Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hide and Speak

A blast from the past! A poem from my twenties about nurturing the creative process. 

Hide and Speak 

The silence in my mouth 

Like a stone choking me. 

I spit it out. Breaking— 

Cracks spilling sequin sparkles. 

I cannot count them, 

They are so many. 


I can’t spell out silver star jewels 

In semi-precious syllables, 

I have tasted galaxies on my tongue! 

Now I am reduced to speaking in pebbles. 

Yet even they retain a glint, remember 

The sun’s primordial forge. 


There is a geode at the heart: 

A crystalline hope. 

(I speak of fire) 



Monday, November 23, 2020

Reaching for Cynestia Moon


Kyushu Moon

So I've got myself a plan. I want to get at least 3 scifi novels done by the time I am 40. I know all their names, their stories . . . and that my ambition often fails me. But I want to become, no, rather to grow into Cynestia Moon! That's the pen name I have chosen for my scifi author alter-self. (*At the suggestion of a wise friend, I've already snagged the instagram, gmail, facebook, twitter and url for that name).

Cynestia is a play on Synestia, which is a theory of moon formation. You could also say it is a play on Cynthia, a mythological moon goddess. 

So far, I have written half of a scifi middlegrade verse novel. Here's to wild fantasias and a future ink-stained party at age 40! 

Sometimes making a list makes it all real. These are the novels I am dreaming of completing in the next several years:

1. Bad Species: Diary of a Once and Future Human (what happens when 2020 tries to destroy the world, and you are inspired by the doomed brilliancy of the epic scifi poem "Aniara."

2. Agent Regalia (Space Adventure/Romance with a hint of Say Yes to the Dress.)

3. Cosmortalis: Cyborg+Boy (Total space opera, my husband really wants me to finish this one! I got stalled on about page 100 and need to do some serious revision)

Bonus book: My Last Boyfriend Bought Me A ------ (This one is a secret involving ex boyfriends, android parents and a herd of bratty bio-engineered unicorns. Won't say more!)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Thank You, All My Ink Ghosts!

So I am turning 37 this month, and I guess I'm old enough to have a mini mid-life crisis (2020 Apocalypse aside) because I've been struggling with pangs of supreme melancholia that I haven't accomplished more with this precious deal called life. Especially when I consider that both my parents passed away relatively young, I have to wonder if over half my life span isn't already gone. But you know what? I needed all this time to make me who I am today.


I spent my teenage years dreaming up the epic world of Lorelei and Tiko, spurred on in my inky adventures by the rapt attention of my sisters and best friend, Anandi. I devoted the first half of my twenties to learning the grueling craft of writing in college classes. The latter half of my youth was poured into writing my first two clumsy novels and many hundreds of pages of other unfinished stories (for some reason I would hit the 100 page mark and just quit. Sorry, Thelonius Lackey!). But from all these failures, I gleaned more about my weaknesses and strengths in writing fundamentals such as plot, dialogue and characterization.

Oh, and then I had my fabulous agent Natalie for many years, and I failed again. None of my stories found homes with traditional publishers. Looking back, I think I really needed to learn and commit to the art of revision. I will never be done learning how to revise! The first half of my thirties I self-published three novels, and I'm grateful for everything I discovered about self-discipline from that process even though none of them were commercial successes. 

Now I'm ready for the next chapter in my life. And you know what? I'm not the same person I was in my 20's. The deepness of sorrow, pain and joy have all challenged and changed me. The stories I want to tell are completely different. And that's okay, and as it should be. I can't wait to see where all my ink ghosts take me next!

 *(A sneak peek at the fabulous illustrations by Bonnie Bishop for my children's book True Gossamer: A Wingless Fairy Tale, which I will hopefully be revealing this December assuming the world doesn't implode on 2020 crazy beams and murder hornets!)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Look what one rock can do

So 2020 is the bad dream that keeps on giving. I am aghast at the sorrow in my home country, and the world, at social injustice, racism and political corruption. I fear that the November election will end in massive civil unrest. I don't know if my vote will even be counted, but I will vote for Biden and Harris.

Meanwhile, I can feel myself fading a little more with each year. Age and ache eat my heart out. I remember as a teenager waiting for the bus and staring at a bright moon in the early blue sky burning like a coin. How that moon fire cut me to the quick! Now I find myself snapping at embers and wondering if I was only ever shadow dreaming of soul. 

But I gather strength from this little stubborn rock that braved flooding from the Red River:

Against the overwhelming muck, 
the stone stood firm and made a pattern 
of cracks and light,
 proving even one little rock 
has power 
in itself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Summer Daze

So Animal Crossing New Horizons has turned out to be the best cyber staycation ever. At least for my mini me avatar, Ellabelle of Mirage!

I can't believe summer is more than half over. After losing so much of the year to health problems, I am stealing back every moment of normal that I can. And I'm also trying to get back into my writing groove. I'm very excited for the SCBWI conference coming up this weekend, as well as the SCBWI Regional Dakotas conference in September.

My scifi verse novel Bad Species is 1/4 done, and Agent Regalia...cough cough...that will hopefully be done by June 2021. Assuming the world doesn't end or something so 2020.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

How to Use Privilege?

Some wisdom I heard today:

"It is a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experiencing it."

Here is a continually updated resource from Medium for those, like me, who are only beginning to understand white privilege, and how I can better help my fellow humans:

75 Things White People Can  Do for Racial Justice

May you rest in peace, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and Trayvon Martin, and so many others whose names I do not know, whose beautiful lives were cut violently and unfairly short. 

If we are to know peace, we must know justice. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

A wish still holds light, too.

My father, my last living parent, passed away this May. Beliefs in an afterlife are often complicated things, but even so . . . a wish still holds light, too.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Seraphina Sapphira Says: Iffy Magic the Audio Adventure!

Introducing my YouTube story show Seraphina Sapphira Says, because every horrendously introverted writer needs a condescending princess persona to share their tales! While my original plan was to make an audiobook, my technical expertise kept falling short of the requisite perfection. But then I decided that Seraphina Sapphira would be a much more fun way to bring the ink-stained misadventures of Iffy Magic to life. And besides, who doesn't want an excuse to gussy up in rhinestone tiaras and bling?! My goal is to improve the voices and audio experience with every chapter so that I can make each character even more delicious for the imagination.

Seraphina Sapphira will be reading aloud episodes of Iffy Magic each week. She will probably share Dragon's Den Orphanage after that. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

2020 Surprises

So I feel full-body miserable as I write this, but I am very glad I don't have Covid-19. Just a regular old nasty reaction to double antibiotics for, surprise, SIBO! Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The combined methane and carbon dioxide gas levels in my guts blew past the expected 15ppm to hit 99ppm. Add a competing Candida invasion on top of that, and I'm all peaches and cream this week. Seriously, 2020, you were supposed to be a lucky year! Sweet serendipity anytime now, thanks.

The world is scary on both a local and global level with the pandemic in full swing. I know the months and year ahead will be full of drastic changes for everyone. I am only starting to understand what that means for me. Frankly, I feel too physically and mentally exhausted already to deal with the full ramifications right now, and am trying to quarantine myself as much as possible to protect my erstwhile immune system. 

I haven't been able to write much lately, and I truly wonder what my stories mean anymore. Their worth both to myself, and to readers. I won't force myself to write just because . . . because I had a grand author's goal . . . or a gossamer daydream. When I feel healthy enough again, I know the stories will be waiting for me to say their names. Right now I have to be patient with my healing body. Oh, and scribble lots of story notes! And listen to the Writing Excuses podcast. And a million and one other sparklestarsome little things that add up to a day, a life, a single crystalline wish that we will find our way through this, together.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

True Story

I am in the process of organizing several poetry chapbooks, and while dusting off a file of old poems from my 2013 graduate poetry class, I found this ridiculous little gem! It's a "break up" poem with Iffy Magic . . . you know, the first novel I ever went on to self-publish!

Iffy Magic

True Story

I try to break it to you gently
Without ellipses
Or time to let the ink splatter.
I can’t be with you anymore

Please don’t linger or make a scene
Like a melodramatic Em dash queen.
Don’t think of me too harshly
Just because I promised you
A prime spot on the book shelf
Behind the glass panes 
Of the oak vanity cabinet.

Honey, get real!
After 3 years of revisions
A pile of rejection letters
Leaning like the Tower of Pisa,
Not even an agent can save
This “thing” between us.

Now, don’t you dare interrobang
I’m not saying what we had
Was nothing, but maybe
It was altogether too much.
You consumed me
Chapter, comma, and semicolon
I just can’t keep cutting and pasting
My soul to flesh your pages.

Did I ever tell you how
I almost scrawled your name
On my bank check once?
I forgot my own signature
True story.
But it’s mine, not yours,
And I’ve got to write it
With somebody else now.

Evening Primrose Goodwing

Bye . . .

*I'm really glad I didn't give up on Prim. Now to finish Regalia's adventures! #2020 goals


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Best Laid Plans and Lucky 13

So the past two weeks I have suffered from the worst migraine in my life that ended in a trip to the ER for a migraine cocktail. As for the past two years, well, they've been full of surprise health challenges that have been frightening, but I got through them. Yesterday, I forgave myself. My body. I acknowledged that the human condition is one of complex frailty and that if I am to learn from failure, I must let go of my unhealthy frustration and expectations of how my life should be unfolding right exactly this minute.

But I will also honor my dreams as best I can, with whatever thimble's worth of diligence and determination I can muster day by day.

When I attended the Fargo SCBWI regional conference in September 2019, I was in horrendous pain from what I later found out was pelvic floor dysfunction. I couldn't go to the bathroom properly, and sitting was utter agony. I carried a hemorrhoid pillow with me everywhere. I was mortified when an editor sat at my table during lunch and I had to repeatedly excuse myself for bathroom breaks. But you know what? I learned so much at the conference! I had a marvelous time with all my fellow writers despite feeling terrible. And someone liked the premise of Agent Regalia and is expecting me to complete her story.

So I won't give up. I am more than the sum of my pain, ink is also in my blood. 2020 is going to be a good year, I know it . . . because it marks the thirteenth year since I started writing novels. And 13 has always been my lucky number!