Tough Decisions

Some decisions are easy, right? Like, for 2021 our family switched to glass straws and corn-starch dog poop bags in one more step to cut down on trash and waste in landfills and our oceans.

I have a hard time with other decisions, though. I’ve read advice about making pro-and-con lists, about talking decisions over with friends, about throwing a coin in the air and crying ‘head’ or ‘tails’ as a way to figure out what you really want, about meditating and “finding” the answer in your uncluttered mind. But, for me, it’s often about making myself let go. I don’t have faith that something better will come. I’d rather stick with what I know, no matter how flawed, than embrace the next thing. I’ve been practicing letting go this January.

Our mini-van. It’s from 2008 and we’ve kept it going with regular trips to the car mechanic. Unfortunately, our neighbor hit it the other night. No one was hurt and that’s the most important thing, but our son was the primary driver and I liked that he couldn’t go super fast without the whole frame shuddering as if it were about to fly apart. I liked that he could drive his friends around and they weren’t leaving fast food trash in my car. And, I liked that he could drive himself to sports or the gym and the smell wouldn’t cling to my vehicle.

I think we all know that the vehicle is totaled and I have to let it go.

A more difficult decision was to put my horse up for sale. I inherited Noche (Spanish for “night” because she’s a bay) from my daughter, who is a better rider than I am but is away at an out-of-state college. There are so many wonderful things about Noche that even after I fell off and had to recover from a severe concussion, I got back on and continued taking lessons on her. We had some really great rides. I improved, but then she threw me off again this December and the fall caused a cracked rib and a herniated disk. It wasn’t her fault — she was so good in so many other ways that I wouldn’t let her go because I didn’t know if I would bond with another (lower level) horse or if I had the time and money to buy a horse for myself. If I deserved to follow this childhood dream when the world is so chaotic and the pandemic seems like it won’t end. I still don’t know those last things, but I do know that Noche deserves a better rider and I deserve to not be afraid of what my next injury will be. So, I’m letting her go to a better forever home. (Please know that the owner of the stable and I are being very careful as we meet and interview prospective buyers! Noche will stay where she is until we find the perfect home. I just won’t be riding her).

And that brings me to another difficult decision this month. The good thing is I’m finished the next book in The Misbegotten Series. Yay! I’m proud of it and excited to share. It is currently out with beta readers — those are readers who give an author feedback for another round of revisions. My work-in-progress title has been Tamaki and the Fox, but the real title will be: ASHES OF REGRET. What do you think?

Walking Through Fire, Book 1

Ashes of Regret, Book 2

Flames of New Babylon, Book 3

Stars Crash and Burn, Book 4 (Tentative)

The decision is that I’ve been trusting other people to negotiate and get the rights back to Walking Through Fire for me and I need to do it myself (with Mike’s help!). Other people don’t care as much as I do and I’ve lost a lot of time waiting. So, why did I do it?

  1. I have this feeling, often, that other people know better than I do. That they know the right way to do things and I don’t. That I’m somehow missing common sense that everyone has.
  2. I wanted someone to hold my hand through the process. I like being a teamplayer.

I’m moving forward. Humans grow their competence by doing, not by worrying about doing. I’m going to make mistakes — everyone does — but this year I’m going to meet the difficult decisions and not try to sidestep or postpone.

Let me know what you think about the titles in the comments and I’d love to hear your New Year’s Resolutions!

Love,

Sherri

Counting the Good Things

Well, folks, it looks like Maryland is about to regress to Phase 1 during this Covid Pandemic. I’m going to take a moment to focus on some positives. We can’t choose how we feel, but we can choose our words and our message.

One cool thing that happened this fall was that I was able to modify my yoga teaching by offering GOAT YOGA CLASSES! (Use the white circle to ‘slide’ between photos)

In October my co-parent and I flew down to South Carolina to check on my oldest child and left feeling really impressed at how she was stepping up to the (modified!) college experience. She dropped one class that was too difficult between virtual learning and no opportunity for study groups, but was doing well in all the others. We rode bicycles in a nearby park and took her to Walmart to stock up and then took her out to eat.

I also attended Capclave, a writers’ convention near D.C.. virtually and it was nice to “see” (Zoom) so many familiar faces and talk about books and publishing and to be around other people like me. Major shoutout to the coordinators of Capclave because it ran so smoothly.

Some other positives are that I had a story accepted for DreamForge Magazine Issue #7 (available late 2020). My story, “Monsters Beautiful and Bright,” is a twisted fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel where the house is not made of candy, but has fruit trees when the rest of the world is being taken over by rot. It’s a steampunk Lorax with a “crafty” grandma. I’ve seen the illustration for my story and it is GORGEOUS. I love the details pulled from my words.

AND

I have a story forthcoming (Feburary ’21) in the Crazy8 Press anthology, Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2. I wrote a Western (my first time!) about an angry cowgirl, a wild mustang named Woodrow, a feisty teacher, and mean horse thieves. This project is a Kickstarter. That means that money from preorders is raised BEFORE publishing and the amount of preorders determines how nice the project will be. For example, we’ve reached payment for the authors, but we need $1800 more in preorders to have enough money to include illustrations with each story. If you’re interested in supporting, click here.

Talking to Ann Hanlin, a mustang adopter, and Woodrow (SBF Mustang Eventing)

I know this is a hard time. Believe me. I encourage you to practice gratitude by making a list like I just did. Cut yourself some slack. And read a good book. I’m currently enjoying Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. The cover blurb by Charles Stross reads, “Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!”

Love,

Sherri

Upcoming Appearances

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re enjoying Fall. It’s my absolute favorite time of year. Don’t come at me with your beach pictures or your bright white snow or even those cute little flower buds. AUTUMN IS THE BEST SEASON.

I have a couple of exciting upcoming events:

I’m being interviewed by Bob Mumby and Leslie Greenly Smith. The radio show will air live on Friday, 9/20 from 9-10 AM and then again on Saturday, 9/21 from 9-10 AM. It will repeat on 9/27 and 9/28 from 9-10 AM. The radio station is WAMN 970 AM.J  You can listen on the radio or online at http://khztv.com/WAMD/.

On Saturday, September 28th the Bel Air Public Library is hosting a Comic Con with a ton of free activities for the entire family including costume contests, video and board games, and a fandom scavenger hunt. I’ll be giving a talk from 11am – noon and then selling/signing copies of WALKING THROUGH FIRE.  Comic Con

October 18-20 I’ll be at Capclave, a literary convention in Rockville, MD that focuses on the short fiction form. I don’t have my programming event schedule yet, but will share when I do.

Nov 1st and November 3rd I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival 2019. I’ll be at both the SFWA area and the inspire stage. I’ll also be fangirling because the lineup of authors is INCREDIBLE. They’ve combined with the annual Light City Festival this year so will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Saturday Nov 2nd I’ll be in Bel Air at the Authors and Artists Event to sell/sign books.

Hope to see you at some of these events….and that you get a chance to curl up with a favorite book and your favorite warm beverage to enjoy this time of year.

Here’s the pup enjoying his (chew toy) version of a pumpkin spiced latte.

Love,

Sherri

CRITTER QUIZ for Walking Through Fire

Hello Friends,

  1. My novel releases in three weeks. I’ve been waiting six years for this, so kind of a big deal. You should definitely pre-order a copy here
  2. I’m working on a list of readings and signings and will share soon.
  3. Please, if you are on Goodreads add my book to your “to-read” list.

Why should you do these things? Well, remember THIS post? But, there are other reasons too. The CRITTERS in my novel deserve their own post.

Animals are important to me. That’s why I have my foster-fail pup Gabe. That’s why my oldest daughter is in the Animal Science program at her high school and we experienced the whole Bunny Project. We still have 2 1/2 bunnies, by the way, in case anyone local to Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania is looking for a wonderful pet. The 1/2 is because…well, I digress. We also have a baby horse. She’s a beautiful four-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred filly who has a ridiculous racing record (like, ridiculously bad. That is also another story…and I’ll post about her with pictures of her doing yoga with the equine osteopath because, you know, that’s my life.)

Anyway, I say all this because OF COURSE animals are going to be a big part of my world-building. Energy follows ley lines and causes changes that… Hey! I don’t want to give too much away, though. There’s a quiz below to tell you who your perfect “pet” would be, but DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN READING.

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You’re still here? Okay, here’s the quiz:

  1.          Do you want a pet that requires more or less attention?

A) Every minute with my pet

B) I have a couple hours every day.

C) I want a pet that fits into my lifestyle

D) I want my pet around when I remember it

E) I have no interest in actually interacting with my pet

                        2. How important is obedience from your pet?

A) Obedience is nice, but love is more important.

B) I need obedience so I can trust my pet.

C) Well, maybe obedience is overrated.

D) Who needs a pet who does tricks?

E) Umm. I need my pet to understand, “STOP.”

3. How important is it that your pet be housetrained?

A) Very

B) Accidents are unacceptable. We can work on manners.

C) Kind of

D) I’m willing to change my pet’s water.

E). Nope. Never coming in my house anyway.

4. How traditional do you want your pet to be?

A) Very

B) Pretty traditional

C) Somewhat

D) That’s boring

E) I want a pet that no one has never seen before

5. Do you want your pet to like you?

A) You said “like.” I think you meant “love.”

B) I want my pet to respect me.

C) I’d like my pet to recognize my voice, at least.

D) It’s okay if my pet doesn’t even know I’m home.

E) My pet and I will be actively avoiding each other.

 

Look, you guys have done magazine quizzes before. You know what to do. Whichever letter you choose the most often corresponds to your perfect “Misbegotten” pet.

A) Dido — a white female wolf who keeps Caesar “in the friend zone.” She’s elegant, maternal, and protective. With the right person, she’s not above snuggling. Dido is highly intelligent, but discerning about who she’ll love. She’s loyal to a fault and will give everything for her special one.  

B) Caesar — a solid black male wolf. He’s an alpha who will keep you safe by attacking promptly and without remorse. He is stoic, but might come across as arrogant. He’s not into being cuddled, but will consent to sit beside you when, and if, he chooses. He’s a soldier with perfect posture. It’s not his fault that he’s so damn handsome.

C) Saki — a penguin-turtle who helps Tamaki hold on to her sanity through many terrible experiences. She excels at being quiet and her fur is soft to the touch, but she’ll retreat inside her shell when she needs some alone time. She needs a lot of alone time.

By artist Amelia Grace

D) Zombie horseshoe crabs — these are kind of the equivalent of those frog kits where you send away for the tadpoles. They don’t require a lot of maintenance because they are already dead, but they do drift through the water, preferably brackish water like that found in the Chesapeake Bay, especially when in the presence of etemuu.  You can have one or a whole swarm. Warning: under the right circumstances they can be dangerous to humans.

E)Two-headed Moose — This guy is often misunderstood, probably because he is truly of two minds. Like a Gemini, this BIG fella has a good side, purely vegetarian. And then he has the other side, devilish side, literally. His second head, the one growing from his shoulder, would like to spear anyone and everyone. He’ll definitely get your friends attention. Warning: Hire a professional animal trainer for this pet.

 

So, ready to hit the pet store and buy supplies? Post in the comments which pet was right for you.

A couple of notes. The wolves and moose pictures all came from a World Wildlife Fund calendar a couple years ago — and I’m sorry I don’t have the specific photographer’s name to acknowledge him or her.

HOWEVER, I’m very happy to share the artist who created Saki for me: Amelia Grace. Her website is: http://amelia-grace-illustration.com and she has even more artwork on Instagram @Ameliagraceillustration

I’ve ordered bookmarks to give out at readings/signings and they will feature the cover art for Walking Through Fire on one side and Amelia’s design on the other side.

Let me know which pet you chose!

Sherri