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.

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.

Star Trek

Star Trek

USS Enterprise

I spent many days in my childhood with Star Trek. Like lots of us, I often came home from school to an empty house. I didn’t much notice the emptiness and like my fictional character, Georgie Jones, I wasn’t lonely because there were Star Trek reruns. It was fantastical and dramatic, yet there among the stars I learned how people worked together, how they reacted to other species, and how they resolved differences. Human characteristics were recognizable in the very different non-human aliens, and predictably, these traits were not always pleasant. Yet, the Starfleet adventurers usually managed to find common ground, or at the very least, extricate themselves before they violated their own Prime Directive (not interfering in the internal goings-on of alien civilizations, except when righting an earlier wrong). And while there is popular debate over the efficacy of that directive, the intentions of creators of the Star Trek universe were undeniably noble.

Star Trek

Star Trek Lt Uhura

 

Star Trek wasn’t always perfect but strived to span the extremes between cold logic and the messiness of human emotion. Still, in that frontier where no human had gone before―among aliens, differences between personnel, and harrowing missions―was a search and discovery of the best elements of humanity.

Early Star Trek was a great teacher as well as entertainer. I wonder how many kids grew up with the best parts of Star Trek germinating in their hearts and minds. Have they shared their search for understanding of common ground (within and beyond differences), and remembered how to negotiate with Klingons as well as Betazoids? Are they still adventurers in real life?

Wait. I’m being hailed on this communication channel!


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 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: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Close Connections

What close connections pull fictional characters Georgie Jones and Luther Andersen together, aside from the little matter of a prophecy?

Grandma and Grandpa Jones

Luther is a lighthouse keeper, professor, and Georgie’s eventual mentor. He’s also a long-time family friend. A man of indeterminate age, Luther knew Grandma Jones’s aunt Betty before Grandma was even born. Back then Betty dated Thomas Nelson, best friend of Luther’s brother, Charles.

[Nelson Close Connections Trivia: Thomas and Betty married after the war. Thomas taught Georgie’s dad to play guitar, which launched Will Jones’s musical career. Thomas and Betty had Carl, who works alongside Luther and Maria Elena (Josefina’s mom) at the Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel estate. CJ, a.k.a. Carl Junior, plays rhythm guitar in Will Jones’s band.]

Close Connections

Georgie and Luther – The Connections

Josefina Garcia

Josefina is the first kid to befriend Georgie in Mystic Creek. Now she’s Georgie’s BFF. How’s that for close connections? But wait for it. Josefina’s mom, Maria Elena, works with Luther at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel, as did generations of her family.

[Luther and Maria Elena History: Luther and Maria Elena are friends from way back. Luther had already been back to the lighthouse for some time after college when Maria Elena returned to Mystic Creek. She’d been to college, married, had two children, and was a newly grieving widow. Luther’s mother, ever insightful, employed Maria Elena at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. Luther and Maria Elena have worked together since. Is there more to their relationship?]

Josefina introduced Georgie to Shawn Green the very first day on the bus. Shawn has been Josefina’s best friend since grade school. Now the three are BFFs.

[The Green Connection:  You’ll find even interesting connections between the Greens, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel and the Joneses in the book.]

I look forward to hearing how you connect with the characters in my upcoming novel. Until then, please subscribe for more on my characters and “lessons learning,” and check in on social media!


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 coming of age 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: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Willing

Willing

Willing

Georgie Jones is not a balker by nature. She chooses instead to be willing—or at least willing to be willing.

Willing to Act

Early in the story and from the safety of a willow tree in her dad’s yard, primary character Georgie recalls intolerable behavior back at her old home in Starkton. She was held back from taking action by threats against her loved ones. Her healthy, spunky confidence took a barrage of insidious hits as the situation escalated from inappropriate to abusive. The girl wrestled with herself, willing herself to reach out. Ultimately, Georgie took charge and leapt into action to protect her siblings. These were the first steps in restoring her confidence and awakening her true self.

Willing to Learn

Georgie is willing to look at her family, herself and her life with a frankness uncharacteristic in a fourteen and a half year old. (But then, she is not your typical teenager.) Why had her parents split? Why had her mom chose Jack, her stepfather? Her self-analysis brings clarity, and answers—neither had anything to do with her.

Willing to Trust

Georgie knows deep down in the core of her that she can trust Luther, a longtime friend of her grandparents. Her willingness to trust him opens her to his wisdom. It forges their bond of mentorship, and hearkens to a prophecy.

Willing to Grow

Luther guides her through the shock of learning the truth of who she is. She regains her spunk. Georgie wants to grow. Her willingness enables an open and fertile mind, and nurtures her into who she is meant to be.

Georgie sets aside disbelief and skepticism, whether wholeheartedly or temporarily. This allows her to clearly grasp and excel in lesson after lesson, develop new abilities, and save a friend from certain doom.


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], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

Relax and Do Nothing

Recently I was hit with the need to relax and do nothing in an effort to relieve stress and make way for healing (shingles, for crying out loud). I don’t know about you, but being told to do nothing seemed like a dream. But it turns out that to do nothing is harder than you might think—or better put, and speaking only for myself, to relax and do nothing without guilt can be dauntingly difficult. Nagging thoughts of things wanting done crowd the mind like uninvited guests.

 

Relax and Do Nothing Copper Wire  Key Tying

Relax and Do Nothing Copper Wire Key Tying

Though not exactly doing nothing, I’ve found binge-watching can be quite relaxing. Bonus: a writer-mentor friend  assures me it is excellent self-care.

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

I particularly liked BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge. Unfortunately, Netflix currently has only one season. Fortunately there were 16 episodes! I started assessing my own home for interior design possibilities, which was not part of the intended relax and do nothing protocol. Of course, this morphed into things I could do while watching TV from the couch, like tying keys together with copper wire and painting a yard art frog in glow-in-the-dark greens—which were both relaxing. (The doctor said specifically to relax without guilt.) Naturally, I have also gone for yoga, meditation, reading, and naps. Social media and news fasts have made way for recommended holistic, dietary and supplement data gathering jags. Meet my new friend, lemon balm tea.

I am now sneaking up on getting back to work, hence this post. So here’s me working part time between my relaxation breaks. Until next time, or as they say around these here parts, hasta entonces.

Tanya


New fiction 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], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Face to Face

ComFace to Faceing Face to Face with Your(My)self

You may not expect to come face to face with yourself when writing fiction. After all, it is fiction. Though some writers may not come face to face with themselves, I’ve come to learn many do, and I’m one.

What do I mean by coming face to face with yourself? It starts out with random distraction, thoughts, emotions, and more distraction. Then, if you’re willing to see, clarity dawns. Clarity—what’s bad about that, you might ask? Oh, nothing. It’s all good. Clarity brought me face to face with the nebulous but just as real things like:

  • How easily distracted I can be, especially, but not exclusively, with the eyes of a house dobby. (Look, therHouse Dobby Edited from Public Domain Photoe’s dust! What’s dust doing in wind-blown New Mexico? I just dusted yesterday. Look, a shiny thing! Must investigate. Should I do the laundry?)
  • (Let’s call it) the flexibility continuum of my self-confidence. (What made me think I could switch from writing network security plans in governmentese to novels in real English? Who are Shrunk and White, again? )
  • The naked truth of being worthy, or not to (do this writing thing, have the freedom to explore writing, or leave the security (pun intended) of my previous career?).
  • Resistance. Yep, it’s a thing, even if you want to write and you like it. Seriously, there are books about it, like The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

And the inevitable reactions of the above when coming face to face with reality:

  • What do they mean, writing is only 10% of getting a book published!?! What’s a platform?
  • Editing is intense. Then there’s more editing. And more, more, more. (Must be time to put the medium colors in the washer. Where’s my sock? Maybe Super Spouse will pick something up for dinner.)

The Really Good News

The good news is that there are others—writers, artists, and compassionate other humans with clear intuition, empathy and intellect. I may not remember this during week three or so of not having left the office/house. Then, as if my good fairy has waved her magic wand, a text, email, call, or my spousal unit will remind me. Then, I again come face to face with who I am, why I am doing this, and that I love it.


New fiction 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], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Search Is On

Search Is On!

The Search Is On!

The search is on for the right agent and publisher to bring young Georgie Jones, her mentor Luther Andersen, and their friends and family to the world!

Search Is On!

On behalf of Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel (as in lighthouse), I am shining my light through query letters and submissions to connect with that person and team whose own search is on for us.

I’ve learned that authors are encouraged to find the “right fit” in a prospective agent and publisher. The “right fit” applies primarily to the type of book.

Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is a YA contemporary fiction novel. The characters live in our everyday world where weird family stuff happens, people brush their teeth anyway, and kids go to school the next morning. Georgie’s confidence is eroded by the weird family stuff, but works to regain her mojo and comes into her own power as the story unfolds.

Yet, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is also a YA fantasy in which another reality within this one is revealed to a shocked Georgie. It is secret world where people do things, well, let’s just say, more and differently.

If your search is on for a self-help book, keep looking. Even so, Luther’s wisdom kindly guides Georgie and the others through life’s travails, and may very well apply to yours too. Metaphysicians will identify with natural laws, training sessions, and analyze Georgie’s dreams. You’ll look forward to every insight shared by Luther, particularly his private reflections.

Romance readers, cool your hot tub jets. Any romance you find will be of the budding variety. (Stay tuned for Book 2. 😉 )

Readers whose own search is on for stories beyond the dark, apocalyptic worlds they’ve grown weary of will breathe fresh air in the pages of Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. Don’t get me wrong, Georgie’s no powder puff. You’ll roll with unique action and adventure, and find yourselves rooting for Georgie and her friends in Mystic Creek—especially during a daring rescue mission!

How exciting it will be to find the agent, a real human, a person who will shepherd Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel, Luther, Georgie and all the rest into published being. Here’s to a fruitful search. The search is on!


New fiction 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], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.