Alexander’s Den – the audiobook

Come across the sands to a place where some people want their stories told and others don’t. You never know what you will find at Alexander’s. For Thomis, this storyteller’s days grow short and he merely wants some peace.

Find it on your favorite audio distributor or start your search here. While it is available in several places, I also noticed that it is still working its way to some platforms, so if it’s not on your favorite platform currently, keep watch for it as it should be soon.

Audiobooks can be the perfect option for people who think that they don’t have time to read or who might struggle with reading a book. I find time to listen to audiobooks while I’m taking my daily walk, doing dishes, or while commuting to work. It’s not just for long trips. (grin!) I know many people who tell me they listen to audiobooks while at work — lucky dogs!

Happy listening (or reading!)

Nebula on a hexagon

My six-sided painting. I was pretty excited to find this canvas. I knew immediately that I wanted to do a space painting on this. Once I felt ready, I painted the canvas black. The picture above shows it all prepared and ready.

My first layer:

It’s hard not to block a painting in like this and not absolutely hate it and fear that it’s been messed up. But, the painting must continue.

Here’s the next layer:

Now we’re getting some of the misty cloudiness into the piece.

In the next layer, the stars start to shine:

More layers come next, more stars, and adding some of the black of space back in. Finally we end up with this:

There was a point at which I really messed everything up. I didn’t grab my phone to take a picture though; I knew my paint was drying quickly. That probably returned the fun to this painting. I’d started to take it too seriously and quit having fun with it. In causing a catastrophe on the canvas and knowing I had little time to fix it, I had to attack it with courage and release everything. Believe me, at the time I really wasn’t sure I’d be saving it. It was extremely hard to release the fear. Words make it sound so easy, but at the time it was horrible. I instantly projected myself into the future where I had to paint the canvas black once more to restart and regretted the past where I wished I hadn’t touched it so much. I was everywhere but the present.

Grounding yourself with courage puts you firmly in the moment. There’s an obstacle that must be overcome and only by stepping forward can this obstacle be hurdled.

This painting could have easily gone the other way where I did have to go through the future of repainting it that I had imagined. However, I’m glad I kept working it and gave myself the chance.

As my friend, J.D. Estrada, said a few days ago on an Instagram post, “Self doubt is an option, but so is believing in yourself.”

This weekend, believe in yourself.

Happy adventuring!

The choice is yours

This blog comes about because of a post I saw on Facebook. I’m posting a clip of it below without any names.

Simple enough until a Debby Downer had to comment that these was words of hope until the darkness smothered you. I am paraphrasing, but barely. I was tempted to leave a comment, but couldn’t bring myself to.

I woke the next morning with this still ruminating through my mind.

I am not immune to the events of the world. Were I to be completely honest, I would admit my extreme dislike of humanity. I’ve spoken this aloud a few times, to which those around me delight in reminding me that I am human. A flaw in my character, believe me.

But I write because I want to have hope. Note that I didn’t say that I had hope, but rather that I want hope.

I do like several person on this planet we call home and cannot escape. But, I write to hang out with people who are champions and take on mantles that lead others into better lives. I write so that I can show people how to have courage, how they can choose to be better.’

The more I thought about this, the more I remembered that we all have choices. I usually say that in conjunction with people doing something that they want to do: write, paint, dance, sew, cook, whatever their talent is that they want to follow. But we have choices in our entire life.

I personally think that Debbie Downer is watching far too much news and hanging on every bad thing that happens in the world. Most people do. Now, I’m not advocating being uninformed, but I am saying, “Turn off the news!” When you listen to the talking heads (and that is just what they are), you pick up on their emotions. Those emotions influence what you are feeling along with their words. It imprints you, and usually negatively because good news doesn’t sell. Only misfortune gets ratings. So turn that crap off.

Then, when you read the headlines in the newspaper, as yourself if you want to bring that energy into your life or not. When you see a story about a girl being killed when hit by a truck, is that really something you want to spend your energy on? It’s not going to bring the girl back. Her family feels miserable. The driver of the truck, we hope, feels guilty and terrible. But it doesn’t change the situation. Do you really need to know more than the headline? Probably not. Why let it tap your energy any more? Make the choice to move along. Go read the story about Toys for Tots needing more donations. That’s actually something you might be able to help out with, to make a difference.

The Hermit use to be one of my least favorite cards of the Tarot, and one I got quite frequently. Then one day I read a great description in one of the books with a new deck I’d gotten. It talked about The Hermit, solitary, holding his light up for the world to see. He was a beacon, choosing to be alone, an individual of his own thoughts and actions. Someone could look upon him and his light and see a life worth living. He walks in the world, but does not let it taint him. Since then, I have taken that to heart and that is how I have chosen to live my life.

I might be human, but I am striving to be The Hermit. I want to be the reflection of what I wish to see in the world.

I don’t always succeed. I am, after all, human.

That won’t stop me from trying.

I realize I’m in charge of my choices. Every day, every moment. I can’t control the energy of others, but I know that I am responsible for my own happiness. Instead of concentrating on outside factors that I cannot control, I will focus on myself and what I can do.

This is my mission for 2019. I’d love for anyone brave enough to read this blog to join me. I may only be one, but I will be a light. If you join me, we make two. Maybe a third will join us, then a fourth. Be strong. Be love. Be the light.

It might be just what someone else needs.

Free Fiction: Uploaded on the 4th of July

I was sorely tempted to post this last week and delay the ending of Onesong by one week, but I figured I might have readers coming at me with hatchets if I did that. **grin**

I have enough adventures like that already!

I am kind of disappointed that I couldn’t post this on the 4th of July, but it’s not a very happy story, so I thought it might be best if I wait anyway.

This is a story I wrote last year. My reader sent my comments back, but I honestly don’t think I’ve incorporated them into the story yet, so you’re seeing this pretty much just as my reader did. Nothing about this story here is final. This story kind of got lost in the events of last July — I’d really thought it would be my July 2018 release. But, yeah, llama face.

Obviously I’m still tired and words are not my thing right now.

I thought you might all like a short break before I start something else. I really did like running with a novel. We shall see what strikes my fancy for next week, but for now, a short story.

Enjoy!

cover for blog

Uploaded on the 4th of July

by Dawn Blair

Continue reading

Progress postponed for an important message

In the wake of what has happened today in Las Vegas, I have chosen to postpone my usual Monday progress post to share a message with hope.

We are not taught how to have hope in a brighter tomorrow. Truly, this is something we have to learn. Television shows like Star Trek and Stargate (because sci-fi is all about the “alien among us” and that “humanity survives”) are great teachers of this lesson. I wrote Broken Smiles earlier this year as an exercise of “write what scares you” and I barely touched on my fears. Society crumbling and this becoming a dystopian world after an apocalypse totals scares me to paralysis. I can’t even let my mind go down that far. I fear about what I would touch upon. To try to imagine what the shooter in Las Vegas was thinking, to look for his motivations, I can only say that he had some darkness and no longer believed in hope.

I feel we must learn a true lesson from this. We must not only send our love, support, and prayers to the families that have lost loved ones today, but we must figure out what must be done within ourselves and the lives of those around us so that something like this never happens again. That is a monumental (and quite impossible) task. But, we must begin and believe in the quest that a Utopian world can be achieved; otherwise, why bother living at all?

I feel I must step back and take a moment to go into a deeper explanation. I have often told people that from the years of 1996-2010, I was not doing much writing. Yes, this is the period of my life where I lost a lot and I grieved the loss of my writing very hard. Writing had been what I had always done. It is also true that this is the time when the art came into my life, but that wasn’t until about 2002.

It seems that everyone alive during 2001 remembers where they were on September 11th and they heard the news about the plane attacks. I remember watching on live television shots of people jumping from the towers and the collapse of the buildings. I was an extreme pessimist at the time and had been most my life. I’d rarely seen anything go right, let alone the way I wanted it. I figured this was the end. For weeks, I listened to news reports, hoping more survivors would be found and not surprised when when hopeful emergency personnel just recovered more bodies. I knew I had to pull myself out of that misery I was feeling. I went to my office and turned on my computer to write. I sat there until I cried.

I cried in silence for a good half an hour or so. I cried for all the lives that had been lost. I cried for the world that I had birthed my children into. I cried for no longer believing humanity was any good. I cried because that was the day I lost all my stories. What in the bloody blazes was the point of telling them to a world that was a waste?

I died within those tears.

I’m glad I did.

It took me a decade to pull myself out of that, a ten year span where I, like a phoenix, felt myself getting reborn and growing up.

Because the world didn’t end on September 11th, I had become optimistic. Over time, I learned to seek joy. I became a self-development junkie. I realized we are not put here on this planet for tests and trials! We are here to enjoy our lives and to share that joy with others. When someone breaks that natural law, we have a tragedy and everyone feels it. Check your history; it has been like this from the very beginning of time. Only now, does the radius of pain spread so much further because of the smallness of our planet.

But when does hearing about tragedy ever make you feel better about yourself? Never. When do you feel good? When you are sharing love and joy with your family.

That was a lesson I learned during that decade. I turned off the news stories. I now read headlines to keep myself informed about what is going on in the world, but I actively ask myself before clicking a link to read an article if I really want to bring that “news” into my life. I filter. I decide what stories I want in my head. And, when I do read a “news” story, I judge how accurate I believe it to be. History is always told by the victors, and there are always two sides to every tale. See my Sacred Knight series if you want to see the development of that theme in my life! BINGO!

You need to do the same thing (cutting off the non-joyful news) if you haven’t already.

From the biggest tragedy of my time on this planet until now, I have spent writing and painting for myself first. I “follow my passion” for myself and my own enjoyment. I write for my own entertainment, getting to play around in my own head, and tell stories that make me feel more encouraged about life. I paint so I can make the world a more beautiful place. When I am done with my play, then I share with the world. I take my adventures and visions and give them to the world. I always hope that like-minded individuals find them, such as with this message too.

It is my biggest belief that we need to share good stories. I’ve seen studies done where kids who did not have enough mythology classes in school end up being the ones who read about the celebrities. They follow the Hollywood and musical stars because they need a mythological structure in their life and these people fill that need.

Guess what? Celebrity status means exactly nothing to me. Whatever! They are people too. They put their pants on one leg at a time and they create their own drama and problems just like everyone else.

But then again, I write about a god. Several of them, I guess, actually if you count Odin, Thor, Anubis, Hel, etc.

Now I digress.

My point is that we need to share good stories with those that we love. We need to seek them out, bring them into our lives, make them part of our mythology. Stories become our friends after we share that world in an author-reader relationship. We have taken an adventure, and, if it’s good, we long to share it. Do that! This is my message of hope to you. I share stories with my children that I believe had value and my kids do the same with me. They don’t even have to be stories told in a book, but I believe that those are the best because they engage the imagination better than something that is set all out on a platter for you like a television show. Yes, people need to read in order to engage their imaginations.

Read what you enjoy. Start there.

That is what should be the instruction in school, not forcing someone to read something then be forced to dissect it. That can come later (with the acknowledgement that there really are no right or wrong answers because everyone comes to the story with different life experiences and can interpret the story in another way from someone else).

We need to be taught how to enjoy first. So share the stories you enjoy with the people you love. Share, share, share. Share your joy, share your enthusiasm, share you life experiences. Start now, for it is never too late.

You might just save someone’s life. Or, you might give someone else a reason to live.

Progress — 07/10/17

Fiction words written last week: 13.012 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,755 words

Writing month to date total: 18,239 words

Writing year to date total: 205,456 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did practiced in my sketchbook.  I also did some more painting, but  I’m not sure I like what I accomplished. Since I’m still painting over the original painting that I didn’t like, I’m just wondering if this canvas is jinxed. Maybe it needs a cleansing ritual. (I say that half jokingly. Half!)

Audio: I spent 6 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues at 33 days. Some days it’s not so easy. For some reason, this week has been a mixture of easy days and hard days.

I started reformatting all of my books both ebook and print versions. I’m just about done with The Loki Adventures. Over the weekend, I was trying for two per day.  I managed to get all the way through to the print book on For More Mischief, Call Loki.

Yeah, this week has just been weird. Troubles in my personal life – nothing major, but it’s making me rethink some things. That thinking has given me a bout of depression. Again, nothing major — nothing some sleep couldn’t handle. (grin)  I went to adjust one of my websites (after doing that major thinking) and couldn’t get things wrangled around at all – weirdness. I feel like I’m going to have to rip the whole thing apart and start over because there’s so much junk in there. Then I went to update another of my websites and realized I couldn’t — yeah, that chaps my hide — enough said before I get on my soapbox. I’m looking at another of my websites and considering some changes with it. Again, that deep thinking.  I’ve really wanted to get it going again. Maybe once I get the other two sites functioning, I can think about this one again.

Sorry to be cryptic there, but, yeah, you really don’t want to read my growling or frustration any more than I want to put it into words. Don’t worry; I’ll save that emotion for my fiction.

In other news, the good variety, I received a print copy of The Three Books and I love the new look and cover. So now I have the “classic” edition and the “new” edition on hand.

I finished reading through the manuscript for the other author I spoke about a couple weeks ago. It’s the third one in her series and fits really well with the others. I can’t wait until she releases it.

In audio work, I’ve been working on The Three Books. I can tell I’m going to have my hands full with this project.

Well, once I get all my books having a standardized look to them and all corrected for all the issues I know about at this point, and I get my websites functioning, then I plan on enjoying the rest of my week and getting some additional writing done. I just have to remind myself to keep taking deep breaths and not let the world get at me. Is it any wonder I like to write and escape?

I have often asked myself why I write and paint. I keep coming back to the following thought: I want people to see the beauty of the world around them and enjoy it. I want to give humanity hope and inspiration, to give them courage for their own lives, to make them want to be better people for themselves and their loved ones. I want people to be entertained (because I am the first one who gets to have the adventure before I share it).  In short, I want the world to be a better, more enjoyable and entertaining place. There is really no reason that it shouldn’t be.

So, I hate it when others are out there to tear others down.

Do me a favor this week: go out and use your energy productively, not destructively, and see how much better that makes you feel.

Live long the adventure!