Welcome to my blog!My name is Melody M. Nuñez, and I’m an artist and a writer. Please look around my website and make yourself at home. I post new blog entries weekly, and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog and come back often! To learn more about me, please view the “About” page…
Category Archives: books
Congratulations, Oksana! You’ve won a copy of Eric Maisel’s book – Making Your Creative Mark! Please provide your mailing address. I’ll send your book out soon, and hope you enjoy reading it.
Thank you to all those who entered the giveaway. I enjoyed reading about your creative pursuits!
Greetings! Today I’m sharing a new book with you, published by the folks at New World Library. The book is Making Your Creative Mark, by Eric Maisel, PhD – something that I think will interest a number of you. Not only will I share a bit about the book, I’m also offering a giveaway since NWL was nice enough to send me a giveaway copy. Woo hoo!
Mr. Maisel is an esteemed creativity coach and a prolific author. He’s written over 40 books, including both fiction and non-fiction, but his specialty is helping artists of all kinds (visual artists, musicians, actors, etc.). He coaches internationally, trains creativity coaches, and lectures internationally, and has created a book that contains nine keys to achieving your artistic goals.
Here’s the text from the book’s back cover:
Writers, painters, singers, filmmakers, musicians, craftspeople, and actors confront daunting challenges every day. It is hard to produce new work, find success in the marketplace, manage relationships, and keep spirits up. Many doubt that solutions to these very real problems exist, but they do, and world-famous creativity coach Eric Maisel has compiled them in this book. You will learn how to:
* make sense of the challenges of your personality, the challenges inherent in creative work, and the challenges of culture and marketplace
* quiet your overactive mind
* increase motivation and avoid blocks
* engage in practices that create and reinforce meaning
* align self-talk with goals, avoiding negative loops that block creativity
* identify stressors and implement stress-management techniques designed specifically for artists
* maintain emotional intimacy and healthy relationships in the midst of the creative process
* claim your identity as an artist
* rekindle passion for your art and feed that flame during dark days and dry spells
Intended for professional artists and those aspiring toward professional status, this book offers the nuts and bolts of sticking to a successful and fulfilling life in the arts.
Topics include The Mind Key, The Confidence Key, The Passion Key, The Freedom Key, The Stress Key, The Empathy Key, The Relationship Key, The Identity Key, and The Societal Key. In addition the book contains an Artist Plan and a Refresher Course of 97 Creativity Tips.
How to Enter the Giveaway
To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment here on this post sharing one (or more) of your creative endeavors, whether it’s cooking, creating art, singing, etc.
The winner will be drawn at random, and will be announced here on my blog on May 9, 2013. Good luck!
This is a noteworthy year for me in many ways. Not only will I be entering my fourth decade soon, I’ve recently published a book. And, after having been laid off earlier this year, I’m looking for my next employment opportunity. Suffice to say that much of my life has been turned on its head in one way or another. And since I’m already upside down, so to speak, why not use this time to make some real, positive, and lasting change?
I’d been wanting to focus intently on improving my overall health for some time, and decided there was no time like the present. So, to that end, I’m working on overhauling my health, nutrition, and exercise, and have made some headway. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been up to, in case you find it helpful.
A Lifelong Battle
I’ve been fighting my weight for most of my life. But before I go on, please know this is more about overall health than it is about weight and weight loss. Yes, I’m heavier than the medical community says is healthy. Yes, I’d like to trim down and be a bit less “squishy”. However, what I’m most concerned with is fueling my body well. With being strong, fit, and healthy. I want to live an active life without limitations, and that includes good food and some treats. If I can do all that at a size 14/16, so be it. I know from years past that I’ll never be smaller than a size 10 anyway – that’s where I start looking too thin. :]
Getting back to fighting my weight, it’s been peaks and valleys. Gain weight, lose weight, gain weight, lose weight. And though there might be years in between each gain and loss, it’s been ongoing since high school. I’ve probably gained and lost a significant amount of weight at least six or seven times over the years, which is not only annoying – it’s not healthy. Repeated weight gains and losses take a toll on one’s body.
Trying Something New
Mark Twain said, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” Amen, Mr. Twain! I’ve been using that quote as a bit of a guide, and have been trying to do things a bit different lately. Rather than participating in a diet program, or guiding myself through a diet that focuses on low-fat and fewer calories, I’m starting at the very beginning: with nutrition.
I’ve been doing some reading, and it’s both confusing and eye-opening. Confusing because there are hundreds of books on diet and nutrition, and many of them contradict each other. Eye-opening because so much of what we’ve been told about nutrition is wrong. For example, for decades folks were told that margarine was healthier than butter. That liquid vegetable oils like corn oil are healthier than the animal fats people used to cook with. It’s now coming to light that the opposite is true. Certain oils are good (olive, avocado, coconut), but a lot of the oils used today are truly bad for us. Much of the “food” in the grocery stores is manufactured by the food industry with the goal of making something that will last longer on the shelf and bring the manufacturer more money, rather than promote good health. How do we know what to eat? Who do we trust?
Doing Research & Taking Action
Thus far I’ve read five different books on nutrition, whole food, and our agricultural system, and am going with areas of consensus amongst the authors, with my personal observations, and with my gut instinct. First and foremost, I’m focusing on eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods as much as possible.
- Eating more fruits and veggies
- Eating a wider variety of vegetables – like spaghetti squash, a new squash for me
- Shopping at the Farmers Market when I can
- Avoiding the bad oils (vegetable, corn, safflower, etc)
(I’m only using butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil for meals at home)
- Adding more meat, shellfish, and eggs to my diet
- Cooking more meals at home
- Reducing my refined sugar intake
- Vastly reducing processed grains like wheat, corn, oats, etc. for toxicity reasons
- Greatly reducing the amount of soda I drink (both regular & diet are bad for us)
- Brewing batches of iced green tea sweetened with stevia to drink instead of soda
- Reading the ingredients on any packaged food I buy
- Taking supplements like Green Tea Extract and Vitamin D
- Working with my doctor to get my thyroid regulated and my TSH number down
- Exercising 4-5 times a week
- Exercising before breakfast whenever I can, since this encourages fat burning
Here are some of the books I’ve been reading, in case you’d like to do some research of your own:
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
The Perfect Health Diet by Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet & Paul Jaminet
The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen
Why Women Need Fat by Lassek & Gaulin
No Calorie Counting
Something I read in one (or two) of the books really resonated with me: it’s very possible to be both overfed and undernourished. I was a good example of that. I was eating too much of the wrong things and wasn’t providing my body the vitamins, minerals, and fuel it needed. The healthy foundation wasn’t there, so my body kept asking for more food in search of what it really needed.
So, at this point I’m not counting calories. I’m simply focusing on eating healthy foods (with the occasional deviation) in reasonable portions. I figure it’s most important to be eating the right kinds of foods since a typical Western diet – and dieting – haven’t worked for me.
Investing in Good Health
Eating healthfully can be more expensive and more time consuming, but what costs you time and money now will likely save you time and money in the long run. Nowadays we spend a smaller portion of our incomes on food than in decades and centuries past, but our healthcare costs are also higher because we’re sicker – so there’s not much of a savings. Many of the illnesses that run rampant today are directly related to our broken food system, and that’s a shame. I’ve embarked on this adventure to see if I can’t turn that tide in my life.
We’ll See What Happens…
I don’t have all the answers, and still have plenty of questions. I’m not exactly sure where this road will lead, but I know in my heart and in my head that eating mostly whole foods makes the most sense, so here I go. I know I’m making better choices and am fueling my body better – whether or not that will be reflected on a scale remains to be seen. And though I’m dedicated to this new way of doing things, I’ll still indulge in some things that aren’t good for me from time to time. Just not all of the time. :]
Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers. I’d be glad to hear from you and to respond…
*Please note: I am not affiliated with or advertising any products listed in this post, am just sharing what I’ve been reading/using/eating.Tweet
My book, An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, is just over a month old now. Self-publishing has been a wonderful adventure so far, and I thought I’d share a happy “new author” rite of passage I recently experienced. Until a week or so ago, all my book sales had been done through Amazon and Etsy. I hadn’t seen my book for sale in a bookstore, but that was about to change.
While on a road trip I stopped into a bookstore near my destination, and ended up selling them a copy of my book. Yes, one copy. They very nicely explained that because they’re a small store they could only start with one book, but I was so excited you’d think I’d made a best seller list. I was even more excited when one of the two ladies I was doing business with walked over and put my book on their New Fiction section in the front of the store.
OMG – there it was! My book – for sale – in a store! It was a first for me, and naturally I had to take pictures to mark the occasion. I was grinning ear to ear as I left the store and drove on down the road. It was a small victory, but I was elated anyway. Woo hoo! Later on in my trip I went to sell another 7 books, including five that were purchased by an antique store, and it was a wonderful feeling. I wish I’d brought more books with me. :]
It’s unlikely my little book will make a big splash in the literary world, and I probably won’t sell tens of thousands of copies. This is a project that came from the heart, and seeing it through to being published – and beyond – is food for my soul. I strive to be mindful and grateful in daily life, so you can be sure I’m going to appreciate all the firsts and unexpected joys this literary journey brings my way.
Like the pleasure of seeing MY book on a shelf in a bookstore…
I was recently invited to be a part of a blog tour for an author, Renée Peterson Trudeau, and was happy to accept. Ms. Trudeau’s new book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, was just released and I’m glad to help spread the word here on my blog. I’m part way through the book, and am looking forward to reading more!
I had some options when it came to how I’d participate in the blog tour, but quickly settled on an excerpt that Ms. Trudeau’s publisher emailed as possible content. The title of the excerpt? Learning to Ask for Help. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at asking for help. And though hubby and I don’t have children, and our family is just a family of two adults (and two bunnies!), I welcome the insights Ms. Trudeau offers in her new book.
I hope you enjoy the post below…
Learning to Ask for Help
An Excerpt from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family
We all need support — lots of it. We weren’t meant to do everything for ourselves. Assess how you currently navigate challenges: Do you immediately isolate, put on your armor, grab your sword, and head out into the forest to slay the dragon alone? Or do you enlist the help and strategic counsel of other knights and soothsayers who have already weathered similar challenges? What is your typical response to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated?
Next, consider all the ways you could ask for the help you need. What do you do now that you could do more often, or what new steps could you take? Regardless of the challenge — whether it involves parenting, your career, or a relationship issue — consider expanding your concept of what it looks and feels like to receive support.
Here are a few ideas on how to ask for and receive help in our everyday lives:
• Let your boss know you’re overextended at work and you’re concerned this will effect the quality of your work. Specifically, you can ask for help prioritizing tasks, request additional staff support, or tap coworkers for help or ideas on how to streamline processes or tasks.
• Cultivate an existing friendship, or create a support group that will meet your specific needs.
• Ask a neighbor, another mom or dad, or a single friend to watch your child when you need help. Don’t feel like you have to reciprocate; just practice receiving. If a friend or neighbor has offered help in the past, don’t be shy about taking them up on it.
• Reach out to a career, leadership, or business coach for support on making a career change or navigating a challenging phase in your professional life.
• If you usually handle the cooking, ask your partner to make a meal for the family — and then stay out of the kitchen. Let go!
• If you have a big house chore to handle, like cleaning out your garage or weeding your yard, create a “work crew” of friends. Reward them with a party afterward, and/or offer to swap house tasks the following weekend.
• For family or parenting issues, ask for support and ideas from a parenting educator or coach. Often churches or local nonprofits offer this for free. If you’re unsure, ask potential mentors to lunch to get to know them first.
• If you want more emotional or practical help from your partner, set up a date to talk about this and brainstorm ways you could support each other to bring more flow and ease to your days (sometimes you may simply need emotional support).
• Get your kids involved. Ask them to help fold the laundry, vacuum a room, help with dinner prep, or water the plants. Kids are never too young to share in household or family responsibilities.
• Practice saying yes! The next time someone offers you something — to buy you coffee or lunch, to watch your cat, to help you move, and so on — accept the gift, smile, and say thank you!
In our Personal Renewal Groups for women, we designate one entire month for “Building a Support Network.” Because so many of us find it hard to receive without feeling that we have to immediately give in return, the homework challenge is to practice receiving support by “allowing” others to help — picking up the kids, running an errand, mailing a package at the post office, receiving a meal — and not reciprocating. I believe because we’re so conditioned to do for others and often put ourselves last, women always find this really difficult. Yet at the same time, they share how deeply rewarding it is to help out and support others just for the joy of it — with no expectation of receiving anything in return. In everyday life, there’s nothing wrong with offering to return a favor (“Thanks for watching Scott; I’ll be happy to watch Elijah next week”), and most people do this often, but I challenge you to balance this with learning the art of receiving without feeling that you owe the other person a thing.
The more comfortable we become modeling giving and receiving with ease, the more our children will learn to do this, too. It’s like building up your support muscle — it takes time and practice.
Maddy, a friend who facilitates our self-renewal circles, once told me she found her four-year-old daughter, Ella, creating a circle on the floor with all of her dolls and animals propped up on pillows. Ella said proudly, “Look, Mama, they’re having a Personal Renewal Group meeting to help each other!”
# # #
Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com
Excerpted from the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com
Thanks to everyone who entered my book’s giveaway. It was a treat to read your wonderful comments!
It is my pleasure to announce the lucky giveaway winners. The following three people have each won a signed copy of my new book, An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past.
2. Debbie M.
For those of you whose name I didn’t draw, please visit my books’s amazon.com page and consider purchasing a copy – I’d really appreciate it. Big thanks to those who’ve already ordered a copy! :]
WANT A “SIGNED” COPY OF MY BOOK?
If you’re planning to buy - or have already purchased – a copy of my book from Amazon.com, but would like it signed, I can provide a signed bookplate/label for you to put in your book. Simply send me a SASE – I’d be happy to send a signed book plate your way! Here’s my mailing address:
Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602
Happy reading, y’all!
Greetings from Book Central!
I received my first big shipment of books on Monday, which will be used to help promote the book, and I’m so excited! Feedback on my book has been very positive thus far, and I’m a happy camper. I’m looking forward to sharing my “baby” with more people in the coming months, so I also ordered some bookmarks and postcards to help with that. They arrived last weekend and I think they look fab. Hubby did such a great job on them!
In other book-related news, some (very) informal market research has been done, and two out of two bunnies surveyed find my new book delicious! ;]
So, have you entered my giveaway yet? I’m giving away 3 signed copies of An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, and will announce the winners this Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Please enter now by commenting on this link’s post, if you haven’t already! :]
I hope you have a great weekend, dear readers…
I’m thrilled to announce the release of my book, which is now available on Amazon.com!
The title of my book is An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past. It’s a combination of both my writing and altered art, and I’m so happy to see the project come to fruition!
About the Book (from the back cover)
An Altered Existence is a collection of short stories, each illustrated with a vintage photo. These photos, also known as cabinet cards, were “orphans” collected from flea markets and antique stores. They sparked the author’s imagination, and resulted in 14 short stories illustrated with photos “altered” by the author.
- A photo of a bearded man with haunted eyes is paired with a silver key, and a story of a family with hoarding tendencies emerges.
- A wedding portrait of a young couple, combined with a gold wedding band and the words “false” and “true”, yields a tale about a gentle schoolteacher who sets her small town’s rumor mill on fire when she poses for a photo with a local scoundrel, though they’re not engaged or married.
- A young girl’s portrait, when paired with vintage buttons, births a story that many can relate to: loss, and the subsequent struggle to feel whole again.
Look into these 14 portraits from long ago, and venture into the “altered existences” they inspired. This collection includes stories about life, love, birth, death, self-acceptance, salvation, and taking chances. Their stories just may be our stories, too…*
In honor of the launch/release of my book, I’m going to give away THREE signed copies! In order to enter, simply leave a comment here on this post. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, so please enter by Monday, March 4th. Good luck!
Please spread the word!
I’d really appreciate it if you’d share the news about my new book with family, friends, fiction readers, book clubs, and artists – anyone that might enjoy my illustrated collection of short stories. Thank you in advance!
I hope you all have a wonderful week…*
Happy Thursday, dear readers!
If you’ve been following this blog since the very beginning you know that I wrote a collection of illustrated short stories some years back, and shopped the collection around to agents in hopes of landing a book deal. The results were both encouraging and discouraging. Folks liked my writing, illustrations, and book concept – that was the good news. The bad news is that readers seldom buy short story collections unless the writer is very well known, so publishers very rarely publish them. I accepted the fact that I’d have to find another way to publish and put the project aside for a time.
Fast forward about three years to now, when self-publishing is much more common, accepted, and is much easier to do. I decided to take the plunge and publish my book through Amazon’s Create Space, as an early 40th birthday present to myself, and hope to have the book available for sale on amazon.com by February 28th. I’m SO excited! My wonderfully talented husband, José, has been designing the book cover and laying out the book for me (he’s both artistic and tech savvy) and it’s been a thrill to see the book really coming to life.
I’ll post a sneak peek at the cover here soon, but just wanted to mention it now, so it’s on your radar. I’m keeping the title, illustration concept and other details under wraps just a wee bit longer, but will reveal more very soon. I’ll likely post photos when my proof copy arrives, and will be interested to see what you think of the book’s cover design. I think hubby has done a phenomenal job on it.
As part of my book’s launch I’ll be giving away a copy (or three!) here on my blog, and hope you’ll enter to win! I’ll also be adding a special BOOK page to my website’s main page. Publishing and publicizing this book is going to be a learning experience, I’m sure. Have any of you out there published or self-published? Do you have any suggestions for a newbie author? I’d appreciate your feedback and insight. As for those of you who are readers and book buyers, do you buy hard copies or do you buy books for an e-reader like a Kindle, Nook, or tablet? Thanks in advance!
Greetings! I hope you’re all enjoying the summer. Just thought I’d pop in with a quick hello and update. My first surgery was a month ago, and it’s been a challenge to take it easy. How does a gal who’s used to doing so much with her hands spend her time when she can’t use them? Here’s some of what I’ve been up to…
Reading: I’ve read several novels, including the wonderfully imaginative book The Night Circus.
Movies: I’ve watched several movies on DVD and some in the theater. The movie Robot and Frank (which we saw in the theater) was particularly enjoyable!
TV: We no longer have cable, but have watched the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the United States of Tara on Netflix streaming. We’re also a few seasons into How I Met Your Mother. Oh, and I’m looking forward to the new season of Survivor, which starts on September 19th!
Documentaries: I’ve watched video biographies on Frida Kahlo, Monet, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh. I also watched a documentary on Yellow Fever, of all things.
Making left-handed art while my right hand mends: Here are a few iPhone photos of the somewhat messy, smooshy pages I created with my non-dominant hand (including the collage image up top).
I’ve also spent some time basking in the ridiculously abundant cuteness of my rabbits. Aren’t they adorable?
Cypress – AKA Plumpie – stretches out…
Pinto was ready for his closeup!
The next surgery, on my left hand, will be mid-month. (At least this time I know what to expect!) I can’t wait to get back to work and to life in general. I’ve got art to create, things to bake, photos to take, and public school children to teach art to! :] In the meantime please feel free to comment if you’d like to suggest a book or movie – I’d be glad to hear from you.
p.s Please keep my at-risk public school students in mind if you’re out shopping for school supplies or other goodies. I’ll be hosting another Art Supply Drive in October, and would love to receive your donations of glue sticks (we need LOTS of these), Crayola crayon 8-packs, etc. If you’re interested, you can see a wish list at the bottom of this page. Thanks so much!Tweet