Recommended Read―Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

I recently read a young adult novel called Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy. I found it in a book review (where, I wish I could remember so that I could credit and thank the reviewer). I like Murphy’s character Faith Hubert, a plus-sized superhero, and was very pleased to learn this book is the first of two. If you follow me on Facebook then you know I liked Faith: Taking Flight enough to post about it twice.

Faith is a teenager who loves her grandmother (with whom she also lives), is a good friend, cares about school and the animals at the shelter where she volunteers after school, and she’s also a very good sleuth. P.S., she has more than one secret identity.

Faith: Taking Flight is based on Valient Entertainment comics with Superhero Faith Hubert a.k.a., Zephyr, which I now plan to read devour also.

When I first started reading Faith: Taking Flight, I didn’t know Julie Murphy was the author of Dumplin’, also a Netflix feature film starring Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron, as well as a soundtrack from Dolly Parton― which I both watched and loved. Bonus!

I am not getting paid to endorse this book, my first “Recommended Read” from this blog. I just like it. Enjoy!

____________________________________________________________________

Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Writer’s Creep

Accountability & Writer's Creep
Accountability & Writer’s Creep

Creep happens.

I’d like to say writer’s creep happens especially when the writer is new. I’d like to wave my arm magnanimously and say there-there to myself. And while life happens, my progress wasn’t. When I heard the term creep, normally a project management reference, applied to my writing, I stopped in my tracks. Crapola! I had writer’s creep.

To be real, I was aware I needed traction. I admit being in editing denial with my improvements and continual tweaks. Still, I knew I needed help. But what kind?

I thought back to the beginning and working with my English major friend. As soon as I had a chapter done I would email it to her for editing. She would ping me for the next and then the next until there were no more chapters. (No, I will not say how long ago we shared that dance.)

Right about then, if I’m honest, writer’s creep crept in. Each time I learned of another grammar rule I would go through the entire manuscript to repair it. Over and over I did this. I kept learning more. I read writing blogs and books, and learned more. Others read and offered suggestions and I received more input.

Then, schtuff came together: unraveled denial, the need for accountability, and intuitive nudges.

Three weeks later―following a suitable period of analysis paralysis―I asked a respected friend and successful business person to be my accountability sponsor. Why sponsor? Because, while my situation may not have warranted an intervention (or did it?), I needed to get out of my own way. He gently called me on it: writer’s creep.

The brilliant, bright, dawning light of understanding rose. Having worked along software developers and engineers of all sorts, I had seen project management timelines slide embarrassingly week after week on the big screen at all-hands meetings. Popularly known as project or scope creep, I had it—in my case, writer’s creep.

Luckily, blessedly, or que-bueno-ly, my accountability sponsor is also an excellent coach and mentor who genuinely wants to see Andersen Light published. There is now a Dropbox dedicated to my writing work. I am dusting off my query letter and other submission documentation and moving forward. Creep, schmeep.

Thanks, Coach!

_______________________________________________

Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Grateful

I am grateful for last year. In the beginning I took on a transitional, and what I supposed would be a supporting role in a local New Thought church called Unity. Rather, the ministry immediately became life’s front and centerwhile I sported a deer-in-the-headlights look for much of it, at least on the inside. My ‘yes’ came with coming out from behind my own bushel to family and friends that I have in fact been ordained for quite some time, and working behind the scenes (much like some of the characters in my novel. Hmm….). Last year provided bountiful lessons (like public speaking). Yep. I learned many things and gained many others, the best being a great many amazing friends.

Andersen Light Book Cover Mockup
Andersen Light Book Cover Mockup

One of those new friends, Jan M. Hampton, a truly gifted artist, painted this book cover mockup of Andersen Light. Isn’t it cool? Now I have IRL evidence it’s becoming a real book!

I gratefully anticipate more blog presence in 2020 for more on Andersen Light, the characters, and lessons learning! See you here!

?

Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the world of YA fiction without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Cafeteria Halloween Food

Cafeteria Halloween Food

Halloween plays a huge role in my upcoming novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. There’s a big to-do at the lighthouse, at the high school (even the “teachers dressed to reflect their class subjects”), and many nighttime parties are in the works. Oh yeah, and something else happens Halloween night, but never mind about that now.

First, there is the school day to get through, which includes lunch. What the heck is being served in the cafeteria? Here is an excerpt from the novel:

“The cafeteria lunch was like an autopsy. Body parts floating in blood were meatloaf forms in tomato sauce. Dinner rolls were shaped like bones. Eyeballs peered up from a nest of worms, but a closer look revealed mini mozzarella balls with olives for pupils in a bed of buttered spaghetti. Carved watermelon, cantaloupe, and pears masqueraded as tongues, lips, and ears suspended in green gelatin. Stainless steel bins of cat litter complete with deposits were crumbled cake with Tootsie Rolls. Georgie inadvertently stuck a finger in the red jelly heart of a shortbread cookie corpse. Obviously she had to bite its head off.”

What creepy or spooky food are you planning this year?

Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Adding Me to My To-Do

Dear Self,

As you know, I took a new position at the beginning of the year, one that calls for more of me. The writer me gets nudged out so the minister me can do her thing. Personally, I’ve been brainstorming with myself to find balance―like adding me to my to-do list.
I started adding my novel writing life on my to-do list. It works sometimes. Now I have the idea of dedicating a day to that part of me. I can make it an easy day. I can add rest and relaxation in there too.

Dear Tanya,

Your intention moves the energy toward your dreams. Go easy on you. Leave self-judgement off your to-do list. You are on the right path.

Love, Your Self

____________________________________

(You know, that sounds just like something Luther Andersen, the mystical lighthouse keeper of the Light at Mystic Creek, would say.)

Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Hell or High Water: Appointment with My Self

I had to make an appointment with my Self, the “come hell or high water” type.

And now I’m finally here with my Self―BITCHOK (butt in the chair, hands on keyboard), an acronym I’ve borrowed many times from young adult author Cassandra Clare.

There’s no way to fool the true Self, but wow did I fool myself it had only been a couple of months since my last blog post!?! I told my Selves (I know you know what I mean) that today was the day, come hell or high water, that I would write.

There’s a funny thing about intention when it’s addressed to the true Self. The Self ain’t playing. It remembers and wants that specific appointment kept, no matter how long it takes. Meditating, exercising and contemplating life over a cup of Darjeeling and a handful of dark cherries isn’t the same.

I had to make an appointment with my Self, the “come hell or high water” type. And now I’m finally here with my Self―BITCHOK (butt in the chair, hands on keyboard), an acronym I’ve borrowed many times from young adult author Cassandra Clare https://www.cassandraclare.com/writing-advice/. There’s no way to fool the true Self, but wow did I fool myself it had only been a couple of months since my last blog post!?! I told my Selves (I know you know what I mean) that today was the day, come hell or high water, that I would write. There’s a funny thing about intention when it’s addressed to the true Self. The Self ain’t playing. It remembers and wants that specific appointment kept, no matter how long it takes. Meditating, exercising and contemplating life over a cup of Darjeeling and a handful of dark cherries isn’t the same.
Darjeeling and Dark Cherries

In this case, my specific appointment with my Self was to write for this blog. Posting on Instagram or Facebook wasn’t sufficient. Those posts weren’t the deal we made. This is the deal.

Then my Self let me know she wanted more. My Self wants me to write to a letter to herSelf. Or is it that my Self wants to write a letter to me? Of course, I know the answer, since I am me after all. There shall be letters―to me, to others, from characters. I saw this letter thing in my mind’s eye grow like mushrooms build in cartoons or anime. Today’s will be short.

Dear Tanya,

Thank you for keeping our appointment, no hell or high water required.

I know you’ve been busy. I see the deer-in-the-headlights look in your eyes, posture and aura. I hear it in your thoughts, your voice, your dreams.

Go easy on yourself. Relax. It’s all okay. If you don’t get something done in a day, so what? Your dreams won’t suddenly vanish. Think of this appointment with me as a first step toward the advancement of those dreams.

Love,

Your Self

I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring

[I quite recently wrote this prose and read it for a Unity service. Spring ― I’m ready! Bring it!]

Budding Branches
I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring

The cold and bare limbs of the trees wave in the chill wind as if whispering goodbye to Winter.

Stark fingers of branches jab at me, demanding, Look! Look inside! Take an honest view into the Self.

What must I see before I may embrace the forthcoming of Spring?

What thing shall I release so that I may behold the joyful bounty of this earthly life, to witness its beauty, its love expressed in vivid greens and rainbows of flowers?

Does an errant thought hood my eyes? How I long to bathe in Spring’s splendor! What obstruction must I change or let go?

What tiny pebble rides inside my shoe?

What thought twinges within my belly?

What hurt calls from my heart?

Surely and gladly, I

Shake out that pebble

Cast out that thought

And forgive the hurt.

I free myself to accept the full embrace of the Divine presence on this beautiful earth.

I open myself as a clear channel for this Infinite Love

to co-create and share the boundless spectrums of Spring

through gentle thoughts, kind words and expressions of gratitude

with my sisters, my brothers, with this world.

I know the bare branches waving in the breeze of Spring.

Now I see their budding leaves

And revel in the perfume of their blossoms.

I thank Winter and welcome Spring.

Check out the video to see the reading of I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring as well as the the entire talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD3RzftunwI

Time to Honor

Time to Honor

This is not a post about a book or a book that is now a movie. It is just me here acknowledging the passing of a writer who was also an artist and musician, but best of all my sister, Paula. She made her transition, her way home as some say, this last Sunday morning. I will honor her creativity here from time to time. But for now, please bear with me as I walk through these days, as there will undoubtedly be periods of silence from me here. Thank you for your patience.


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Comfort

Comfort

Getting Personal on Changing Comfort(s)

Stress and Familiar Comforts

My year has been woven with grief and its associated emotions, debilitating flu, the annoying presence of shingles, and agent query rejections. When stress hovered like a Charles M. Schultz’s Pig Pen dust storm, I reached for favorite comforts in the name of self-care. I binged-watched primarily home improvement shows―against the frustration of being unable to act on them―and mysteries. I read books of nearly every flavor with heavy helpings of Brit and Aussie cozy mysteries. Several pounds later, I know for a fact how if some potato chips are good, the whole bag is not necessarily better.

Comfort

Old Comfort

I Question My Good Ol’ Familiars

I agree  we need our go-to comforts, but do they really need to come from a bag of chips or bowl of macaroni and vegan (¬_¬) cheese?  So far this year I:

  • Incorporated stress-reduction solutions like herbal teas and binging Netflix or Prime to my existing regimens of yoga stretching and meditation.
  • Researched go-to remedies (papaya, wild blueberries, lemon balm tea) and supplements (B, B-12, L-lysine).
  • Started Book 2.
  • Spoke with a close personal friend who happens to be a spiritual grief expert.

Hmm. Some of these could easily become my new first-line comforts.

Comfort Change Challenge

I challenge myself to step up my game and change my comforts. Join me, if you choose, to be ready when stress hits. We’ll trade some old comforts in for new ones. We’ll ditch the unhealthy and not-so-functional for healthy habits that work. I envision grabbing for the organic apple, celery with hummus, or glass of lemon water with a frozen strawberry (or three). There can be more walking and less couching.

comfort

Cool Lemon Water & Frozen Strawberries

Stress and Comfort Are Real

Stress happens. We’re human. We trip into Life. Life bumps into us. There may be days with full-on tears and snot and lots of wadded up tissues. People and circumstances will likely frustrate and/or annoy us. Yet, we’re the ones who choose what we do in response. Call a friend? Take a walk? Reach for clean, cool water? Relax and do nothing?

What Will You Do?

What changes will give you real, better, healthy comfort? I look forward to reading your ideas and solutions in the comments. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Write from Here

I write from here in southern New Mexico (neither new nor Mexico, as they say around here) about characters in a made up town on the west coast of the United States. I’m calling the location southern Oregon.

 

write from here

Oregon Coast by Jane L Ray

How do I write from here about the goings-on in a lighthouse and its estate while hunkered down in a creosote forest and hammered by a desert wind storm?

  • Imagination.
  • Memory.
  • Photos of lighthouses, especially those from friends. Thank you, Jane, Randy, Dalene and Susan.
  • Research – like visiting lighthouses whenever possible, in person and online.

 

What else can I do to ignite those little brain cells?

  • Read. Thanks to:

    write from here

    Lighthouse Spiral Staircase by Randy Jiner

    • Cozy authors Agatha Frost, Lynn Florkiewicz, Frances Evesham, J. A. Whiting.
    • Literary fiction author L. J. Ross and her DCI Ryan books.
    • Local library (Thomas Branigan Memorial Library).
  • Listen/view waves roll, crash, and spray in ocean-themed nature videos. Special thanks to YouTubers and video sharers:
  • Webcams! I’ve been to these places and more from the comfort of my office: Ireland, Thailand, the Hamptons, Hawaii, Virginia Beach, Shelter Cove, Italy, Miami Beach, New Zealand, and my most frequented, Florence, Oregon. I recommend EarthCam, a great online tool and app, and publicly accessible internet webcams. The best ones include sound. (Warning: you may be tempted to travel to places completely unrelated to your research. Still, the Paris webcam at the Eiffel Tower is amaze-balls as my niece, Cassie, likes to say.)
  • Meditate.

You can use these ideas to write from here (wherever your here is). If you have tips of your own you’d like to share, please add them to the comments. Thank you!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.