Category Archives: Videos

eugene oregon writer

Weekly writing update – Oct. 13, 2017: Progress is progress

Well, I got stuff done this past week. Was it enough? Who knows. It was something, though, and that really is better than nothing.

I always want to do more than is reasonable to accomplish. Sometimes I can. And other times I have to settle for mere-human amounts of productivity. Given that I’ve published five books in the last 17 months, while working part-time and building an intuitive mediumship business, I should probably give myself a break.

Here’s this week’s writing update video:

Writing accomplishments

  • I finished the first draft of Signs from Spirit, which felt really good. It’s not super long. about 3,500 words and 12 pages. It’ll be my “mailing list magnet” – the thing I offer to readers as an incentive to sign up for my Alight Intuition mailing list (other than the obvious pleasure of hearing from me once a month).
  • I did the first interview for Led by Light, Book 3, with Ker Cleary from BlueStar Channeling. We had a nice long chat about all things related to starting and running your own woo-woo practice (she does channeling work, as you might be able to tell from her business name) and I took copious notes. Over the next few months, I plan to interview at least a dozen or so people in fields similar to mine, such as channelers, mediums, medical intuitives, etc., to get a good understanding of the issues people face when moving into professional practice in this work.
  • I fiddled with ad keywords for Led by Light, Book 2 on Amazon advertising. My ad was approved, as expected, and so I added a bunch of keywords. I checked on it today and it seems to be performing well, resulting in at least a handful of sales at a fairly low cost.
  • I researched print book pricing and decided I don’t need to bother about changing things. When I first started publishing, I priced all my books $x.99. Then, right before publishing Led by Light, Book 2, I noticed that a lot of print books are priced $x.95. Worried I’d been doing it wrong all along, I priced Led by Light, Book 2, $17.95, and thought I’d need to change the rest of my book to that pricing structure.
    After poking around on the interwebs and looking at my whole library of mind-body-spirit books, I realized there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for the pricing and I’m going to leave it how it is and not worry about it. While there is a certain part of me that wants everything lined up just so, I don’t think there’s any real payoff for changing things at this point.
  • I gave up on kindle coloring book idea (thanks, Amazon). Amazon rejected my coloring book in kindle format. When I wrote to them explaining how the coloring book can be used solely as an ebook, they decided to stick with their previous decision (of rejection). And I decided not to fight it and give up on the idea. Coloring books seem to be mostly dead at this point and, while I like my coloring book, I’m not sure it’s worth the energy of promoting it if it’s something that’s just not selling in the marketplace.
    I’d been toying with the idea of turning my Spiritual Symbols Dictionary into an ebook also, but I don’t think I’ll bother. It’ll be a lot of work on the back end to make it format well as an EPUB and MOBI file and, while you can add notes to an ebook, I think it’d be confusing and the benefit of being able to run Amazon ads on it isn’t really worth it. Especially if Amazon will reject it, too.
    Maybe I’ll revisit it at a later date, but I’m going to drop it for now.
  • I looked into recording meditations to go along with Led by Light books. One of my students who’s reading Led by Light, Book 2, told me she can hear me talking in her head, narrating the book as she reads it. And that she’d love a chakra opening meditation to go along with the book.
    I know I’ve recorded meditations during classes (I conveniently use my own book as reading/learning material in my mediumship classes), but I haven’t pulled them out of the overall class recording, nor will the quality be that great.
    But recording them fresh and doing it professionally shouldn’t be too hard. So I pondered that a bit this week and pulled out all the content from my two books that could be turned into recorded meditations.
    However, this isn’t on my priority list right now, and I need to be careful where I put my energy and not ignore some of the practical business-y things I need to do in favor of things that take my fancy, while also doing the work I have the energy and passion to do. It’s a balance and a dance.

This seems like a decently impressive amount of work for one week, especially given that kids didn’t have school yesterday or today and I’ve been a bit under the weather with whatever germs the darling monkeys have shared with me. Plus I’ve been dealing with various non-work stress (writing a personal injury demand letter from an accident I was in 18 months ago, getting one kid set up with a 504 plan at school to support his success while he deals with ADHD and anxiety, trying to convince my husband that we really should get a dog, and the usual fullness of life with kids and other people).

So, yay me! I celebrate me.

Writing plans for the week

  • Edit Signs from Spirit and figure out how to make it look pretty. I don’t think Signs from Spirit needs rounds and rounds of editing. But it needs some, and I’d also like to make it look pretty. It looks like the inside of a book right now, rather than a pretty PDF.
  • Get Facebook ads set up for various books and get over my terror of them. I don’t know why it feels hard and scary to set up ads for my books on Facebook. I’m worried I’ll do it wrong somehow. But I know I can start small and figure it out as I go. I’m just a bit chicken about it and so I’ve been putting it off (and doing things like pondering making meditation CDs). So I need to just move through my uncertainty, figure out what it is that I feel stuck on and try some things.
  • Fix the typos in the Symbol Dictionary Workbook and Led by Light, Book 2 formatting errors. I taught Spoon Bending at my recent mediumship development circle on Wednesday and immediately caught a formatting error: the chapter started on the verso (left) side of the page rather than the recto (right) side. (FYI, I just had to look up which one was which as I wanted to use the proper terminology and also use it correctly.) Oops! Fortunately, it was only that chapter and the Appendix. I’m not sure how that slipped by me as I knew it was an issue when I was formatting the book for print and thought I’d found and fixed all of them. *le sigh* So I’ve fixed it, along with a typo in the Spiritual Symbols Workbook and need to upload the fixed files to Create Space and Ingram Spark. I dislike these fiddly bits.
  • Set up more interview for Led by Light, Book 3. I’d love to do one a week and keep moving forward with the research for this book, so I can begin writing it next year and publish it by next summer/fall. But that means organizing myself and reaching out to people. I do enjoy getting to know people and networking with my woo-woo community. It makes us all stronger and gives me people I can refer to as needed, which is great.
writing update 10-6-17

Weekly writing update – Oct. 6, 2017: picking myself up after a fall

Since July, I’ve been making (almost) weekly videos about what’s going on in my writing life. I have no idea why I decided to do this. I think to keep me honest and give me accountability.

Every week, I tell the world (or whoever’s willing to watch) what I have and haven’t done. I like talking, so this is fairly easy for me. Easier than figuring out what to write about on this blog, apparently.

Today, it occurred to me to write a quick blog post to go along with the video where I can link to resources or explain things in a way I can’t do in a few minutes of video. I’m trying to keep them under 5 minutes, so I can’t ramble on too much.

Demystifying independent publishing

There’s another aspect of why I want to do this. I want to demystify writing and publishing. Right now, I’m independently publishing my books, mostly non-fiction about mediumship development. I’ve been doing this since summer 2016 and have learned a lot. And there’s still a lot to learn. I want to share that knowledge with other people, as well as the frustration and triumphs. This is a lonely road to walk alone. We’re better off on it together.

I also have every intention of finding a literary agent whose a great fit with me and signing a fabulous deal with a traditional publisher at some point. I want to demystify that process, too. I think we need more openness in writing and publishing.

I realize this isn’t going to appeal to a lot of folks. And that’s OK. If you want to read about actual mediumship development, hop over to my other website, Alight Intuition, which has that information and videos about mediumship, intuition, meditation and all things woo-woo. I’m all about helping people trust themselves and their connection with Spirit over there. 🙂

This site is about me as a writer and helping other writers.

Actual writing accomplishments

Therefore, here are this past week’s writing accomplishments:

  • I went to the mid-valley Willamette Writer’s monthly meeting last night where Roseanne Parry talked about navigating the retail side of the book business, i.e. getting your book into bookstores.  It was useful and affirming in that I’m already doing some of the right things (yay!), like having IngramSpark as a POD distributor for my books (in addition to Create Space for Amazon).
  • I worked on a new ebook called Signs from Spirit: How to know if what you’re experiencing is real, or if you’ve just gone off your rocker. When it’s finished, it’ll be the giveaway I use when people join my Alight Intuition mailing list. Currently, they get a few pages of my coloring book as a PDF that they can print, which is kinda lame. I don’t think anyone is joining my list for the giveaway. But I’d like to grow my mailing list to people beyond clients, students and people who attend my events.
  • I started setting up interviews (OK, just one) for my next book in the Led by Light mediumship development series. That book will be about becoming a practicing medium or intuitive and I want to talk to current practitioners to get their take on what they wished they knew or were glad they knew when they first started out. I know what my experience was like, but I want to get feedback from others in the same and similar professions to make sure that I’m touching on the right information for new practitioners. Working with Spirit (and people) is great and wonderful — and there are pitfalls and bumpy bits.
  • I got some fiddly bits done: I finally fixed an embarrassing typo in my Intuitive Symbols Coloring book. (I spelled meditative coloring mediative coloring.) It turns out I do that all the time. And mediative is a word, so spell check didn’t catch it.
  • I’m also working on turning the coloring book into an ebook. This was suggested to me at one of the sessions I attended at the Willamette Writer’s annual conference in August. I’m not sure if it’s going to actually work, but I’m giving it a try. Having it as an ebook will allow me to run ads for it on Amazon, which I can’t if it’s not available on kindle. So we’ll see.
  • I got advertising set up on Amazon for Led by Light, book 2. It’s a cost-effective way to sell more books, or at least it has been for book 1. Once the ad is approved, I need to add and fiddle with keywords.

Writing plans for the next week

  • I have potentially more fiddling to do – around book pricing this time. When I first priced my books, I made everything $x.99, both ebook and print. But then I realized a lot of print books are $x.95 and ebooks are $x.99. So I made Led by Light, book 2, $17.95 in print. Which makes me want to change Led by Light, book 1 to $11.95 (rather than $11.99) and the Spiritual Symbols Workbook to $19.95 (rather than $19.99).
    I need to do some more research on this before I both with changing the price associated with the ISBN, getting a new barcode, changing the cover file, uploading the new cover to IngramSpark and Create Space, changing the price in both Ingram and Create Space. (I’m tired just writing about it.)
  • I also need to fix a typo in the Spiritual Symbols Workbook. I spelled an author’s name wrong in my acknowledgments/resources section. She pointed it out to me. Ouch!
  • I want to finish getting advertising set up for Led by Light book 2 on Amazon and also try out some advertising on Facebook.
  • I want to finish the first draft of the Signs from Spirit ebook. I don’t (or didn’t) expect it to be very long, so in theory it shouldn’t take me long. But…that’s what I said about Led by Light, book 2, and that turned out to be almost 400 pages.

The video

If you prefer to get this info in video, here’s the video. 🙂 Enjoy.

Saying Goodbye

Mum’s memorial service was yesterday morning. It went well. Christopher and I gave the eulogy. Several people did readings. Friends had a chance to speak. I sang Another Star in the Sky, which I wrote when Nanny passed into spirit.

Here’s the eulogy and song.

I’m glad we’re moving through all the things that need to be done, checking each one off. It’s hard, though. I’ve been slowly going through the things in her apartment. We’ll keep some of it, but most of it needs to find a new home.

I sorted through her clothes and shoes and donated them to Womenspace on Friday. She had 42 pairs of shoes — most of which were high heeled sandals. Shame we aren’t the same size. I’m packing up her multitude of books which I think we’ll donate to…oh, it’s name escapes me now…but my mother-in-law-equivalent has that covered. They sell them on ebay and use the funds for the legal services they provide.

I need to post some of the larger items on craigslist: her bedroom furniture, patio furniture, couch, dining room table and chairs. And then have an estate sale, hopefully next weekend.

The kids are doing OK, although are showing signs of regression — like both Duncan and Berry peeing in their beds last night. And Emma woke up with growing pains. There seems to be more frequent breaking down into tears, too. D and B will be going to their Dad’s for two weeks soon, which I think will be a good break for them. They’re looking forward to “Daddy Camp.”

What we’ve been doing for the past month

I think I’ll start every post with: sorry I haven’t been blogging lately! It can be my default disclaimer. Seriously, I barely have time to remember to upload photos into my Picasa gallery, let alone talk about them. Adam does a much better job of posting family news on He does videos, too.

Ballet classes
Duncan and Berry are taking ballet. Choosing their outfits was lots of fun (for them).

Berry wore hers all day.

Berry continues to love ballet and Nanny reports that she smiles widely through the entire class. Duncan…he says he’s getting bored because they do the same thing over and over again. He’s got 8 more weeks of class, though. Last week he seemed to enjoy more, even sporting a few smiles. We’ll see how this week (and the next 7) go. Then he can try soccer or t-ball or something.

He’s got some good dance moves, though, and makes an awfully cute boy ballerina.

Girly ears
The next biggest thing that happened in January is that Berry got her ears pierced. She has a pair of clip on earrings that were just squishing and bruising her ears, yet she insisted on wearing them for the sake of beauty. So I told her when she was ready, she could get her ears pierced and wear real earrings. Within a few weeks, she decided she was ready, so off we went to the mall.

She’s a tough cookie. She said she’d be brave and wouldn’t cry. All she did is blink.

Then we went to the movie theatre, got a giant tub of popcorn and watched Tangled. Both kiddos sat through it perfectly. Within a week, of course, Emma got her ears pierced, too. 😉

I don’t have the rest of January’s photos uploaded yet. They involve Dr. Princess Barbie Berry wrapping me up in bandages, hiking up Spencer’s Butte, doing science with Duncan, dressing up in a bunny suit to tour surgery areas at the hospital, kids hugging each other and watching movies in the basement. You can expect those in another six weeks or so…

Our December adventures

December has been quite an adventure — full of Christmas preparations and excitement.

In early December, we drove out to Grandma Sue’s abandoned Christmas tree farm. Trees were growing wild! After a trek through the beautiful spooky forest, we picked out a tree. First, we had to check out all the woods had to offer, including this stream.

I love getting the kids out in nature. The trees have such a pull for me, that I want them to develop that same connection.

That said, we did bring Adam and a saw to cut one down and take it home…

After wandering for what probably felt like miles, I chose a tree. The kids watched as Adam cut it down.

I don’t seem to have photos of it, but it was huge. We took the top half, plus some branches to make a wreath for the front door. We tied it to the roof of the mini van, while the kids got warm inside — while rocking out to music from Glee — took it home and propped it up in the corner of the dining room.

You can watch the movie of the event here:

Once it was ready to decorate, I had many willing “helpful” hands. We eventually got all of the ornaments on. By all, I mean ALL, regardless of free tree branches to hang them from. What started out as a lovely, fresh tree cut right from the forest turned into a very well decorated, brightly lit Christmas creation.

You can see part of it behind Princess Berry.

A few days, later, Advent presents from Gramma arrived and Duncan and Berry very much enjoyed opening one each morning when they woke up.

I neglected to take a photo every day, but you get the idea.

The Sunday before Christmas, we went to church. So did Santa. Berry seemed very comfortable in his lap.

She wanted some odd combination of robot toys that all worked together. Duncan, however, just wanted a bell from Santa’s sleigh (we’ve read the Polar Express).

I’m not sure what Emma asked for. And the pic is on Adam’s phone. 🙁

I made egg nog, snowball cookies (pictured below) and mini apple pies. All gluten-free and delicious, even if some of the snow balls were more like snow mounds.

Mysterious boxes kept arriving at our door every day. Lots and lots of presents were wrapped from all corners of the globe. On Christmas Eve they made their way down the stairs to the tree. We had to move the table.

And, finally, on Christmas morning, little children work up bright and early to begin unwrapping them. They Skyped with Kevin to unwrap presents from him, Aunt Karen, Uncle Jonny, Gramma and Papa Rog. They Skyped with Uncle Christopher and Arthur to unwrap their presents. They waited for Nanny to arrive so they could unwrap presents with her. And, finally, Emma and Sam arrived home and more presents were unwrapped.

I fell asleep, exhausted, at 2:30 pm while children frolicked and played. Helping Santa is hard.