The New House

Without a doubt, the energy of a house is important if you want to be comfortable in your own space. I’ve been in my house just over a month now. There were several things I did to help make my space comfy. A couple of these things may sound strange but they work.

[Disclaimer: I'm of the Pagan persuasion and use energy work in my everyday life. Don't be alarmed. Just read.]

One of the first things I did was cover all the mirrors already in the house (bathrooms and furniture-wise) with a white sheet. This helped in two ways. One, it cuts out all reflections that might spook you. New houses have lots of sounds and can cause sensory overload. Eliminating reflections will help ease you through that. No worries about scaring yourself when you catch sight of your morning hair in the mirror. No cats to run by a glass door at night and make you think a wild animal is prowling on your patio. No catching movement from the corner of your eye and trying to calm down long enough to realize it’s just yourself walking past a mirrored vanity. The other reason this is a good thing is that mirrors can be used as doorways. Covering all those mirrors for three days will close any possible entry points for wayward spirits. It eliminates some of the bumps in the night.

The second thing I did is one of those Pagan kinda things. Trust me on this one. I used sage and salt to seal the house off from any negative energies or spirits. This is how this works. From the main door you use to enter the house, light the end of a sage stick so it smokes and go left (counterclockwise). Wave the sage around all the entryways, doors and windows. Say aloud: All negative energies are released from this space; this house is now mine and negative spirits are not welcome here; only light and love are allowed in my space. Make your way all through the house until you come back to that main door. Now take a box of salt and go in the same direction, sprinkling salt across the thresholds of any and all outside doors and in each of the four outermost corners of your house. Important*, leave the main doorway open or open the window to the screen if it has one. This allows any negative energy a path to leave by as you go through the house. And salt the main doorway last. Close the door and leave for at least fifteen minutes so the house can calm down. This also helps rid the house of bumps in the night.

Next, get some nightlights. The first two weeks in the house I slept with lights on in both bathrooms and my bedroom door open. It’s a bit much. Especially if you like to sleep in a really dark room. So get some inexpensive nightlights. I found some cute ones at the local dollar store. The change from fully lit room across the hall to having a soft blue glow in the other rooms took a few nights to get used to, but I slept much better.

Spread your stuff all around the house. This may sound odd but keep in mind I had almost a house full of stuff crammed into one room. Unpack, open boxes, hang pictures, spread out through your space and put something you’ve touched in every room. This helps put your own energy in the space. Your own positive energy will circulate throughout the house. You’ll feel more relaxed with your stuff around you.

Invite people over. Call your family and friends. Have people come over for dinner, even if it’s just take-out from the taco place down the street. Fill your space with people you care about, laughter, happy sounds. This helps build up positive energy in your space.

Lastly, stop making assumptions. Every noise is not a serial killer clown breaking in to kill you. Go ahead and get up to investigate. But learn the sounds of the heat or air conditioning kicking off and on, the pool pump, the ice maker, traffic patterns, the neighbor’s dog, the plumbing. And yes, it’s okay to laugh at yourself when you get jumpy. I scared myself half to death the first night in the house. I hadn’t had a chance to salt/sage or to cover anything. I was seeing a reflection in the stove door from three rooms away when the air kicked on. I jumped out of my skin. This was after fighting of Psycho flashbacks while I took a shower. Alone. After dark.

Go ahead and laugh. I did.

Review: Django Wexler’s John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth

wexlercover2Another great story from Ragnarok Publications, Django Wexler’s John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth is a fun read. It gives you a glimpse inside the lives of gamers and the games they love told from an unusual perspective. Heroes takes John inside a role-playing game that he may not be able to fight his way out of. Wexler paints pictures in quick strokes and vivid colors. His characters are distinct and add layers of flavor to a delicious storyline. This is the second Golden story, following John Golden: Freelance Debugger. You can find all of Wexler’s work at his site, www.djangowexler.com and his RagPub titles are at www.ragnarokpub.com . He’s also available on Amazon.

Getting it done…or not

I’ve always been the type to not sit still and just do nothing. I have to be doing two or three things at once. If I sit and crochet, at the least I have music on, usually a movie or show that I’ve seen and can halfway listen to. My last vacation was in 2009 and it took me two days to figure out how to do nothing. Since I moved in to my new home, I find myself just sitting and doing not a damned thing. I sat and watched bex2the rain dance on the surface of my swimming pool for a good half an hour a few days ago. Just watched it rain. I didn’t even have any music on. That’s odd for me. Most days I do have something on somewhere in the house. But it’s all good. I’m settling in and finding my rhythm. I’m not writing as much as I’d like yet, but I’m getting there. I still don’t have internet or cable, but that will come soon enough. I managed to read two complete books, one fiction and one nonfiction, which I haven’t done much of lately. I have a huge To Be Read pile of stuff to work on. So if you’ll excuse me…where did I leave my glasses…?

Review: Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo

Let me introduce you to the first Zora Banks novel, Bad Mojo.

Bad Mojo is a roller coaster through the Chattanooga underbelly. It’s told from the perspective of Ash Owens, a were-creature who works with hoodoo witch doctor Zora Banks to keep balance and peace in their beloved Nooga. We learn about Zora from Ash, the antihero. Where Zora is ethical, strong of faith, and true to her word, Ash is emotionally ugly, unclean, and amoral in the most delicious ways, answering only to Zora due to her ability to keep his own inner monster in check.

Berryhill brings us two seemingly parallel story lines that end up being one and the same. We get a twisted new vampire, were creatures, hoodoos, politicians, drag queens, trolls, zombies, the Fae, drugs and sex, all both honest and crooked in equal measure. The vampires are called vipers in Berryhill’s Nooga, an interesting twist on the bloodsucker leaning more toward snakes than bats. And we can hear the Southern speech of Ash Owens without the weird spelling that bogs down dialect. This look at Nooga shows humans and spooks with all their associated customs blending into a normal society for those aware of both sides. Almost like being a spook is a form of socially acceptable mental illness.

In the same vein as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Berryhill gives us an antihero that tries his best, gets the hell beaten out of him at every opportunity and still gets back into the fight. Owens will do anything to accomplish what needs done; only being penitent to the exotic Zora Banks whom he secretly loves. Bad Mojo is a delicious read, both provocative and repulsive, giving the reader vicarious access to their own inner demons.

You can find Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo at Ragnarok Publications and at Amazon.

Settling in

I’ve been in my new house for about three weeks now. I’m not as jumpy as I was when I first moved in. This is the first time I’ve ever lived alone. The noises of the house took some getting used to. The air conditioning kicking on, the ice maker, the dehumidifier, wind, rain on the tin carport roof, bugs buzzing around the high windows in my bedroom at night. Now, I can take a shower any time of day and not have flashbacks from Hitchcock’s Psycho.

I’m still leaving some night lights on but I’m comfortable in my house. My home. It’s the first time I’ve felt I truly had a home I could call my own. I have my stuff all around me, throughout the house. Not just a room. And I don’t have to have company unless I just want it. Some days I do. Some not so much. I’m working twelve hour days when I work so those days I’m content to just come home and not do anything. I don’t have to go anywhere or talk to anyone. Besides I have my cell phone to text and Facebook with anyone who feels talkative. I think I’m going to like having my own home.

The soul of an artist

images (4)I found a picture today in my Facebook feed that made me stop scrolling. Not this first pic. He’s further down the page. It was a photo of one of my favorite musicians and it got me thinking.

There’s a lot of talk about separating the art from the artist when we find out one of our idols from stage, screen, or airwave has different views on some topic than we do. Those of you up in arms about Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card know what I’m talking about. The truth is that each of us is entitled to our own opinions on politics, religion, sex, birth control, gender equality, all of these and more.

As fans, we do need to separate the art from the artist sometimes. Each song/book/painting/movie touches each of us in a unique way that only we understand. What we have to remember is that it happens for the artist, too.

I’m particularly into music. It feeds my writing ideas, both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes it’s the phrasing of lyrics. Other songs it’s the feel of the music itself. And sometimes you find an artist that you just can’t get enough of. Everything they touch turns to gold.  I have been addicted to music since I was a kid listening to my dad on the radio. Dad would quiz me on artist and title when we were in the car with the music on. I love everything from Albert King to Rob Zombie and back around twice more.davegrohl

Of all the artists I’ve found in my 42 years, Dave Grohl is one of my all-time favorites. He has an appreciation for the music that more musicians need to develop. His love of music is so profound that he bought the sound board from the Sound City Studio to preserve the history captured in all those miles of wire.

Grohl personifies what music does to the soul. Watch the video for Pretender by his band Foo Fighters and you’ll see what I mean. Many of the bands videos include cheesy costumes and campy themes behind deep, heavy grinding rock beats. But Pretender starts slow, just a voice and a microphone. Then Hell breaks lose. Pretender has both those moments of intense quiet and raging, balls-to-the-wall energy that drags you through the song at mach 3 with your hair on fire.

Watch not just Grohl but the entire band in that video. The song would be intense even of there wasn’t a riot squad involved. That intensity is evident in everything Dave Grohl does. Sometimes it’s just under the surface, others it breaks free. It is always glorious.

Since learning to play guitar at age 12, he has become one with the music and its power. That’s the point where the artist is so connected to the art they become inseparable. When you listen to an artist of that caliber, it sets your soul on fire.

 

 

 

Review: The Forty First Wink by James Walley

Do you remember your dreams? Ever woke and thought you were still in one? Are you afraid of clowns? Then there’s a new book you really need to read.

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The Forty First Wink plunges you into a strange world that’s a gloriously weird hybrid of Labyrinth, Legend and Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a fast pace that doesn’t let up. Characters are strong and distinct, keeping up with the action and keeping you turning pages.

This debut novel is funny and terrifying at the same time, making you relive your own hellish nightmares and wish for companions like Walley’s characters. With flying pirates, talking canaries and deranged clowns The Forty First Wink is a wonderful roller coaster of a read. I look forward to much more from James Walley.

 

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