Some of this comes out in Iphigenia's book, which I'm editing now but I had a wonderful reader ask me "what is up with Aurelia?" - though she didn't use those exact words.
But the questions I hear about good 'ol mom are:
1. Why is she such a b?
2. Why do some of her daughters try so hard to get through to her - are they gluttons for punishment?
3. What is her backstory?
And the answer to those 3 questions is the same -- Aurelia, at now 187 years old, has seen a lot in her lifetime but what most people don't know is that before Chrysothemis, Sadie and Iphigenia -- before Taylor and Alistair, Aurelia had another life.
When she was a young girl she met and fell in love with a human. This was also before she was as powerful of a witch as she is now. They got married and had children but because he was human and the children were human - and she was not powerful yet - everyone eventually died.
They all died and they left Aurelia alone. She swore off love and didn't want any other kids and was alone for more than a century. This proved to be even more painful and with all that time to think her pain and grief faded enough for her to try again. This is when she met Taylor and had the 3 girls. But after he disappeared without a word, leaving her to raise three daughters on her own, she dove completely off the deep end of bitterness.
Aurelia acts harsh and uncaring to her children because she wants to protect them. She is the mamma bear and though her bite is just as bad as her bark, she does what she does out of love - or so she tells herself. Tough love is Aurelia's motto.
She gets pigeonholed as an antagonist in some scenarios but there are others far worse than she. Aurelia is misunderstood. She's not evil, she's not a sociopath. She truly loves her children but she also holds grudges and covers up her pain with harsh words and actions.
It is the author's hope that knowing this will help you relate to her and understand her motivations.
Inspired by Rachael Herron's latest podcast - How Do You Write - Episode 60 (one of my #1 favorite podcasts of ALL TIME!) - I remembered a blog I wrote about 2 years ago for my day job and figured this would be a good time to upcycle/recycle it :)
If you live in America chances are you’re stressed. There are ways to combat stress with supplements, any adaptogen will help. There’s also diet and exercise. But one of the best ways that you can start today and it won’t cost you anything is to learn how to meditate.
Here are 6 easy techniques for beginners:
First - sit in a comfortable position either crossing your legs on a cushion on the floor or sitting comfortably on a chair, the bed or the couch.
Whatever mantra you choose (and you can change it up), the idea is to repeat it silently over and over and over and over. That’s it.
5. Walking Meditation - I love walking meditation! You walk slowly, eyes cast downward so you don’t trip and focus on your steps, you can count them or not. Or if you’re good at multi-tasking you can walk and count your breath or recite a mantra. Regardless, the idea is to walk very very very very very slowly.
6. Exercise as Meditation - People who do extreme sports will find that their exercise is their meditation because if you don’t focus completely on what you are doing at every second you could seriously injure yourself. I have a friend who uses running as her meditation. I use aerial arts. Anything where you have to completely focus can be used. So for example if you’re riding your stationary bike at home and watching TV that is not meditation.
Overall meditation advice no matter which form/s you choose:
If your mind wanders that’s completely normal and just gently bring it back to your meditation (breath, sounds, dot, whatever). If you suddenly feel an inspiration or your mind is telling you that there are other things you need to be doing as soon as you’re done meditating, let it go. Those thoughts will still be there when you’re done. Don’t admonish yourself for having them. Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge the thought and then go back to the meditation.
Remember that many forms of meditation are to help you quiet your mind. If you can practice even 1-5 minutes a day you will notice a huge difference. Your stress will lessen. You’ll be less reactive to your children, friends, spouse, other drivers... You’ll develop better planning skills, better organizing skills and a calmer demeanor. You’ll be able to relate more to the world and people around you.
There are dozens of types of meditation, more advanced forms can focus on listening to your mind and more. The point of this article though is to give you some simple tools to begin and find one that will work for you. This too can change over time. Like everything in life meditation is fluid, not static.
Set a timer if you have time constraints. After the meditation is over, don’t jump up and go, go, go. Allow yourself 3-5 minutes of “getting back into your body”. It can be a mind-altering experience and you want to honor that. Ideally you want to meditate for 20- 30 minutes a day and if you can eek out 20-30 minutes twice a day, you will be floored at the benefits you will receive but even 1 minute a day is better than zero!
AKA - Confessions of a Girl Gamer From "Long Ago"
I completely realize this will "reveal" (kind of) my age but I'm OK with that and here's why! 1. I don't look my age, peeps 20 yrs younger than me think I'm younger than they are. 2. I don't act my age. 3. I'm proud of my age (probably because of reason #1). 4. Screw ageism. 5. Whatevs.
So my first game was pong. Yup, you read that correctly. I was a kid so I have no idea when the family got it but we played it as a family and we loved it. My dad had a patient who worked for Mattel so when I was a kid I had all the handhelds (old school handhelds!) Remember Merlin? This was BEFORE that! The racing game was my favorite - blips of light, that's all it was. There was a fun football game I remember too. Then I played intellivision. For some reason that was crazy fun.
I spent a lot of my high school years in a bowling alley because they had - you guessed it - video game consoles! Of course I loved Pac Man and learned "the quarter on the string" trick early on but my favorite was Centipede. I could play that game for days (years more likely).
When I was a roommate in college my flatmate had a box Mac (not sure what it was called) and he had this dungeon game with ridiculous "graphics" ie: non-existant but I played that game for a bazillion hours. In 1988/ish I bought my first PC and went to have it built (eventually I learned how to build my own). It was crazy huge and expensive and I asked for an EGA card. The guy at the store asked "why would you want color?" and I said "for gaming" and he said "what's that?" Back then most gaming was text based! Which is a very happy place for me because it combined reading (my favorite) with gaming!
When Mario 16 bit came out - I stayed up all night long with friends - for days on end. For that and for Zelda. Those were some magical days/nights indeed.
Eventually things got serious and so did I. After college I worked for GamePro Magazine and was a game tester. These interests finally led me to co-create the first video game review TV show in the US. It was an interesting path. One thing led to another, to another, to another. There were a few years where I got an inflated ego because strangers in public recognized me and I had some fan mail (very little mind you!). I was flown in a helicopter to a game party, I lounged in the grotto at the Playboy Mansion, I drank champagne and traveled the US. In the end though, I lost part of my soul.
But back to the games - In the early 2000's I became an evercrack (Everquest) fanatic, leading me on yet another journey. I've played a myriad of games, I'm not a fantastic player but I was always "good enough for a girl" and now all that has changed. And I'm so happy about it! Girl gamers abound! Back in the day, guys would come up to me with weird expressions and say "you're a gamer?" but now it's commonplace and some girls even get paid for it! How awesome is that?
Our grandparents may measure their lifetime changes in one form of technology (washing machines, cars, etc.) and we may measure ours in another - video games. I suspect the future will measure theirs in sentience and longevity. If we don't destroy the planet and each other before then.
But for now - take some stress off and go play a video game!
I like to think I can have it all but there are only so many hours in a day. Prioritizing is key.
Day job = food, a place to live, paying my editor, travel, exercise.
Writing = sanity, challenge, creativity, insight.
Exercise - sanity and fun.
But none of those things equal living IMO. Living is when I spend time with loved ones and animals. Living is traveling and learning new things. Living is laughing at someone's joke, laughing at my own mistakes, laughing into the wind, laughing with friends... laughter.
Living is cuddling my SO, dog and cat. Living is sleeping in on a weekend morning, meditating when the sun comes up, walking my dog, cooking, eating delicious food, rearranging the house, planning a trip, sightseeing, spending time on the water, spending time with kids, hiking, reading, listening to music, spending a lot of time with friends, watching GoT or other great shows and movies, playing video games...
And yet everything else is needed in order to live. Without all of it, working together to form one cohesive experience that drives me forward, to achieve - there would be nothing.
Without the day job I wouldn't be able to publish books. If I didn't publish books my creativity would stagnate. If I didn't exercise I couldn't remain sane. If I didn't live I wouldn't have fun. They work symbiotically - one flowing into and becoming the next or one needing the other. This is a full life, a life I enjoy, a life I can sink my teeth into.
Every few days I check in with myself and ask - are you enjoying your life? Do you still love what you do? Do you still love your day job? Do you still love writing? Your dog? Your SO? Your house? The state you live in? Your car? Your furniture? etc. and if there's something that I can say "nope, don't love that right now" I move to change it - make it loveable once again.
Most recently it was my furniture. I had the same furniture in the same place since I moved into where I'm living now, 6 years ago. But my tastes have changed. I no longer like being surrounded by dark wood and endless pieces of crap I don't need. I went on craigslist and refurnished my house for a very minimal amount. I don't have a big house! But more than getting new/used furniture - I am getting rid of stuff. Clearing the clutter to make room for spaciousness because that's what I need right now.
I encourage you to ask yourself these questions or similar ones. Are you happy with XYZ? If not, what will make you happy? And then seek to achieve that because this life is short and we deserve to be as happy as we possibly can while we're here!
The saga continues....
My upstairs neighbor issue came to a head this past week when I was finally able to prove what had been happening there by shooting video of it and sending it to all my neighbors, the cops and the girl's mother. The chief of police came out and drama ensued but the girl's mother moved her out.
This weekend I am not home but just received calls from the police and my neighbors saying the girl broke back into her house with her homeless boyfriend and they were caught and removed. The locks are now changed.
The reasons I share this are twofold:
1. This 4+ month drama has kept me from my publishing schedule. It's hampered my writing, my creativity, my sanity, my well-being and my health. But that doesn't mean that I get to stop writing or that I get to give up. I push myself through this, sometimes with only a couple of hours of sleep a night.
2. My heart breaks over the pain and suffering that this girl has caused to all of my neighbors, myself, her mother and herself. This is great material for a writer but it's been rehashed a million times = the drug addict who can't stay clean and destroys herself and everyone around her.
Most people have at least one person in their lives that demonstrates irrational behavior. Do we keep supporting these people emotionally? Love them unconditionally? Or set boundaries and walk away?
One of my closest and oldest friends is a long time using addict. She happens to be in a treatment facility right now for the upteenth time but I know that as soon as she's released she'll go right back to drinking and using and yet that doesn't keep me from loving her. During a time in her life when every friend and family member abandoned her, I was there. I didn't have constant contact, I couldn't do that. But I did tell her that I would always love her no matter what.
We all do the best we can, I believe that. Sometimes others judge our best as not good enough. Sometimes our best really isn't good enough. But it doesn't mean that people aren't trying. I'm trying to live my life, give, create and understand what makes people tick.
First of all, I have to brag - I wrote over 5,000 words today and that was not using dictation - that was actual sitting in front of my computer and typing! I also managed to take my dog on a 30 minute hike, get some laundry and dishes done, clean out a cabinet AND attend a 45 minute meeting a few miles away from my house. Whaaaaaaat?
But on my way home from the meeting I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters, Joanna Penn and she was talking about writing a book based on authors and health. That's her latest non-fiction WIP and I'm so happy to hear it. What a great topic!
I know that a lot of writer's struggle with keeping fit but it's not limited to writers. People all over the world struggle with exercise and diet. My day job parallels that field and people come to me daily with these issues. And, it's an important one.
I'm one of those people that believes diet, in particular, can cure diseases. Now there may be no "one size fits all" except that I've seen miraculous changes from diet alone. I just finished watching the documentary "What the Health" (it's on Netflix right now). And I highly recommend watching it. The film covers diet and health in detail, citing lots of studies and all that good stuff.
But what I wanted to touch on briefly here is exercise. Humans were not meant to be sedentary, I'm sure you've heard this. When we were cavepeople, we roamed around night and day both looking for food and taking care of the babies. We are a species that needs to be moving. And as someone who loves to exercise I have a few things to say about that. I'm not here to preach and say "you have to do this" or "you should do that". Do whatever you want but if you're interested in exercising and find it boring - well then I do have a word...
Find something that's fun for you. Some physical activity that you look forward to! For me it was not the gym. It's not running or swimming, biking or jumping rope. What I found and love to do more than anything is circus. And in particular, static trapeze. I also love handstand classes and circus conditioning classes and at times, silks. But my #1 passion is the static trapeze and I found it quite late in life so I don't do it with any misguided dreams that I'm going to perform one day. I don't want to perform. I do it because I LOVE it. I also recently discovered kayaking and I love that too. What works for me may not work for you but I encourage you to find what does work for you. Try everything. Get a classpass to try a bunch of different fitness funtimes or do it on your own. You can try hula hooping, yoga or martial arts like judo or krav maga. You can try a meditative martial art like tai qi or qi gong. You can try swimming, skiing, surfing (I learned to surf later in life). You can try skating (ice or roller) or horseback riding. There are so many fun ways to exercise - what about parkour or trampoline? Paddle boarding. Rock climbing. Zumba. Dancing. And - if the gym works for you, that's awesome! The key though - is that if you find something you absolutely LOVE, exercise won't be work. It won't be something you "have" to fit in or something you constantly tell yourself you'll put off until tomorrow. I look forward to my circus workouts so much so that I recently bought my very own trapeze! Now if only I can find a place to hang it :) So stop sitting on your ass and find what lights you up!
Is that even possible? I mean, how many people do that? Get it right the first time? Not me! Not by a long shot.
I often use the analogy (though not original) of building the wheel whenever starting anything new - or new to me. It takes time, hard work and discipline but it also takes tenacity. As I've shared in another blog, I am the kind of person who just keeps going - sometimes to the detriment of myself. With my last business for example - it was a brick and mortar and even after it started failing, I threw in everything I had and yes, it still failed. I do this so I can look back and say "I tried everything" and not wonder - if I'd only done XYZ maybe it would have worked. By "beating the dead horse" (I hate that idiom) I'm not left with that niggling "what if"...
Do I believe that some things can be done right the first time? Sure - I believe anything is possible (almost). For me, however, this is rarely the case. I can't even think of anything I've ever done right the first time. From when we are infants all the way through - we have to learn it all first and that learning more often than not comes with a price. And usually a test as well.
Testing our character, strength and resolve at the price of time, money, our integrity and willingness. I believe that's one of the key elements - willingness. Having the willingness to learn, fail, pick yourself up and try again.
I'll be trying to think if there's anything I can point to that I got right the first time and I'll report back. Would love to hear if others can think of anything they got right the first time as well.
I kind of like the little blog/musing I put in my newsletter today but in order to offer NL readers something exclusive (even though I've never actually come out and said that before now) I won't copy and paste it here. The NL musings are one-offs, for now.
Plus I can't imagine that what I say makes all that much difference in the world. I can only hope that I am able to offer an escape, bring a smile or a nod, maybe drop some words or phrases that resonate. It's all we can hope for really.
When I was in something - was it back in acting school or when I was an English teacher... ? Who knows, it all blends together now. But there was that saying "if I can reach one person, it will have been worth it". And that still holds true but now it's with writing. Plus I'd have to quantify the word "reach" - what does that even mean? Touch? Influence? Help? All of that?
This is where my mind wanders when my upstairs neighbor pulls her all-nighters, which is pretty much every night. They say she's sick and suffering but for someone who is supposedly too sick to work, or leave her house, she sure has a lot of friends over partying on a regular basis. A tangent? Yes and no. This is what I'm currently living with. My invisible tormenter. And I realize this is par for the course in a way. You see I've worked since I was 14 years old, sometimes doing 2 jobs - hell I have 2 full time jobs now and only one that earns me a living! So I have a little resentment toward people who don't work. Let me qualify that - I'm not referring to stay at home moms, artists or creatives that do work but don't get paid for what they do. NO, I'm referring to people who are kept. I know several people like this (other than my neighbor) - why they all happen to be women I'm unsure of. But these people don't have to work, they're fully supported, some by men or in the case of the woman upstairs, by her parents. I could spend endless hours wondering what that would be like or hating them or just resenting them... but what good would that do? Because the other little fact they ALL having in common is that they're all unhappy. Miserable even. Suffering. Who could envy that?
Is it the people who have to work their butts off (like you and me) that actually get $h#% done? Is it because we're disciplined or is because we don't have another choice? Or do we get so much done because we have so much on our plates? Are we overachievers? Leaving the party animals upstairs in the dust? Or are we just forced to learn how to manage time.
In my excitement to get book 4 out - the final book in the Love on the Edge series I was highly remiss in not listing the upcoming series starring the youngest witch sister - Iphigenia Holt. At first Iphi was going to get her own book which would have been book 5 but after speaking to readers and doing some deep, internal delving - I decided to give Iphi her own three book series.
I love Iphi! Readers love Iphi! What's not to love? The little cherub with a heart of gold. Thus Iphi's ARC and story are a little more complicated. At first glance she seems almost perfect but as everyone knows - no one is perfect. Iphi, hidden beneath her simplicity, is rather complex. She's watched her sisters find themselves, their partners and fly out of the nest - or rather, escape the sharpened claws of Aurelia. Yet Iphi still remains at home. She has a great career, appears almost fearless in the face of flying, cares deeply for everyone and everything, especially animals, and still, there's something missing.
Other than the usual - in every romance what's missing is a partner/lover - Iphi, like every person, still longs for more. She knows that even though she can see and climb to the top of the aerial apparatus there's something just above it that's still out of her reach.
Every human being strives for more. It's in our nature. And once we've achieved what we set our sights on, we seek another lofty goal. Iphigenia's goal may be even loftier than those of her sisters and their friends. But not because she's a taker, quite the opposite. It's because she's a giver. Giving to others is not only one of her most endearing qualities, it's also her greatest flaw.
Iphi called out for her own three book series and I listened, accepting the task with the hope that I can do her justice and walk with her - hand in hand - toward fulfilling her dreams.
What's the old adage or saying that "if you think you're crazy you're not, because only crazy people think they're sane" - or something like that...
Well today I have dubbed myself crazy. Why? Because as usual I've bitten off too much and am determined to get it all done.
I'm writing two books at one time, something I've tried before and failed at miserably. With one book I'm writing 2500 words a day in order to have it done by the 2nd week in August and the other book, I'm shooting for a mere 1,000 words a day to have it done at the same time, or earlier.
Tonight I got confused and thought Iphi, in her own book, was actually the other character, Amaya, in the other book but they're so very different.
So there you have it - undeniable proof that I am insane for writing 2 books in the same world at the same time.
I got the loveliest email from a reader earlier that's going to spur it's own blog post or two. In particular she asked why Aurelia is the way she is and so I'm going to address that in another post. I'm so glad she asked too because Aurelia has a great back story. Originally she was going to have her own book but then she went ahead and did something unexpected and ruined that plan.
OK - here I am procrastinating because I don't want to write my other 1,000 words. I'm putting myself back to work now so I can sleep soon - that is if the nightmare upstairs neighbor *ever* shuts up! And if she doesn't - she's getting a book too but that one will either be horror, dystopian or a murder "mystery" ;)
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. You want to read my books? :)