First off, the exciting November news: it’s Launch Time!

Facebook Event RSVP HERE, please!

storm wrack & spindrift portland

If you’re in Portland on Nov. 21: come to Another Read Through for the last author event in that space: RSVP on Facebook to let us know to save you a cuppa tea.

If you’re NOT in Portland on that date, please consider preordering the book! You can do it from the very same bookshop where the launch will be (here) or B&N (here).

It has been quite a year of exploration, discipline, soul-searching, and tough decisions, and I am really looking forward to celebrating a portion of that work with readers and supporters on Nov. 21.

You might assume that I’m comfortable doing events in costume and singing in front of strangers from the way I promote my nontraditional book launches, but the truth is, I don’t do this often, and I get a little imposter syndrome creeping in every time. I deal with it by preparing deeply.

Just yesterday, I spoke out at a storytelling series event. A friend had the idea of telling Spirit Stories, and I thought this was a wonderful idea. “Count me in,” I cheerfully pronounced in August. Then the months ticked by, and I was hard at work publishing S&S, job searching, observing the pagan seasons, keeping up with friends and family, coordinating the lineup of Jolabokaflod PDX 2019. A little less than three weeks ago, it hit me. I’m going to have to get up and tell people about my spiritual life.

Some Spiral Leadership journaling work from the spring helped, but I scrambled, flailed, and panicked, in turn. What did I have to say? Were my feet firmly planted anywhere in the spiritual firmament? No. No.

But I’d made a promise and I told myself it was just going to be friends. Mostly. Whatever I came up with would not be the most outlandish story, as I knew where would be aliens, faeries, and ghosts from the other three speakers. What could I give? What would deliver what I’d promised? What had I promised?

I left a trail of my fierce preparation across three journals (I’m a paper fiend, yes) over two weeks, and delved back into books that had mirrored my spiritual discoveries this year. I outlined. I did a test-run. I went for a walk and came back to correct the order of a few items. I picked up my books and went.

I went first. I ran over time by 4 minutes, and didn’t have time for Q&A, but the event went swimmingly. I stayed to support my fellow speakers with smiles and openness. I went home with a vulnerability hangover, suddenly feeling I was going to fall into bed. I talked to my cat. I ate my feelings anyway. I reached out for help but not in a meaningful way.

I didn’t know how to characterize what I was feeling. Was it a failure? No. I had performed an act of courage, talking about my spiritual journey and current convictions. Then why this crummy victimhood? I affirmed as much as I could and fell asleep.

desk setup writer dark nanowrimo

Today, I got up and wrote my words (NaNoWriMo’s site sucks this year, but you can follow along on my Facebook). Talked to Bean some more. Posted in my groups for the book launch. And how do I feel about last night’s event now? Like the third tip on that vulnerability hangover link: proud of my growth.

My spirit story was about how I’ve been experimenting with spiritual connection this year just like I’ve tried to do with my book business in the past six years: experiment, learn, iterate, change. You’ve seen it on this site. 🙂

So how am I approaching my own book launch? It is easier because it’s my audience? Because I’ve got a home field advantage (at the bookstore)? Is it harder because it may be the last book for a while as I head back into full-time work and perhaps, maybe, finally submit my next novel to other presses for consideration?

How about this for an approach: I’ve put a lot of work into this book. I’m proud of the pieces of me in it, and excited to share the story. I wrote it to touch people’s hearts and inspire them to reach across the barrier, to extend a compassionate hand. While I have prepared–A LOT–for the events that follow, I can appreciate that step of growth, that pride, as its own reward, before expecting others to validate my own choices.

My spirit is in the story and the story is in my spirit. I may have a vulnerability hangover on Nov. 22 but I hope to also have a ridiculous grin on my face, in appreciation for the leap I’ve taken.