The Official Launch of Indie Blu(e)

If you’re looking to publish a book…You might want to check this out!

Go Dog Go Café

Sea VIII Jimmi CampkinKindra Austin, Jimmi Campkin, Stephen FullerChristine Ray and Mariah Voutilainen are proud to announce the official launch of Indie Blu(e). Indie Blu(e) is our way to support self-published writers and those publish through small independent presses and connect them with readers who are passionate about independent writing.

Individually, independent writers have a certain amount of reach through word of mouth and social media, but that this reach expands significantly when they network with other independent writers to shine a spotlight on their collected body of work.

The founders of Indie Blu(e) are offering a home for curated writers to promote their books, provide readers with honest, thoughtfully crafted book reviews and interviews with writers that will give readers insight into the wrietr’s creative process as well as the publishing process. We will feature writers who have already successfully published as well as first-time authors.

Indie Blu(e) is…

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I Will Take An Enormous Chance After My Deadline

Recently I’ve been feeling inspired. I have countless vague ideas rolling around in my head about next projects…and I haven’t even completely finished my current one. I’ve been furiously brainstorming and recording notes everywhere so I don’t forget. I have lists on my phone, in a notebook, on my calendar…anyplace that was convenient at the time.

Many of my thoughts involve tapping into my creativity more. It has been a long time since I’ve been able to connect with my truly inventive side. I know it’s there but I’ve beaten it into submission with all the grown up responsibilities I have. What I really want to do will require reaching that part deep inside me, the talent I know is lurking to come up with something genuinely innovate.

One such concept will involve making my Halloween party plans public. I’ve mentioned this briefly in a previous post, but if you missed it you should know that I absolutely love Halloween. I spend months planning our Halloween party. The past several years I’ve written murder mysteries from scratch that the kids at the party need to solve. One year I locked them all in my room and they had to solve clues to get out (like the escape rooms I posted about last week).

Given all the work I’ve put into these already it shouldn’t be a lot more effort to put them together in a way that will allow others to use them. The idea is still forming; how I can reach people who would be interested is still a mystery; the personal purpose of doing this remains vague. But it’s something I want to explore.

I’m also considering ways I might be able to teach kids writing again. I honestly loved working with children and helping them develop their skills. My niece still brings up the summer camp I had one year during which each of the kids wrote their own story. I sincerely enjoy making a difference in children’s lives and so this may develop more as the concept starts solidify.

Another thought that has been forming is to write fiction. The book I’m about to publish is non fiction but it’s written like most of my posts; it takes a bit of license on grammar; many of the sections have a bit of a rhythm, very unlike typical non fiction; I’ve included some poetry and art as well – although not mine and you’ll have to wait until the big announcement to find out who it belongs to.

I feel strongly that this book contains an important message, one that will help anyone who is trying to make changes in their lives, and perhaps some who don’t yet realize they want to change. I love the way I’ve put it together and the collaboration I’ve had with others on it. I want to put out more collaborative work, but I also think that there is a fictional tale in there, one that will entertain and perhaps more subtly share what I have to say.

It’s another vague notion, one that I will be working on in the coming months.

I know with certainty though that I want to create. I want to put things out into the world that are uniquely mine. I want to present concepts that solely belong to me. I am ready to take risks and see what happens. This is my path. This is my way forward….but I’m curious about you.

What is unique about you? What path are you following? Have you ever participated in a collaborative project? Are you interested in working on one? What ideas have you had that you might put into motion some day?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Vague

I am Excited to Embark on my Next Amazing Adventure

Do you partake of all life has to offer?

I never used to have time for fun, the things that now add so much to my life. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but while I was married I never read. I love bike riding and now ride regularly, but I didn’t even own a bicycle until after my divorce. Writing has been a dream of mine, but until now I kept my stories locked in my head, mentally writing during sleepless nights.

What happened?

Well, like so many others I lost myself in that relationship. I am not blaming my ex as the responsibility lies with me, however there’s no escaping the fact I let go the parts of me that didn’t align with who he was. Honestly, I thought this was how relationships worked.

But it’s not.

Or at least it doesn’t have to be. I truly believe I can one day be in a relationship that allows me to do all the things that matter to me. It won’t be easy to find, as I’m learning a lot, possibly most, men seem to have an expectation that once a relationship begins they will become the center of my world. They may be willing to share me with my kids, that’s not negotiable; but at the same time they expect me to put everything else aside.

I’m a bit of a relationship junkie, because I’ve never been good at casual dating, and each of my relationships these past few years has followed a similar pattern.

Maybe it’s because my life is too full and there isn’t a lot of room for a relationship, or at least the kind that people seem to be expecting. I do admit I keep busy and have plans that stretch through September already. And since I’m talking with a friend about a trip to Italy next summer I guess it extends further than that. It’s not that I won’t make room for someone new, but I’m not leaving a gaping hole where a relationship fits.

So I’ve taken a break from dating while I allow myself to fully partake in other endeavors. It has helped me focus on my writing which I will be continuing; but I have other projects, other ideas I want to work on as well. Some involve writing and some are other creative concepts I want to try out.

I have plans for my future. Big plans. They’re grey and obscure right now but they are becoming clearer as I get closer to my goals. I’m starting to put together a strategy to start doing the things I’ve only to this point talked about doing. It’s exciting and not as scary as I’d imagined.

I’m making plans, buying tickets, charting a course. I’m sure I’ll be posting about it all as it comes. I’m grateful I can share this with all of you!

What big adventure will you embark on next?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Mallet

I am Sick and Tired of Living in a Round Hole

Square peg. Round hole. I use a mallet to make it fit, pounding it until the corners are wedged into the space. The peg has adapted to the opening. Or has it?

I have been working in IT for the past 7 years. Before that I worked for another company for 10 years in different positions requiring me to troubleshoot issues, define processes and otherwise solve problems. I’m good at it, but I’m just a square peg. If I can do something well does that mean I’m happy or satisfied doing it? Have I adapted?

I am unhappy at my job and I’m finding it hard to hide it anymore. My coworkers advise me to stop trying so hard, stop caring about things I cannot change. Do what I’m asked to do, and no more. But this isn’t who I want to be.

Recently I’ve been putting serious thought into what I want to do for the rest of my life. The changes in my thinking these past couple of years have opened my eyes to the possibilities and so I’m exploring options I never would have considered before. I want to contribute, make things better in a way that only I can. I want to collaborate with others, not compete. I want to use my creativity and imagination to build something not yet conceived by others.

In college I got degrees in Spanish and Linguistics. I was going to be a teacher, but honestly there were so many reasons I didn’t choose this path. I was afraid. I couldn’t imagine being in front of a class, the center of attention. An extra year of college would add to my growing student loans, a bill I was carrying without help from my parents. The government has crippled teachers’ ability to truly educate their students, insisting each follow a standard, requiring each to conform to the lowest common denominator. Leaving no child behind has resulted in all children being left behind.

So education is more of a rectangular hole, instead of the square one I am seeking.

Other options I’d consider would require additional formal education and as much as I truly enjoy learning, the idea of pursuing a master’s degree sounds dreadful, and that is not in line with how I want to spend the next couple of years. I may decide later to follow that path, but now is not the time.

And this is why I took another stab at writing. I don’t know that it will ever replace the income I receive through my day job, but I also don’t know that it won’t. There are many paths available and I’m exploring several. The book I’m publishing just a week from today is one path. Many years ago I taught writing to children through the recreation center where I lived in NH. That is another path I’m considering. Doors are opening, revealing more possibilities, more holes in which my peg may fit.

Truthfully, there are ways I could quit my job today and live the next couple of years without a full time job. It’s an option I’m considering but it’s hard to give up the security from the job I have. There is also a certain amount of freedom afforded when you have steady income, and I am not yet ready to let that go. But the thought is there, in the back of my mind.

So tell me, have you found your square hole? Have you decided to become a round peg instead? I’d love to hear your stories!

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Mallet

I Now Have the Courage to Reveal My Authentic Self

It’s no secret that I’m new to writing. I have only been posting on this blog for about 2 months and in the first few weeks I struggled expressing what I wanted to say.

It was after I found these writing prompts and started writing what was in my heart instead of my head that I began to understand what was missing. I knew I had a story to tell, but my writing just wasn’t authentic. I was writing the way I had been taught to write. I was following the rules instead of following my heart. I was failing to share the part of me that truly makes me who I am.

And in thinking about today’s prompt I realized that this lack of authenticity when has at times carried over into other parts of my life as well.

After my divorce I struggled to understand who I was. For so long I defined myself in terms of that relationship, and as a mother. When I was suddenly spending so much time alone, it was scary. I started off doing the things I thought I should do, continuing on with certain habits that had served me during my marriage. But I came to realize that this wasn’t me. It wasn’t until I started reading and walking the beach, instead of watching the TV shows that had once been so important to me, that I began to feel true to myself.

And in doing so, I learned to be authentic with myself.

At work I was trying to prove myself as the new person on the team. Since I was working in IT for the first time I tried to act like I knew more than I did, instead of admitting how much I needed to learn. Eventually I realized that I would understand more, grasp ideas faster, if I asked more questions instead of pretending I already knew the answer. And I found that what I really do best is ask the right questions so that I can truly understand the problem that needs to be solved.

And in doing so, I learned to be authentic with my coworkers.

But where I’ve been the least authentic has been in my relationships. Early on I would meet new people and I’d have trouble opening up. Even simple irrefutable statements would fail to come out of my mouth when talking to someone. “The sky is blue.” was too difficult to say. I would repeat what I wanted to say over and over in my mind, completely unable to release the words. “The sky is blue. The sky is blue. The sky is blue. The sky is blue.” I let fear of what people would think hold back my ideas. Over time I began to push past this fear and participated in the conversations that were happening around me, and I was able to make real connections with people who have now become close friends.

And in doing so, I learned to be authentic with others.

I recently started talking to an old boyfriend, one who “knew me when.” The conversation we had showed how well I hid my true self. It turns out that even though we dated for about 9 months, he never really knew who I was. He knew the pleaser, the one who had no opinions and no standards. This is no longer who I am. I wonder what he’ll think of the new me.

And in doing so, I am learning to be authentic with men.

One of my very close friends said to me earlier this week that he can’t believe how far I’ve come in just the few years he’s known me. In the beginning I would sit next to him at an event, and I wouldn’t speak. Now I’m connecting with strangers virtually every day with little hesitation. I have definitely grown considerably. I am no longer the person I was, yet I’m not the person I plan to be. It will take more practice, more self-discovery, but I am learning to be authentic with the world.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Authentic

Who Are You in the Parallel Universe?

I believe a parallel universe exists; one in which we’ve made different choices, decisions that have led us down a different path. In this alternate world we are living our dreams. We are happy, healthy and at peace with our lives. Our work is meaningful to ourselves and others. We collaborate with those around us and always bring our best selves to each encounter. Here we are masters of our emotions, taming them so they add value and meaning without allowing them to steer our course.

Every day we face an almost infinite number of options, turns to take. Most we follow without even thinking, reasoning that fate, destiny or chance is in control. But what would happen if instead we paid closer attention to how we walked through life? If we truly saw each choice we made, would we make different decisions?

I see the parallel me, over there, just beyond my reach. I’m beginning to recognize where the path split, the one that led me to where I am instead of where I want to be. There is no going back. I can’t change the path I’m on; I can’t undo the choices I have made. Regretting them is futile and I refuse to succumb to the temptation to lament what could have been.

But now that I know, I can see the fork in the road ahead of me. I see where this universe splits and can connect with the parallel one. It’s so close I can almost reach out and touch it. I see the trail getting closer to this alternate me. One step at a time I will get there, until one day I will cross over and this will be my reality.

And then perhaps I will discover yet another parallel world to move toward.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Parallel

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!