One Word

What is One Word?

Essentially, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, One Word is a word you divine from the universe to guide you through the year. In past years, I’ve had simplicity and patience, for example. Check out Jon Gordon to get all the details.

Finding my word

This year, I really struggled to find my WORD. I felt completely blank about it over the weeks I was trying to be open to hear it. When I realized the word wasn’t blasting through my head like it had in previous years, I paid more attention to the constant feeling I had about it. Following this vague sense, I looked up and researched through my limited vocabulary down a deep rabbit hole.

First, it was INTENTION

Intention was where I started. But that wasn’t focused enough.

Intention to attention… but that’s more than one word, and not exactly what I felt.
I needed intention to relate more with sourcing my purpose, with ensuring I take action towards a goal that is wise and fitting and not ruled by pride and ego.


I’ve read that yoga can mean “work.” Intentional action. So, I started looking up definitions of yoga. At this point, I was pretty sure YOGA was my WORD, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just creating something of my own making from the hints the universe handed out.

Yoga: a union between the self and the divine, or more accurately to realize my identity with the Divine; to know and tune into my intrinsic nature.

No, that doesn’t sound terrifying at all.

Yoga is (according to Patanjali):

Equanimity of mind in success and failure.
Discretion in work.
The remover of misery and destroyer of pain.
The most supreme self.
Serenity.
The giver of infinite happiness.
Complete control over patterns or modifications of the mind.

Yoga is a lot. Much more than ONE WORD. So, I kept digging, trying to slim this all-encompassing way into a piece I could focus on. The YAMAS is where I found my WORD.

SATYA

…”absolute truth”, but Satya also refers to the virtue of being honest in thoughts, in actions and in words during everyday life…

https://styleoga.it/en/meaning-satya-yoga/

Impeccable truth. Clear, truthful intention. Satya is my One Word.

The actual doing…

Of course, how to go about achieving even the slimmest level of this is my current task. Journaling has become my job this last week as I try to dissect my brain patterns, try to cess out the things that make me not be SATYA (is it a verb? can it be a verb?) and find a way towards it.

Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them. I’d especially love to hear if you have a word to focus on for the year.

From the Start…

From my own experience and from what I often hear from other writers, there’s a tete-a-tete that happens between what we want/think our stories should be, and what the story itself has in mind. Right away, when writing KILLING GAME, that became my truth. Daniel was meant to die from the outset–this much necessary point to show Desiree the severity of her situation, and the even more daunting idea of consequence–but continued to live. Dimitri came to life to force that point when the first character refused to stick to his script. So much of that happens in so many stories I hear about. These tales have a life of their own, and any good creator allows them their necessary space.

Sometimes, an idea just isn’t that great. Sometimes, the market knows best.

I purposefully wrote Rishi’s Wish sans a real love interest. Sure, it’s one of the main points that makes Urban Fantasy what it is, but I decided I didn’t want to use it. At least not right away. I wanted this clueless girl to stumble and fall and pick herself up on her own. I wanted her to figure out that playing meek and quiet wasn’t a sure path to the right thing just falling into her lap. Does she receive help along the way? Sure. Are there those who wish they were in a relationship with her? Yes, but it’s not the main focus of the story. Not even the third focus.

Even so, reader feedback showed me these love connections are so important. While I’d wanted the romance to stay periphery, comments suggest this is an impossibility. I have team-Hamal and team-Daniel conversations frequently. Readers want Dee to fall in love.

There is a quick almost-togetherness in book 1. Hamal does pine. Daniel has doubts. Pollux shows interest. Maybe I did lay the groundwork more than I meant to…

This quote from book 1 sums up what I was trying to say. Ironically, this scene got cut:

“Careful your solitude doesn’t create emotional ties that wouldn’t exist if given other circumstances.”

-Daniel to Dee, cut scene from KILLING GAME

That’s ultimately why I never tie these characters together. I was pointing out how not real, or if you don’t like that, how situational their feelings are. Hamal is the only person Dee has ever met with who she can discuss the strange things happening to her. He’s the only person she knows that can truly help her. He’s the only one who’s ever given her any information.

When Dee is further isolated, Daniel is the only one to talk to. While she never sees him as more than a friend, her uniqueness pulls Daniel towards her. Just as that same oddity pulls everyone near her close. Is she some amazing personality people can’t help but love? Gods, no. She rarely shows her personality, so busy toeing the line, hiding, afraid someone will decide to kill her. That no one knows what to make of her, that no one knows how to interpret what they think of her, these feelings are mistaken for like, lust, and in some cases, love.

Not forever though

There is a love story intertwined here, but it doesn’t start to show its face until Born To Die. Hopefully, readers won’t be too mad at me for this, after having their hopes pegged on one or another character. Dee still has a ways to go. She still has to decide which path to walk. Not until then will she be ready to sit with someone as her partner.

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Our Favorite Kind of Day is Here

It’s Release day! Book 4 is here. I am truly excited to have a brand new book out for you 🙂

Born To Die was a stressful task, mostly because I tasked myself too–undisciplined. I set a deadline, didn’t do any work, then insisted I keep that deadline. I very much never want to do that to myself again. While I managed it… let’s just say I’m still a little nervous that there’s something that’s lingering about the final product I’m waiting to bite me in the ass.

Without further ado, I give you:

Born To Die

Free. That’s all Dee’s wanted since the first. That, and to know.
The knowing came with a cost, but she’s paid it. Her eyes are open. She’s conquered her demons. It’s time to start a life.

Arlo’s unexpected help sets her up for just that. Out from under the influence of the Council, who’ve manipulated and managed her since the beginning, Dee thinks nothing else can stand in her way. But it’s impossible to guess all she still doesn’t know. She hasn’t thought far enough ahead. She doesn’t know she hasn’t even begun to pay.

Leaving Hamal and the others behind puts them in a scramble, forcing them to walk straight into a trap designed for Dee. A trap set by old and new enemies working together to ensure Dee is finally taken care of. These won’t stop until their goal is reached, and they’re not afraid to take the rest down while they do it.

Frantic, Dee is forced to make decisions that leave too many in danger. Every step is a step towards death. Despite her great power, she wonders if maybe she wasn’t Born To Die.

Happy Reading 🙂
~CMM

Merry Yuletide Holidays

Every year I decide to release a book at Christmas. Every year I forget that if it’s not done by mid-October, I won’t have time to finish it. Still, it’s never finished in time and I’m scrambling to pull everything together. It works out, but just once I’d like to grow as a person 😉 This year was no different. I just got through 4 edits of a 124K word manuscript in 6 weeks. I feel like my brain has melted and anxiety is just my regular state.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to say Happy Holidays! We celebrate Christmas in my house, though it’s less of a Christian festival and more of an exercise in wrapping my childhood nostalgia into a tangible event. For the past three years, I’ve done a fabulous job! This year’s looking great so far 🙂

Here’s hoping your winter season starts off as wonderful as mine!

Cheers!

~CMM

Dune 2021

The release of the movie Dune is a big deal for me (yeah, yeah- it doesn’t take much). My absolute most favorite story of all time, my absolute favorite character of all time, brought to the big screen with integrity paid to the themes of the book, is an exciting treat.
But the only way I could see it was with my sister, who shares my love for the story. Since she lives in Syracuse and my current semi-permanent home is Somers, CT, some travel plans were needed. Not a problem. I enjoy the travel and it turned the weekend into something closer to a real adventure.

BY TRAIN

I have never been on a train and was excited to make this my first time.
It’s a much slower form of travel than I expected. Apparently, I watch too many sci-fi movies where trains travel above cities at 200 mph. In this reality, with stops, a 3.5-hour drive is 6 hours by train. But that’s okay. I found the steady, elevated travel inspiring.

I wrote this as the train made its way from Springfield, Mass into the countryside:

“A train is a romantic way to travel. I’m thinking of Laura Ingels, her sister Mary traveling by train to and from her school for the blind. How different the countryside of the Midwest from the North-East? How different now from then?

Fall is setting in. The leaves just turning. Mostly green to contrast the changing colors. The sky bright and clear and blue. The fall typically means rain but not today. Today the universe wants me inspired. Today, I ride a train.

It’s the little things that can so largely influence perspective. Sitting up, higher than the freeway, higher than most roads, one can look down and out and across and away over the land. The golden stalks of harvested corn are like amber waves. The closeness of the trees, of the dirt and grass, makes the path much tighter than the many lanes paved for cars. At first disappointed we wouldn’t be traveling at 100 mph, I’m now glad. There is a peacefulness to this pace, to watching the land slip past.”

INCLUDING FRIENDS

Opening day is Friday, October 22 (we’re ignoring the blasphemy that HBOMax allowed an early release time). Friends that are going to see the movie with us can’t go until Saturday. Not okay.

So, we’ll go twice. Friday night and Saturday night.

Opening night, it’s a mostly packed house. The crowd is varied, which is fun to see. Couples my parent’s age sit near groups in their twenties. I wonder if it’s Dune they are here to see or just an epic-looking science fiction movie.
It starts. The first chord of music tingle through the darkened room. Hans Zimmer is a master. Tears are in my eyes as the first scenes reflect from the big screen. The music is perfect. The sights are perfect. Already, I’m glad to see it again tomorrow and the first line of the movie has barely sounded. I know there will be too much to absorb from a single sitting.

SATURDAY

I’ve called home to talk about the greatness. There are a few flaws I can speak of, but petty overthinking and more for the point of conversation than that they tainted the film in any way. But I can’t talk about these specifics because I can’t give anything away to those who haven’t seen it yet. A third viewing is planned.

Watching it a second time is better than the first. All the details you can watch for when you already know the overview.

BACK ON THE TRAIN

Headed East and North, the train is delayed and I’m worried there won’t be time to see the movie again this evening. There is always tomorrow, but I’m hoping not to wait. Sure, I’ve seen it twice but I want more!

WHY DUNE

Paul Atreides is arguably one of the best characters in fiction, especially if you’re arguing with me.
“A great man doesn’t seek to lead. He is called to it,” his father says to him before they leave their home planet. At that moment, in all of Paul’s fifteen years of wisdom, he feels he will never have the need. He has a moment of peace when the future he’s already glimpsed isn’t real.
When the need does arise, when Paul is called, he is both compelled to sabotage the moment as well as take up the mantel. The horrible acts he sees in his future, a future, if he accepts, will subjugate atrocities on all of humanity, is weighed against what that future would be without it. So great is his burden, he considers allowing his own death to eliminate his responsibility for the future.
It is Paul’s prescience, a genetic inheritance come a generation early, enhanced by the psychedelic properties of the spice harvested on Dune, that allow him this sight. Even before he steps foot on Dune, glimpses of possible futures plague him. Once the spice enters his system, just the small amounts caught on the wind of the planet, he sees more and more; sees multiple paths that he might play god and decide the fate of all.

I’ll leave it to that. If you haven’t seen the movie, or haven’t read the books so don’t know what’s coming, I won’t spoil it. There is so much to explain, I won’t do it justice anyway. It’s really hard to talk about things in a blog post…

Tell me what you thought of the movie. Do you know the Atreides story, or is the movie your introduction into herbert’s universe?

Happy Reading (and watching) 🙂
CMM

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