sad person by nature, and I needed to stop fighting it. I realized I would have to decide, every day, for the rest of my life, whether it was still worth it to keep going or not. And my only criteria so far was how guilty I felt, and how many pets I had left.

So, like I said, I was driving, New Year’s Eve, down backwoods country roads with Rusty in the back seat. I was just leaving a 55mph zone, entering a 30mph, and I was slowing down accordingly. And I got pulled over, for speeding of course. And the cop was unnecessarily dickish.

And that totally did me in.

That was it. I sat in my car staring at my speeding ticket sobbing like a hot mess (I at least had the dignity to wait until after he gave me the ticket to cry), because I didn’t have money to feed myself, I didn’t have money to pay my mortgage, I didn’t have money for health insurance that I didn’t even want but had to get or else pay a fine that I also didn’t have money for. I didn’t have money for the lawyer everyone kept telling me I should get to handle the separation paperwork. I didn’t have enough money to take off work for 2 weeks or to pay my share of the expenses while I was abroad, but I had to go because it would have been worse to stay, the plane ticket had already been changed twice, everything had already been calculated with my presence included…

And that was rock bottom. Nothing tragic, nothing monumental, nothing unique. Just powerlessness. Emptiness. Everything hurt, and nothing could be done to solve anything, or fix anything, or make anything better. Nothing.

Nothing.

Over the handful of years leading up to that moment, I’d had an image in my head of this strong, free woman: a robust woman standing on a precipice with her arms spread open, welcoming the storm winds, hair streaming and eyes wide. Her expression was always neutral. She didn’t hate the storm. She didn’t love it, either.

She was the image that came into my head when I tried to picture being brave.

That New Year’s Eve, when I finally put my car in gear and drove forward, wondering whether or not I should even go to the cottage (I was only 20 minutes away at that point, and I’d already driven over an hour, in the snow), I became the evolution of that woman on the precipice. Only my arms weren’t spread wide, and my feet weren’t planted firmly on the ground. I was adrift. I was a kite cut free, buffeted and lifted and whipped through the sky with a sort of soft, or maybe slightly surprised, look on my face.

There was nothing to be done, so I stopped fighting.

And all at once, it didn’t hurt anymore. It didn’t hurt, because I wasn’t being strong anymore. I wasn’t being brave anymore. I was actually, genuinely, free.

I could give up control. Because I finally, finally, finally realized that I never really had any control at all, except over one very small but very important thing: how I choose to move forward now, in this very moment.

And I chose to keep going.

With that vision in my head of a girl adrift on a storm wind, unmoored and free, I began the slow and often frightening process of re-training myself to really, truly listen to my heart. And one of the first things it told me–what it had been trying to tell me for so long–was this:

The secret to flight has never been wings–the secret has always been to let go of the shit that weighs you down.