Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye, 2015

I would be a damned liar if I said that I was going to miss this year. I won't. This year was mentally and physically draining. There were times when I was ready to throw in the towel all together. Now, that's not to say that nothing good came of it. By this time next month, the tea cup human currently kicking the shit out of me while she plays with my bladder will be kicking on the outside of my womb and that is pretty exciting. Everyone I love is alive and in one piece despite the shit we went through this year. And I am fairly certain that this year and all that happened was so difficult because it is a transition year. I've seen the same things with many people I know. They've had loss and pain and they've had to face terrible things since last year. It's like there is something in the air, a certain way that the planets are aligning, something along those lines. If there is one thing life has taught me, it's that you have to deal with the loose ends in your life before you can fully move forward and I do think that in many cases that is what this year was about. For those who lost people they loved this year, no good things from 2016 can repair or make up for what was lost in 2015. If you are reading this and you are among those people, I am truly sorry. If you are reading this and you faced the loss of your home, job, important relationship, or something else that was very important to you, again, I am sorry. But all of us need to believe that things will get better and I honestly feel that they will. Keep your head up and continue to hope that the coming year will at least leave you in a better place than you are in right now.
I accomplished a few things this year though none of those things were huge. I did technically graduate months ago but I still have no diploma because the University of Phoenix has...well...I think they just forgot about me and that important piece of paper I worked very hard to get. After I believe everyone is back at the office, I intend to write them and find out what the hell the hold up is. I did finish Rapunzel though it doesn't look like my dream of finishing Sleeping Beauty before the baby comes is going to come true. Between being incredibly sick and the craziness of the last two months where holidays and things like that are concerned, I got behind on my goal of writing every day. Now my goal is to finish as much of it as I can before the baby comes and to work on it when I can once she's here. And, of course, I'm nearly done growing a person (as a dear friend of mine puts it) but that isn't so much an accomplishment as a test of strength in my case. lol Those were the major things I did, the things that will carry over into 2016. 
  It wasn't all I hoped to accomplish but I did not anticipate pregnancy, either. I bitch about my defective body quite a bit. I mean, of all the betrayals I've suffered in my life, my body turning on me was probably the hardest to handle. And I've never had more cause to bitch about this body's many limitations than I've had these past eight months. BUT I also understand that the job I asked my body to undertake when I asked it to grow a human being, with it being the way it is, was probably the hardest job I've ever asked my body to do. For the past seven years it has been a constant struggle for my body to keep me alive and then I added a very needy, demanding, being to the mix and I told my body to support her too. Normally when my body cannot handle something I want it to do on a day to day basis, like cleaning the house, I push myself even if it means more pain, more weakness, whatever. But I have been afraid to push beyond what I should since I've been pregnant because I wanted the baby to get all she needed to be healthy. I have had to learn over these past few months how to take it easy....and it sucks. I hate it. I have had to learn patience with a body I usually have no patience for. I have had to learn (and this has been the hardest lesson of all...) to accept limitations on what I can do even if it means letting the house get dirty or not meeting the deadline I set for myself with my book. So I accomplished little this year overall but in a month I'll be able to hold the biggest accomplishment of them all in my arms and I know that in that moment, anything I didn't finish this year will be far from my mind. 
        I've raised kids before so I know better than to sit and make concrete plans for the first year after I have this child. However, I am hoping to have Rapunzel edited and out into the world by May. I am also still hoping to finish Sleeping Beauty at some point this year. It would be great if I could start saving up to self-publish through Archway Publishing before 2018 but babies are expensive creatures and we essentially live off of my boyfriend's overtime each payday as it is so that is currently more of a dream than a goal. For the first month of 2016, my main focus, my biggest goal, is to get the baby and me through labor and to have her come to us healthy...and for me to be as healthy as I can be in the months that follow. I have three serious autoimmune diseases that will all go into overdrive as soon as this child is born so I know it's going to be a long road. I accept that. But I intend to do the best I can and hopefully 2016 does the same for me. 
       Happy New Year, my beloved blogger friends. I hope that the next year brings you all joy, prosperity, new opportunities when and where you need them most, magick, and above all, I hope that you are showered with love. Love from within yourself, love from your family, love from your friends, love in random acts of kindness with strangers on the street...LOVE! Because without love, what the hell is the point?
                                            HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pregnancy of Body, Soul, and Creative Endeavors

It has been such a long time! And I have so much to share. First and foremost, Happy October! If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you may know already that this is my favorite month and my favorite time of year. Samhain/Halloween is literally right around the corner and even though this month itself hasn't been the greatest on record, I still have high hopes for Samhain. I always do. To me, it is the most magickal day of the year...a day where absolutely anything can happen. It just so happens that this one is a little special because.....
This is my last Samhain before I give birth. That's right. I'm all knocked up and shit. I am six months, two weeks, and two days along. I know I've touched on my health problems before but I don't think I've ever talked about my history with Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and miscarriages. I never thought I would be able to carry a child past the first trimester. Even as I peed on the stick this time and that second line popped up immediately, I was telling myself not to get excited. I told my boyfriend and the few family members that I shared the news with in the beginning the same thing. Like a good Witch, I did spells to protect us both and to keep her safe and snug in the womb until it is time for her to join the outside world. But even though I'm normally very confident in my spellwork, part of me still doubted that my body could do this. The fear has eased a little but it probably won't go away completely until she's born healthy...just in time for me to start a lifetime of worry over everything else. :) 
       I have fears that are completely unrelated to the baby and my body as well. I have raised a child before. I know how hard it can be to do things like writing, which will always come second to feeding the baby, changing the baby, playing with the baby...everything that motherhood entails. I know how easy it could be to wake up fifteen years from now and realize that I haven't written a single word since I had my child. Besides something going wrong with the baby, this is my greatest fear. Writing is not something I do. It is part of who I am. It is one of the few things that make up the core of my soul as far as I'm concerned. The moment that I found out I was pregnant and I knew I would have her and keep her, I decided that she comes first no matter what and I will honor that. But it would kill a piece of me if I lost the writer to the mother. This may not be a fear that big names in the literary world face. I doubt there are many male authors who have ever faced it at all. But I know that it isn't a fear that's unheard of where working mothers are concerned in general. So I've used independent artists of different types as my inspiration during my pregnancy while working toward my goal of writing an entire novel between now and January when the baby comes. My biggest inspiration has come from Zoe Keating (former member of Rasputina and current solo artists of amazing cello music), who spent her entire pregnancy working on an album and who takes her now seven or eight year old son on the road with her. Hearing her talk about the way she worked while she was pregnant was what turned on the light bulb in my mind and made me decide to not only finish my re-write of Rapunzel but to also write all of Sleeping Beauty before I give birth to a child. It's like giving birth three times in nine months. It's stressful and exhausting. But I know I can do this and I know I will not regret it.
        I have also found inspiration in the pregnancy and new-motherhood-glow of one Amanda Fucking Palmer. She not only worked throughout her pregnancy to prepare for the time that she wouldn't be able to work after she had her son, she has also been very open about her own fears concerning motherhood and her art. I've had a love affair with her blog posts since way back in the myspace days when we were both drunk quite a bit and the posts revolved heavily around small shows and wine. But these past few months I've been hanging on her every post, relating more and more with the things she was saying as I also prepare myself for the hectic year to come. Recently she posted that she went into the studio to record a little bit of a song  just weeks after having the baby and though it may not sound like a lot, I was cheering her on all the way. It's something. It's good. It's proof that you can have it all.
          So for any of you who read my books, I am sorry it's been so long between novels. I do have a finished book sitting on my desktop. I swear it. But I also know full well that it will be much easier to edit with a baby strapped to my chest than it will be to write a novel next year. And that's my plan for the beginning of the baby's life. I am going to edit both novels and hopefully have them live on Amazon by May. Originally my goal was to write a novel a year. However, I know that for the first five years, I probably won't have time to write enough to make that happen. So instead I promise you, dear readers out there in the virtual universe, that I will write as much as I can, get the books out as fast as I can, and I won't give up. I'm not finished. Not by a long shot. I just need a little patience from you all and a promise that you won't forget about me. 
        For all of my Witchy friends out there, I've had some interesting experiences with Witching while pregnant that some of you may understand. For one thing, I got pregnant in April, during the time of the Wheel of the Year where we are celebrating fertility and new life and just before we celebrate the Goddess getting pregnant. The baby is due the day before Imbolc, the day when we celebrate the Goddess's recovery from childbirth and a return of sorts to Herself. I, however, believe she will come in the middle of the month which will make this Sabbat even more relevant as I will be able to put her bassinet in the circle for convenience sake and perform this ritual with the baby there instead of doing it from a hospital bed with a minimum of actual movement. This is also just a little over a month after we celebrate the Goddess giving birth. So as I've gone through the Sabbats I have found myself relating more with the myths than I did before because I'm experiencing the same sort of stage of pregnancy as the Goddess in the stories. That has made me appreciate the myths on a new level. Also, I have found magick manifesting much faster since I've been pregnant though I'm not sure why. It's strange. Physically, I've been weaker since I've been pregnant. There are many things I can't lift or clean the way I used to. I now have to ask someone to do simple things like take out heavy garbage bags for me. My autoimmune diseases, which were much better at first, have been terrible since July. I've had two blockages that both led to the inability to keep down solid food. All of that good shit... Yet, spiritually and magickally, I have never felt as powerful. It's been an odd but almost fun learning experience. 
        As for the baby herself? Well, here is what I know so far. She fucking LOVES gum balls (it's been my only consistent craving throughout the pregnancy), she prefers candy to chocolate (she totally gets that from her dad...I see chocolate as the food of the Gods....), she shows her appreciation for Janis Joplin by moving around so much I can barely stand it whenever I play her, she acts the same way when we get baby stuff and we look at it and talk about it (I am pretty sure she is going to love clothes...), and her hobbies right now include rolling herself up into a ball and rolling around my womb. No, I am not making that up. Yes, even the midwife seemed a little taken aback by that one. She is going to be full of energy, stubborn, and tough. And I can't wait to see her. 
Oh, and her name will probably be River Song. Both Stevie Lynn and Janis Pearl were nixed by her father and her aunt....something about rock stars, drugs, and a bad influence from the start...whatever...How soon her father forgot that the original River Song killed a "very good man"....I mean, sure, she went back in time and unkilled him...but still...
       I hope that life has been good to all of you since I last checked in. I do promise to try not to let half a year pass before I write again. Until next time, I hope you all have only beautiful days and I hope you all remember to smile...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I'm on Youtube Now

I gave it a month to see if I would change my mind and stop making videos before I announced this here but I think that this is going to stick around for a while soooo.....I am making youtube videos now. The content is much like the content of this blog. I talk Witchy stuff and writing and, occasionally, politics with a little bit of life stuff thrown in there. I am going to continue with this blog, of course. This isn't a replacement or anything like that. I know I've done a terrible job lately of keeping up with the blog but I do intend to get back into the swing of things. After October when I've graduated I should be back to writing a couple of posts a month, at least. In the meantime, though, there are times when it is just easier to make a video or a topic just seems like it would be good for the type of conversation that a video, thanks to comments and video responses, can inspire. At any rate, unless something comes up, this will be my only post on the subject so if you are not interested in watching me talk, don't fear. I understand. lol But if you would like to check it out, here is the link:
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate and Happy belated Passover to those of you who celebrate that instead. I hope that today is bright and joyful for you regardless of how you spend it. 
Light and Love! :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Count-Down Deal on Beauty and the Beast and Castles Made of Sand

As I am sure you all know, tomorrow is Valentine's Day. In honor of the celebration of love, I have reduced the price on both of my books in a countdown deal that begins on the 14th, when both books will be .99 cents, and ends Sunday when the books go back to full price. This has not been a great month for book sales and after the excitement of December and January, I am not ready to see sales go stagnant again. In addition to this, I am a big supporter of what Valentine's Day was meant to be and I am showing my appreciation for a day set aside to celebrate love, love love... :) Both of my books detail the ups and downs of love of all types including (but not limited to) the love between best friends, the love between parents and their children, the love between families (both blood and chosen),  the love of a person for themselves, and, of course, love of the romantic sort as well. I love writing about long as I can do it honestly and not glamourize or demonize things. So, if you are interested, please check the books out while they are on sale and save yourself a couple of bucks.
^ For Beauty and the Beast, See below for Castles Made of Sand: 

Speaking of Valentine's Day.....I posted on this topic about three years ago but I am going to do it again because this is something I have felt strongly about for a very long time...
I know what society has turned Valentine's Day into. It has become that one day a year where people in relationships look smugly or with pity upon those who are single and those who are single feel bad because they are stuck buying themselves chocolates and reading books they just bought from a Kindle sale (hehehe I had to paint the picture....) BUT I am here to tell you all that this day does not have to be that way. Why, you ask? Because THERE ARE MULTIPLE FORMS OF LOVE. And you know what? THEY ARE EQUALLY AS VALID AND AS POWERFUL AS ROMANCE. That's right. That's the way I see it. If you have parents, siblings, best friends, cousins, children, neighbors, co-workers, animals....anyone in your life who loves you? You have someone to spend Valentine's Day with. Even more incredible....self-love is powerful too. If you love who you are inside and out, treat yourself to dinner, chocolates, a movie, the whole nine yards, because from the cradle to the grave, the only person you are guaranteed to have forever is you. And that is something to celebrate too. This day was not meant to make people feel bad for what they don't have. It's supposed to be a day where you and the people you love show that you care. One day set aside in the whole year just for the most powerful chemical reaction the human brain produces. Please....please...don't waste that. Don't waste it on wishing you had someone "special" because chances are, there is someone in your life who is in some way special and you could be spending time with them if you would stop to think about that. Also....better to be alone on Valentine's Day than to be unhappy with someone who is wrong for you. There are worse things to be than single... And don't waste this day rubbing it in someone's face that Mark proposed or that Mindy loved her chocolates. I have seen people do this and it's terrible. Hell, those who do it on Valentine's Day also tend to do it the other 364 days of the year as well and that's equally as shitty. If your best friend is single, instead of feeling like you have the upper hand on this one day out of the year, carve out some time to do something with them as well. Be nice to each other. If we can manage that one day a year it might spread and before you know it, people will be nice all the time. lol Don't waste a minute of the day on hate or regret. Just....find joy in something or someone. Find a reason to smile. And follow that where it might take you if only for one day....

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Questionable Police Work In Columbus, Ohio

You see this face? This is the face of a fifteen year old who was lured away from Ohayocon, an anime convention in Columbus, Ohio, in the early morning hours of February 1st. She was lured away by a grown man who took her to Blacklick (about fifteen miles away) and held her for two days. He let her go because the news coverage and all of the talk freaked him out. Dropping her off in the clothes she left in, he went on his way. And there is a great chance no charges will ever be brought against him. Why? Because the cops are trying to cover their asses and their shoddy police work so they are blaming this child for everything, lying to the public, saying she planned the whole thing. She left wearing this: 
She took no extra clothes, no money, not even a cell phone charger. It was freezing the night that she disappeared. I was wearing jeans, a tee shirt, and a big thick coat and I couldn't stand to go outside to smoke. Why would she leave dressed in the above outfit in the freezing cold without spare clothes? She has two very loving, very accepting parents who support her unconditionally. Why would she leave at all? According to her, she didn't...not in the way the police say. And I believe that. I believe that because there was nothing to suggest that this kid ran away (something even the police admitted when they went through the family's hotel room the following day). I also believe that if the cops had done their job, all of this, from the time they got involved to the smear campaign they led after Ray/Ashley was found, would have been different...
Ray is trans-fluid. Sometimes, he dresses like a guy and identifies that way and sometimes, like at Cons, he dresses like a female and is known as Ashley. When his mother first came into the security room where I was working as a night shift dispatcher to see if we could contact her teenager to tell him she was going to bed, she explained this to me while giving me the description of Ray's outfit. I nodded, thought to myself that the dress sounded cute as hell, and gave this kid's gender no more thought. I kept the description given to me in my mind and I recited it repeatedly over the next twenty four hours but I did not see judgement on the faces of those that I talked to. I saw no judgement until the first police officer came in the following day while I was sitting with Ray's mother and he started questioning her...and badgering her...and finally...blowing her off. Here was an officer of the law, someone you are supposed to be able to trust when the worst happens, looking at this mother, who was experiencing the worst moment of her life, telling her that because her child dresses like a female now and then and identifies as a gay male otherwise, her child ran away. Not only that, but her child was not a top priority because he would "probably" turn up sometime that evening. When that evening came and went and there was no word, the police didn't seem worried. They didn't seem to care at all. "We see this all the time with kids like this." They continued telling this terrified mother. "These things happen at things like this." They said over and over again. Because of Ray's parents, the close friend of the family who organized the search parties, the people who shared Ray's picture and story over and over again on facebook, and the news coverage, Ray was found Tuesday walking around Downtown where he was dropped off by his abductor. That should have been the end of this family's ordeal. Instead, the fifteen year old was taken to the police and was questioned WITHOUT A PARENT OR A LAWYER PRESENT about what had taken place. His parents had to wait to see their child because they were not allowed into the room where he was being interrogated by police. Even though he told the police he was taken by a man who thought he was female and he was held from early Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon, no rape kit was administered. During all of this, despite the clear indications that this kid could be in danger, no Amber Alert with his description was ever sent out. And the cops, despite Ray telling them he did not plan this and he did not want to be with this person during the time he was held, went to the news stations and told them Ray ran away from home and planned the entire event. The news eventually ran the family's side of the story (something I am thankful for) and they did let Ray tell his side of the story. But the police seemed determined to bring no charges against the person who did this which means, of course, that in addition to this kid getting no justice, this person will also be free to do this again, perhaps without a good outcome next time. The police also seem to feel that they did nothing wrong which means the next time a teenager from the LGBT community comes up missing, there is no guarantee they will search for him or her either. The dust has settled and people are forgetting about this already. You know how it is with news stories. They come and go so quickly. I want the Lane family to go back to their lives, to try to heal, and I am glad that they have started that process. They've been through enough. But I don't want the public to forget what happened. If the guilty are to walk away from this untouched, I at least want people to remember this happened because when the next LGBT kid comes up missing and is reported as a runaway, there is a chance we will all need to come together again to find that kid. And when the bastard that took Ray does this again, because at this rate it is almost guaranteed he will, I want us all to remember this and to remember it could have been stopped had things been different at Ohayocon this year. I have no connections with people in journalism. I don't generally hang out with reporters. I have only this blog. But if anyone out there in the great big blogosphere knows someone who might do something to help the situation with this story, pass it on. Pass it on anyway. Pass it on just because what happened here was wrong and Ray/Ashley deserves to be believed. Or pass it on because the consequences of this particular injustice could go far beyond the incident itself.