Alice guitar Joyful JewelHow did 2015 measure up for you? At the end of 2015 I made good on all almost of my promises: to get my book of poetry published after three years (Heroes without Capes) and to get Creatures of Habitat published (Main Street Rag anthology about homes containing essays, poems and short fiction).

My poetry collection, Heroes without Capes, had an awesome book tour that took me to local bookstores, plus Asheville, New Bern, and Charleston. In 2016, the book tour continues in Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville. I’d like to thank my muse, Boba Fett, who helped me transition from my family dysfunction poetry into sci-fi/fantasy/myth poetry that was published, starting in 2014, in varying anthologies and literary journals. Yay! Yes, I am completely swept up in Boba Fett mania—I have the car sticker, two T-shirts, skirt, scarf, a hoodie, two necklaces and I’ve memorized all of his movie dialogue (not hard, BTW)—while writing Boba Fett poetry. And three big Boba Fett action figures. Got my newest one today at Kohl’s. Life is good. The only thing not good about Star Wars: The Force Awakens was that Boba Fett wasn’t in it.

 

I made incredible strides with my guitar playing and singing by writing three original tunes (yes, one of them is a Boba Fett tune) and investing time in area musical open mics. It will only get better! Today I invested (there’s that word again) in a new PA, mic and mic stand. I’m also practicing for a church performance at the end of January and am applying for solo gigs with area Art Walks and farmers’ markets. And with violin, I performed a duet in September as part of an Irish dance performance intermission. One of my goals is to get stronger with violin and I’m doing that with a regular practice partner.

I met artist/actress Jane Seymour at the Mahler Fine Art Gallery in downtown Raleigh Feb 2015 after a Tir Na Nog Irish dance performance

I met artist/actress Jane Seymour at the Mahler Fine Art Gallery in downtown Raleigh Feb 2015 after a Tir Na Nog Irish dance performance

 

After joining Trionoide Academy of Irish Dance at the tail end of 2014, I took lessons twice a week, entered my first Irish dance competition and performed twice a week during February and March at retirement homes and pubs—it was so much fun and worth all of the work. By the fall, I was feeling super-strong after the week-long very intense Irish dance camp, but then…stress fracture! I had to quit dancing for three months waiting for the right foot to heal, hopefully stronger than before. I return to dance for the first time since October this Wednesday. Definitely part of my Hero’s Journey.

 

Trionoide St Pats 5Looking ahead, I want to play/perform music and dance (sadly, no more dancing at Tir Na Nog, our favorite downtown Raleigh pub which permanently closed after 16 years). I also want to focus my writing/editing coaching on long-term clients who want to lay the foundation for their book ideas over a year or two. I call these clients my correspondence clients and I have had this program in place for poetry, fiction and memoir for six years. I’d rather be a long-term coach than an editor who takes in clients who want their book edited within a month’s time. I learned a very hard lesson this year with a bad client situation (read more about it here); mainly I wanted to please so much and help this person get published, I didn’t think that I was overpromising and setting myself up for unfair expectations. I mean to say if your writing is shit there’s no way in hell I can make it perfect in two weeks. But I wanted to play superhero and I got burned. Lesson learned, which I promise will be fodder for my memoir—coming soon in 2016!

 

I love teaching workshops! Last year I taught two one day retreats, several three-hour workshops with Belea Keeney and two two-hour memoir workshops at Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, along with hosting two 6-week memoir workshops. I also taught a comedy writing workshop at Wake Tech and for the Winston Salem Writers in October. This year I’m focusing on the 6-week memoir workshops, along with a new 4-week daytime fiction workshop in April. Plus the Page 158 Books memoir workshops will continue too. Stay tuned~

 

This year, more good things came about because of Wonderland Book Club. Our club grew from 5 people per meeting to 30 as we hosted another round of outstanding live author talks. Come join us if you haven’t yet—we meet from 10 a.m. to noon on the last Friday of every month and afterwards we continue the conversation at Vivace at North Hills. Do come join us in 2016, starting Friday, January 29th. I’m also feeling very proud of the now 18-month old Main Street Rag Open Mic Series, which I co-host along with Beth Browne and Jane K. Andrews. Beth and Jane are dear friends of mine and have known my daughter her ENTIRE life because they were both at the hospital when she was born eight years ago. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at So & So Books on Person Street in Raleigh. Come join us Wednesday, January 20th!

 

Mr. Nibbles

The kids and Mr. Nibbles

This Christmas I became a guinea pig grandma. Let me explain: my daughter, Erin, wanted a guinea pig for her birthday (Christmas Eve), so we adopted Mr. Nibbles. She’s doing great with the daily cage clean-up, watering/feeding and being a great mom. I’ve never lived with a rodent before and he’s great! I was called “rodent” by my dad as a youngster, so small mammals have a special place in my heart.

 

Last year I promised myself I would read more, and have thanks to my friend, Craig Lindsey’s book club. We’ve read Jim Carroll, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Nic Pizzolatto, Nelson George and many more. Thanks to Craig, I’m a hellava lot smarter. I know it’s going to be another amazing year in his book club, where we visit a new downtown bar in Raleigh at every meeting. It’s a public event, so check out the link if you want.

 

What TV shows swept you off your feet this year? It was Fargo, season two for me. I watched Fargo, season one over Christmas break and season one deserved to trounce True Detective at the Emmys last year.

 

What are my intentions for 2016—the 10-year anniversary of my business, Write from the Inside Out? To publish my memoir/self-help book for artists, start my novel draft, take on new correspondence/long-term editing clients, perform my violin in public, get better in Irish dance (without injury), write and sing more originals with my guitar, write more fiction (I’m getting my short fiction published!), collect more out-of-town speaking engagements at writing conferences, and get hired by more fabulous clients. But to do all of this I intend to envelope my spirit in a lot of Light and Love—and give my family a lot of that same Light and Love—because without it, what do you have?

 

Happy New Year and I wish you a 2016 filled with love, laughter, music and most of all—laughter, joy and music!