Best of 2022 and a January Resolution

The best professional move we made this past year was in selling our home in Las Vegas and building one in Florida, even with all the blips and bumps. The main reason is ever since Covid, hubby has been working at home full-time and the house we built in Vegas pre-Covid did not suit us.

It wasn’t that it was so terribly small (1470 sq ft) by California standards–I would have loved to have had a home like this when we lived in California for over 25 adult years (not counting my childhood)—it was that it was spread out on 2 floors and the downstairs had very little room–not even a dining room or area big enough for a table.

Upstairs was better because we had a nice-sized master and two more bedrooms over the garage–one as office for him, and one as studio for me–right next to each other. So there wasn’t a lot of privacy for his meetings and my recordings. It was just too tight for an introvert like me. No escape. 24/7.

But now he has a really nice-sized office with double windows in the front of the house. I claimed the “flex space” on the other size of the hall next to the garage with a small window, kept all dark and clubby with changing colored lights. And even the cats have a fully-decorated room for their litter, toys, tree, couch, and dresser.

So professionally, and personally, this has been a victory for us. And with Disney and beaches within a short drive. Just like how I grew up in Southern California.

On this last day of 2022, I haven’t really set many goals, mostly to focus on music and to hybernate from social media for the month of January. The intention is to refrain from actively participating on YouTube, Twitter, and maybe not even a blog post. All to prepare for FAWM ’23 (February Album Writing Month), not only musically, but emotionally, psychologically, and all the interaction that FAWM entails.

Happy New Year!!

My “Wilderness in a Corner Office”

My latest Steven Pressfield email has landed in my inbox, spurring a response to his “Wilderness in a Corner Office” blog post.

You can have a great career, a loving spouse and family, the respect and envy of all who know you … and still be in the Wilderness.

You’re in the Wilderness if this career/family/respect is for a calling that is not yours, that doesn’t arise from your truest self.

In a way, this is the most excruciating form of Wilderness because you’re in hell and you know it, yet you get no sympathy for your suffering, even from yourself. In fact, if you dare to express your misery (even to yourself), you are looked at as an ingrate, a cream puff, a weenie.

You’re not. Your wilderness is real. Your suffering is real. And your peril is real. – Steven Pressfield

What hit me is that while technical writing was once my “wilderness in a corner office,” writing fiction has now become my wilderness. It is no longer the dream, if it ever was. I was motivated, for sure, to write every novel, novella, and short story I wrote. And it was a step in the right direction from technical writing. But it wasn’t my final destination.

My desire for writing has been dwindling ever since I came face-to-face with my real desire, which is all about music. My original audience is gone, if *my audience* means the people who propelled me to write those stories in the first place. That need to be heard, especially by those people, was real but is no longer a thing.

So instead of continuing to work the 90 Day Novel exercises, which may be part of what’s killing that desire to write, I need to focus on music. So much to learn. The more I learn, the more I learn that some things can’t be learned. I’m absolutely terrified to keep trying! Who am I to make some noise and call it music? I absolutely do not feel good enough!! Just writing this is scaring me.

But I absolutely love it! And if I must put my ass where my heart wants to be (ala Steven Pressfield), well, music is absolutely it! For more motivation, I can read my novella, She’s Not That Good – lol!

And every time I see this sitting on my desk next to my mic, well, I feel the nudge to press on. Terrified or not. Because the fear tells me how important it is. Like the first time I auditioned for a solo part in my high school choir’s spring program. I was absolutely terrified, but I knew I absolutely had to do it. And I got the part. I’m still that girl.

 The problem is that as soon as I make a pronouncement such as this, my muse starts whispering stories it wants to hear.

Dead Week

I was just bemoaning to my husband yesterday about this “dead” week that really begins for me Christmas afternoon. My regulars aren’t online, I don’t feel any energy to write or create music. I can’t even revel in enjoying the time off because I’m no longer taking on technical writing projects and am now pursing my art (music and writing) fulltime, so my time is my own.

Sounds great, and it is most of the time, but not at Christmas. In fact, it’s all quite depressing. As one exJW said on Twitter, she didn’t grow up with these traditions so she doesn’t have that bonding with it. She tries to celebrate Christmas but there’s something lacking.

Exactly! For me, in my early years, my mother wasn’t that strict and so I sang Christmas songs in the school choir, ate goodies, and even had gifts, although not on Christmas – just somewhere near Christmas for deniability in case her mother stopped by. So that meant no tree, of course, or any decorations. My mother hid the presents in the hall closet until the big reveal. She was quite clever with her wrapping – some looked like elephants or other shapes. She really did love doing that. She would have loved having a real Christmas.

I admired the silver Christmas tree the neighbors across the street had and all of their Christmas cards strung on the wall behind it. Until it all came to an end when my mother decided to go all in with the JWs when I was 16.

As I grew older, I watched the movies or went to Las Vegas or Disneyland or somewhere festive over Christmas. That way I could enjoy it without “celebrating” it. Deniability.

But what JW doesn’t sneak a peek now and then? How can you help not see and enjoy some aspect of Christmas? Actually, I think it was all more fun back then, when I was sneaking a peek – lol!

So when I got Austin Keon’s email this morning called “How I’m Spending Dead Week,” well, that’s it! That’s the perfect name for this week. In fact, Austin credits Helen Fitzerland’s “All Hail Dead Week” post. Brilliant!

Looks like I’m not alone, whether you grew up celebrating Christmas or not.

 

 

“She’s Not That Good” on YouTube

Okay, so I had to do it, right? I made a little YouTube video of an excerpt from She’s Not That Good, my latest release, a romantic comedy novella set on a cruise ship. Created/produced the music, too, originally for FAWM 23. I may develop it further for the songwriting challenge.

In the meantime, check it out – lol!

Novels, Novellas, and Short Stories for #Cruisers

One of my favorite settings for writing is a cruise ship. Ever since my first cruise, I was drawn into an isolated environment like a ship or plane or train, etc. Maybe because of my own experiences.

I remember so clearly that first day on my first cruise on Carnival Cruise Line’s first ship, the original Mardi Gras (in service from 1972-1993). Ships were tiny back then compared to today (see orig. and new Mardi Gras comparison in photo below).

There I was on my first cruise and the free rum drinks (yes, back then the welcome aboard drink was free) were flowing. So this woman sat next to me on a chaise out by the pool. And proceeded to tell me about how the woman she was sailing with had no idea she was having a romantic fling with her brother. She avoided me for the rest of the cruise, which wasn’t easy since back then you saw the same people over and over again.

Anyway, that scene inspired Real Women Wear Red, which led to the sequel Real Women Sing the Blues, which led to the short story Cougars in Cabo leading up to my latest release, She’s Not That Good, a novella.

These are all available for the Kindle with the links to amazon below.

Real Women Wear Red (novel)

Real Women Sing the Blues (novel)

She’s Not That Good (novella)

Cougars in Cabo (part of short story anthology)

Shakin’ it at the Tiki Bar (#Youtube #Shorts)

Besides writing fiction, and producing dance music, I’ve been known to travel. The farthest trip was to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok from San Francisco. These days it’s mostly hanging out at Disney, on cruise ships, and Florida Tiki bars. But my travel adventures have influenced my writing and music.

So, in the spirit of fun, here’s a clip from the first tiki bar we stopped in after our recent move back to Florida.

Shakin’ it at the Tiki Bar

She’s Not That Good is Live!

I did it! I finally finished She’s Not That Good by the end of NaNoWriMo 2022, and it’s live in Kindle format on Amazon.com. This book has had many lives, from a YA novel to a short-lived Kindle Vella to Contemporary Novella, which is what it is now. I hope you enjoy it!

Failing to launch an adult career, haunted by thoughts of never being good enough, Brandi Redwine searches for something she is good at. After chasing music and the exboyfriend in Nashville, she returns to San Francisco feeling like a loser.

Her best friend steps in and recommends her for an opportunity to compete for a job onboard a cruise ship. Her high school sweetheart is also on board, and his girlfriend is competing for the same job.

Will her entire future rest on a final performance, or will she finally realize she is good enough when she pursues what’s really in her heart?

AVAILABLE NOW!