February 12, 2012

Another publishing feather in my cap

Posted in Books, Writing at 1:01 AM by moxiemuse

Ho Chi Minh Anew, my 1994 observations about the emotional return of Vietnam war veterans to Saigon, was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Line Zero literary magazine! Check out my work and that of my fellow finalists, including mixed media artist and poet friend, Anne DeJarnette, on the magazine’s website.

A little belated, I know, but I’ve been busy working with my editor on revising my first novel, submitting short stories to various publications, entering literary contests, and outlining my second book ahead of my spring research trip to Venezia and Vienna. Phew!

P.S. If you don’t subscribe to the magazine (you should), you can find Ho Chi Minh Anew here.


August 26, 2011

Atwood revisited

Posted in Books, Writing at 2:40 AM by moxiemuse

“The love of learning
the sequestered nooks
and all the sweet serenity of books.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Recently, I learned my friend Anne ranks Atwood amongst her favorite authors and thus inspired, I decided to revisit Ms. Atwood’s work despite my revulsion toward The Handmaid’s Tale. Perusing Amazon’s selections, I found Atwood’s version of the Odysseus myth (via the Canongate series) which seemed like the perfect place to restart.

Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad has had some good reviews and since I’ve already begun research on a future book starring Roman goddesses, the doyenne of Canadian literary fiction just might turn the spark of my novel idea into a firework.

I’ll be sure to post a review of the book here when I’m finished so stay tuned.

June 21, 2011

A moving tale with perfectly timed twists and turns

Posted in Books, Writing tagged at 5:22 PM by moxiemuse

Book cover, The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio

Last week, we stayed overnight at The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla (where Jason attended college). Walla Walla is a favorite spot for us and the last stop on our recent 3400 mile road trip to the Southwest on our iron steeds. I was so looking forward to some downtime—reading outdoors in the warm sun, sipping a good Mocha Frappuccino, feasting on a scrumptious dinner out, and of course, imbibing from a delectable selection of local wines.

The afternoon I arrived, with Starbucks in hand, I wandered over to The Book & Game Company, my favorite independent bookstore in town. On the local authors shelf, I spotted the book, The Violets of March, and when I saw that the story took place on Bainbridge, one of my favorite local islands, I had to add it to my reading stack. I just finished reading it this morning after my workout. Fortunately, I had my big sunglasses on so other coffeeshop patrons couldn’t see the big blobs forming in my eyes as I headed out to my car. Few novels have that effect and I just had to capture what the experience of reading this book had on me.

The story, and the way it opened up, developed, and lingered, was just beautiful. As a reader, it touched my heart so. It was easy to see how it was written from the heart, the author sharing what she knows and loves. Many a page made me either sigh out loud as the hints of a new love unfolded or had me biting my lip in anticipation for the next revelation in the unwinding of old secrets. Sarah Jio’s writing inspires me to continue to put my heart and soul in writing what I know and love.

Job well done, Sarah, and here’s hoping The Bungalow is a smashing success.

P.S.  While I haven’t had my share of wood violets appear at random in my garden, I am a big fan of gathering them to concoct some wild violet vinegar.

January 16, 2011

Introducing the red pencil

Posted in Books, Writing at 11:22 PM by moxiemuse


I know I promised to write more about the novel I started as part of NaNoWriMo in November. December was busy with the holidays and January started off with a bear in my garage and coming down with a strange case of acute laryngitis for 2 weeks.

While I didn’t complete my novel in 50,000 words, I decided I wanted to keep the momentum so I signed up for a 6-week revision workshop with Lani Rich from Storywonk. Hence the big red pencil and why I decided I needed help with the actual editing of my novel even though it is about 75% complete.

I pulled a tarot card from the Rider-Waite deck before we started and asked, “What am I to learn most from this class?” Interestingly enough, the card was the Six of Pentacles, which is all about giving, sharing, balance, wealth, and judgment. Balance is key for me right now in my life so I’m not surprised to see the main character in the card holding a set of scales and deciding which of the two beggars deserves his money and attention. Figuring out what to give to my story and what to take from it is a great metaphor for what I’m juggling now so the card selection couldn’t be more perfect.

November 8, 2010

A weekend of stops and starts

Posted in Books, Writing tagged at 5:06 AM by moxiemuse

Blindsided by research has been the theme this weekend. I feel the need to be as accurate as possible as I write rather than include placeholders everywhere. The problem with accuracy is that when you have only 30 days to write 50,000 words, you have to adopt a devil-may-care attitude and make a pact that accuracy will come in the edit passes to follow. Just the words, quantity versus quality, is what matters at this point.

Chalk it up to newbie nerves.


The decade or more as a technical communicator where every piece of content requires the utmost accuracy AND often, quantity obscures the quality and the message is lost.

Day 7, 14477 words

I’m going to keep on keeping on.

P.S. I did make significant progress, however, on my sketchbook. (I am participating in The Sketchbook Project. More on that in another post.) The last thing I have to do is fill in the final word count of my novel on November 30, 2010. Woot!

November 6, 2010

10, 900 precious words

Posted in Books, Writing tagged at 5:29 AM by moxiemuse

It’s day 5 everyone and I’m on track. Scene 4 of eight scenes altogether in Chapter 3 and it is getting tricky keeping all the intrigue and suspense in check.

I know that writing the first draft is all about quantity and not quality but I aim to do a decent job of both.

Here’s to rockin’ out to writing some nail-biting stuff tomorrow. And keeping mogigraphia and scrivener’s palsy (otherwise known as writer’s cramp) at bay while I’m at it…

P.S. To give myself a break from the keyboard, I’m officially putting this on my holiday wish list http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/ I figure it this way: I write technical documentation for smartphones so why not flip it around and get a smartpen to help me write creative documentation?

October 23, 2010

NaNoWriMo, here I come

Posted in Books, Writing tagged at 9:54 PM by moxiemuse

In November 2008, my colleague, Nathan Everett, was spreading the word about his participation in NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month which begins November 1st. As part of the Microsoft Giving Campaign to help the United Way, Nathan auctioned off the opportunity to name a character in his NaNoWriMo novel. My bid won the auction and then I freaked because I had to come up with a name for a character.

As the name was germinating, I started daydreaming about a character for my own novel. I wasn’t expecting that but I moved forward and developed a synopsis but then, I allowed writers block to overtake me. I did not participate in NaNo 2008 but the novel idea stayed with me, emerging again this year even stronger than before.

I need to prepare because the goal is to write 1700 words a day for 30 days so by the end of the month, you’d have 50,000 words, enough for a novel.

Since I decided to participate this year, I figured I need the inspiration of fellow novel writers. I’ll be attending a Pre Nano Meet Up event at the Redmond Panera on Thursday, October 28th and then on Sunday, I’ll attend Nathan’s 7th annual HalloNaNoWeen:

HalloNaNoWeen Event in Belleuve

EEEEEEEEEEEEEK! Guess I better get cracking on an outline, some narrative, characters, background info, et cetera.

All I will say about the novel right now is that it is about Selah Volk, a gypsy from Moldavia, who is known as The Page Turner. It will be a mix of genres: historical fiction, suspense, and fantasy.

The NaNoWriMo word count validator will open for business on November 25. From then until November 30, I’ll paste my 50,000-word novel into the validator to have it counted, and have myself declared an official NaNoWriMo winner. I’ll share my novel with the world on November 30th.

NaNoWriMo, here I come!

To prove that I’m participating and to hold myself accountable, here is my profile on the NaNoWriMo website:


October 9, 2010

White Buffalo Woman: Then and Now

Posted in Animals, Books, Spirit tagged , at 1:00 PM by moxiemuse

I’ve been so fortunate to call Eve Kerwin, my friend and mentor. Her book is a mere glimpse into the fascinating and often challenging life she has experienced as the White Buffalo Woman.

I learned so much about spirituality, shamanism, the legend of the white buffalo, walk in phenomena, personal growth in spite of diversity, and walking the road less traveled regardless of family pressure and societal norms. The Awakening encompasses all these aspects and much much more. Truly a revelation of a book that honestly details the life of a modern mystic, working shaman, loving mother/daughter/sister,  generous friend, and an all-around extraordinarily talented and gifted woman. You will find that The Awakening engages you on many levels. A riveting read. I can’t wait for the sequel to learn and understand the depth of Eve’s life and work.

Here’s how it all started:

On the 10th of August 1994 in Janesville, Wisconsin, a momentous birth occurred.

This birth was heralded as the fulfillment of a 17-generation-old Lakota Sioux prophecy. A female white buffalo calf was born on a bison farm owned by the Hieder family. The calf was pure white, not an albino. This was genetically remote, later predicted by geneticists as one in hundreds of millions. The day after its birth, before news reached the press, a Lakota Sioux medicine man mysteriously appears on the Hieder’s doorstep, saying that he received a vision that a white buffalo was born and needed to travel to it. He was guided to their farm by Spirit to acknowledge the event that his nation had been prayerfully anticipating for hundreds of years.

The significance of the white buffalo for the Sioux Nation begins centuries ago on the Great Plains. A number of tribes had joined together on the banks of a river. These seven clans were cooperating out of necessity, as times were very hard. Game was scarce and they tired of warring on one another for resources. They agreed to coexist under the tutelage of one chief.

They prayed that he would lead them back to abundance and prosperity. One day, the Chief Standing Tall instructed two of his best scouts to try and locate a herd of buffalo. One located find and the subsequent hunt could lay up provisions for the entire tribe for a year. The two scouts departed camp and headed for parts infrequently visited in search of game.

After some time, scouting the horizon from a hilltop, one of the scouts noticed a strange apparition in the distance. A white globe was floating a scant few feet above the grasslands, moving slowly toward them. Their first inclination was to run, but they were riveted by the vision. As the glowing globe got closer, they could see the form of a strikingly beautiful woman within. This woman had long black flowing hair and was covered in white buckskin. She carried a bundle in her arms. The scout, who first witnessed her, recognized that she was not of this earthly domain and this was a message from The Great Spirit and he was humbled.

The second was drawn to her by her shining and pristine radiance and lusted for her physical bounty. As he approached her, suddenly a swirling cloud engulfed the scout and the vision and together, they spun wildly as if being sucked up into a summer funnel cloud. When the torrent ended, she remained floating over a pile of bones. She spoke to the remaining scout and asked that he not be afraid. For the first had improperly misinterpreted her purpose. He should return to the tribe and tell them to prepare a lodge for her as she had gifts to bestow from Spirit. He hurtled himself across the plains and returned to camp to the amazement of the elders. But they all acknowledged that this was the answer to their prayers and made preparations.

The entire tribe was assembled as they saw the same white globe of light appear on the horizon and float towards their encampment. The chief greeted the apparition and welcomed the emissary from Spirit.
She spoke, “I am the White Buffalo Woman”, and then held out her arms as she passed the bundle she was carrying to the chief. She explained the first of seven ceremonies that would provide them with a process of right action and deeds as the chief unwrapped the cloth to expose two items. A stem made of cottonwood and a bowl shaped from red stone. The stem represented the male and the bowl, the female. When joined together, and only joined when praying, the smoke of the pipe would carry their prayers directly to The Great Spirit. As long as they honored this gift and six other ceremonies that she would reveal in the subsequent few days, their peoples would live in abundance and peace.

As the White Buffalo Woman bade her good-byes to the tribe, she floated from the camp and then the same funnel cloud again appeared only this time as its winds abated, a white buffalo appeared and stood before them. It laid down, turned around, and stood up, only the color of its coat had changed to black, then again, it changed to red, then once again as it changed to yellow and finally, back to white. The bison strode off and the voice of White Buffalo Woman could be heard by all, saying that she would return one day, when the world was at peace. Her owners named the white buffalo calf born in 1994, Miracle. Thousands have visited Miracle. Amongst them, many Native American elders, and even the Dalai Llama have physically witnessed her and acknowledged this prescient message to mankind.

After Miracle’s birth, the essences of White Buffalo Woman began to intertwine with the energies of Eve Kerwin, a former cosmetics model from Stamford, CT. When White Buffalo Woman speaks, Eve becomes the conduit for different spiritual guides who come through and assist her in this healing work. The sum total of all these energies is The Holy Spirit. In the beginning of each session, what people experience coming through Eve is a coded, vibrational, energetic dialect: a Universal Telepathic Core Language. Eve believes that the work of the White Buffalo Woman, the true gift that comes through her, is for many people to consciously understand their mission here and their life’s purpose. The process is an awakening and unlocking of Universal Truths, that when applied to their life, balances their bodies: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. This new and fresh perspective has life-altering potential, not only in interactions with others, but their physical circumstances as well. While Miracle fulfilled the physical aspect of the prophecy of the White Buffalo Woman, Eve Kerwin, through the shamanic tradition, is carrying on the spiritual aspect to truly complete the work of this wisdom teacher.

October 5, 2009

Think Redmond

Posted in Animals, Books, Fitness, Food, Redmond businesses at 12:20 AM by moxiemuse


I  just found out about ThinkRedmond.com, a website promoting local Redmond businesses. Many of the businesses offer a discount for their products and/or services, which is a great incentive for visiting them.

I’m a big fan of shopping locally especially small, family-owned or single proprietor businesses. I go out of my way to shop at these stores before going to chain stores. I’m blessed that there are so many wonderful shops in my area that I thought I’d share a few of my favorites:

The Green Grind— Fairly traded teas and coffees, located in Redmond Town Center

Utopia–One of my favorite places to buy jewelry for myself or friends and family.

Mode Organic Salon–I trust my tresses to these wonderful people and their delish organic hair care products. They have 3 locations–2 in Seattle and 1 in Redmond–and the Redmond one is based on the Microsoft campus for employees only.

SoulFood Books and Cafe–A funky place with lots of eye candy for the soul.

Creekside Cleaners–A family-run dry cleaning business on Redmond Way near the Blockbuster Video. They are always friendly, bellow warm greetings to me from the back of the store every time I come in, and usually take my cleaning and hang it up in my car. Service with a smile and the prices are reasonable for this environmentally responsible business.

Frankie’s Pizza–The place ‘where everyone knows your name’. OK, not quite, but I’m sure if we frequented this establishment more than once a month they would know our name but our waistlines would not be so happy with us. The food is always yummy (including the sinful breadsticks) and served in big portions. Even their house wine is decent.

All The Best Pet Care–While not technically a Redmond-only business (they have 8 locations in the Puget Sound area), this store deserves a special call out because of the staff’s attentiveness to our needs. We have a very fussy cat named Wiley and he is picky about his food choices and the staff know that about our situation so they always go out of their way to give us samples to try with him and always want feedback on what is or isn’t working with Wiley.

Animal Healing Center–Speaking of animals, this is THE only place we take our cat. Their holistic approach and Dr. Lisa Reising’s extra attention toward Wiley means they have a special place in our heart for their veterinary care.

Bear Creek Florist–The professionals at this shop always go above and beyond to offer you something that will suit your needs and budget. They also were EXTREMELY accommodating when I had to order all the flowers for my father-in-laws funeral service to be ready on the busiest day of the year–Valentine’s Day–and they delivered in spades.

The Bar Method–New to the area and recently nominated for Best Gym for the upcoming Best in Western Washington awards, this toning studio really kicks my butt. The staff is extra attentive toward beginners and that makes a big difference to those of us struggling to learn a new way of moving our bodies.

That’s it for now. Check back often and I’ll update as often as I can.

August 18, 2009

A wonderful coinkydink today

Posted in Books, leadership, Work tagged , at 12:52 AM by moxiemuse

Cover of the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

Cover of the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni


A few weeks ago, our corporate vice president, Terry Myerson, recommended one of his top business books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I’m just finishing up the last couple of chapters and can’t wait to read it again and again.

About an hour ago, I received an email from a distribution list I’m on for a speaker series where Microsoft brings in world-class thought leaders and November’s speaker is Patrick Lencioni.

Coinkydink? I think not.

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