Meet Me at the Metaphysical Fair in May!

I know not all of you live in the St. Louis area, but if you do (or are up for a visit), I’m excited to announce that I’ll be selling books at the Crossroads Metaphysical Fair, May 12 and 13 at the Holiday Inn St. Louis SW Route 66. The fair runs from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, so there is plenty of time to drop by and say hi.

Why am I so excited about this? These are my people! I LOVE crystals, tarot and books on Wicca/New Age spirituality so even if sales are slow, I’ll be in heaven. Plus, with two books where Guinevere is an Avalonian priestess and one on Victoria Woodhull the Spiritualist, I can’t go wrong with the type of people who will be attracted to this event. And if that wasn’t enough, my friend and fellow writer Mia Silverton will have a booth there, too.

Now we just have to hope I don’t spend more than I make that weekend… I make no promises! ūüôā

Yes, I’m Obsessed with More Than Books (or these are my favorite things)

What do you mean not everyone keeps tons of makeup in a Caboodle from the 1980s?

What do you mean not everyone keeps tons of makeup in a Caboodle from the 1980s?

I get rather caught up in the research blogging and book stuff around here, so in an attempt to show you the more personal side of me, I’m going to try to complete Marketing for Romance Writers’ 52-Week blogging challenge. Every Friday, I’ll use their prompt for the week to tell you something about me.

This week’s theme is “A Few of my Favorite Things.” I’m limiting myself to five for the sake of brevity.

  1. Crystals – I know we’ve talked about this before, but I collect crystals. I love just to look at them –¬†pretty, shiny – but I also meditate with them and believe in their healing powers. ¬†I have a bunch of jewelry with various stones. My favorites? Selenite, moonstone and citrine.
  2. Makeup – Did you know that if I wasn’t a writer (or a history professor), I’d want to be a makeup artist? I’m not an artistic person – I can’t draw or paint or sculpt – but the things you can do with makeup amaze me. When I was 12, I took modeling classes at Barbizon (yep, child of the ’80s here) and one of the things we learned, besides that I am way too short to be a model, is how to properly apply makeup for everyday wear, as well as color and black and white photo shoots. I was hooked. Then when I was a sophomore in high school, I was on the makeup crew for a play. (Greasepaint is disgusting, but it was still fun to do special effects makeup.) I’ve played around with my own makeup ever since, but never actually pursued formal training. At the moment, I have around 50 eye shadows, 20 eyeliners and 15 lipsticks, plus all the other stuff: brushes, bronzer, foundation, etc. ¬†Favorite brand: MAC, but I’m also getting into MBA Cosmetics and hoping to try out Storybook Cosmetics when their first line comes out.
  3. Cabins, Cottages and Tiny Houses – This started when I stayed at Hedgebrook, a writer’s retreat on Whidbey Island, about two hours outside of Seattle¬†for two weeks. There is something about the small space that I find comforting. Living in one also taught me that I don’t need much to survive and I became somewhat of a minimalist. (But I do require indoor plumbing and internet access.) I also loved the wood-burning stove and despite my irrational fear of fire, I hope to have one someday. I’d rather spend my money on experiences than a large house, so a tiny house or a nice cabin would be fine by me. (Says the girl who wants to live in Chicago. Maybe I should amend that to a small apartment downtown?)
  4. Castles – On the other end of the architectural scale, I’m obsessed with castles. I have been since I was very young. When I was 11, I was fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with my mom and grandmother. I tried to count the number of castles we saw, but there were so many (literally around every turn) that I lost count somewhere around 120. My favorite ones I’ve visited are Neuschwanstein Castle and Heidelberg Castle, both in Germany.
  5. Miniatures – ¬†Collecting miniatures and building huge doll house versions of my books is going to be my eccentric old, rich lady hobby someday. I think I like them because I can visualize worlds and stories in them, just like I do with my books. My grandmother actually made several miniature shadowboxes when I was young. But the best display I’ve ever seen is Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I could stare into that thing all day long. If you get a chance to buy/read the book about the castle, you’ll learn just how rare and valuable some of the pieces are. It’s amazing.

What are some of your favorite things? Do we have any in common?

C is for Crystals

So many crystals, so little time!

I’m easily distracted by anything shiny. (Stop snickering, those of you who know me offline.)¬†Ever since I was little, all it took to make me happy was a rock that sparkled in the sun. I grew up in an area of the Midwest where caves are quite common, so my parents would often take me to them on weekends and every one had a gift shop. That was where I bought my first geode to crack open and my first¬†set of crystals, having no idea it would lead to a life-long obsession.

I still have that first package of rocks, neatly wrapped in plastic and glued to thick paper with the name of the stone written underneath. Only today, I have many, many other stones as well. Some are tumbled, some are rough cut, but all are special. I have so many I could probably open my own store.

Every stone (or crystal, call it what you like) has its own unique properties. There are a million books that will tell you about them (I prefer Cassandra Eason’s The Complete Crystal Handbook), but I like to work with them intuitively. I’m an earth sign (Virgo), so a lot of times I just go with whichever crystal strikes me as right. Crystals can inspire, heal, strengthen,¬†calm and aid in anything you do in life. You can hold them, meditate with them, carry them in your pocket, wear them as jewelery, or just have them in the room with you and they will do their thing.

Many shamanistic cultures (including the Native Americans) were known for understanding and using the healing power of crystals, but as of today, I haven’t found any evidence that the Celts felt the same way. (If you know differently, please let me know.) But I haven’t really been looking for that connection, either. So they don’t figure into my Guinevere books, but they will into a fantasy novel I’m planning for the future.

There are hundreds of crystals out there, but here are five that are good for writers, communicators and book lovers. (This is a short summary of their properties. Each one has many more.)

  1. White howlite

    White Howlite¬†– Known to help calm and bring patience, howlite is also a communication stone. Take with you or put it in your pocket when you need to have an open and honest conversation. But beware it is very powerful and you may not like what you hear. This is the artists’ stone (no matter what your medium) and it encourages life-long learning.

  2. Garnet

    Garnet РGarnet is often mistaken for ruby, but it has a deeper burgundy color than a ruby. Long believed to be a protective stone, garnets are worn as talisman against evil spirits. It is also the stone of the creative fire within. Though I have no documentation to back this up, I believe it to be sacred to the Goddess Brigid and her fire of inspiration. Paired with an opal, it is a great stone to induce writing productivity.

  3. Opal

    Opal¬†– Good at balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain, opal is the stone of all who write, act, dance, etc. – especially those who hope to do these things professionally. Opals are fiery, with a rainbow of¬†colors reflected within, so they represent the range of possibilities open to you in life. They’ve been revered since the time¬†of Pliny as wonders and are, to me, sacred to the Goddess Brigid.

  4. Blue Goldstone

    Blue¬†Goldstone – This stone is called blue, but to me it looks like a deep purple. It sparkles like it has glitter in it, especially in sunlight, so it makes me very happy. Some say it resembles a starry sky. It’s¬†said to be helpful in getting your big break¬†in your career and is considered a wish stone with strong positive energy.¬†It also facilitates clear communications.

  5. Citrine

    Citrine – Citrine is a naturally upbeat¬†stone, being a bright yellow, like the sun. It’s strongest property is that it takes negative energy from the environment (and others) and turns it into positive energy. It hardly ever needs to be cleansed, so it can be left alone for long periods of time without tending. I wear a citrine pendant every day and have found it helpful in identifying my inner happiness and shielding myself from the negativity of others.

Do you use crystals? If so, how? Are there any you want to learn more about? Or do you think¬†they are all just a bunch of hooey?¬†Let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you what I can. Also, please let me know if you have any suggestions for future “C” topics.