F*ck Luck, Bitches

Today it is my pleasure to welcome back author Branden LaNette. This time we are featuring the latest book, F*ck Luck, Bitches.

Author’s description

Is there such thing as luck?

Of course, there is. I for one want to get as lucky as I can.

I know what you’re thinking: Branden are you admitting your title is just a marketing device? Well, I am trying to sell books here people!

We all want to be lucky or get lucky. And if the hand of luck reaches down to help you climb the tree of success, take it. But if it doesn’t, f— it. Climb the tree anyway.

Hope is not a strategy. Wishing is for singing crickets.

Most people think they need more luck. If this describes you, you’re got it backward: Luck needs you. Luck doesn’t show up—YOU show up

Luck is waiting for you to show the-f-up. Now let me show you how.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The Luck of Proximity
In an interview, Leonardo DiCaprio said he was lucky to have been born in Los Angeles, in the proximity of the film industry, within driving distance of Hollywood. “I probably wouldn’t be doing this for a living if I lived in any other location.”
What do Marilyn Monroe, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Jill Clayburgh, Marlo Brando, Jane Fonda, and Al Pacino have in common? They all got their start at The Actor’s Studio in New York. You mean they didn’t just get lucky? No. They studied and learned and networked and auditioned—then they got lucky.
You want to become an actor, but you weren’t lucky enough to be born down the street from Leo? Call Two Men and a Truck. F–king move.
Get on a damn bus.
Want to get lucky and meet a movie producer? Get a job waiting tables at the Polo Lounge and the next time Martin Scorsese comes in, give him your script when you hand him his check.
Want to get a lucky break in tech, move to Austin or Silicon Valley. Want to get a lucky break catching beaded necklaces, move to New Orleans. Want to get a lucky break in country music, move to Nashville. Want to get a lucky break and land a job as a blackjack dealer, move to Las Vegas.
Meet people.
Hang the f–k out in the right places.
Network.

About the Author

BRANDEN LANETTE doesn’t look like a typical author, but she has long ignored what she “should” do, say and look like. On her own at a very young age, Branden eventually found herself with the wrong guy, the wrong job, and a bleak future. The fairytale promised as a child never materialized.

Branden realized she wanted something different for her life and realized no one was going to do it for her. Prince charming wasn’t coming to save her—she’d have to save herself. Step by step, decision by decision, through major trials and tribulations, Branden learned how to turn heartbreak into happiness and self-judgment into inner joy.

In 2019, Branden had her first book published, “Once Upon a Time, Bitches” followed by two workbooks in 2020, “The Dream Big Bitches Vision Book” and “The Dream Big Bitches Weekly Goal Setting Journal.” In early 2021 she co-authored the book, “Smart Bitches Buy Bitcoin” and is now over the moon for this one, her fifth. Branden LaNette is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, coach, wife, and stay-at-home Mom.

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Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.  Click on the tour banner at the top to see the other stops on the tour. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

Thank you!

Branden LaNette — we appreciate your sharing your book F*ck Luck with us. We hope you keep on writing!

Lady and the Tribe

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Brenda Billings Ridgley and her self-help book Lady and the Tribe.

Author’s description

Wives, mothers, and career women—we have all fallen victim to the silent epidemic that is, literally . . . letting ourselves go. Not the makeup free, yoga pants, weight gain routine. Little by little, we have allowed our preferences, interests, and individuality to slip away until we no longer recognize ourselves outside of our role as wives, mothers, or professionals. Who we are has become what we do.

 

In the process, our friendships have become the casualty of a “busy life” and lack consistency and depth. We have a gaping hole inside us that longs to be filled. How do we reclaim who we really are and fill this empty space that seemed to appear from nowhere? The answer lies in our Tribe. Our best friends see us more clearly than we see ourselves and are representations and extensions of our individuality. They are our companions, cheerleaders, and counselors—always in our corner. They are the branches of our tree of life that lift and support us, so we can flourish. Our Tribe is the family with whom we choose to live our life . . . with no strings attached.

 

Lady and the Tribe is a blueprint for building deep connections. As you read, you’ll be swept away on a journey of friendship as the author shares her own personal stories and those of other women. In the process, you’ll discover how to find, nurture, and deepen friendships and create a Tribe culture that is unique to you.

 

We can become whole again through the power of connection.

 

When three or more gather, we are Tribe.

The Most Surprising Thing in this Book?

When I got the chance to ask this author a question, I wanted to know what she thought the most surprising piece of information in this book was. She says it is …

Thank you for the question. I believe people will be most surprised in learning that loneliness in our world has reached epidemic proportions! Not only that but loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity. The problem rivals the risks posed by tobacco and our ever-expanding waistline. Relationships can affect your health both for the good and bad. However, solitude can make you sick!

Lady and the Tribe shares these statistics and more and discusses that being lonely does not necessitate that one be social isolated. Loneliness occurs when one feels disconnected but longs for more meaningful relationships. Many people may be lonely and not even realize that is what they are feeling because they are surrounded by people all the time.  What they are missing are relationships that dip below the surface so that they know where they belong and feel known. We explore this topic and then provide a game plan to find new friendships or reconnect and deepen friendships with some that have lived at the superficial level for too long.

About the Author

BRENDA RIDGLEY is an author, speaker, and girlfriend guru who loves helping women connect, find success, and discover joy through friendship.  Her mission is to start a movement: women coming together to build thousands of new Lady Tribes around the globe.  Through her workshops, vlogs, blogs, and book clubs, Brenda helps women connect and communicate with respect, love, and trust. She holds an MA in human resources and has spent decades cultivating her own Tribe.  A Colorado girl at heart, Brenda lives in the Carbon Valley area with her husband, Parker, two kids, Parker Jr. and Gillian, and pooch, Perry.  She enjoys hiking and has conquered Longs Peak and several other 14’ers.

Find the Author

To connect with Brenda, visit her website at http://www.BrendaRidgley.com.
Invite Brenda to speak at your next event: mail to brenda@brendaridgley.com.
Subscribe: YouTube: @BrendaRidgley
Podcast: @TheConnectionConnoisseur   – https://www.podserve.fm/series/website/the-connection-connoisseur,3341/
Blog:  https://www.brendaridgley.com/blog
Follow:
Instagram: @BrendaRidgley —  https://www.instagram.com/brendaridgley/
Facebook: @BrendaRidgleyConnections – https://www.facebook.com/brendaridgleyconnections
Twitter: @BrendaRidgley

Buy the Book

Order:  Lady and the Tribe  –  https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Tribe-Empowering-Friendship-Circles/dp/1737289709

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Loneliness Can Be Lethal

Since we live in this global, socially connected world, how is it possible for anyone to be lonely? Psychologically speaking, loneliness does not necessitate social isolation. Being lonely means feeling detached from others yet having the desire for a connection or a relationship.

Why is loneliness so lethal? As human beings, one of our greatest needs is to be seen, acknowledged, and cared for. We want to belong and be a part of something larger than ourselves. More so than men, women need to maintain close connections. Relationships increase serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone. In times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight—they also release oxytocin. This hormone surge can compel women to “tend and befriend.”

Research is clear. Close friendships are necessary for optimal health and well-being. A longitudinal study of aging found that strong social networks lengthen survival among older people. Dr. Amir Leving suggests that social connections are the most powerful way for us to regulate our emotional distress and that proximity to someone you are securely attached to is the most effective way to calm yourself.

An article in the New York Times reported that close relationships create positive mental and physical reactions in our body, mind, and heart.  We are less likely to experience high levels of loneliness when we feel supported by intimate and close relationships. Strong relationships with close friends or family benefit us greatly and fulfill our social needs.

Thank you!

Brenda Billings Ridgley — we appreciate your sharing your book Lady and the Tribe with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

I’m in SPFBO7: Take Deep Breaths

I keep lists of ideas for new ways to promote my self-published books and I seldom follow through on them. Too much work. Too expensive. Probably won’t make a bit of difference. It’s easy to get discouraged in the world of self-publishing.

One idea got moved from list to list.  I became aware of a contest a few years ago that looked promising called SPFBO (aka self-published fantasy blog off — not bake off.) But every time I saw it, the contest was in progress and I never could figure out where to find the schedule or the rules. Oh well, it probably costs a fortune anyway. And if it doesn’t they won’t let me in.

Then late at night 3 days ago, I skimmed a post from a blog and I saw it. The contest, the SPFBO, was opening the next day! More amazing, it was free and would accept the first 300 people who signed up. This was unbelievable. It didn’t surprise me to discover that last year it filled in under 24 hours.

However, there was one small problem. That same day, the next day, Friday the 14th, was the release day for my latest book She’s the One Who Gets in Fights.

I had three different book release things happening  plus a slew of other related promotional ideas to pursue. Could I possibly get myself entered into this SBFBO thingy as well? Of course I could.

I went to bed determined.  I’d get up and find a way to do it all.

I woke up at 6:59 am to the sound of my wave noise generator stopping. That’s weird. It’s never shut off before. I opened my eyes to see the ceiling fan slowing down.

No!

I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina and every once in a while we lose power up in these hills. Like once every year or two… Not today. Please not today.

But yes, the gods of stress were having a small chuckle at my expense. I found a way to make hot tea (no coffee!) No shower (our well runs on electricity.) I started doing what I could from my phone. Dim that screen. Make that battery last.

However, entering SBFBO was one thing my phone couldn’t do. Did it have enough oomph to be an adequate hot spot for my laptop? Was my laptop well enough charged? If I’d just known this was going to happen …

Entries opened at 2 pm my time. I watched the hours pass, considering a drive into the nearest small town. Since Covid hit, I didn’t know of a single place offering inside space and free internet. Had that changed? Could I make it over to Asheville? Surely they had something.

I must have become boring to watch, for at about 10:30 the gods of stress released their hold on our power lines and  the refrigerator began to hum.

Okay, I can do this now. I can do this. Breath. Slowly.

And of course I did do it because in spite of all my panic it was remarkably easy to enter. I even managed most of my promotional book release stuff, too.

When I woke up Saturday to plenty of wonderful power surging through my home there was also excitement surging through my veins. Someone put all the entered books on Goodreads. Someone else made a list of all the judges. One entrant asked what we all did for a living and the answers were pouring in. This looked to be an exciting thing to be a part of!

Encouragement poured in as well, especially to us nervous first time entrants. I’d read that one of the joys of this endeavor was a sense of community and it looks like no one was joking about that.

So, here I am, in touch with 299 other self-published fantasy writers. Some have have far more success to their names than I do while others have only begun their journey, submitting their first novel. I’m humbled to be in this group and grateful for the whim that led me to read the thing that clued me in to the timing.

Isn’t life funny, in so many ways?

Let Me Explain …

As I began to create The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters, I realized I wasn’t writing a series in the classical sense. In fact, my novels occur simultaneously, almost, as they present a time of great turmoil through the eyes of seven different participants.

Because these seven are sisters, though, they obviously make plenty of appearances in each others book. But, how one sees  their own actions is quite different from how they perceive what their sister does, right? Along with much else, I was excited to explore this point of view difference.

I’ve been looking for a succinct way to tell potential readers what in they are in for before they begin reading. Like most authors, I’d rather attract readers who like what I’m doing.

Today I came up with this add-on blurb and from now on I intend to add it to every book description. I think it helps. What do you think?

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you read.

Love Has No Limits

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Armine Papouchian and her self-help spiritual book Love Has No Limits.

Author’s description

At sixteen, Armine fell in love for the first time and lost that love for the first time. She was the youngest daughter of three in Armenia and the only one underage when her parents decided to immigrate to the United States. She had to go with and leave her beloved Alex behind. Her parents saw a land of opportunity while Armine saw heartbreak. It wasn’t the end of her story with Alex and certainly not the end of her life,as it had felt at the time, but there was more pain to follow. Sixteen-year-olds are resilient, but even when losses and hurt came calling repeatedly throughout Armine’s life, she had the strength to love and to rise again and again. Even as life moves on for Armine and Alex, their lives intersect again and again over the course of thirty years. Through deaths and divorces, their lives never quite line up from their opposite sides of the globe. Love Has No Limits is Armine’s story of keeping faith in oneself and in love despite heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. It reveals the joy available to those who rise and rise again.

About the Author

Arminé was born in Soviet Armenia and immigrated to United States with her parents when she was 17.  She worked in the health care industry for 33 years and held key leadership roles in various health plans. Most recently, she retired from a senior executive position to pursue service and paying forward.

She is currently involved in various volunteer roles. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, gardening, art museums, concerts, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Love Has No Limits is her first book.

Find the Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56512392-love-has-no-limits

Buy the Book

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08RJ6152L

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

While drinking a glass of red wine, I watched the blazing fire roll down the hill. I got the second emergency alert call to evacuate immediately. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. Last time this happened my son still lived at home, my parents lived with us, and Peaches, our sweet dog was still alive. Back then, I had to get everyone organized, packed, and ready to evacuate. Back then, I’d been more nervous, concerned about my aging parents, my teenage son and our dog, who could sense the tension and had anxiously paced back and forth with her tongue hanging out.

This time, it was just me. I thought about what I should take with me. After all, I had already lost so much in life, yet at the same time, I felt I was blessed with all that I still had. After all, my parents had moved me halfway around the world when I was a teenager, leaving my love behind. I had grieved losing two husbands by the time I was 50, another husband in between who betrayed me at my most vulnerable moment, and I’d struggled with my father’s cancer, which ended in suicide. Just as I was catching my breath, I had to put my dog to sleep followed by my mother’s long-term illness and her painful 1 death. At the same time, I was so grateful for all I had. I was so happy that I was not angry and resentful. I was not bitter; I was content. I had love again, and I was stronger than ever before. I was still standing.

As I packed a change of clothes, my laptop, few photo albums that my son requested and my small metal safe deposit box with important documents, I reflected on how little all our possessions really matter to us. As I was packing the albums, the memories started to come back, old wounds flared up and I started to feel the pain and the deep sadness. I ached for my son who had lost his father at age ten. I felt lonely; I missed the people I had in my life that I’d loved and lost. I missed all they brought to my life. At times, I could not believe I had survived all that had happened in my life in such a short time. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I realized the effects those pictures had on me and why I did not even want to take those albums with me. I had the memories in my heart and that’s all I could ever have, the rest of my life. I realized that’s why I no longer made photo albums. I realized how simplistic life had become for me. I did not need much. I cherished the moments I was with the people I loved and that is all I ever needed.

 

Now for something different …

I thought I knew what I was going to do next. It was going to be a clever combination of crime novel and speculative fiction, with a main character sleuth who has been growing in my head for over a year. I  called the project “Next” and made folders for it on my computer and in real life. “Next” was about to happen.

Then I got a day at a spa for mother’s day.

It was six hours of relaxing with cucumber slices over my eyes while people massaged my feet and poured me champagne. Yes, it was as wonderful as it sounds.

It was also the longest I’ve gone in a long time without prodding my brain to do what I wanted it to do. (Wait. Aren’t I and my brain the same thing?)

The point is I, or some part of me, went ahead and used this wonderful time to make up a story. A rather good story, really. It didn’t surprise me because making up stories is what I’ve always done when I relax, and there was no doubt I was relaxing. I was kind of surprised at how complex the tale got, however.

By the time I’d driven home, I knew what I had to do. You see, the only time I struggle with writers block is when I (okay, some part of me, let’s call her the adult manager in charge of my head) insists I write whatever Ms. Manager has decided I must.

No matter how hard Ms. Manager insists, it doesn’t happen.

The little kid in my head who makes up the stories simply stops making them up until she is once again allowed to tell her stories, in her way. I’ve learned that if I want to be a writer, I let this little kid do as she damn well pleases. The editor in me (who I suspect is in cahoots with Ms. Manager) can clean up her mess later.

And this little kid really, really wants to tell the story she made up at the spa. So ….

I’ve drawn her a map of the imaginary realm where it will take place.  She named the characters during the full body massage, but I fleshed out several important secondary characters for her, provided a rough timeline, and created a few new words to describe concepts she came up with that don’t have a word in English.

My best friend and chief research associate (who also carries the title of “husband”) has agreed to watch a few old movies with me to provide background I know I need.

Three other people I’m close to have been nice enough to listen to a verbal version of my story. I find that telling it aloud helps me clarify it and hang on to it better, sort of the way describing a dream to someone else helps move it into the conscious mind.

Now, I’m ready to start the messy, emotional process of writing a raw draft. It generally involves yelling, crying and laughing aloud on my part, so I tend not to write first drafts in public places. It’s a scary process for me, yet it’s an exhilaration beyond any I know.

Later, all the adults in my brain will take over, and hopefully turn it into a book. We’ll see …

 

 

 

Day 26. To Stop a Hurricane

This is another long drive, made worse by losing an hour as we enter central time. We leave early, knowing rain is in the forecast for much of our route.

What we don’t know is that the rain is coming from a wannabe hurricane that has moved up from the gulf. It won’t rain much of the day, it will pour. It starts around Odessa and continues for the rest of the day, with only short breaks in the action.

We’re talking the kind of shower that makes you feel like you are driving through a car wash; one that is so loud you can’t talk or listen to music, and is so intense that you can barely see the tail lights of the vehicle ahead of you. We change drivers often because it’s exhausting at best and downright dangerous at worst. As we near Fort Worth, we start to run into the inevitable weather-related traffic accidents, and from then on we find ourselves in stop and go traffic in a downpour until we reach our destination.

A few years ago I made a play list of songs with the word “Home” in the title. I was moving across the country at the time, leaving my home of fifteen years, and I was trying to generate enthusiasm for making a home elsewhere. It helped.

As I take my turns driving, one of the songs keeps running through my head, I think because the chorus has something to do with stopping a hurricane.

Tonight, I won’t be in my own house but I’ll be staying at the home of someone I love, and I’m looking forward to it. There will be a home-cooked meal (and probably a very good one) and fine wine and a soft bed that I haven’t had to pay to sleep in. It feels welcoming as I drive through the storm.

I don’t have a rule of the road today; the best I can do is a guideline. (Thank you Jack Sparrow.) Avoid extremely difficult days as best you can and when you can’t, do your best to see there is comfort waiting for you at the end of the day. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive at your own home, or that of someone who loves you.

 

Day 19. A Border Crossing

You’d think it’s be pretty easy to wake up, throw all your shit in the car, and go, but it turns out is isn’t.

I have to dismantle a 6-man canvas tent, a shade structure helpful camp mates have skewered into the ground with lag screws, and a shelving unit I assembled on site. I have countless dusty bins of what-the-hell-is-this, not to mention 3.75 unused rolls of singly ply toilet paper and more lotions than I could use in a year. Nope, I was definitely not one of those under-prepared first time burners.

It takes me about three hours to do what I allowed 30 minutes for, and that’s only because I get a fair amount of help. My noon-time good-byes are rushed and sweaty, perhaps not a fitting climax to this amazing experience, but then again, exactly what about this experience has been fitting?

Because I am leaving a day before the man burns, I am avoiding the most crowded time here (by choice) and am also avoiding the up to 12 hour exit lines others will experience two days from now.  Even then, the five mile an hour drive out is slow and long. Along the way, I distract myself by cherishing my favorite moments.

There was the deep playa at night, my happy place if ever I’ve had one. There was the humor and playfulness. The kindness that was the norm, not the exception.

How about the nearly assembled 747 blaring out Santana’s Black Magic Woman as I rode up to it at sunset? For that matter, the mix of music of all types coming at me 24/7 was surprisingly entertaining and even soothing. The soothing part is hard to explain, but ear plugs and an eye pillow remain two of the things I didn’t need to bother to bring. Burning man lulled me into a sound sleep each night, and woke me each morning.

I never visited the MOOP MAP place (MOOP being matter out of place, often referred to as trash in the default world), but it’s location pointed me home to camp each night when I was done exploring. Thank you MOOP MAP.

I spent a few early evenings over at Vines Without Borders, a camp near mine that poured wines from around the world every night, offering both a great selection of wine and of people to drink wine with. They made me glad I brought a plastic wine glass.

I know there is so much I didn’t see, and I suppose that is part of the charm. I think this place works best if you leave deciding you found the things you were supposed to, and what you missed, well, it was meant for others, or maybe for you another time. Some of the art and camps do come back year after year.

I was warned it was common to feel a rush of emotions once one’s tires first touch pavement after the exit, and when mine roll onto the asphalt, I do. To me it feels like a border crossing, leaving one reality and entering another.

As I drive through Gerlach, I slow down with the same care I showed six days ago. I don’t need a speeding ticket, so I let all the sparkly memories settle into the back of my mind as I concentrate on the road.

I realize I’ve had a crazy week, but I wasn’t in a crazy place, just a different one; one in which I got to experience joy and sorrow and wonder, sometimes all at once.

Today’s Rule of the Road: When you cross the border into another reality, cross it.

Today’s song? I must have heard this one a few times, as I rode around and as I slept.

 

Day 9. It’s Okay to Ask a Human for Help

As I leave this morning, I know I’ll be driving everyday for the next five days. This will be the most demanding part of my journey. Today should have been an easy bite but yesterday I realized my departure time put me driving through Denver at the height of rush hour. I checked out a traffic map at 5 pm and found more red and burgundy than any driver wants.  But wait. I saw a clear alternate route veering off of I70 at Limon. Just what I needed. I decided to ignore all of Google Maps various suggestions and go rogue.

Given that Google has spent so much effort trying to reroute me onto slightly more efficient paths on all my previous days, I also decided I’d try this without its assistance. Like turned off. I mean, it looked pretty direct. How could I go wrong?

The day started out rainy, with the intermixed heavy showers that make any travel challenging. The mysterious highway 86 out of Limon turned out to really exist, which was good news, and to even be a decent two-lane road through wide open plains. It had almost no traffic, which was great. It also had almost no homes and absolutely no towns and went on for at least thirty miles more than I had guessed. This unexpected lack of civilization, lasting for an indeterminate length of time, came up against two problems: my increasingly full bladder and my emptying gas tank.

So I gave up and turned on Google Maps, only to discover it was sulking at not having been consulted sooner. Well, okay, maybe I projected the sulking emotion on to it, but it was now insisting it could only work offline and show me my blue dot and road outlines but not give me any street names or directions. That does sort of seem like sulking, doesn’t it?

I finally reached a small town with a gas station and as I left the rain came down harder and my phone rang. I was enjoying a conversation with my daughter when I noticed several things had happened. Denver seemed to have spilled down into this area, with congestion and construction now springing up all around me out of nowhere. A glance at my phone showed my blue dot was nowhere near where I thought I was or ought to be. How did this happen? Worse yet,  what was I going to do about it?

It’s lucky my daughter is savvy with maps, and she was able to find my route on her computer, figure out my location from intersections I saw, and direct me through the mess of traffic to where I needed to go. Let’s hear it for humans helping out other humans.

The day ended well. I’m in my fourth Airbnb of the trip, and every one has been fine. This one has a view of the canyon.

I did a little exploring before dinner, and found the one gem I wanted most: the small cabin I lived long ago, when I wrote my first science fiction story. The sight of it brought back a flood of precious memories. My time there remains one of the more special times in my life.

After a nice dinner out, I’ve retired to my room to relax with a glass of wine and to share my thoughts. Today’s rule of the road? When all else fails, it’s okay to turn to another human for help. And today’s song? One I saw performed live, thanks to the same helpful daughter. It was one of my most amazing concert experiences, and I’ve had a few of them. Cheers, and enjoy!

If you’d like to read a short blurb from each day of my journey, check out
Day 1. The Journey of 6000 miles
Day 2. Rules of the Road
Day 3. Just Don’t
Day 4. Bloom Here.
Day 5. Yes Aretha. Respect.
Day 6. No Trucks. Just Corn.
Day 7. Cry
Day 8. There’s No Place Like Home
Day 9. It’s Okay to Ask a Human for Help
Day 10. Always Bring an Onion
Day 11. Gimme Three Steps Towards Nevada
Day 12. I Want to Scream.
Day 13. Dusty Virgin
Day 14: Magical ride
Day 15. As Nice as I Want to Be
Day 16. What Rules? What Road?
Day 17. If you get interrupted by a parade …
Day 18. I, Human
Day 19. A Border Crossing
Day 20. Someone to Help Me Get Home
Day 21. Time flies like an arrow and ….
Day 22. Stop, or Else …
Day 23. What’s Your Reality?
Day 24. If it seems ridiculous …
Day 25. Backing Up
Day 26. To Stop a Hurricane
Day 27. Lights Along My Path
Day 28. Grateful

I write because it’s cheaper than therapy

It turns out you can buy a whole collection of “cheaper than therapy” t-shirts and most of them make the valid point that doing something physical, or doing something you love, is good for your mental health. I guess the remaining ones (mostly about chocolate, wine and beer) make the point that the occasional indulgence is helpful too.

Most people I know who write, do include “writing as therapy” as one of their reasons. Sometimes it is the main one. I’m no exception. Writing anything is an outlet for me, and it is one of the reasons I blog, and at times keep a journal. In some ways the journal is the best mental health tool, because it is a place where I can explore my own issues without giving any thought to a reader.

However, fiction provides a sort of veil between my raw emotions and a make believe story while it allows me to delve deep into issues that might never surface in something more contained like a journal. Creating a plot has a certain non-linear element of surprise to it that can take me exactly to the places where I least want to go.

When I started my first novel, I promised myself I would do my best to write without fear. Some of that entailed pretending that no one I knew would ever read my book. (I still have to pretend that sometimes.) I got the chance to go to Ireland in the middle of my first novel, and toured the Jameson distillery. I was surprised to learn that every bottle of Jameson contains the two Latin words “Sine Metu.” Without Fear. Well, Mr. Jameson and I seem to have things in common.

I have a theory about writers block. So far, in my case, it is caused by one of two things. The first, and easiest to solve, is that my body needs something and I’m ignoring it. Usually it’s sleep, but sometimes it’s food or water or even a trip to the bathroom. My brain will eventually cease to create until I care for myself.

The other is that I want to go somewhere with the story and I’m censoring myself. Occasionally it’s because I have another direction I want the plot to go, but more often it’s because something deep within wants to take the story into territory that bothers me. I’ve learned that my muse becomes silent until I relent and stride into the dark forest that is scaring me so.

There, I find the demons that have my particular number, and as we stare each other in the eye, I become a little stronger and they become a bit less terrifying. As I write them into the ordinary, I turn them into creatures of the light.

The forest is huge and the creatures are many, so it’s not like this writing thing is a quick road to complete mental wellness, at least for me. But I do recognize that writing forces me to confront my worst of everything, and with the confrontation comes a measure of understanding.

While looking for information for this blog, I found a great post written by “The Angry Therapist” on tips for dealing with life if you can’t afford therapy.  I found the entire article worthwhile, and some of it surprising and wise. I especially liked tip seven: share your story.

A final word about therapy. Several people I’m close to either see or have seen a therapist and each one of them has benefited from it. It is, I’m told, expensive and hard work, but with the right therapist and the right attitude, it can be life altering. So please understand that I don’t mean to claim here that writing, or any other activity, can or should replace therapy when it is needed, or even wanted.

Therapy may be something I’ll try someday. Much as it may help me, I’m confident I have enough garbage in my head that writing for my mental health will always be an option for me. Besides, I have six other fine reasons to write, and there are four of them I haven’t given much thought to lately. One of them I’m kind of secretive about, and it will be the subject of my next post.

(Read more about why I write at at The Number One Reason I Write Books, Nothing cool about modest ambitions, My Eye-opening Second Reason for Writing,  I love to be loved , Remember My Name and What’s the Point? )