Colds in my house generally smell good. A lot of lemon and ginger tea, garlic, eucalyptus oil, and thyme are often involved. This time around, it’s peppermint and nettle tea, miso soup with gobs of wakame and arame, and fragrant basmati rice. Also, I’m generally surrounded by a misty cloud of essential oils, like an aromatherapist’s experiment gone wrong (or right — cuz this stuff smells really good).
I won’t mention all the Crystal hot sauce, which basically slashes through the yummy herbal aromas.
I have the windows open to a nice cross breeze, because it’s uncharacteristically cool today (probably thanks to all the storming up north), and I’m sitting on the couch with the cat purring at my back. My muse has her office door open and her “open for business” sign out, and I’m chipping away at a chapter that’s been giving me trouble.
So, I’m sick, but it’s actually kind of a nice day. :)
Hello! Taking a quick break from procrastination (er, homework) to let you know that Heather Massey over at The Galaxy Express will be lifting off for a grand blog “airship” tour on February 4. It sounds like there will be much steampunk romance goodness — and prizes! Lots of prizes! Including a book by moi (ISLAND OF ICARUS or BEAUTY IN THE BEAST — winner’s choice). For more details, check out the press release below.
Announcing “The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour”
Don your brass goggles and come aboard! To celebrate all things steampunk romance, Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express is launching The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour on February 4, 2013. This tour is in conjunction with the release of her new steampunk romance, IRON GUNS, BLAZING HEARTS (Lyrical Press).
The tour will run February 4-13. It has two major components: posts and prizes.
At each stop readers will find a fun, informative post about a steampunk romance topic.
When visitors leave a comment at any or all of the stops, they’ll be entered for a chance to win a steampunk romance ebook along with the Grand Prize:
* $100 e-gift card (winner’s choice Amazon or B&N)
I was recently introduced to Tegan and Sara’s song “I Was Married” — and, in turn, their album The Con – via a discussion on the gay rights movement. Of the album, the sisters said they felt it had more depth than their previous release. I wonder if this has to do with The Con’s message – an important one regarding civil rights. Listening to the album, I was put in mind of the music of the 60s and early 70s, much of which was so fearlessly anti-war and pro-peace. Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Young…they all shared powerful messages, gave voice to a movement.
This all got me to thinking about how powerful art is as a medium for raising voice in deeply important, and often controversial, matters. Some (much?) of the most striking, most beautiful, most enduring pieces of art — be they written, painted, or performed — are a response to issues surrounding human rights and violence.
Art as voice. Art as argument. What makes it so powerful? Perhaps because art reaches into us and taps into our emotions. We can debate with each other, reason with each other, explain our perspective, yell and curse, type and type — all until our voices are raw and our fingers, bloody. But art draws into us like breath; it punches us; it inspires emotion.
Instead of reasoning with the person you are trying to persuade…you make her feel.
Addendum: How could I forget! Richard Blanco’s poem for the presidential inauguration, “One Today,” is a poignant, stirring reminder that we are all one people. A beautiful example of art as voice — talk about message! His words still ring through me today.
The world may not have ended in 2012, but the year was certainly special for me. It’s the first year of — I think — my life with no significant angst or drama (thanks to several difficult, but wonderful, decisions I’ve made in the last couple of years), but plenty of creation, learning, travel, and laughter.
Here are the highlights!
(Scroll your mouse over the pictures for extra notes.)
I visited New Orleans in February for a nursing conference. I arrived on the night of Mardi Gras — alone! — and stayed holed up in my room while the city went wild.
(But my classmates and professors arrived the next day, and I had a fun time out on the town with my friends — eating gumbo, going on ghost tours, and visiting my favorite landmark: Cafe du Monde!)
My second novella, the M/F steampunk fantasy Beauty in the Beast, was released on March 5, 2012 by Carina Press.
I visited Oklahoma near the end of March to spend time with the Cherokee Nation for a cultural diversity class. I won’t lie: The beauty here surprised me.
In May, I went on a writing retreat to Disney World with my writing partner, the exceptionally (multi)talented @ehfoster. In truth, it was more of a retreat FROM writing. The iPad pictured here was mainly just a prop. ;)
Epcot’s annual Flower and Garden Festival was going on while we were there. The park was filled with gorgeous flower arrangements and topiaries.
And I found this neat hat that ACTUALLY FITS ME! (I wear large hats. It’s hard to find hats that fit me!)
In June I went to Utah for another nursing conference. I took a ski lift to the top of a mountain then decided to hike back down (in backless shoes, no less). I roped my friend into joining me. We, uh, got lost on the mountain side for a while and almost walked off a cliff. Finally, we found the path again and somehow made it back in time for dinner. For days after, I was so stiff I was limping. A preview of what it’ll be like to get old. Great. Sign me up.
From Utah, I flew to Vermont for my second — and final — week of herbal apprenticeship. One of the best weeks of my life.
The beauty there in Vermont was just…indescribable.
It was magical.
For my birthday in August, I visited my good friends Bender and Quazi in Southern Oregon.
My heart lives in the Pacific Northwest.
For Halloween, I went to my first witch’s ball. (It was probably also my last. Partying with strangers is just not my thing.)
In December I graduated with my master of science degree in nursing…
…visited Disney World for my family’s annual holiday trip…
…and wrote a 19,000 word novella in 15 days, from handful of notes to completed manuscript with a synopsis and query letter. Seven of those days were spent in Disney World, and the manuscript was half written on my iPod touch. A manuscript in half a month is a record for me — even if I HADN’T been on vacation when writing half of it!
I also made my walk-in closet into a micro-office. Finally–a place all to my own to write! :D
And that…is it! I finished the office a couple of days ago. Now, I’m getting ready for a new semester of university to start in a few days.
I’ve got a lot of stuff planned for this year: three manuscripts to rewrite and polish, three rough drafts to write, my doctoral comprehensive exams to complete this summer, and my doctoral dissertation proposal and defense this fall.