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: writing
Tiny bloom beckons,
intricate and colorful.
A heavenly sight…
I hope you’re all having a great week thus far!
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!
Such a tiny bloom
About the size of a dime.
Your beauty awes me…
Have you spied any tiny treasures in nature recently, dear readers? Do tell!
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!
As you know, I gather art supplies, gift cards, and monetary donations in order to provide at-risk public school children with art instruction and supplies. This year’s donation drive went well, and I was thrilled to have enough supplies to teach three classrooms of students for the first time ever – this is one more classroom than last year/ever before. Woo hoo! Three cheers for all my donors!
I taught all three of my classrooms over the past two weeks, two in Ontario and one in Santa Ana, and it all went incredibly well. The kids are always SO excited to get to learn about art and to actually do it, and they take to the art and writing involved in art journaling like little baby duckies to water! They’re super excited when they each get their art supply kits, and are especially happy when they learn that they get to keep all the supplies and take them home at the end of the year. It was a thrill for me to see all the kids so excited, happy, and engrossed in the activity.
Many of these kids don’t have anything like this in their lives, which makes it that much more important to them. In fact, in one class, two girls sitting next to each other were overheard saying, “I’ve never had this many art supplies!” and “I think I might cry!” (Happy tears, mind you.) All the teachers I talked to were very thankful, too, saying they’d never be able to provide/buy the supplies they received. In addition to the three classes I teach in, at least five more teachers received boxes of assorted supplies to share with their classes.
Here are some numbers for you, so you can get an idea of what all went on, and how many supplies were passed on to schools that desperately need them:
Number of people that donated supplies, gift cards, or funds between June 2012 and December 2012: 31
Number of boxes and bags of assorted supplies that went to the two schools: 20
Number of art supply kits provided, so each child would have their own set of supplies: 125
Number of individual pieces/items in each art supply kit: 60+
Total number of 4th grade classes I taught: 3
Number of children who’ve received the gift of art via my program this year: over 85
Awesome, right? I’m so thankful that so many of you lent a hand and helped me provide for the kids. I can’t do this alone, and am so pleased so many of you got involved! :]
A truck full of supplies – and this was only some of what I was able to take out to the schools!
Here are some photos from the three classrooms I taught. I don’t show the faces of our budding artists for privacy/safety reasons, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the art speaks for itself. These images are of their very first art journal pages and journal covers.
I hope you’re as charmed by their artwork as I am! I’ll be returning to both schools before the school year ends to have art journal shows for the children, and will be sure to share photos from both events here on my blog.
If you’re interested in donating supplies to help bring art, writing and positive self-expression to children in need, please contact me. I accept donations year-round, and appreciate any supplies, gift cards or funds I can get since I have no budget, volunteer my time, and provide some of the supplies. Thank you for your consideration. :]