Library Book Sale Treasures

Today we went to the library book sale where a number of classic books I had been looking for were found:

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Edgar Allan Poe is an edition from the sixties, the Oscar Wilde is a 1926, and the Charlotte and Emily Bronte is a very nice 1993 edition. I was told by a fantasy collector there that I should read The Sword of Shannara. So, I shall. The only thing I regret is that I wish it was in soft cover, I like the feel of paperbacks because I’m weird.

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I also found what could very well be a first edition of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary in hardcover, a nice paperback copy of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice. I want to make a point to collect every Anne Rice I can find and read them all again.

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Here we have a few more classics, as you can see. All in very nice condition. I was very excited to find Leaves of Grass. Sherlock Holmes is an essential that everyone should have, Robert Frost is quite lovely, and as I am from Connecticut I had to get the last one.

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I found these in the Young Adult section of the same. My significant other said that this dragon series was good, and I have read Jane Yolen before and really liked her. The last one looks beautiful and surreal, so of course I had to get it. It is in large print, which is really odd for a young adult novel. I look forward to reading and reviewing all of the these, as well as many of the others I can get to.

 

Getting Into The Very Soul Of Your Book

Getting Into the Very Soul of Your Book

Just a Few Writing Ideas

Article by Stella Brians

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From experience, I think that it’s best to write what we know, or that we can easily research. Growing up in New England, I always thought that it was so boring to live in the middle of nowhere. Later on in life I of course realized that this was not the case. I took what I knew from my historical neighborhood, loneliness, and rain and turned it into inspiration. Where I was from and who I was became fascinating. I love myself because I was unique and special.

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When I write, I try to take what surrounded me in the past and what I hold onto in the present.

Rain. Where I grew up, there was always rain. I love the rain, and feel depressed when it’s sunny. In the worlds I create and live in as an author, it is usually autumn and nearly always raining. This leaves a calm backdrop for characters, and for the reader. Often my characters are going through an ordeal  in my stories and the rain is therapeutic.

Remember the way it used to be.

Modern life is pretty depressing and boring at times, because everything is done for us. I like to think back to a time when phone booths existed, people read paperback books, and computers were not such an integral part of life. There was a time when you had to be careful driving through Father Panik Village in Bridgeport, CT, and when people stuck needles in the change drop of phone booths.  When I write, it’s like taking a time machine back to before I was born, because I can research that, and there are certain things that I remember. There are songs that stick in my head from certain times that set the mood for my childhood. 

Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now played all the time on the radio, and I would hear it in the car or wherever we were going.  It reminds me of being about seven years old, and sitting in the back of my parents’ station wagon. It is an incredibly sincere and romantic song, and I think  that coupled with her voice certainly had an effect on me. I am sure that you have had this happen to you, perhaps in a different way or with another song. When I hear that song, I can remember Harkness Park and The Book Barn in Connecticut because it was likely playing in the car on the way over. It is these moments in life that help us develop a sense of what makes us personally happy. This is one of the many little pieces that aid us in our personal development as an author. Memories, and things that make only us  happy for a reason no one else understand. All I can say is to write about it, and somehow incorporate it into a character or  a story.

Writing your characters in a very sincere way, and writing a detailed story.

Life is very detailed, and modern film dilutes and speeds up everything. I have noticed that some people write in this same fashion, and it’s one of the first things that will make me put a book down.

Reading Anne Rice taught me how important it is to sweep your reader away with detail and completely submerge them in your world. If describing a scene, building, or setting takes a week it is time worth spent. 

Characters are fun, and it is good to branch out and use not only pieces from yourself but of other people as well. My brother’s friend who wore purple Converse hightops, our neighborhood cat lady who doubled as our school lunch lady, and the eccentric stained glass towers of the Victorian houses in our neighborhood are a few examples of unique world and character building. Make it your own and always your own.

Finally, immerse yourself in the world(s) you are writing about, and your favorite character.

Listen to the sound of rain whether recorded or from an open window.

Wear the same kind of shoes your favorite character would.

Visit a place from  your childhood, and put it into your story.

Make a mixtape of songs that remind you of being seven years old.

The Possibilities and creative ideas are endless.

Lela Interviews Stella Brians

My Interview With Lela!

Original content here:

https://aurorawatcherak.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/interview-with-stella-brians/

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Today’s interview is with Stella Brians. Welcome to the blog, Stella. Tell us something about yourself.

Brians Stella1Hello Lela, thank you so much for having me today. I am originally from rainy New England. I am a full time author, and I primarily write Metaphysical Fiction but I also write poetry and other genres.

My husband’s from New England. Lovely part of the country. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My parents are both writers, so the desire to write and be creative was innate. They were always very encouraging and supportive, and I took a writing class instructed by my father. I have always dabbled with writing, but I wrote my first novella when I was sixteen As a child, I spent most of my time reading and I loved going to the library.

Tell us about your writing process.

I am a rather disorganized writer. I make notes in two different notebooks, and on my laptop. A friend suggested Scrivener, but I’m not completely sold on it yet. Sometimes if I am away from home and I get an idea, I will text myself. I am always thinking about the book I am writing, from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep. Something that really helps me stay focused is New Age music or at least something that is low key—like Ray Lynch’s album Deep Breakfast.

I like that “draft” function in my cell phone for jotting down ideas. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

That is difficult to say, because I have a very eclectic reading list going right now. I really enjoy fantasy, like Anne Mccaffrey or Ursula Le Guinn. I also love classics, like Alice in Wonderland or The Secret Garden. I also do a lot of reading in the New Age genre, because that is what I write most of the time.

To write, I would say that I love to write Metaphysical Fantasy, which is officially known as Visionary Fiction. It combines ideas such as Reincarnation, Paganism, and other like spiritual beliefs and blends it with fiction.

I just learned something new and here I am, a fantasy writer. What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about a lot of things, but it is especially important to me that all living things are treated with love and care. That means all animals, all people, and all plants. I am passionate about writing and all creative forms. I think that is vital to keep learning throughout your life, and to never stop reading or being creative.

What is something you cannot live without?

My significant other means the most to me, but if we are talking about objects only I would say it is vital that I have books and my laptop. Of course, having access to running water, clothing, and a way to cook food is very important too.

When you are not writing, what do you do?

When I am not writing, I am usually reading, doing research for my writing, sketching, taking a walk in the woods, or spending time with my significant other.

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

I would have to say that the books in my “Hidden World of Wysteria” Series have had a very positive and transformative effect on me. Writing them has led me to do more research about my spiritual beliefs, and I have been able to work creatively while combining New Age elements with fantasy. Recently I have been working on illustrations for the third book in my series, so it has also released the artistic side of me.

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

The first book in my series, The Paperback Writer of Central Park was inspired by a long visit I had in New York City. It was the summer of 2009, and I took a bus from New Haven to Manhattan. I stayed in hostels and wandered about, writing in a journal. This was a troubling time for me, but it was also a time of healing. I made a friend from England, whose name was Sarah. She shows up in the book as the good friend of the two main characters.

Nature (rain and trees in particular) are very inspiring for me. All kinds of weather and nature have important roles in my books, sometimes as characters. I would say that growing up in New England has enhanced my fascination with nature, it is a very beautiful and peaceful place. Connecticut’s oceans, weather, and sleepy towns were like a blueprint for my world of Wysteria.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I read many books on paganism, tree magick, and Earth magick in general. I combine my research with my own experience in life and with my spiritual journey with the Universe.

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I would describe my writing as very gentle and understanding. The characters in my book have usually led troubled lives, and they go through ordeals that they must work through in one way or another. Part of why I decided to write this series is that I wanted people with depression, anxiety, and other life issues to know that they will okay. I want them to know that although the author may not know them personally, but she cares about them. I tend to write in a very poetic, whimsical tone.

Do you have a special place where you write?

Most of the time, I type at my computer but if I am not going to be home for a bit I take a notebook. I can write anywhere as long as it is quiet and not hot.

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

The reoccurring themes in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series (generally speaking) are dealing with mental illness, believing in yourself and finding those who understand you, as well as the New Age element that honors the Earth. The Afterlife is a prevalent theme, and it is discussed in a peaceful and creative way. The answers the main characters seek are complex, and will reveal themselves as the series continues.

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I think that my work is a combination of the two. The storylines of my series delve into the lives of those who live in Wysteria, and is told by a troubled main character. The setting of the peaceful Wysteria is special, because there is much to discover, and the land is constantly expanding. That, along with the woes of the main character drive the plot.

Basically, in the series the wizard Zeferaus plays an important role as a teacher and Memory Curator. What that means is, he collects memories about New England that have been forgotten or discarded and sews together a world made out of them. That world is Wysteria, the afterlife dimension where much of my books take place.

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer? Why?

For every novel, I have a basic idea and a few characters along with the old ones from the previous books. I jot down my notes and character sketches, and begin to write. I am largely a discovery writer, and keep a document for all changes and store it all together. As I write, I make notes of new characters, places, events, and so forth. This is how my creativity and imagination work best.

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I write from first person, because I have tried other viewpoints and first works best. I feel that it brings out the best in my writing, the characters, and the story. Also I prefer to read novels that are in first person, it is my overall preference.

Do you head-hop?

I usually stay within the mind of one character, but I may write a scene where another character is telling a story.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Since it is Alaska, I can imagine that the heat will be tolerable. I would settle into an office, and bring my research books, the few novels I am currently reading, and my laptop. I would draw and photograph the Alaskan landscape, its animals, and use this time to write and be at peace.

Talk about your books individually.

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The Paperback Writer of Central Park is the first book in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series. It centers around two introverted writers, Elizabeth and River. Elizabeth tells the story in a gentle but honest way.

She is homeless for years in New York City, but lives in hostels from the money she makes as a freelancer. Whenever she is not doing that, she is working on her debut novel. After haphazardly publishing it and getting on her feet, she and her British punk friend Sarah start a writing group they call The Paperback Writers. The group is composed of a motley crew of indie writers, including a shy hippie named River.

Elizabeth and River fall in love, and bring love and understanding to each other’s lives. Throughout the novel, the Paperback Writers stick together and not only self-publish their books but open a tiny bookstore for indies. After Elizabeth and River get married, his parents give them a cottage in Mystic, Connecticut and they open a lighthouse bookstore. The couple discover Zeferaus’s potion room behind their attic bookcase, and are inducted into Wysteria. Towards the end of the book, an intruder is discovered by the intuitive Willow trees and Zeferaus asks for their help.

Brians Wysteria Cover Photo

Wysteria is the second book in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series. The novel is told from the voice of Milo, a young man who has emancipated himself from his abusive father. He lives in a pleasant Massachusetts town, but is lonely. An indigo colored cat with telekinesis and the ability to talk shows up on his doorstep, and from then on Milo’s life is never the same.

He and his girlfriend Lorna begin to have the same dreams of a stone lighthouse by the water, and one day the wizard Zeferaus shows up in their kitchen. He explains that they are old souls, and that it is their time to leave Earth.

They make the decision to pass on, and soon they are settled into Wysteria. Things seem peaceful at first, but an enemy of the wizard is bent on destroying their world. Through defending Wysteria, Milo and Lorna make new friends and convince Zeferaus to open a school for Earth Magick and Spirituality.

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Yes. It was important to me to write a series with the elements of kindness, love, acceptance, and spiritual tolerance.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want them to know that they are not alone in their troubles, that there is always someone willing to help. It is my hope that they believe in themselves, in their dreams—which is different for everyone.

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Several elements were present in my decision to self-publish. Over the course of a year, I did an enormous amount of research about publishing, and joined a private online writing group where I spoke to authors and learned as much as I could. I also wrote a paper on self-publishing, and Createspace in particular.

When I was a child, my father self-published his own books through a micro press. He now publishes through Createspace. Throughout my life I have learned from him about writing and publishing. One of his most important lessons was the integrity of self-publishing versus traditional. When you publish independently and by your own merits, you are able to remain true to your word without having to change for the marketing needs of a publishing company. I realize that it is more difficult to get your book noticed on your own, but if you know where to look there are always people willing to help. Often times, independent bookstores will agree to carry a book by an indie author.

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

For me, the greatest advantage is to be able to retain complete rights of my books and to have control over the story, creativity, and design. As a person and author, my individuality is very important to me. I want to always be true to myself and to my creative spirit.

I always greatly appreciate when someone buys my books. It absolutely makes my day. My goal is to have my books help people, and to make a difference.

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

I think that what self-published authors struggle with is the financial ability to promote nearly as much as a traditional publisher. We advertise in smaller but significant ways that are appropriate for our budget and do everything we can to reach readers.

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

I write and design my novels with honesty and integrity. I give them a very Earthy, New England feel blended with a sense of calm. Something really important that I would like to pass on to other authors—it is vital to advocate for yourself. Always be polite, but assertive. Ask if you can hang that flyer up, if you may have an interview. And, do not be afraid to give back.

Who designed your book cover/s?

I did! The photo on the cover of The Paperback Writer of Central Park is actually the green in Colchester, Connecticut during autumn. My mother took the cover photo for Wysteria, and it is of the Avery Point Lighthouse in Connecticut. It was very important to me to have that particular lighthouse on the cover, because it inspired the one in my series. I was so grateful for her help.

For the third book, I am going to illustrate the cover and possibly add some illustrations for the interior.

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

I believe that self-published authors can create beautiful, high quality books. It is my opinion that using a matte finish versus a glossy finish really gives your book a professional, high quality look. In my experience, original photographs or hand drawn illustrations add to the level of aestheticism and beauty that indie books are trying to achieve. What I think brings down the quality of a book is when people use stock images or computer illustrations which add a tasteless effect.

As someone who designs her own covers (with input from my daughter, who is an artist), I agree with you about striving for excellence and uniqueness in covers. Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

I belong to a private writing group online, and it has been an incredible experience. I have learned a great deal about my writing, the publishing world, and what to do, what not to do. This group is one of the most peaceful places on the internet for people to critique each other’s writing, help each other, or just to hang out. I have met some wonderful writers and made some dear friends.

About Stella Brians

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Stella is the author of her Metaphysical Fantasy Series, The Hidden World of Wysteria. She is currently working on the third book in that series. Stella loves animals, the rain, and reading. She also sketches and paints. To learn more about Stella or request to be interviewed by her about your indie writing, please visit: https://paperbackwriterlife.wordpress.com/about/

To Purchase Her Books:

https://paperbackwriterlife.wordpress.com/the-paperback-writer-store/

Visit Stella on Deviantart!

http://jwriter89.deviantart.com/gallery/

Sonja Black Interviews Stella Brians about her Hidden World of Wysteria Series!

Hello everyone, I just wanted to share my latest interview. I was interviewed by Sonja Black about my life as a writer and my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

Original Content Here: 

http://www.sonyamblack.com/single-post/2017/02/23/Author-Interview-with-Stella-Brians

Author Interview with Stella Brians
February 23, 2017
This month’s interview is with Stella Brians, author of The Hidden World of Wysteria Series

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Stella Brians is an author who writes Metaphysical Fantasy, poetry, and fiction. She is also an illustrator. Stella loves writing, sketching, reading, and animals. She grew up in New England, and went to the Norwich Free Academy where she studied Art and English. Her favorite bands are The Cure, Iron Maiden, and My Chemical Romance. She has also been a longtime fan of The Beatles, and reading too many books at once. Miss Brians lives with her soulmate.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Originally, the journey I went on was not intended to be a pilgrimage for my book. In 2009, I decided to take some time away from my life so I stayed in Manhattan for about a week and a half. What I was searching for was peace, and I found that and much more. I found story inspiration that I would use years later, and I made a friend from England who inevitably inspired Sarah’s character. People sometimes have trouble understanding how an introverted writer would find solace in a busy, dirty, city. This is because there are so many people, that no one pays attention to you. Looking back, it was one of the experiences in my life I have been most grateful for.

Elizabeth’s character was inspired by the trip because she is a damaged young woman who struggles on many levels. She enjoys the quiet, but loves the city. I experienced just that when I would visit the St. John the Divine cathedral. I would visit during the day and listen to the monks sing. The cathedral also has a garden, and white peacocks wandering the grounds. In so many ways, it is a place of peace.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write what is meaningful to me, and what I would want to read. There is a slim market for Visionary Fiction, but with time it is expanding. My series covers a lot of ground; dealing with mental illness, finding your place in the world, loving yourself, and connecting with the Earth are the main topics. As a writer, I am always growing and I plan to expand the content as the series continues. In some ways, I write for myself but I also really write for others. It is my way of reaching out to people and saying that is perfectly normal to be depressed, to look different, to have your beliefs or interested be misunderstood by others. I have future plans to write about spiritual tolerance within the series. That is really important to me, and I know it is to a lot of other people. A goal of mine (through my writing) is to encourage people to follow their beliefs or non beliefs, and to get along peacefully with each other.

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Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

The Paperback Writer of Central Park was originally going to be a stand alone novel. The more I worked on it, the more I fell in love with the themes, characters, and concepts. From a book about a troubled young woman in New York City, a Metaphysical Fantasy series was born. The Hidden World of Wysteria focuses on the inhabitants of an afterlife world known as Wysteria. Pagan themes, animals, and nature are very relevant. Although parts of the novels take place in New England, the characters live in Wysteria together and work towards common goals. Living in Connecticut gave me the inspiration to create Wysteria. One of my favorite things about my work, is that I get to blend the worlds and characters that I create in a seamless and imaginative way.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

There are many, but only one book especially stands out to me. Love And Exile was written in the eighties by my father, and was not published until last year. It is a novel about a young man who goes to Canada to escape the Vietnam War. The book’s title describes the story very well; Wexler is in his twenties and is trying to sort out his love life, while being exiled in Montreal far enough from his family and the U.S. He has friends, but there are moments where he is very unsure about where his life is going. I think that we all can relate to that as people, no matter who we are or where we’re from. The book meant a great deal to me because it gave me an insight as to my father’s life before I was born, and to perhaps who he was at a younger age.

What is your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book for young people is The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsberg. It is a novel about a sister and brother who leave their Connecticut home due to the injustice of their suburban lives and parents’ rules, to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My father used to read this book to me when I was a child. I really enjoyed it because of my fascination with New York City and art museums. When I was thirteen, he took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we had an incredible time.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

If I did not write, I would work at a library on some level. It is clear to pretty much everyone that I love to be around books.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, my entire family both old and new are incredibly supportive of my career as a writer. My parents have always encouraged my creativity. Both of them write, albeit very different kinds of material. My mother used to write articles for newspapers and magazines, so she is really great with editing and talking to people. As I previously mentioned, my father is an author. While in high school, I took a writing workshop run by him and I loved it. His wife Tricia helped me out greatly by doing a beautiful job formatting the kindle version of my first novel.

My brothers Marcus and Dylan are so supportive and excited for me as well. Marcus helped me get The Paperback Writer of Central Park into the Amherst, MA bookstore, and Dylan helped to spread the word about The Paperback Writer of Central Park being published. I am very close with my cousin Lesley, and she has been there all along in her support and encouragement.
I have so much to be thankful for. My significant other fully supports and encourages my career as a writer. His unconditional love and kindness is so appreciated, and without measure. He always goes above and beyond for me.
Writing these books and self-publishing them has helped me to realize how loving and supportive my family and the people around me are. That matters more than anything in the world to me.

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Thanks, Stella! For more  information check out Stella’s website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Tumblr: http://thememorycurator.tumblr.com/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stella.brians.5

Happy Writing!

Paperback Writers, a Poem from Wysteria (Book Two)

Paperback Writers, a Poem From Wysteria (Book Two)

Copyright 2016, Stella Brians

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Together, we were paperback writers,
scribbling in notebooks and typing at our desks
we wrote as foamy ocean water teased at our feet
and as milk boiled on the stove
as the sun set and rose
we wrote, to share our worlds and thoughts
with others, some of whom were out of reach
it was my hope that they would read what was on our hearts
and relate to our words.
There were others out there like us
some, but not many
kindred spirited writers who saw
the Universe as a vast and understanding friend
a comfort, and not a tyrannical leader.
Maybe others like us would find solace
In our words, while the world around them
Toiled in its own chaos of corporations
Consumerism
Politicians
Organized religions
We were separate and free
Through our writing we encouraged others
To be
For all souls are one
And we are all children of the Universe.

The Young Wizard, a Poem From Wysteria (Book Two)

The Young Wizard, a Poem from Wysteria (Book Two)

Copyright 2016, Stella Brians

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Once there was an old man
who had grown wise and aged gracefully.
He watched over the land,
the trees and animals were treated as his children
in another world he might have been condemned
in another time certainly
for his powers were wild and true
like his great beard.
Zeferaus The Wizard fought to protect
those he loved
but was abused by one, even banished.
The idea was to make him lose his way
all powers disintegrate
such was his purity and heart, all that
he lost was his age.
Zeferaus the fair
with his long brown hair
knowing eyes and silken skin
caused many an eye to waver
many a heart to quiver.
Charming was he
but devoted to his work
for the Universe
I only could hope that one day
true love would find him.

Safe Space

I realize that right now the country is going through a very scary and difficult time. It is terrifying for myself, and for countless others.

Please consider my website a safe space, where you can post your opinion, poetry, songs, or prose. Or, if you want to just come here to relax and read or listen to calming music that is fine also. Below I have created a link to my favorite relaxing New Age album, where you can listen to for free on Youtube.

Sounds of Spa: Peace

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Please have a peaceful day.

If you ever need to reach out for help, here are some  sources:

https://paperbackwriterlife.wordpress.com/submissions/

I would be happy to talk with anyone who is having a tough time, I am understanding and compassionate. I know what it’s like to feel alone, frightened, and frustrated.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Suicide is never an answer, and there is ALWAYS professional help available.

http://thecalminside.tumblr.com/

The Calm Inside is a  Tumblr account run by a spiritual man who reaches out to help others. He counsels, and answers questions. Enough cannot be said for his kindness.

 

 

Support Indie Potter Jolene Cap

Recently, I went on Etsy to find an item  I needed for a book cover project. I came across this beautiful votive candle holder. It is a handmade item by potter Jolene Cap. She has quite a stunning collection of plates, candle holders, colanders, and other items in her store.

Here is the candle holder that I bought (She currently has two left):

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And here is her Etsy store:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyJolene?ref=l2-shopheader-name

I just wanted to pass the word along about a talented indie artist.