Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Last Few Days in the RV

Well, it's hard to believe, but we are down to our last few days living in our beloved motorhome. On New Year's day, we move into a condo here in Punta Gorda. We're having the RV driven back to Indiana, where the manufacturer will handle the resale for us. It's been such an emotional decision, letting go of this lifestyle, but I am looking forward to having a homebase, and especially to teaching yoga and writing again.

The year seemed to go by at warp speed. It was both wonderful and deeply challenging for me. We learned how to live simply- scaling our lives down to the bare minimum. We learned to be mindful that we had everything we needed - we didn't need to accumulate.The only clothes I bought this year were a sweater in Beaumaris, Wales and a top in Quebec City. We didn't "stock up" on food or supplies - we bought as we needed.

We visited so many beautiful places and were blessed with extraordinarily beautiful weather along the way - an offset for some of the challenging times - like all the problems we had with those darn levelers. I spent more time by the ocean and outside in nature than I have in years. We saw family and friends and I got to talk with kids at schools and to do readings and other book promotion along the way.

The lessons and blessings of 2012 will continue to reveal themselves with time and distance. I know that I will look back on it as one of the best years of my life, packed with vivid memories of people and places. I am grateful that we were able to have this unique experience, and especially that RVPainter and I could spend so much time together, still learning and growing closer even after 30 years.

I said that I may stop blogging, but whenever I say that, I am moved to blog again! So we'll see! I hope actually, to be more of a blog visitor than a blog writer, so I hope to see you more often at your place.

Here is a photo I took of the little Buddha that has traveled with us this year, and our blooming Christmas cactus. I wish you all a beautiful and peaceful 2013 - Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wishing you all a Peaceful and Joyous Christmas Day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wishing all my friends a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Please enjoy this fun & funny rendition of White Christmas - my Christmas card to you:
WHITE CHRISTMAS

I'd also like to invite my blog friends to Friend me on Facebook - after the new year, when we are settled into our new home, I plan to re-dedicate myself to writing and to teaching yoga. As a result, I will likely stop blogging. But I am active on Facebook, and I'd love to keep our connection if you'd like that too. So here is the link to me on Facebook (this is my personal facebook page, not my author page). Click HERE to find me on Facebook and send me a friend request- I hope you will.

Lots of love and gratitude for your friendship,

Melissa

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exciting News for Writer - Blogger Becky Povich!

My friend Becky Povich has exciting news to share - she is moving ahead with publishing her MEMOIR, "From Pigtails to Chin Hairs!"

If you didn't already guess it from that great title, Becky is funny, witty and wise. I know her book will be wonderful! I  am first in line to buy a copy when it comes out. Well, maybe I'm second in line - but only because the person ahead of me camped out for a week in the rain to be first. In any case, I can't wait for this book to come out!!

I don't want to steal all Becky's thunder, so please stop over to her BLOG and read all about it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Good Books!


My friend Arthur Wooten has just released his latest book, DIZZY. This one is a fictional memoir, based on his all-too-real experience with bilateral vestibular disease with oscillopsia - a disorder that destroys your sense of balance. Information about Arthur's book is below, but first I want to also mention some books I read this year that I highly recommend.

Cat and the Dreamer by Annalisa Crawford. This novella hooks you from the start and doesn't let go. It's hard to tell when the hero, Julia, is fantasizing, or when things are really happening, or if Cat is a real person, or a composite of many "Cats" sharing similar frenemy tendencies -but that's a big part of what makes the story intriguing. There's a romance, but this is more of a psychological tale than a romance. It kept me guessing throughout, and rooting for our hero to break out and really live. A great read, and I'm looking forward to more from Annalisa.

A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story and  A Cat's Legacy:Dulcy's Story by Dee Ready. Both books tell the story of the love affair between a cat, Dulcy, and her chosen human, Dee.The books will definitely appeal to cat lovers, but don't be fooled - they aren't at all "cutesy." They are beautifully written and moving. I reviewed A Cat's Legacy not long ago - here's the LINK to my review. I read A Cat's Life second, and was a little worried that it would seem redundant, but it wasn't.  Read them both - they are wonderful.

And now, here's more about DIZZY by Arthur Wooten:

From the AuthorDizzy: A Fictional Memoir is fictional in that the story is told through the voice of Angie Styles, a Broadway star. However, it reflects my own experiences in that I have been diagnosed with the same disease she suffers from, bilateral vestibular disease with oscillopsia. This traumatic brain injury destroys the body's ability to detect where it is in space. All sense of balance is wiped out. My main objective in writing this book is to reach as many people as possible, let them know they are not alone in this struggle and shed light on this serious and silent disease that affects thousands of people worldwide.

Editorial Review:

Dizzy - Angie Styles, a beloved Broadway star, is struck down at the height of her career by a mysterious disease and is forced to reexamine her life and the people in it as she fights to survive.

On December 15, 2005, Mr. Wooten’s life as he knew it changed forever. Diagnosed with bilateral vestibulopathy with oscillopsia, this is the same illness that Angie Styles,the lead character in Dizzy, develops. This is a unique and fascinating read in that it marries two genres: an exciting backstage show biz tale coupled with a frightening medical drama.

Asked why he created a fictional memoir instead of writing about his own life Wooten laughs, “My life is too boring. But there are similarities between Angie and myself. I was an actor for fifteen years before segueing into writing and all of the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatments, and time lines described in Dizzy, I have experienced and are true.”

This disease has robbed my body of all sense of balance. My brain never knows where I am in space. It’s ironic, since I was a dancer and gymnast. My hope with this book is not only to entertain but also educate and bring awareness to this disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. And if just one person suffering from these same symptoms reads Dizzy and realizes they are not alone, then my job is done.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIZZY ON AMAZON

Arthur Wooten

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heartbreak and Gratitude

It is impossible to make sense of yesterday's tragedy. We can ask all the questions, but there will never be an answer that can make it make sense. Our hearts break for the loss of the young lives and the heartache of their families and of a whole town - and all the towns like who look and say, "there but for the grace of God go I."

"Where is the hope?" we might ask. This is where I find hope: Every day, hundreds of millions of people the world over wake up and love each other. They take care of each other and nurture one another. They do their jobs and play with their children. They support each other and root for each other and laugh and play together. They hug and kiss and say I love you.

There are so many people on this earth, and some percentage of them will, for reasons we can't know, be damaged in ways that cause them to do something terrible. But 99.999999% of them won't. And that is something of a miracle in itself.

I pray for the families who have lost their beloved ones, and I find my hope in the hundreds of millions of people who live their lives in friendship and peace and love. May we all comfort one another and be kind to each other.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TWINS!!!!

Paul Anthony Shortt, author of LOCKED WITHIN is my guest this week with a guest post just below this one. This is a year of major births for Paul - his book, and now, TWIN GIRLS Erica Grace and Amy Louise.

Please join me in congratulating Paul and his wife on this joyous occasion! Welcome to the world Erica Grade and Amy Louise!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Visit from Paul Anthony Shortt, Author of LOCKED WITHIN

I'm delighted to welcome Paul Anthony Shortt to my blog this week. Paul has just released his supernatural thriller, Locked Within, and I can't wait to read it. He's an inspiration, because he's written and published this book during a time of deep personal sadness, yet his attitude toward life has remained unceasingly positive.
Please welcome Paul and check out his book. He'd love it if you'd leave a comment to let him know you came by. Links to Paul's blog and his book on Amazon are toward the end.

Guest Post: Christmas Wishes

I’m a massive child at heart. So much so that one of my favourite things in the world is sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies, wrapping presents.

It’s safe to say that for a very long time my primary Christmas wish was to become a published author. This year, it happened. Locked Within tells the story of Nathan Shepherd, a man working in a dull office job with a struggling relationship. A man obsessed by patterns in small details. He investigates a series of murders which he comes to believe have been committed by the same person, or persons, over the course of 160 years. His search leads him to a hidden supernatural society within New York, populated by vampires, ghouls, and other monsters. But Nathan is not powerless against them. He is reborn, a person who can remember past lives and use their knowledge and power. Can he free that power to use it against the creature preying on the innocent? Or will he lose everything he cares about and become lost in this dark world?

A central theme to the book is that of rebirth. I’ve always seen Christmas as that. A time for hope and joy. The death of one year, which allows the rebirth of the new. You see, there are no endings. Only new beginnings. Christmas is a time to celebrate the good that’s come before and look forward to the good that is yet to come. We gather together for warmth and companionship, reassuring ourselves that we are loved and that we love in return.

This year sees an added blessing.

As some of you may know, my wife and I lost our first son last year when he was just three days old. We came through that horrible ordeal stronger, and more aware of how much our friends love us, than ever before. While we still miss him, we have not one, but two babies on the way. Our twins are due to be delivered by c-section on the 31st of December. A perfect way to see out the year.

By the time 2012 comes to a close, I’ll have realised my lifelong dream of becoming a published author, and seen the birth of my second and third children. I can’t imagine any greater wish to have come true this Christmas.

What are some of your Christmas wishes?


Bio:

A child at heart who turned to writing and role playing games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.

Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group. He lives near Dublin, Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper.




Book Blurb:

The supernatural realm and the mundane world have existed side by side since the dawn of time. Predators walk the streets, hidden by our own ignorance. Once, the city of New York was protected, but that was another age.

Now a creature emerges from the city's past to kill again, with no one to hear the screams of its victims. The lost and the weak, crushed under the heels of the city's supernatural masters, have given up hope.

But one man finds himself drawn to these deaths. Plagued by dreams of past lives, his obsession may cost him friends, loved ones, even his life. To stop this monster, he must unlock the strength he once had. He must remember the warrior he was, to become the hero he was born to be.

His name is Nathan Shepherd, and he remembers.

CLICK HERE FOR LOCKED WITHIN ON AMAZON


Paul Anthony Shortt  http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com/

Let the end of the world come tumbling down

I'll be the last man standing on the ground

And if my shadow's all that survives

I'm still alive

Monday, December 10, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I've been procrastinating writing this post, because it makes me feel a little sad. Our 9-month RV road trip is coming to an end. RVPainter and I have decided to rent a condo here in lovely Punta Gorda, Florida starting January 1st. That sounds like a good thing, you say? Well, yes, it's certainly not a bad thing, it's just that it wasn't the original plan.

We had thought to continue on in the RV through this time next year - staying in Florida through March and then heading west and northwest. But I have realized that while I LOVE traveling and experiencing new places in the RV, it doesn't work for me as a "way of life." It works as a way of being on vacation, but I need the normal routines of daily life in a familiar place too. I need a homebase from which to go out into the world - I can't be out on the go all the time. So, we are establishing a homebase here, at least for this coming year. We'll see how we like it (especially summer!)

The sad part is that we plan to sell the RV, because we can't really afford to rent a place AND keep the motorhome and do all the traveling in it (that part's not cheap!).  If we can find a way to keep it and be able to use it, we'll do that, but right now we don't see how to make that happen.

It's strange, because I find this decision far more heart-wrenching than I found selling our home in Santa Fe and hitting the road - or than leaving any home we've had for that matter. And I really loved some of our homes! I think it's the letting go of a cherished dream that is hard - it's been such a unique and intense experience.

If you've followed along with the blog this year, you know that we had WONDERFUL adventures and spent time in beautiful places. We saw new places like San Antonio, Charleston and Nova Scotia, and got to revisit beloved familiar places like Maine and Quebec.

We were so blessed to have this experience - so fortunate to be able to take the time to hit the road and just see and do. There were scary and stressful times too, but life is filled with those no matter whether you are on the move or staying put. I will cherish the memories we have of this year forever, and every time I look back at the photographs I will be right back in those places.

Thank you for being with me along the way. Endings are beginnings, so we look ahead to the next adventure.

Much love,
Melissa

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Children's Book by J.D. Holiday "The Spy Game"




I'm delighted to let you know that author and illustrator J.D. Holiday's new picture book THE SPY GAME is out! Here's my review:

The Spy Game is a fun story about a boy named Eddie, whose family adopts a big black dog named Sidney. Eddie is not that thrilled about Sidney, because he wanted a puppy that he could train to do things, not a grown dog already set in its ways. Eddie's Uncle Reese said that Sidney had been named for a famous spy, but Eddie still wasn't impressed. I won't give the story line away, but let's just say that Sidney manages to impress after all, and together, he and Eddie use their spy skills to good effect.

J.D. has a unique illustration style that I like very much. I especially like the picture of Sidney when he smiles :).

This book would make a great gift for the early reader or to read aloud. The story is fun and the illustrations engaging. The book is available from Amazon.com, and J.D. is offering a discount of $2 that can be gotten by following the links here and selecting Book Garden Publishing:

for a sign copy of The Spy Game,
just $8.00/plus shipping!
Just choose  BOOK GARDEN PUBLISHING, LLC
Click HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JD HOLIDAY is a children's book author and illustrator

PICTURE BOOKS:
Janoose the Goose
The Spy Game
Matt Shelley’s Halloween Misadventure, co-authored with Award Winning author Christy Condoleo

CHAPTER BOOK:
The Great Snowball Escapade

A chapbook of her short stories, called,  Trespasses, was published in 1994. Her short stories have been printed in literary magazines and she's had numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is  a host on  a radio show for kids on The World of Ink Network at Blog Talk Radio,  called, It’s Story Time, Gather Round; An International Children's Reading Story Radio Show with Hosts Authors JD Holiday and Christy Condoleo.

Her site: http://wwwthebookgarden.net/
Her blogs: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com & http://itsstorytimeforkids.blogspot.com



Monday, December 3, 2012

A Lovely Sight by the Side of the Road on a Monday Morning

This morning I was on the road early, traveling up to NH for a morning of classroom visits. As I drove along, I was thinking about the state of the world and how frightening it can all seem sometimes. I said a prayer for the world to be a little kinder and to slow down to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

Along the highway there came a place where the road widened out to accomodate a scenic overlook. A fiery orange sun was just rising over foothills shrouded with morning mist. First I noticed the car that had parked there. Then I noticed something else: An adult sat on the guardrail, facing the foothills. The adult held a child in his or her lap. Both were parka-clad with hoods up, huddled together for warmth in the chilly morning air.

There, on a manic Monday morning, when most of the world was still rubbing its eyes awake and finishing that first cup of coffee during the morning commute, a parent had decided that it was extremely important to share the rising of the sun over the misty foothills of Western Massachusetts with his or her child. It was the most comforting sight, and the memory of it stayed with me throughout the day.





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Morning

Last night I fell asleep on the couch. I knew I should go up to to bed, but I couldn't seem to make myself leave the living room. There is something so soothing and healing about a wood fire and it seemed like it would be such an effort to lift the quilt that covered me and pad upstairs. Besides, the old cat sleeping in my lap would not have been pleased.

This morning, the world outside is all one color: White. Not because it is snowing, but because a thick fog embraces us. It's created a sort of painting, in which the bare branches of the trees and bushes are sillouetted against a white background.

With fog, you can't see too far into the distance. In life we are often looking too far ahead, thinking that we can know the future. The fog reminds us that we can only see a little way. It reminds us that if we walk into the fog, what lies ahead will be revealed only with that next step, and the next. And the next.