Palabras: Fear

Today was many things! I had a wonderful brunch with two women who are learned and wise. The time I spent with them was beyond any expectations that I might have carried into the restaurant with me, despite my assertion I would have no expectations. The week was one of surprise, disappointment, hope and lots of prayer and meditation. I used every tool that I had in my tool box when I became aware of certain events that promised to unravel me and knock me off my usual centered base. I’m happy to report that I am open to the changes I experienced that last week’s card promised. As always, I smudged with pungent white sage, grounded and centered my energy and then I invited the energy of my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana to come and share in pulling this week’s card. Together, our energies pulled the card-Fear

Image: The image is that of a young woman standing on the grounds of a large estate. In her hands she holds a ball that is attached to a chain. We don’t see that the ball and chain is actually attached to her but it is clear that she is holding it as one holds a bowling ball. The path behind her leading to the house can be construed as a length of chain that attaches her to the house. Again, it may be just the path we are seeing. The dual image is an illusion in this particular read. The woman’s hair is limp and lifeless. Her mouth is tight and small and eyes large but unseeing.

Words:  The unknown leads to projected fears and anxieties of that which does not truly exist. These claim space and are not easily surrendered despite an inner voice that tells us it is fear- nothing more.

Read: This card was originally called The Beast until I realized that it was really the Fear card. The fear that one holds inside is probably more frightening than any beast that would ever come one’s way. In this particular read, comes the idea that running away or doing a geographic may not be at all necessary. If one conquers his or her fear by using available tools, such as in this case “Letting go”, the possibilities of freedom are immense. The house appears to be well lit. The evening sky is dark and no stars are seen. Running into what appears to be freedom but is instead a dark reflection of the mirror of one’s soul benefits no one- least of all she or he who is trying to escape. Tonight the reading seems to be of the feminine nature. What about those qualities is frightening? Is it softness, vulnerability, intuition, and the night sky that is illuminated with the wisdom of the moon, of the ages of strength that only a female can possess? Open your heart and allow the power of the feminine to strike away that fear whether you are male or female in nature. Drop that ball and chain of illusory fear.

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Can’t Shake Off Those Characters

The earliest draft of my book Covering the Sun with My Hand was called The Eviction. That initial story was about the characters that lived in a house turning co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The six family building was smack in the heart of the land of the gentry who were slowly, then quickly, changing a family neighborhood. It is still a family neighborhood but of a different type. I grew up in Park Slope before we knew it was Park Slope. We either called it “Fifth” or “Lincoln”. Little girls usually have a narrow vision of what’s in front of them but please don’t quote me on that.

The Puerto Ricans lived between St. John’s Place and Union Street. To the left of St. John’s were the African Americans and to the right of Union were the Italians and the Irish. Truth be told, I didn’t know who was who. It was white, colored or Spanish (nice terms inserted here). As a nine year old, I sat at the window watching the garbage can tops go flying. I listened to the chants of the PRs taunting the police. I saw a body laid on the sidewalk- the man’s tee shirt quickly turning maroon stained after we heard the gunshots. It was the late sixties, 1969 to be exact, and the neighborhood I’d lived in all of my life began to change.

We moved out in 1972. It was an astute move by the realty people who herded us to Flatbush. We had to make way for the elite! I’m proud to say it took about forty more years before my aunt agreed to move away with a fat check in her pocket. The foul smelling Fifth Avenue Fish Market was no longer there. Neither was the classy millinery shop that had become my father’s social club. Gone. Just like us.

Years later, as I described my book to a couple of other Latina writers, they looked at me in a perplexed manner and said, but what’s the story? I became frustrated. That is the story, people! I threw my manuscript aside. Carrie and her daughter, Aracely, Mr. and Mrs. Rivera and their awful jailbird son, Anthony, Medalia and Gerry Hearn, the gentry, the ancient Mrs. Feliciano, and the Acevedo Family languished. Julia Acevedo and her twin, Rene, suffocated under some other books on my night table. Julia’s boyfriend, Victor, never got to strut his stuff and show how ‘fine he was.’ None of them were getting to tell their stories of life during gentrification, thanks to a couple of well-meaning Latinas who ruined the whole thing for me, I mean, them.

One depressing Saturday morning, I got up and opened my laptop. Julia came forward and sat on the keys. She began telling her story. I began to listen. She grabbed my attention and has become one of my best friends. It’s almost three years later. Her story is on paper. It’s ready to be born. I’m old fashioned and searching for an agent and editor- for the right publishing fit. Julia is patient as I am.

Once finished the novel, I began to miss learning about Julia’s secrets, hopes and dreams as when she guided my fingers across the keyboard. Then I began hearing another story. Medalia and Gerry have begun to tell me theirs. I realize that the smell of cigarette smoke, coming from Rene’s window into the Hearn apartment, annoys the hell out of Gerry. The two think Julia is a bore because she lived at home for so long with her family. They think that she was rude because she sent them to the dry cleaners two blocks away when there was one a block away on St. John’s. They didn’t start to get to know their neighbors, except for Carrie, until Rene set fire to the curtains. I’ve also found out that Gerry has a secret that Medalia would be loath to find out. I’m in front of my laptop again. I love my characters, sometimes they make me cry or come to a place I could never get to on my own. They trust me to tell their stories.

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Palabras: Cambios/Change

I’m happy to pull a card from this oracle on this beautiful and warm evening. It’s been a while since I’ve done so. The message that I have received was that I should continue to pull one on a weekly basis and share it on this site. Somehow, I believe that I may have started to take for granted the information received and that it all became mundane. In actuality, there is a joy I receive when using this oracle. I am to stand aside and allow it to speak. I smudged with a good dose of sage, grounded and centered my energy before I invited the energy of my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana to come and share in the card. Together, our energies pulled the card-Cambios/ Change.

Image: The image is that of a woman’s hand pulling a canister down from a kitchen shelf. It is a small canister and fits easily in the slender hand and fingers. There is a larger canister on the table or surface below the shelf. It is open and there looks to be sugar spilling from it.

Words: Expect change in terms of money, times or relationships. There will be a sense of fulfillment and wonder associated with these changes. There may be a rekindling of relationships with children or grandchildren. What you may have consciously put on hold will seem to fall off the shelf and into your lap.

Read: What is interesting in this card is that the person who is reaching for the small canister is virtually ignoring the sugar laden canister that is lying on its side right in front of her. It may seem to make sense to reach for what you may think you want- in this case the smaller canister that holds something still unknown because it is closed. The larger receptacle is open, full of something sweet and just beckoning to be picked up. The suggestion is to not overlook something that is basically trying to attract you for something that you may believe is better for you-which you truly don’t know anything about. What you don’t see in this case is what you want. It may seem like an error or a little messier than you anticipated but it may be just the thing for you. Try not to let your own devised expectations lead you to the lesser which may result in possibly no change at all.

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Marrying My Synopsis

A darned good synopsis has always been just a little out of reach for me. I’ve written them and never have been satisfied with the results until just recently. It’s sort of like dating. He or she seems nice. There is some interesting dialogue there but something about the interaction doesn’t click. I wouldn’t want to introduce them to my family, but I’ve still sent them out, not altogether satisfied.

Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I’ve rewritten, revised, submitted, been rejected and repeated the process time and again. I’ve never thought deeply about the synopsis. It’s an important part of the submission process. During a NY Perfect Pitch Conference I attended when the editors expressed interest in reading some of our manuscripts, we were elated. The caveat was that not only did most of the editors ask for thirty or so pages of our beloved work, they asked for synopses. Most of us looked at each other, groaned and our eyes glazed over. We all knew that we needed them but the preparation was another issue.

There are wonderful guides on creating excellent synopses. I’ve read some of them and followed the suggestions. I’m good at following suggestions. It wasn’t until this past week, as I’m finishing up the gut job on my condo, I mean my manuscript, that something clicked. My synopsis flowed. It’s not magic. I take this to mean that I’ve gotten to know my novel. We’ve spent time together every day. I took it out to lunch often. I thought about it throughout boring meetings. I sat with it instead of watching a reality TV show. This showed in my synopsis. The description of my novel is in-depth, but not too long. It manages to show the personalities of the characters. There’s a clarity that was most certainly missing in previous versions. In fact, it makes me want to read my own book again. That’s no easy feat considering I’ve been working on it for several years now.

I’m probably not going to marry my synopsis. My spouse may not be too happy about that. I will continue to spend time with it. I can help it to develop and shine brightly in this world. Supporting its growth as well as my own is what I can do in this surprisingly fulfilling relationship.

Here are a couple of interesting links on writing a tight synopsis. Good luck! You may at the very least get engaged!

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/08/how-to-write-synopsis.htm

http://www.vivianbeck.com/writing/5_steps_to_writing_a_synopsis.htm

Any tricks of synopsis writing that you have devised? Share them. We would love to know about them!

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Palabras: Sobriedad- Sobriety

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve pulled a card and done a general read. Today, I looked forward to receiving the message. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the read shows itself in my life throughout the week. I took my usual steps in grounding and centering myself before I invited the energy of my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana to come forth. Together, our energies pulled the card-Sobriety

 Image: The image is that of a hand inserting a skeleton key into an old fashioned keyhole. The reader cannot tell whether the hand belongs to a male or female. The door is many paned as is the window that is adjacent to it. There is a shadow of a figure seen through the window.

Words: So much more than a decision not to take the drink. It is a state of surrender to that which is…healthiness of mind, body, spirit and soul. It moves mountains, crosses streams; give purpose with clarity in intention. Visualize the sierras that have endured throughout the ages. Terrain difficult to maneuver but does so with willingness to stretch as the Great Being portends, with love.

Read: The message is quite clear- ‘transparent’ is the new word used to define clarity and honesty- or at least, this is what is intended lately by many speakers representing various venues.   Just like the window in the card, there is transparency but often what we think we see may really be a hint of the larger reality. The truth may be out of reach until the key is in and we are in behind the closed door. Much may be out of reach before that… what may seem to be ‘a given’ may not be and the only one who knows what is being offered is the one who is extending a service, a job, a thought. Be clear when the opportunity presents itself for you to trust in the ‘transparent’ intervention or interconnection. While many wonderful new things may be laid at one’s feet, it does no good to take them all at face value. Explore, define, scrutinize, and be sure of what you are signing. Know what comes between the dots on that line that will hold your signature that is ultimately, a promise to do your part- whatever it is that you’ve agreed to do. Don’t be surprised at the end of it all- unless you want to be.

Where do you see how this fits in your upcoming week, or maybe you’ve just experienced something where you can relate this message. Let us know!

 

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Beer? What Beer?

“No.” I stretched and yawned. Then I remembered. “I had to tell them about the beer.”

“The beer?” She stood there with her hand on her hip. “What beer?”

“Come on, Mami, the beer,” I said. “He drinks a lot of it, you know that.”

“Because your father drinks a couple of beers you had to tell the doctor? I don’t understand that. He works hard. He makes a lot of sacrifices for you.” Mami started to put the pots in the refrigerator.

 

The above is an excerpt from my constantly revised manuscript. It’s an exchange between my protagonist and her mother, “Mami.” Because I work in Addictions, I’ve been privy to many reasons why a beer for some people just isn’t a beer. I don’t usually blog about it, but I experienced an occurrence recently that set me to thinking and blogging about “a couple of beers.”

Running late to a friend’s anniversary celebration the other evening, I decided to stop for a card and a bouquet of flowers to commemorate this special event. I chose the card quickly and picked up a lovely arrangement of bright orange happy flowers. I stood at the counter, waiting for the sale to be rung up. The grocery store owner is a fortyish beauty who was doing arm exercises-totally missing my ‘I’m in a hurry cues.’ I’ve shopped there for years and see her and her family often.

She told me about how she’d started to gain weight, standing at the counter for hours on end. Giggling, she told me she couldn’t stop eating or drinking. I commiserated, I too love to eat and drink. She said it again. The signal went off in my head. She’s talking about “drinking-drinking,” not just drinking. The store owner had no idea that I’m a nurse practitioner, that I work in addictions and know a thing or two about health. I sometimes whether I have a neon light on my forehead announcing what I do for a living because a lot of people reach out when I least expect it. It was then she admitted that she was so stressed that she drank a couple of beers every night to relax. Her stress level was high, with young adolescent boys she’s raising, a very busy store to run and whatever else she didn’t say during the five minute exchange. The other thing I heard from her was that she has high blood pressure and gets headaches. When she told me she drinks for the third time, I got her message.

My local store owner isn’t alone. This past week, I realized that during at least three psychiatric evaluations that the reason the folks came to see me was that they were stressed. That was their leading sentence. They all drank beer to cope. Some of us can drink-drink and some of us can’t.

My first suggestion to this woman who chose to confide her high stress level was to try relaxation techniques such as meditation instead. She had no idea what that was. I explained it. Secondly, I suggested she go for walks to de-stress. She remembered that she did that last summer with a friend and loved it. Apparently, she just needed a reminder. We talked about alcohol and high blood pressure not mixing. Talking to an objective person about one’s problems is another way to reduce the anxieties of life. That was one intervention she did on her own when she told me her problem before wrapping the flowers.

I’m glad I was there to help out. I didn’t have to take my prescription pad out or lecture her on the evils of alcohol. It’s not about that. Yes, some people need twelve step meetings but some don’t. A listening ear and a little education go a long way.

My friend loved her card and flowers. I’m glad that I’m her friend and that drove me to stop at the store and to be the person my other new friend needed.

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They say it’s your birthday…

So what is it to me? It’s not the annual birthday event most of us have in mind when we celebrate with balloons, cake and candles. There will be no ‘Hokey Pokey’ or ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey.’ This weekend marks my initiation into the Orisha tradition six years ago. Just writing the number six down reminds me that I’m very young and still newly finding my way on this spiritual path. I breathe easier.
Six years ago, I was crowned a priestess of Yemaya. The knowledge I had of ‘Yemaya’ prior to the event was that she is the Great Goddess Mother celebrated in different forms in many different spiritual and religious traditions. She presides over all in this great big Universe! I first identified her during “The Journey of the Waters” many years ago. With the guidance of my Native teacher, Oh Shinnah Fastwolf I experienced water ceremonies in the Southwest that included pipe, sweat lodge and initiations in the various natural water springs, lakes and rivers. I took on the aspect of Changing Woman and have never looked back! It was there I heard the word “Yemaya” whispered into my ear at Pagosa Springs, Colorado.Years later, as I did my theoretical thing, I was steeped in literature regarding Yemaya, Orishas, Spiritism and Santeria while I researched the literature for my doctoral dissertation.
The visions that swirled in my head about Yemaya were that she is a nurturing, loving, and forgiving mother that treats her children with the utmost devotion and love. I wanted some of that and raised my hand asking for ‘more’. So when I consulted the oriate and he threw some cowry shells on the mat and declared, “Yemaya wants you!” and “She said don’t touch that dial!” I was smitten by this vision of loveliness wearing swirling blues and whites ready to cast her net over me and draw me under the ocean waves where she could feed me all the lobster and shrimp that I could eat.

That never happened. Instead, I found out after my initiation that yes, I am a child of Yemaya, but not the one I envisioned. I am the child of Yemaya Okute- one bad-assed mother who hauls butt making things happen. Yes, I tend to my flock but it’s not babies. I usually tend to a bunch of also bad-assed men who happen to need a little care and compassion in their daily existences. Listen to ‘em, talk to ‘em, give them a “you ok?’ and send them back onto the beach or actually, the streets of the lower east side of Manhattan- Loisaida to you natives of this rocky island.  Any traces of tears can be attributed to them being waterlogged while under my watchful Yemaya vision. The truth is that I do see beauty in everything based on my relationship with Her. We all need somebody, don’t we?

What I’m getting at is that I believe I’m only just beginning to figure out who I am in this spiritual life, what my gifts are and certainly my blessings. I gather that this is a basic feature of opening to a spiritual tradition during adulthood. I haven’t turned my back on the religious tradition that my Earth mother loving created for me beginning during babydom. The two traditions actually complement each other quite well, as shown by my ancestors who hid their African traditions while they went to Mass in order to avoid severe and corporal punishment from their plantation masters.

So, I’m still learning. I’m grateful. I’m in awe that Yemaya didn’t want me to channel surf Orishas. I’m open to whatever She brings me on this coming day of celebration and the years to come. My choice to be initiated into a most complicated, unlikely tradition is something I’m proud of! I find that as more is revealed that I am thrilled that I decided to give over to my Higher Power. I could never have thought some of my life up. I’m hanging onto my seat during this delicious ride. All I need to order is the cake. Aché

 

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Interview with Author Patricia Gligor

It’s a pleasure to have Patricia here today. After sharing notes about ‘when will I be published?’ and ‘what do I have to do other than being an excellent writer?’ I was thrilled when Patricia announced her novel “Mixed Messages” would be published in just a few short months after acceptance. Where there is faith, perseverence and love for the craft, you will find Patricia Gligor. Welcome!

Theresa, thanks for inviting me to be here today.

What is your genre and your intended audience?

I write mystery/suspense novels. Mixed Messages, the first in my Malone mystery series, was published April 17th. My books probably have the most appeal to women but several men have read Mixed Messages and told me they enjoyed it. The main character is a woman but there are male characters who play prominent roles in the story.

What are you currently writing?

I’m working on what I like to call “the final draft” of Unfinished Business, the second novel in my series. Both titles have a double meaning and I’ve got some surprises in store for my readers. I’m also scribbling notes for the third book as ideas come to me.

When do you make time to write?

Sometimes, I feel like a juggler in the circus, trying to promote Mixed Messages, edit Unfinished Business and take care of all my other responsibilities. Oh, and once in a while, I like to have some fun. I’ve always been good at organizing and prioritizing but lately I’ve had to take it to a whole new level. I think it’s like most things in life. We do what we can do when we can do it. Some days, I have more time to write than other days. I’m getting better at learning how to accept that and to go with the flow.

What would you have done differently in your writing life? If anything at all?

I’ve thought about this a lot lately, Theresa, and I realized that it all worked out the way it was supposed to. Did I make some mistakes along the way? Yes. Did I learn from them? Yes. Was I a late bloomer when it came to marketing my work? Definitely. Did I have to work really hard to make up for lost time? Yes. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything I’ve gone through in life and in my writing has brought me to where I am and that’s a good place to be.

Tell us about your marketing strategy.

I actually have a marketing notebook. In it, I list ideas to promote my novel and I check them off when I complete them. I’ve gotten some wonderful tips from writers I know, including you, and I’m grateful for all the help and support I’ve received. I belong to numerous online sites for writers (and readers) and I try to comment regularly on those sites and on other writers’ blogs. It’s all about getting your name out there! Oh, and I have my mother who tells anyone and everyone “my daughter is a publisher author.” Word of mouth!

Does your spiritual life influence your writing? If so, how?

Absolutely! I have a deep faith and I want my writing to reflect that. I had one experience that I’d like to share with you. Awhile back, I was feeling frustrated and despondent about my novel. I’d worked very hard on it for a long time but all I’d gotten were rejection letters. I was having a cup of coffee one day, feeling sorry for myself and suddenly the word “Faith” popped into my mind. It was almost as if I could see it printed in big, bold letters. First, I smiled and then I laughed – at myself. How could I forget that things happen in God’s time, not mine? The next day, I got an email from my publisher with a contract for Mixed Messages. Coincidence? I don’t think so. God was sending me a message: “Keep the faith!”

Do you have a particular theoretical foundation that keeps you afloat?

My faith is what keeps me going. I’m constantly amazed at how God works in my life and I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful family members and friends.

What’s your literary community burning desire?

To be as rich and famous as Mary Higgins Clark. Just kidding. Of course, I’d like to see my books sell well but it’s not about money or fame for me, at least not totally.  In addition to providing entertainment and escape, I want my writing to inspire people and to give them hope. There’s so much negativity in this world and, yes, we all have problems but if we make a commitment to see the good in people and to believe that things will get better, we’ll be happier and the world will be a better place.

I hope your readers will visit me at: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/

Mixed Messages is available in paper and Kindle formats at:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007VDDUPQ

Thanks again, Patricia! I’ve downloaded Mixed Messages onto my Kindle and can’t wait to read it. I also enjoy reading your blog a great deal. Looking forward to more from you!

 

 

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Palabras: Spiritual Oracle- Contemplation

Quickly readying for a busy week, I realize that I cannot take another step without first consulting the oracle. It is me and I am it. As usual, I smudged, grounded and centered myself. I invited the energy of my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana to come forth. Together, our energies pulled the card-Contemplation.

 Image: The image is that of a young woman standing at the market place. Her necklace is of gold coins. The expression on her face is that of one in a meditative state. Around her hangs an array of cloths of vibrant color, patterns and fabrics. She fingers a soft piece of fabric of cerulean blue.

Words: Decisions to make may seem dizzying. Meditate on various aspects, colors, and ever changing patterns. Stay still in the moment. Open to what you may hear.

Read: The market place is symbolic of our interactions here in this lifetime on this planet, Earth. We are filled with choices; interact with people who vary in intensity, intent and possibilities. If we view our conversations and situations in this manner, we are then able to take an objective stance as to the true meanings of what may seem trivial or annoying. Sometimes we are the merchants, the sellers of ware, or the unfortunate one who is swindled. Your task is to be aware of what you bring to the market place. Is it an attitude, an expectation or a defeated stance that if changed could turn things around on a dime? Or a gold coin? Observe your motivations and your carriage. You may be surprised at what you see. You have the power and ability to bring change to your marketplace.

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Interview with Author Sandy Corcoran

It’s truly inspiring to have the opportunity to have Sandy speak about what the essence of writing is for her. Sharing about what has been given to her and how she’s chosen to give back to others is a motivating factor in not only writing, but in how we choose to walk in this world. Thank you, Sandy, it’s an honor!

What was the motivating factor that started you writing?

At the death of my daughter in 1983, my feet were put to an entirely different path. Through the Native American women that stepped into my world, and eventually other indigenous mentors, my world-view  was altered and a new and richer life began with the spiritual understanding that we are all connected and united, in ways great and small, and the only thing that prevents that is making a choice to awaken to our soul’s calling.

 What is your genre and who is your intended audience?

Those interested in renewal, shamanism, mind-body-spirit and those who wish to delve into the incredibly rich landscape that lies within their dreamstate, the world of living energy, the luminal realms and the ability of all human beings to bring it into our physical knowing.

What are you currently writing?

I have recently completed Between the Dark and the Daylight: Awakening to Shamanism

Published in February 2012 through Balboa Press/ a division of Hay House

How do you make time to write?

Some days it comes easily, flowing freely and unannounced epiphanies, whereas other days I had to discipline myself to set aside time. I find, for me, I can write for long periods at a time when the words just tumble forth. I also discovered that when I forced the material, I always changed or discarded it.

What inspires you to write?

Finding the heart centered words to connect with others in the hopes of alleviating some of their pain by witnessing my own; and sharing the joy and rebirth of spirit which always follows those deep and very human struggles that we all have in common.

What would you have done differently in your writing life, if anything at all?

Nothing. What I learned though was not to push my story until both my heart and mind were ready to join together to give it form.

Tell us about your marketing strategy.

Unfortunately I lack both the experience and where-with-all of where to even begin. But my hopes are that someone will come forward and assist me to organize the best methods of spreading the word, while also not wearing myself too thin in the process. There are many other things I wish to continue to do, like my shamanic practice with clients as that is where I feel I am offering the best of what I have been taught and what I have to share.

Does your spiritual life influence your writing? If so, how?

Absolutely, without Spirit nothing exists for me, and nothing would have unfolded in my life the way it has without Spirit’s guidance and direction. For that, I am most grateful, as I know there are others who feel a lack of connection or a lack of direction in finding and trusting that “voice” within themselves.

What’s your literary community burning desire?

My burning desire, in all seriousness…if we are 6 degrees of someone, I want this book to touch those who have lost their way or experienced deep loss, so they can find renewed faith in themselves or their dreams….and maybe, have this book make its way into Oprah Winfrey’s hands. For two reasons, I respect her honesty and drive, and I know she has a spiritual understanding and wide audience of people who trust her suggestions.

http://www.amazon.com/Between-The-Dark-Daylight-Awakening/dp/1452544018/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334926233&sr=1-2

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