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!)

Glad to be a creator

This is now the fifth time I’ve started this blog post. The writing is not coming easily today and emotions are getting in the way.

I wish to send my thoughts to Stan Lee’s family and friends. While I never actually had the chance to meet him, my son ran into him several times at conventions. I would like to think that we would’ve gotten along quite well, both of us being creators and all.

I am thankful that I get to be a creator. Even on days when the writing isn’t going well. I know this too will pass. It, more than likely, is actually a stalling period right before a major idea strikes. Pregnant women often talk about how the baby stops moving right before it’s born, as if the child is conserving energy. Well, that didn’t happen with either of mine that I recall, but I know it happens with ideas. Usually there is a short time where I feel lacking all creativity. Then, suddenly, BANG! The story is out of the gate.

Continue reading

Can happiness be solved like a math equation?

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been listening to Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat for the last couple of weeks. Let me start by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much by listening to an audiobook before.


Solve for Happy came about from Mo’s own search to be happy when he found that all the things he’d accomplished and acquired so far during his life left him unfulfilled. He began to pursue his personal quest for happiness analytically like the engineer he is. Not as a psychiatrist, or a self-help guru spouting things that he has yet to experience, but as a scientist seeking his own answer. What he found led him to share his findings with his friends, who reported back with similar results. He started to feel that he was finding the answer and began to fine tune it.

A few days, less than a month before he started writing the book, his son told him to never stop working, that his mission wasn’t finished. Seventeen days before he started writing, his son went in for emergency surgery, a routine appendectomy, and did not survive.

Continue reading

ACEO of the Week – 05/20/17

Landscape #11
Landscape #11
3.5″ x 2.5″
acrylic on Bristol Board
©2011 Dawn Blair


Often, I’m very glad when I see ACEO’s go off to someone’s home. It cleans out my space and gives me the urge to paint new ones. This is one I wish I had kept. I still kick myself for not keeping this one. Maybe that means I’ll get inspired to paint a larger piece. We shall see, won’t we?

Trust me on this: if you ever see a piece of art you want, buy it before someone else does. You might regret not having that piece later. There are a couple works by other artists I wish I had. One piece I’m thinking of now was a beautiful gesha painting. The artist, a girl much younger than me, passed away suddenly a couple weeks ago. Very sad. I think about all the art she had within her that is now lost to the world. And, I’m certain the gesha painting is far beyond my grasp now as I’m sure that if she still had it at the time of her death, there is no way that her family is parting with it now. Understandably.

And, if you have art (whatever that is: painting, writing, poetry, cooking, sewing, creating a loving home, taking care of your family, whatever – everyone has something that is an “art” for them) in you, don’t let it remain there. Get it out.

If you don’t think you can, check out last week’s blog for a reminder. Time is the commodity you are given in your life, but you have no idea how much has been doled out to you. Use it wisely. Imagine the possibilities. Then act. How you spend your time and what you give back to those around you is your rent for living. Make sure you give value for having lived.

Is your life sad?

Last week, I was talking to a reader who is very excited about the next books in each series and was wondering when they were coming out. She asked me how I find the time to write while also working full-time. I laughed and told her it was because I didn’t have a life.
She looked at me and said, “That’s sad.”
Suddenly I was taken aback. I could see how someone might consider that a sad condition.
The truth of the matter is that we all get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no “do overs.” And, there is an expiration date on the package and none of us can be exactly sure when that will be. But when you and your neighbor each have 168 hours in a week, the two of you can spend that time in radically different ways.
Now as I stood there in this moment, I realized that yes, there are some choices I make consciously so that I can have the time I need to create. I quickly explained that there was nothing I’d rather be doing than telling stories. I trade the hours of my life to do that so that I hopefully can bring joy and entertainment to people. If that means I miss out on many of the things that other people do, I can live with that. All I’ve ever wanted to do was to tell stories. Even when I was younger, I was trading all my “free time” to do that. I was always writing.
Now my stories have expanded into other mediums when I have the time (here I’m talking about painting and drawing mostly, but I am trying to also squeeze in time to produce my stories as audiobooks — yes, it really is happening!) and I am grateful that in do so I’m chasing other dreams I had as a child but that I didn’t realize I’d had until I was older. That could probably expand into more explanation, but I’m going to keep it short and sweet here. Suffice to say that art and audiobooks aren’t on orbits far out from what I was thinking about when I was growing up. The more I review my life, the more links I see.
My challenge really is getting all the tracks of my life to line up rather than being like LEGO pieces scattered all over the floor. I’m still working on getting it all snapped together, but each day I feel closer.
So how do I find the time to do what I do? Fifteen minutes a day on some projects. Deciding to make time for others. And lately, a calendar to make sure I really do make the time. You do only have those 24 hours in a day and you have to know how you will spend them. If you don’t decide, someone will decide for you whether it’s a spouse, your children, your TV, Facebook, etc. It is your life. Do you really want to hand the reins to someone else? When you reach the end of your life, will you be happy with what you traded your days for? That’s a question only you can answer.
For me, dedicating my life to my stories, to my creativity, to my imagination, is the most valuable thing I can do. I love every moment of it.

Waiting for the end to come

This may be a little bit of a rant here. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Why is it that people are so ready to coast to the grave? I feel as if I’m more and more surrounded by people who feel like they are already dead.


If you woke up this morning, you should be grateful for another day. It gives you another chance to create what you want into your life. I swear, there are just some people I want to shake and say, “Tomorrow when you wake up again, do you really want to bemoan that you let another day slip through? Yeah, now you are one day closer to dying. Freaking congratulations to you!”

It’s not how I want to live, so don’t ask me to come join your pity party.

What is it that you want to do? What do you want to create in your life? Why aren’t you doing it? Every day that goes by is one day without you creating. Stop being miserable. Motivate yourself, as Wayne Dyer would say.

A walking dead is not an honorable badge to wear. It’s really no wonder that zombies are a hit right now with so many people actually acting like they are dead and going through the motions of living. Quit eating (symbolic for infecting) other people’s brains with what you are. Get out and live!

And, while you’re at it, quit talking on your cell phone while driving. Seriously!

How easy it is to get stuck

I won’t lie. I get stuck often. When people see how much I’ve created over the last 7 years, they can get overwhelmed. What they don’t see are all my stuck projects.

How does a creative person get stuck? All too easily!

It usually starts with thinking about the overwhelming tasks involved with a project. On my last blog post, I showed a picture of my animation character. I mentioned I’d been working on it for some time. Yeah, I thought about it (read that as: “I was stuck on it”) all last year. I kept thinking, “I need to do a script. I need to the character. I need to do the background. I need to think about voice actors — Ack! where I am going to find those (even though I already know how, it was still a thought)? I’ll need to get everything animated. Don’t forget intro and credit screens. Music? And don’t forget voice actors!”

Stuck, stuck, stuck! Like a car rammed into a ditch, a muddy one filled with water! Being a farm girl, I know that one. I’ve seen tractors stuck in the mud up to their axles. Oh yeah, I know about stuck.

So what can you do about it?

First off, stop thinking about it. Easier said than done, but stop. It does help if you can remember what first inspired you to work on a project. For me, I got an email that made me laugh and I remembered why I wanted to do this project (more on that as the animation develops). Now, here’s where most people will tell you to schedule time to work on the project. Let me tell you how well that worked for me: I spent 3 months with “Design character” sitting on my to do list. Have I even written the first script yet? No. I have designed an intro though. Unfortunately, I was inspired to do all those, even when I got the idea for the character, it came in a flash of brilliance.

So does that mean that you should just sit back and wait for inspiration?

No. All this time I was collecting ideas. I have an extensive note file because there’s going to be more than one animation. I did the intro, as I mentioned. I did try to block time and I did keep those appointments, even though they were unproductive for this project at that time. When I had a better grip on it by knowing what my character was going to look like, that’s when I got down to work. I did reach the tipping point. Now is when I need to be scheduling my time — before this, I really was better knowing it was a sideline project and letting flashes come to me as they did to build material while working on other things. So, don’t force yourself to think and work on a project until it’s truly time, especially if you’ve got other irons in the fire. Just keep gathering ideas as they come. When the time is right to begin, you will know.

I sit here now, unstuck, with a bare character designed, several ideas, an intro sequence I still have to animate, no first script, and no idea what I’m going to do for voices. Does that bug me? No. I’m working on it. It’s a process, a journey. It’ll come together piece by piece now. I know what needs to be done. I know what I want to do. The project is still in the wings, but isn’t completely off the stage anymore. Soon it’ll be front and center in the spotlight. I’m not ready for it to be there yet.

Getting unstuck with a project means growing with it. It grows and you grow.

Do I have other projects that I’m stuck on? A ton of them! I can’t even begin to count how many other things I’d love to be moving forward with at this moment. All of them! It’s hard for me to be stuck — I don’t deal with it very well. In fact, I have a tendency to fight it. I know this about myself. There are so many things I want to do. I know I’ll never get them all done.

If this hasn’t been enough to get you unstuck, you can always remember that if you don’t get moving, you may not have a chance to.

My final motivation (and usually the thought that spurs me into action on a project that’s been hanging around my head too long): you will be dead longer than you are alive. How would you really feel about never completing this project?