What I wished I’d known my first time at LeakyCon

Yes, I read through many first-timers tips before attending my first LeakyCon in Denver, 2022. I even attended the Ickle Firsties meetup at the convention. While these were all good and helpful, I felt like several key tidbits of information were left out, and I wished I’d known them.

Tidbit #1: Ribbons are a thing.

Okay, I actually did find out about this really fun trend ahead of time, and came prepared with ribbons. But many first-timers knew nothing about this, I discovered. So here’s the thing: attendees at LeakyCon really love handing out and receiving ribbons to attach to their lanyard, eventually creating a very long trail of ribbons down their front, lol. The fun part is anyone can print these ahead of time (not just the merchants and shops), and you can have anything printed on them: a fun picture like Luna Lovegood’s glasses, or funny quotes from the Harry Potter books or other sayings. One ribbon simply said “Grandpa” and made me laugh. I printed three different colored ribbons with different words to help promote my book and YouTube channel (I am a fantasy author, after all). My quotes were also related to Hogwarts, just as my books are, indirectly (I’ve written a real potions textbook which probably escaped the Restricted Section at Hogwarts…)

Tidbit #2: Bring a water bottle

Even more awesome if you have a Hogwarts water bottle or one in your house colors. Yes I know I live in Colorado, and everyone in Colorado always carries around a water bottle. But I was going to be in a hotel the whole time, and who wants to carry one when they’re cosplaying? (I cosplayed Professor Trelawney.) I discovered that most attendees knew this tidbit and carried water bottles. And that the hotel was sometimes lagging in refilling water coolers in the rooms, and not all the rooms had water. I was so busy running from one session or panel to another, that it was challenging finding time to go look for liquid sustenance. I sat through the Hufflepuff meetup very thirsty. I even tried using my wand, shouting “Aquamenti!” at the water cooler several times, to no avail. The cooler suddenly refilled just as the session ended, though I didn’t see anyone fill it, so maybe my spell decided to work after all.

Tidbit #3: Remember to always carry your wand

Speaking of wands, whether you bring one or buy one there (so many cool wand shops!), be prepared to always have it on you, just like at Hogwarts. There are merchants selling wand sheaths, too. This was one of my favorite things about LeakyCon! Finally being somewhere where it’s normal to always have your wand on you! (I kept forgetting and having to run back to my room again.)

Tidbit #4: You’re on your own for meals

I was used to the writer’s conference where meals are a part of the ticket and everyone eats together. I searched and searched online, but could find no information on meals at LeakyCon. That’s because there is none. Everyone is completely on their own for all meals and snacks. At the hotel in Denver, they offered a breakfast for pay (not included with the room) and there was a pub restaurant for supper. They had wonderful service, but such limited staff at the pub that everyone had to wait 45 minutes to an hour to finally get their food. For lunch, the hotel offered several offerings in the merchants hall, for cash only (see Tidbit #4). There were a few places to eat nearby, but not very many, and I heard attendees complaining at the lack of local options. One couple ordered pizza delivery, and waited at least two hours to get it! (I’m not sure how long because I left to get ready for the Esther Earl Ball.)

Tidbit #5: Cash is king

I ended up having to retrieve cash from the hotel ATM (paying a nice fee) twice. Not only were the lunch foods cash-only, but I needed cash to leave a room tip. And it does help the merchants to pay with cash. Most merchants accepted cards, but you never know who might not. I ended up having to run to the ATM to get cash so I could buy a book from one of the presentor’s. Thank goodness he waited for me while selling and signing books to others. Next time I’ll bring cash for all my shopping.

Tidbit #6: Prepare for some culture shock, especially if alone

If you go with friends you might not deal with this so much, but I often find myself trying out new experiences, countries and groups solo. And just like in the SCA, with larping, and with international travel, I experienced bodily fatigue and feeling “out of it” just from culture shock, especially on the first day. It’s okay, just stay hydrated, try new things, take breaks and power naps if you can, make sure you eat. By the end of the weekend I was adjusted and didn’t want it to end.

Tidbit #7: How to dress for the Esther Earl Ball

One fun thing about LeakyCon’s Saturday night ball is that you can dress however you want. There were people in the same casual or house clothes from the day. Some wore modern ball gowns, some wore medieval gowns like me, and some wore Victorian-era ball gowns. Several cosplayers came right in their cosplay, allowing us to dance with Molly Weasley, Ginny Weasley, a couple of Hagrids, a glowing Patronus, and Bellatrix LeStrange. I found myself wishing I’d done the same. I even almost ran back up to my room to change out of my medieval gown and back into my Trelanwey cosplay. They were giving and having so much fun! But I didn’t. I’ll simply stay in cosplay next time.

Tidbit #8: The sessions are more fun that you think

When I was planning ahead, the panels and sessions only sounded “okay” to me, and I chose just a smattering of them to attend. But when I actually tried them, I discovered they were more fun than I expected. I ended up wishing my broken Time-Turner actually worked so I could attend a couple of them at the same time. Make sure not to miss the Wizard Rock Cafe.

Tidbit #9: Every LeakyCon is a little bit different – plan for the littles

I learned several things about LeakyCon. One is that it is a traveling con, and attendees go to wherever it is being held each year. Two is that each venue and event will be a little bit different. I heard that the one in Dallas has the four house common rooms to relax and hang out in. In Denver one “Quiet Room” was available, but no comfy chairs in there. Also, there wasn’t much for the littles to do in Denver, I noticed. There was a little craft area with two self-directed fun crafts in the merchant’s room, and that was about it. Most of the littles wouldn’t enjoy the sessions. If you’re bringing littles with you, search the panels ahead of time — they might enjoy the cosplay contest — and make a plan of what they might like to do. (I have some awesome creative ideas for sessions I want to present, and if they choose me going forward, we will have some rocking activities which even the littles will go crazy over.)

You will have fun

Everyone is so friendly, the wares so unique, the panels and sessions suprisingly interesting, the cosplay delightful, the Wizard Rock rocks, and the Esther Earl Ball is a blast. No matter what, have fun! I know you will. It turns out that attending LeakyCon is addicting. I’m alread planning on next year. (And FYI, they are going to be expanding to add more fandom things, like elves and dwarves, hobbits, D&D, and more!)


What if the Story Went Like This? (for my Christian friends)

In New York City there was a trans woman named Meredith. She loved God, and gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly – in fact, she felt completely loved and accepted by Him. But she was too afraid to ever go into any church, based on many of her friends’ treatment by Christians.

One day at about three in the afternoon, she had a vision. She distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to her and said, “Meredith!”

Meredith stared in fear. “What is it, Lord?” she asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor and caring for those with AID’s have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now go to Long Island and bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Steve the business man, whose house is by the sea in Montauk.”

When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Meredith gathered her closest friends and consulted with them. They agreed she should listen to the voice of God and go. Meredith was very nervous, because she had heard of “Super pastor” Peter, who had founded several evangelical mega-churches around the U.S. So her closest friend, a gay man named Nick, went with her.

Peter’s Vision

About noon the following day, Pastor Peter went up on the roof balcony to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance while meditating. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds – even unnatural-looking deep sea creatures. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten or done anything impure or unclean. I have always followed the Bible in all things. I guard my heart from temptation. I love the sinner but hate the sin.”

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

While Pastor Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, Meredith arrived at the house and spoke into the gate buzzer, asking if Pastor Peter was staying here.

While the pastor was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, a trans woman and her gay friend is looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

Peter went down and said to them, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

Nick replied, “We have come from New York City. My friend, Meredith, is a God-fearing trans woman, who is respected by everyone in our community. A holy angel told her to ask you to come to her house so that she could hear what you have to say.”

Peter was so surprised, he invited them into the house to be his guests. Luckily his friend Steve and he had recently been having discussions about the LGBTQ+ community, commenting on how they didn’t know anyone from this community themselves. In fact, they knew of no Christian who had any relationships within the LGBTQ+ community – none were found in any churches they knew of, and they had connections with thousands of evangelical churches, large and small.  

Peter at Meredith’s House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Montauk went along. They arrived at Meredith’s house in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Meredith had arranged for many of her friends to come over – almost all of them from the LGBTQ+ community, and a couple of witches were in the group, too.

Some of the Christians would not go in, it was too unnerving, and they were grossed out and felt extremely uncomfortable. They got online and soon all sorts of social media comments and rumors were flying all over the internet, talking about how the pastor must have lost his mind. Or maybe he would go in and tell them about what sinners they are, quote the Bible verses which speak against homosexuality and witchcraft and what evil, unnatural sins those are, and that they have to stop behaving that way immediately if they want to accept the gracious salvation and new life from Christ. Preaching the word while being as loving as possible.

“That must be what he’s doing,” they said. “Because if he now accepts them as they are, all of a sudden, in their sinful lifestyle, he’s turned away from the Bible and must be a heretic, no longer a true Christian. His churches will die.”

Peter entered the house, and Meredith was overcome by the presence of God in him, and fell to the floor. But Peter helped her up. “Stand up,” he said, “I’m just a regular guy, myself. I struggle as much as you do.”

Peter went into the living room and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against the Bible for a Christian to accept or associate with the LGBTQ community or lifestyle, or with pagans and witches. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. I have to admit, I am a bit shocked, myself. This goes against what I’ve always believed the Bible says. May I ask why you sent for me?”

Meredith answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Meredith, God has heard your prayers and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Long Island for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Steve the business man, who lives by the sea in Montauk.’ So I consulted with my friends, then came to find you. Thank you, pastor, for coming. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every community the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to everyone, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”

“We are witnesses of a new life lived within God through Jesus Christ. We teach what he did in his ministry two thousand years ago. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The evangelical Christians who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the homosexual community – and witches, too! For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God, of all things!

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days and teach them more – for no other Christian had ever associated with them.

(inspired by The RobCast episode of 12/7/21: “A Brief Guide to Ecstasy” on Acts 10)


How Salmon Rushdie “Satanic Verses” influenced Game of Thrones

As a writer, I read far and wide. I read so many various types of things (as well as watch many shows and listen to podcasts), that later I might vaguely recall an interesting detail, but not remember exactly where I read or heard it. Writers often read widely, and our creative minds then take disparate elements from everything we’ve experienced in life to create new ideas. Most of the time this is done unconsciously – it’s our funny, creative minds at work.

Salmon Rushdie Satanic Verses

Recently a funny thing happened. I had finally gotten myself into The Satanic Verses enough to keep reading it – I’d tried previously, but had trouble getting used to Salmon Rushdie’s style of writing, which is very good, but very different – he’s extremely loquacious. All of these extra words were forcing me to slow way down while reading his novel, which was an interesting effect and a welcome one. I was struggling to get into it, when I skipped ahead and speed-read a few sections, to try to see if it was worth the extra work. I also happened to be re-watching the Game of Thrones HBO series at the same time. And suddenly my mind started picking up on several similar particular details between the two stories – this was like finding hidden “Easter Eggs.” There are too many of them to be coincidence. Salmon Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was published in 1988. George R R Martin’s A Game of Thrones A Song of Ice and Fire was published twelve years later, in 1996.

A Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice and Fire

I propose my theory that George R R Martin read and was influenced by Salmon Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, in his writing of A Game of Thrones book series, albeit unconsciously. This is a guess on my part, my opinion, I have no idea which books George R R Martin has read. The Satanic Verses is not listed as one of George R R Martin’s favorites or recommendations. But I will go over the various detailed similarities I found in Salmon Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, some of which are very strong, some general or a real stretch, and let’s see what you think. When put all together, I think it makes a strong case. I’ve googled this, and no one else seems to have picked up on it. (Maybe it’s all in my mind…)

Game of Thrones Design

I found twenty correspondences between the two very-long stories:

  1. In overall story design, we have the similarity of both stories taking us all over the world to various cultures. In The Satanic Verses we go from the icy and snowstorm peak of Mt. Everest, to the ancient villages of the Arabian desert, to the busy metropolitan cities of London, Bombay and New York. In GoT it is all set in the same time period, but we go from the frozen north wastes beyond the Wall to the Arabian and Egyptian-like culture and cities in the far deserts to the east, to the busy, dirty, metropolitan cities on various continents.
  2. In both stories we have, right from the very beginning, characters dying or being killed regularly throughout the story in dramatic ways. More so in A Game of Thrones.
  3. In The Satanic Verses, in the sections about the ancient city of Jahilia (Parts II and VI), there is strong female character, Hind. She is a strong and beautiful, a seeming ever-vibrant queen-like figure (the Grandee’s wife, and generally the real power behind the Grandee, who rules the city), living in her high, majestic palace overlooking the city of Jahilia. Just like Cersei Lanister, who is actually a queen.
  4. Hind’s heraldic sigil is a red lion.
  5. When Hind’s husband describes his marriage, he says “We are a good pair, ice and fire. Her family shield, the fabled red lion, the many-toothed manticore…” [Italics mine] Of course, in Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire the story refers to Daenerys Targaryen and John Snow as the pair of ice and fire – the love interest. And Cersei Lanister’s sigil is a golden lion on a red background. But there are several other comparisons between these two interesting ladies, Hind and Cersei, as you’ll see next.
  6. Incidentally, the name “Circe” is mentioned in The Satanic Verses twice, referring to the ancient Greek tale of Circe the powerful enchantress, who turned a group of men into pigs.
  7. With Hind it is well-known (by her husband and the entire city) that she sleeps around with many men, especially younger men, even though she is married. Sexually scandalous, like Cersei.
  8. In The Satanic Verses, there is a religious temple which is Hind’s symbol of power, she is associated with it (a temple to a goddess and other deities). In one scene in Part IV, near the end of her story, Hind watches from a tall tower in her luxurious palace as this temple is destroyed by her enemies – signaling the end of her power and influence. In A Game of Thrones, also near the end of her story, Cersei stands in a high tower in her luxurious palace watching the destruction of the large city temple, destroyed by her own nefarious plans, because the temple power was threatening her own and had become her enemy. In this case the destruction of the temple was victory for the queen, not her defeat.
  9. When Hind realizes her power is over, she realizes “I may not be able to reverse the flow of history, but revenge, at least, is sweet.” She puts all her focus on revenge. Cersei is known to do the same – always after revenge, especially after she loses her three children.
  10. Near the end of the entire story, as he is becoming unhinged, Gibreel with his powerful magic trumpet Azraeel, causes great destruction with fire in the city – setting fire wantonly to buildings, things, people. Daenerys does the same with her powerful dragons – this is a turning point, the moment where she starts to become unhinged inside.
  11. Gibreel, one of the main characters, develops a god-complex more and more, becoming mentally unstable near the end, believing he really is the arch-angel Gabriel, doing God’s bidding. Daenarys suffers a similar inner journey, believing only she knows what is truly good and right – she starts developing a god-like complex and is just starting to become mentally unhinged at the end of her story. Both characters die at the end (yes, I know the game of thrones HBO series departed from the books actually written by George R R Martin in their later seasons).
  12. From The Satanic Verses, Part II: “Hamza, understanding that the night will be full of terrors…” Sound familiar? From Game of Thrones HBO series (and in the books I presume): “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”
  13. In the Arabian city of Jahilia, there is a festival night where everyone wears masks. Some young men take this opportunity to attack and kill their enemies while masked. In Game of Thrones, in the Arabian and Egyptian-style city of Mereen, wealthy young men form a group of assassins who wear masks to attack and kill their enemies.
  14. In Part V of The Satanic Verses, the word “imp” is repeated many times, especially by the character Sisodia, who stutters (which stutter Salmon Rushdie uses for his own diabolic purposes – brilliant!).
  15. There is a whole section in Part VI of The Satanic Verses which is all about a brothel and the whores who live there. There are many scenes in A Game of Thrones novel series set in and around brothels and whores.
  16. The female brothel-keeper in Salmon Rushdie’s Satanic Verses hides behind a black curtain. It is revealed that she is an imp – only three feet tall. GoT has a very famous imp main character, we all love him! By contrast, Tyrion Lanister doesn’t hide, but is in prominent circles, in the public’s eye by the end of his story – although he begins by spending most of his time in the brothels!
  17. In Part III of The Satanic Verses, we meet a female character who is “six feet tall, straight-backed, her hair hacked short as any man’s…” Just like Brienne of Tarth in GoT! Only in the first instance, Rushdie’s character is an old lady with this description, well past her youth of striking beauty. Brienne of Tarth is in the prime of her life – beautiful and powerful and tall.
  18. In Rushdie’s novel, there is a beautiful young lady with ice-white hair, who is often referred to as the “ice queen.” Of course, Daenarys Targaryen also has ice-white hair, and is also referred to as the ice queen – both for sometimes the same reason, that they are ice-cold towards men.
  19. These last two are a little bit of a stretch, but still. In The Satanic Verses a main character is called “Mahound.” Similar to “The Hound.”
  20. Here’s for a real stretch. In Gibreel’s angelic POV, he seems to be above the world sometimes, when he dreams, seeing things from an angel’s POV. Similarly, in the opening credit scene of Game of Thrones HBO series, we are looking through a POV of someone high above, looking at the world below, peering through and adjusting an eyeglass, etc. Like from an angel’s POV, above everything, seeing everything.

George R R Martin Homepage

Of course I don’t see anything to prove this on George R R Martin’s homepage, in the Game of Thrones HBO series, watching the game of thrones online or reading George R R Martin’s books (of which I’ve only read Game of Thrones A Song of Ice and Fire so far). My own creative mind just happened to make these connections this past summer. Funny how our minds work…

You can Watch the Game of Thrones Online

or on TV and also read Salmon Rushdie Satanic Verses. Can you spot these and maybe more hidden Easter Eggs? What do you think – are there enough clues here to make my theory seem plausible? Or is this all nonsense and am I totally full of it? Leave your comments below – I’m genuinely curious.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why I love FlyLady and the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule (for someone who doesn’t clean)

If you’re anything like me, housecleaning is on the bottom of your list, if on your list at all. Like, there are so many more interesting things I’d rather be doing, like starting a new knitting or craft project, working on my writing, reading a good book, playing my computer game, watching an awesome TV show, going on a bike ride or hike or taking a catnap.

But I also want a clean house. It doesn’t have to be spotless, the lived-in look is fine, but I want it to be generally clean on a regular basis. I just don’t want to do it myself. And I don’t always have the income to hire a cleaning lady (even when I do, I can only pay for her to come once a month – what about the other 29 days?)

Why I Love FlyLady

Over the years of having, raising, and sometimes homeschooling four kids close in age, I’ve tried various cleaning ideas and methods. I’ve even done about half of the method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maria Kundo. That one was fun but very intense – both in time and energy. And later I wished I hadn’t gotten rid of some specific things. But it was nice to do it as a one-time thing, purging a lot of my stuff and getting rid of most of my paper files and clutter.

For me, the FlyLady system has proven the best, the easiest and the most effective, even when I haven’t done it consistently. (By the way, FlyLady does not have an affiliate program and I’m not getting anything for this review – I just love it so much.)

Why does it work so well?

  • Marla Ciley, who started FlyLady, knows exactly our struggles with clutter, lack of motivation, distractedness, it-never-quite-gets-done mindset. She’s been through it and devised ingenious methods for getting the house decluttered and clean anyway. All while learning to love ourselves, to think more positively, to take care of all parts of ourselves and our families, etc.
  • The FlyLady system is built on learning one small habit at a time. You start with the simple task of shining your kitchen sink every morning. With FlyLady’s 31 Babysteps, anyone can learn these easy, daily habits, slowly building up a lifestyle of organization and cleaning which makes it seem as if your house is cleaning itself. These habits are easy, simple and quick to implement.
  • Marla understands behavior patterns, and her system sends you emails throughout the day to encourage, remind and enable you to succeed.
  • If you mess up, stop doing it for a while, or miss a few days, it’s no problem, you can just jump right back in (and forgive yourself while you’re at it).

What is the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule?

The FlyLady system is wonderful, but it can be a little overwhelming to understand, navigate and implement – not because her website doesn’t have all the information (it does, loads of info – everything you need), but because there are so many layers to her program that it’s hard to get the big picture of it all. I highly recommend a delightful novel written with the character implementing the program and changing her life through the process. This book is a keeper: Hidden Treasures by Paddi Newlin, found on Amazon.com. FlyLady also has a recommended book, which I haven’t yet read, called Sink Reflections by Marla Ciley (found on Amazon.com and on FlyLady’s FlyShop).Many readers have said that they like this, her original book, better than her more recent one, The C.H.A.O.S. Cure. From what I’ve rea, they’re both similar enough I would just get one.

For your reference, here is the Big Picture of the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule:

  1. Start with learning The 31 BabySteps. (Just this alone will transform your home and life.) This will be your first month.
  2. Once you finish the 31 BabySteps, jump into where everyone is in the daily emails. Add the Weekly Home Blessing Hour.
  3. Then add the Habit of the Month. I don’t know about you, but having checklists and goals like this is fun.
  4. Next, start tackling the Zones. The emails will instruct which zone you are in each week, and the specific tasks to do each day for that zone.
  5. Last, enjoy all the extras in the daily emails, including testimonials, “Afternoon Tea” live video sessions with FlyLady, the latest deals in her FlyShop, etc.

Note: FlyLady now has a new FlyLady Express option, where you can get her many daily emails sent in one concise email a day. This option costs $4.99/mo, however, because of the time it takes her to pull these together every day. But she firmly believes in her method of us getting emails throughout the day for reinforcement, encouragement and reminders. I find that when I’m actively doing the FlyLady system, the many emails don’t bother me too much – I simply read the ones that peak my interest, and delete the rest.

FlyLady Pairs Perfectly with Norwex

I’ll put a plug in here because I so strongly love these products, I became a consultant to get these awesome cleaning aids at a discount. Norwex has simple, green cleaning solutions for every part of your home and body. Their Envirocloth and body cloths are made with silver, so they do not get mildewy. When you rub it against itself, it kills 99% of all germs. This means you can actually clean your house with a Norwex Envirocloth and hot water – no need for toxic or any other cleaning agents.

Yes, you read that right. All you need is your Norwex Envirocloth and hot water. Talk about ease and simplicity, as well as being green for the Earth. I’ve found that the tight weave of the Envirocloth picks up and cleans my kitchen counters SO much better than my kitchen cloths I was using. This tightly-woven silver-infused cloth also works great as a Body Cloth, which exfoliates and cleans your skin and face, as well as removing makeup. Good-bye, make-up wipes!

Check out these incredible products here.

Helpful Links & Ideas for the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule

Because I like games and tactile motivators, I came up with a Mancala FlyLady BabySteps Game:

  1. Use a standard Mancala board, but have all different color stones (any kind of stone, real or glass, or beads, etc.)
  2. For each BabyStep, I choose a particular stone to represent that task; IE., I chose white for “Shine your kitchen sink” because my kitchen sink is white. Each day when I complete this new habit, I move that stone along in the mancala board. I do this with each of the 31 BabySteps as applicable (some of them are one-time tasks). I include the longer depression on the end of the board when moving the stones around the board.
  3. Each day I move a stone and remember what I’m supposed to do (Hot Spot for 2 mins; Check my Control Journal, etc.).
  4. It’s fun, and the idea is that by the time each stone starts collecting in the starting depression, it means I’m doing that task as a daily habit. The starting depression should fill up as I near the end of the 31 Babysteps. (And I can have a stone keep going around if I still need the reminder.)

Another Tip: FlyLady has you build (or you can buy) a Control Journal, your central notebook to organize your life and home. You can make it completely from scratch, but I fell in love with this Etsy shop’s PDF version of the FlyLady Control Journal Template. When I asked, she even made me a 31 BabyStep Checklist, too. Etsy.com is a great resource for your Control Journal.

Helpful Links for getting started with FlyLady:

If you want a clean house, but don’t like to clean, this is for you.

I’m only into the 31 BabySteps by about a week, but already my home is looking cleaner and more feng shui. Granted, I didn’t have a huge cluttered mess to begin with, and the FlyLady system works miracles for those starting out with such a challenge. In my house, having several small spaces decluttered and my house already a little cleaner is blessing me in so many ways, who would have thought?

Comment below if you have used and/or like the FlyLady system, and also comment below if you’d like me to get you a discount to Norwex products on my site. I will see what I can do for you. 🙂Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Let me Define Larping – and its Unexpeced Blessings

Besides wanting to define larping here with its interesting and unexpected blessings, I’ll share with you some larping costumes I’ve worn.

Define Larping

Larping means Live Action Role Play. It’s like playing D&D or another tabletop role-play game, only instead of sitting around a table rolling dice to see if you’ve picked the lock, we’re actually out in nature and have to literally pick a lock with lock picks. It’s like an adventure computer game, similar to Skyrim, for example, only instead of sitting home watching a screen, we’re actually running around in the real weather in the woods, joining guilds, going on quests, exploring crypts and dungeons, dealing with politics with the nobility, and fighting large battles while also handling all kinds of weather and conditioning our bodies with trekking through hill and dale and dealing with snow, rain, cold or heat.

In other words, it’s like feeling totally alive and living every moment.

It’s like a survival challenge in a made-up world. Survival in a medieval fantasy setting with elves, dwarves, wizards and fae, or in a post-apocalyptic setting with zombies, Raiders, mutated monsters and human factions, or in an Urban Fantasy setting with werewolves and vampires, or in a…well, you get the idea.

What is larping really like?

Until you actually try it, it’s difficult to convey what it’s really like, but I’ll try. Do you remember playing make-believe when you were a kid? It’s like that, only with adults who know how to craft the most amazing costumes, make-up and accessories with real-looking foam boffer weapons of all kinds.

Does the crypt really look like a crypt? No, it is actually a girl scout cabin on the site we rented for the weekend (one weekend a month, with a few months off in winter). There’s a Marshal there, running this particular quest, and they describe what we “see” before we start this adventure:

“Going down the dark stairs you come into a crypt, with dust and cobwebs everywhere, sarcophagi along the walls…”

There are some decorations in the cabin to make it look cool, like maybe some LED candles or medieval-style torches, with a treasure chest in one spot (which may be trapped), some coins in a golden bowl in another area, etc.

You will be amazed at what the human imagination can do. When we’re in the moment, playing our character, and an NPC monster is coming at us with swords, it really feels like we’re adventuring in a deep, dark crypt and fighting for our lives. Your adrenaline kicks in, you go into fight or flight mode, and the magic happens.

What is an NPC?

Anyone familiar with computer gaming know that an NPC is a “non-player character.” Basically these are the people and creatures you meet when you’re playing the game, be they local townspeople, or the giant rat attacking you or the undead swarming the night. Or the newly-turned vampire hunting for blood in the woods near your path to your cabin. Or the barbarian tribe we have to negotiate peace treaties with. Or the fae queen trying to lure you into following her into the forest…

In larping, we have volunteers play the many varied NPCs. In my own local Alliance Denver Larp I play in, when a person chooses to NPC for a whole weekend, they get to go for free, with meals and lodging provided. The costumes and make-up are also provided, and as an NPC one weekend I got to play a drunken towns person in the tavern, a funny, friendly goblin, a newly-turned vampire out for blood, and a shambling zombie going right through enemy lines. It was so much fun.

Speaking of cost

So if you NPC all weekend, your event is free AND you’re rewarded with points and such which will later help you with your character development, AND with our local chapter, for every five events you NPC full-time, you get a FREE Player Character (PC) weekend event.

When you’re not NPCing, you’re playing your main character, called your PC (Player Character). To attend my local Alliance event as a PC, it costs anywhere from $50-$80 for lodging and the event itself, then another $20-$25 or so for meals (three meals provided over the weekend). My annual membership is $30. First-time players usually get a free or deeply discounted weekend event, just to try it out.

I could go real cheap by tent camping, which costs less, and bringing my own food. But with tent camping, for my character, not only is it much more work, but I’m never safe because I can’t ward it against monsters, so I could be attacked at any time in the night. If I’m by myself in my tent, my chances of survival are not high. So I opt to pay the extra $20-$30 to stay in a cabin with other adventurers. This way someone is usually able to ward the cabin (a magical protection which most monsters cannot enter), or even if we are attacked, there are plenty of others in there and we can fight together.

With the food,  by opting for the meal plan for an extra $20 or so, I don’t have to pack and bring coolers, cooking tools and food. I can simply go to the tavern at the set times and enjoy a hot, home-cooked meal.

So for a full weekend event, it usually costs me around $70-$85, depending on the site, meal plan, and particular costs. Our chapter generally hosts one weekend event a month, taking 1-3 months off in the winter. There are several larps here in Colorado, and one of the medieval fantasy types, called Nero, larps all year long (yes, that means in the snowy mountains, sleeping in cabins with no heat, unless they bring their own propane heaters).

Larping’s Unexpected Blessings

  • When I first started larping, it was partly because I didn’t have the time to fully participate in the medieval re-enactment society (SCA), my first love. With the SCA, to really become a part of the community, you have to attend every event and activity (like weekly fighter’s practice and baronial meetings, guild meetings and weekend events) in order to get to know people and get the most out of the experience. I just didn’t have the time while I was running a couple of businesses and parenting four teenagers. With larping, you make friends immediately in the survival environment and going to an event once a month is enough.
  • At the time, my business was dying and I was under an incredible amount of stress – as in not sleeping at night and trying not to have a nervous break-down. I couldn’t get out from under the pressure, couldn’t get my mind to stop thinking about it for a moment. Larping is so immersive, it was the one place where I could actually forget my troubles and do something completely different, a true escape, pushing my body’s limits and recharging my emotional creativity. I could be someone else for a weekend, a leafy dryad having medieval adventures. It was a life-saver for me when I most needed it.
  • I really want to travel the world, and am working toward that goal. Until I am doing that regularly, larping is a way to travel to a different “dimension,” with some of the same benefits of globe-trotting – being in a completely new culture and environment, dealing with challenges, experiencing new things, meeting new people, creating amazing memories.
  • A truly unexpected blessing I’ve noticed: I’ve interacted with a couple of people who have a physical deformity. In our modern youth-loving beauty culture, they’re usually seen as defective and different, and I imagine they’re treated differently, even if they’re just stared at. But in the larp culture, these players can play an interesting character and whatever their physical “weakness” is in the modern world, works perfectly in the fantasy world, enhancing it, in fact. These adventurers are seen and treated the same as everybody else – they are simply another adventurer with a war wound, perhaps, or a mutation caused by the bombing and radiation after the government tried to eradicate all the zombies. Or maybe it’s a trait they were born with, being part tree (or part elf, or part hippogriff, etc.). We’re all the same, just trying to survive in this new world.

I’ve included several photos of me in my various larping costumes – I mostly do Alliance Larp, Denver chapter, which is high fantasy (like LOTR and Narnia). But I also like to play Dystopia Rising when I can (post-apocalyptic zombie world).

Comment below your reactions and if you’d like to learn more about larping – I’ve been enjoying it tremendously these last three years and am willing to answer any of your questions (and continue to write endlenssly about it).Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Latest Update on Being a Writer: My Writing Projects

What’s going on with my current writing projects? Here’s my ongoing updates:

Encyclopedeia Magica: Vol.1 – AlchemyEncyclopedeia Magica Volume 1 Alchemy

  • Quite a while ago: Asked Spirit for inspiration for my own unique novel idea – received it as I awoke next morning.
  • Over a few years: Worked on my novel in starts and stops. I was also running two business startups and parenting four teenagers. Biggest struggle – finding the time and discipline to write consistently.
  • More recently: Feb – GalaxyFest in Colorado Springs, where I attended a writer’s workshop and met full-time author Susan Lambdin. She became so excited over my novel idea (pun intended) that she offered to write the back cover blurb. Her enthusiasm acted as a catalyst and I started working seriously on my novel. Joined a local writer’s group, started participating in NaNoWriMo events, etc.
  • April – Attended BarCon at Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference. Met and got to pitch to my very first agent: Natalie Lakosil with Bradford Literary Agency in CA. She immediately got the vision and asked for the full ms – even though I wasn’t finished with it yet. This was a miracle.
  • June – several revisions later, I finally finished my novel! After several rejections, I landed Natalie Lakosil as my agent in August. Honing it back and forth with her until we got it perfect. It’s a multi-layered never-been-done-before book.
  • Natalie had the brilliant idea of separating the three components of my novel (novel, potions textbook encyclopedeia, and puzzle workbook). I’d written it all together. Once separated, we were able to work on each separate part, making them perfect. Then we re-combined them and finished the story!

Other Top Secret Writing Projects

  • 2018: Playing around with several new novel series – shhh.
  • 2018: Attended a Pike’s Peak Writers Workshop on Freelance Writing. After that I landed my first freelance client, and have been ghost-writing her four-book fantasy series. It’s amazing to be paid to write novels! Finished Book 1 by Christmas.
  • 2019: Finished ghost-writing Book 2 by end of May.


  • 2018: Needing income after closing my businesses and saddled with business debt, I started learning how to do affiliate marketing with the Wealthy Affiliate platform. Such a great community with lots of classes, training, tools and help from a friendly people.

My Uncommon Life

What am I up to? Several of these have to do with my writing projects.

  • Learning to read and write Egyptian Hieroglyphs, along with learning all about Egypt, ancient and modern.
  • Learning Astrology in preparation for the second book in my Encyclopedeia Magica series.
  • Learning to use GetResponse CRM and email list tool for my author site – highly recommended by a successful business friend.
  • Working my way through the Wealthy Affiliate training program, building my coffee site and my author site.
  • Taking my 17yo son on a short trip or two to visit potential colleges, starting with UPenn in Philly.
  • With my husband, training and preparing for our 3-hour hike on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland this August.
  • After my hip replacement surgery in March 2019, I’m starting back larping again this month – hooray!


Learn to be a Writer, Part 1 – It Takes a Tribe

So you wanna be a writer? Can you be a writer? Yes, you can learn to be a writer, especially if, like me, you’ve had an underlying feeling for a while that you are meant to be a writer. Of course, it helps if you can write, too, and are an avid reader as well.

Learn to be a Writer – It takes a tribe

This was the theme of this year’s Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference (2019), in Colorado Springs. This is one of the things any writer starting to get serious about their writing does – they seek out their tribe. This means joining a local writer’s group (or two or three), being around your people who are also writing and who can help you along your journey, learning the ins and outs of writing and publishing, etc. I’ve learned more practical, professional information about becoming a writer from my writer’s groups than anything I remember from being an English Major in college. (Of course, it was a long time ago.)

I started in one writer’s group, from which I learned a lot and made vital friendships (which later translated into me being introduced to my future agent), then switched to a different writer’s group which met my immediate needs as a writer. Their focus is for all of us to get our stories finished. This was exactly what I needed – a structure and group of writers to hold me accountable to actually getting my first novel finished. They meet every other week, and in the off weeks we each submit around 2,000 words, to get feedback on at the next meeting. This way we each receive good feedback from readers of our first draft while it’s being written – helping to make it better and shape our story. This group is my Alpha Readers, if you will.

Studying the Craft of Writing

Then there’s actually studying the craft of writing. I highly recommend you connect with writing friends by going to writer’s conferences. Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference is one of the best, but there are many others – there’s an annual conference in Denver, one in Salt Lake City, the Romance Writers of America hold their conference in a different city each year. Speaking of which, be sure to join these groups. Joining Pike’s Peak Writers is free (and they hold monthly workshops, meetings, critiques, etc.) and they offer scholarships to their conference. Some writing organizations have an annual fee, like the Rocky Mountain Writers in Denver.

You will learn to be a writer as you take the workshops and classes at these events. There are so many class choices offered at conference, you can go to whichever topics you are most needing in your writing life. Last year I took classes on Writing the Perfect Monster, Techniques of the Advanced Novelist, Writing to Theme, All About Magick, How to Make Money as a Writer, How to Build an Author Platform, and Getting into the Hot Middle Grade Market, to name a few. I also learned, after professionals advised me two years in a row, that my novel, written for the Young Adult market, really is a Middle Grade novel – big changes in the revision process, like having to trim a 90,000 word novel to 50,000 words or so – yowza!

This year I attended many classes on the business of being a professional writer (from sources of income as a writer to building your marketing plan), as well as classes on going deep with your character, the resonance of writing, outlining your plot, customizing Scrivener, etc. (Scrivener is a writing software program that works great for drafting novels or other writing projects – even nonfiction.)

The point is, no matter where you are on becoming a writer (or being a writer), there will be classes that are exactly what you need to propel you forward.

Connecting with your TribeJerilyn Winstead with Rachel Howzell Hall

Besides the awesome classes, at conference you get to hear inspiring talks from New York Times best-selling authors, and then meet them at BarCon in the evenings (or at the meal tables). This past conference I really liked Anne Bishop’s talk about tribes. She mentioned that our first tribe is with our own characters in our writing. We spend more time with them and in their lives than with any other tribe in our writing life.

Then you have the tribe of other authors and writers, published and unpublished, who you connect with in your writer’s groups, events and conferences. Then is your tribe of professionals – like when you get an agent, or work with pro editors, etc. Honing my novel with my agent has been so much fun – I now have a partner-in-crime, as invested in my story as I am, and together (with her set of objective, professional eyes) we are making my novel better and better. Soon she will be pitching it to publishers.

Can you be a writer?

Yes, you can learn to be a writer by starting to act as a writer – and joining your tribes is one way to get started. The tribe of your characters as you write, the tribe of your local writer’s groups, the bigger tribe of writers and professionals you meet at conferences, the professional tribe you develop as you get an agent or hire pros to help get your book published. Lastly, as you reach success, you’ll gain a wider tribe of readers and fans. Being a writer is an ongoing adventure with many ups and downs, and with our tribes we will make it together.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Learning Why We Eat the Way We Do – Personality Types

This post has more to do with my own health journey, which affects all parts of our lives, including writing. I’m a little overweight, though up into my 30s I was that skinny girl who could eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Since then, I’ve tried so many diet plans, but with every one I find myself rebelling against it in a fairly short time – unless I had an outside motivator, like a professional modeling or acting gig coming up. I wear a woman’s size 14-16 but I used to always be a size 10, and would love to return to that, my perfect size for my 5’9″ frame.

The Enneagram

Some friends recently mentioned the Enneagram – I haven’t yet read it, but it’s a book and method of finding out your own spiritual personality type, if you will. There are several books on Amazon.com which teach the Enneagram, and I will be exploring that soon.

The Enneagram of Eating

Instead, I saw this version of the method and immediately put it on hold with my Libby app (an app to check out ebooks from your local library). I haven’t even finished it yet but I’m learning so much about myself, which explains why diets have never, ever worked for me.


The Enneagram lists nine personality types. When reading The Enneagram of Eating, I saw myself right away in Type Seven – the adventurer. This type (me) wants to experience new things, new tastes, new foods, new adventures – all with total freedom. That means no restrictions whatsoever, which translates to “diets will never work because every diet restricts you in some way or another.” In fact, my body now automatically goes into rebellion mode – anytime I try a new diet plan and set restrictions on my eating, my body then goes into overdrive craving the specific foods I’m not supposed to have. It’s like an obsession, it’s all I can think about, and eventually I end up giving in to it.

The Nine Eating Personality Types

Here is a brief overview of the Nine Types in The Enneagram of Eating:

  1. Type One: The Self-Righteous Sinner or the Selfless Saint
  2. Type Two: The Giving Gorger or the Humble Helper
  3. Type Three: Fast Food, Fast Life or the Chomping Champion
  4. Type Four: Moody Muncher or Creative Connoisseur
  5. Type Five: The Neglectful Nosher or Ruminating Relisher
  6. Type Six: The Fight-or-Flight Feaster or Courageous Culinarian
  7. Type Seven: The Gallivanting Gourmet or the Discerning Diner (what I call The Adventurer)
  8. Type Eight: The Binging Bully or the Forgiving Feaster
  9. Type Nine: Sluggish Scoffer or the Serene Health-Seeker

In the book author Ann Gadd goes through each type, and covers the underlying motivators (fear, shame, loneliness, etc.) which affect our eating habits in ways we’re probably not even aware of. She looks at each type’s primary Issue, Overview, likely Career Choices, Eating Triggers, How each type approaches eating and their own body image (including eating out and entertaining at home), each type’s food choices, what you may not see (behind the scenes in each personality type), how each type views their bodies, likely addictions, childhood contributors, and which diets and exercise programs will serve them best. Ann Gadd even includes how to motivate the various types (good to help your significant other – after fully understanding them), and what each level of the types look like – when they’re functioning in the most healthy manner, or on an average level (mixture of both healthy and unhealthy habits), and what they fall into when living unhealthy lifestyles.

Time to Change Your Own Habits in the Best Way for You

At first I resonated a lot with Type Four, until I read Type Seven, which is completely spot-on me. You may find you match with one or another of these until you find where you actually are. There’s also some overlap and some numbers in the special diagram affect each other in smaller detailed ways.

The good news – for Type Seven, the best advice Ann Gadd has is to slow down, every time I eat. Eating too fast (so I can get on to the next adventure right away) is my Number One Bad Habit. I always thought it was because I grew up with three brothers and I had to eat fast in order to get enough food, or that maybe I always ate fast because I’d get so hungry as a teen (with my fast metabolism). Now I see it’s more about my Enneagram eating personality type. Slowing down, learning to become mindful of my eating (no more eating while also reading, working or watching TV), actually sounds completely doable for me – though it will be a challenge. If this is all I have to really conquer in order to lose my excess weight, I’ll be a perfectly happy camper!

I had my right hip replaced six weeks ago (end of March, 2019), and I’m now finally allowed to start exercising again. I find that I have to move regularly to keep my mind sharp and my senses stimulated – it’s too easy to just sit at my desk with all the writing and researching I do every day. So it’s now back to my normal life – back to exercising and getting up to move more in my working day. (This is also why I love larping – it pushes my body to the extreme of moving).

I’ll be adding “Mindful Eating” to my daily task goals on my app, Streaks. If I can stick with this goal for a good length of time, hopefully I will see results! I’d like to lose forty pounds, but even losing that first ten makes such a huge difference in how I feel and look.

This book, The Enneagram of Eating, by Ann Gadd, is found on Amazon.com as well as at the library.

Please comment below on mindful eating, on eating personalities, if you’ve read the book, what type you are, and what its solution has done to help you become a more healthy you.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Nanowrimo – To Use All Year (not just November)

  For many of us writers, we look forward to November every year for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The website is awesome, it provides goal trackers, motivating articles, interviews and blog posts, and connects you with other writers around the world. Many of us meet up with local writers at locally-scheduled write-ins, parties, contests, prizes and fun. The annual goal of participating in NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words – to write the first draft of a novel, all during the month of November. Many writers spend the rest of the year planning and outlining in preparation for writing in November.

Nanowrimo Virtual Camps

So if you’re ready to try and write a whole novel in November, you’re all set. Sometimes, though, my writing timing doesn’t line up with that (though I try to plan it so that it does). In 2017, I was revising the novel I had finally finished (with the help of previous Nanowrimo’s). So there’s another website called Camp NaNoWriMo. They have virtual writing camps throughout the year, where you get paired up with online cabin-mates for a specific month (usually April and July).

The beauty of the camps is that you can set whatever goal you need for that month. So when revising I set an hourly goal – 50 hours of revising for the month, for example.

All of these are immensely useful in providing structure, a deadline, motivation and support for us writers trying to actually write.

Nanowrimo Writing

But here I am in February, sometimes struggling to get in the word count I need in my current writing project.

Having some kind of structure helps me so much.

Well, enter nano wrimo once again! I recently discovered that on their main website, under “My NaNoWriMo,” they have a Goal Tracker. So anytime during the year, you can set up any kind of goal and use the site to track it for you, with whatever deadline you give it.

There’s just something about updating my word count on a daily basis and seeing my little graph go up and meet my deadline. I’ve always been a charts & stars person. (“Here’s a golden star for you today, Jerilyn!”)

Nanowrimo Young Writers

I’m fifty-one years old. But these tools are helpful for any writers at any age, especially nanowrimo young writers. Keeping up with a chart, updating daily word count goals, all of that, is so helpful.

Writing Goals Work – Especially for a Freelance Writer

Setting and structuring and updating your writing goals work. Whether you’re a freelance ghost writer working from home, like me, or working steadily on your own novel. Did you know that nanowrimo also offers extra tools like writing prompts, ideas to overcome writer’s block, forums, velociraptors and awesome merch?

Take Advantage of Nanowrimo (it’s free)

I am not affiliated with them in any way, and their tools are free – they live off of donations and their shop merchandise. I just love using all that nanowrimo has to offer, as it has helped me so much in own writing journey. Whether I’m doing my freelance writing (ghost-writing at the moment), or working on my own novel, setting and tracking writing goals works really well.

A Bit of Improv Writing from Me to You

Here’s a bit of my own writing, totally off the cuff and not edited, from a writing prompt I did recently:

Ridge came fully awake. He was lying on the cold cave floor, deep underground. Something was strange – what was that sensation on his front hip? He looked down and saw a slight bulge – something was in his left front pocket.

He reached inside and pulled out a miniature pyramid made of limestone, pale and perfectly proportioned. It was like an exact replica of Khufu’s Pyramid.

“Am I still in the pyramid?” He looked about. Yes, he was in the cave, the deep subterranean chamber under the Great Pyramid. “How did that get in my pocket?” He examined it. It pulsed, like a throbbing heart, in his palm. For a second it glowed, reflecting light from his dark eyes.

“Ridge, what is that?” Ash asked. She reached her hand out and the boy put it in her palm. It looked dull and dead, just plain stone, in her hand.

“Do you feel anything?” he asked.

She shrugged. “No, it’s like a souvenir. Where did it come from?”

“I don’t know, it just appeared in my pocket.” She handed it back and he held it for a long minute, then closed his hand and crushed it to crumbles of stone and dust…

(This was some Improv Writing I did at a recent Pike’s Peak Writer’s half-day conference preview workshop (Write Your Heart Out 2019). I’d never tried Improv Writing before, it’s just like Improv Acting – you’re given a one-sentence prompt, two seconds to think, then you write without any editing or revising, for seven – ten minutes – the moderator sets the time.)

Congratulations if you’ve gotten this far into this article. Google has some strange rules now, if I don’t write an article with at least one thousand words in it, it won’t do well in the search rankings. But most blog posts, all that I’ve done in my writing life, are closer to five hundred words. So this is a bit ridiculous. Why force a writer to write one thousand words, when a good writer can convey the information you need in five hundred?

So if you’ve gotten this far, great job! Leave a comment below with the phrase “Google can be so ridiculous sometimes” and I’ll see if I have a prize for you, or at least will acknowledge your comment.

Here’s another fun contest. Can you identify which are the keywords I was targeting in this post? Yes, I write what’s on my heart but I use the keyword and educational tools at Wealthy Affiliate to help me get my posts out there, so people can actually find them. I used five keywords / keyword phrases in this article. I will find you a prize for that! (Maybe something from my house.)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Get a Book Agent – I’ve been signed!

This journey of becoming a novelist and writer has been so fascinating. After working on my great big idea, my very unusual novel, on and off for sevearl years, I finally finished and got a book agent (also called a literary agent). This author can’t stop dancing!

Becoming a Writer

From the beginning and throughout the entire process I’ve been studying, learning and practicing the principles of the Law of Attraction – reading all the books by Esther Hicks, the original source of this material. There are also a ton of YouTube videos where you can listen to Esther Hicks answer all kinds of questions. You can also search under Abraham Hicks.

Through these principles I first asked for an original idea for my own novel. The next morning I awoke with the first few sentences in my head. The whole idea was full of magic and I’ve been enchanted with it ever since, even though my work on it was on again – off again, for many years.

Finishing the Novel

At a sci-fi/fantasy conference I took an author’s workshop. When she learned about my idea, she became so excited she offered to write the blurb on the back for me. Her enthusiasm acted as a catalyst and I began writing in earnest. I joined a local writer’s group whose main goal is to get our novels done. In about a year, and with the help of NaNoWriMo virtual camps, I finally finished my novel. Then I spent another whole year plus a few months revising and editing the novel, studying and applying the craft of writing from recommended books like The GMC, My Story Can Beat Up Your Story, and Editor-Proof Your Writing.

Get a Book Agent

A writer friend highly recommend I attend the local annual writer’s conference. We have a big one here in Colorado Springs: The Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference. It is so popular and fun that even the speakers often ask to come back.

While I was still writing my novel, not quite finished, I went to the writer’s conference one evening to attend “Bar-Con,” where everyone networks around the bar. A writer friend introduced me to my future agent, though I didn’t know it at the time. But I was able to pitch my story to her and she immediately saw the vision of my unique book. She asked for the full manuscript–a miracle in itself! I told her it wasn’t quite done, and she said to take my time, not to worry. Of course, I didn’t expect it to take over a year later!

Many Queries Later

I completely finished my book, revisions and everything, finally. This year I attended the full 4-day writer’s conference and pitched my story to five agents, receiving five rejections and one literary director and editor who loved it. I sent the full ms to the original agent from last conference, and also queried it out to about 15 agents in the U.S. and the U.K. (my story is set in 1665 London). Then I waited for two months, sending it out to agents here and there.

In August my agent, Natalie Lakosil, told me she loved my book. She arranged a phone call and offered me representation! By now, I’d received enough rejections that I accepted from the original agent who saw the vision.

Next Steps

It was so exciting to get a book agent! Now I’m in the interesting phase of Natalie and I collaborating to make my novel even better with more revisions and edits. I knew going in this would happen somewhere along the line towards publishing, and I’m really enjoying watching my novel get better and better. I’m learning that a good novel is sometimes more about what the author takes out, than what she leaves in. Less can be more, allowing the reader to bring more of themselves and interpretations to the story.

So what is the big idea, what is my unusual novel? It’s a potions textbook that has accidentally gotten out of Hogwarts and into the muggle world. It looks like an old encyclopedeia, with black and white woodcuts throughout. When you start reading Encyclopedeia Magica: Volume 1 – Alchemy, you discover there is something weird and alive in this book. Without giving it away, let’s just say you will be pulled in to becoming the magical hero of the story, if you wish to take on the challenge, and learn about a young girl who had to dress like a boy and became an alchemist’s apprentice, before the book defeated her. Now it is up to you to save her!

What is the take-away to get a book agent?

  • Study and practice the Law of Attraction, to bring the right ideas, circumstances and people into your life – everything by Esther Hicks and Abraham Hicks
  • Join local writer’s groups. Go to your nearest, best writer’s conference (they offer scholarships).
  • Make yourself write, study the craft, and finish your novel.
  • Network with agents and editors at conferences. You can also query your writing to agents with the online service, DuoTrope – worth the $5/month.

Onward and upward, my writing friends!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail