clothing optional spas

My First Clothing Optional Spa Adventure

I was on my way to the spa when I halted on the sunny sidewalk to grope around the inside of my canvas rucksack. I confirmed that my fear was warranted. I had forgotten my optional clothing.

Never before would I have called this buns-out little number a modest garment. However, when you’re wearing a bikini at a clothing optional spa, you’re pretty much wearing a nun’s habit.

Why partake in a clothing optional spa if you’re uncomfortable with being naked? Great question.

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manuscript rejections

The Regular Practice of Rejection

Rejection has become a regular practice for me. I’ve been learning how to breathe through it—inhale, exhale—then send another query email into the void. Rejection is something we all face and it is certainly not a life practice reserved for artists.

For writers, rejection happens constantly—externally and internally. I have sent 37 query emails into the void this past year:

  • Emails 1-3: Sent to 3 agents who liked my pitch at a writer’s conference. We did the whole “speed dating” pitch session. (Fun stuff…not!) They all passed.
  • Email 4: Sent to an indie publisher who I built up a relationship with over time. She was very supportive, but she passed.
  • Emails 5-6: Sent to 2 local publishers. Thought I had a fighting chance since my novel, Virasana, is an urban fantasy novel set in a dystopian Portland. Nope, cue crickets.
  • Emails 7-37: Sent cold emails to agents who represented books in my genre bucket. More crickets, peppered by a handful of automated rejection emails which you can enjoy throughout this post.

For shits and giggles, I committed to the rejection cliche of 100 query attempts. I dipped my toe in the rejection waters last August-October during and after my first writing conference. I was discouraged, so I let things rest. In March, I fired up the rejection engine again and started sending more emails.

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rose wine bottle

Abandoning My Flower Cynicism for Good

I used to think flowers were bullshit. And by “used to” I mean 15 years of my life were shrouded in flower cynicism.

During my early dating years, I instructed boyfriends to adhere to my flower rules. Don’t apologize with them and don’t express love with them. Got it?

Perhaps these flower rules seem harsh, but I had my reasons. If petals faded, wilted, then fell to the ground within 3-5 days…how was that tragic performance a symbol of eternal love? How did the cheapest bouquet from the chain grocery store serve as a relationship peace treaty?

One day I was forced to abandon my flower cynicism. Mr. H gave me an irresistible bunch of flowers for our 11-year anniversary.

He kissed me and said: “Don’t be a dick. Happy anniversary.” (Side note…we call each other dicks all the time in this house. It’s our time-out phrase.)

Mr. H and his floral-scented purple, yellow, and green accomplices tugged at my heart strings a little. Okay, a lot.

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Stop Before You Miss Everything

Bee looked down on the bed at her somewhat portly Tabby cat. Hazel the cat seized the moment when she had Bee’s full attention, presenting her irresistible belly. Smiling, Bee petted Hazel’s soft belly with both hands. Suddenly, the surround sound of purrs filled the room.

After 32 seconds of belly petting, Bee returned to her tablet device, still petting Hazel with her free hand. The purring halted, like a warm engine that shut down and turned cold.

Bee set her device down upon the wool comforter. She squinted at the unkind union of her blue and pink psychedelic fish patterned device cover and the grey, cream, and orange rustic pattern on the bedcover. The clashing colors didn’t matter anymore…the purring engine revved up.

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everythings not bigger

Everything’s Not Bigger is Now Available in Paperback

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” Albert Camus’ words came to mind as I prepared my third novel, Everything’s Not Bigger, for its rerelease as a paperback edition. (In case you’ve been waiting around since the ebook published WAY back in 2012, today you can finally grab a print copy.)

Fiction is just as real as non-fiction in so many aspects. What makes fiction impactful are the real moments and people we infuse into each story. Even when I wrote my historical fiction novels, Nola Fran Evie and Beneath the Satin Gloves, I brought in life experiences to make the stories more authentic.

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