Friday, December 30, 2016

There Are No Mistakes in Art

When I walked into my kid's preschool rooms I could spot their artwork even though it usually hung among twenty or thirty like pieces. My girls' work almost always looked bigger and brighter. My boy preferred autumnal shades of black and fangs. Starfish, tacos, planets. They all had fangs.

In later years we had an episode in which I had a disagreement with one of my boy's art teachers. One President's Day when I picked him up at school, he stood outside drooping. He thrust his picture at me angrily. I DID IT WRONG! he said, stomping off to sulk. I had to chase down the teacher to find out how a kindergartner can color Abraham Lincoln wrong.

"He's PINK!" she fussed. 
"Yes," I observed. "And so?"
"I told the class to use flesh tones."
Now I could have pointed out that pink is a flesh tone, or that my boy was colorblind and any shade of pink from Shocking to Pepto Bismal is flesh tone if you can't see the red in it. Normally his mismatched clothing and penchant for picking weedy flowers in every shade of brown were clue enough to how he saw the world. Although the teacher hadn't realized his color perspective, suddenly something else seemed far more important to clarify at that moment. Long before that day I'd adopted a philosophy I'd learned from professional artists, one that seemed most important.

There are no mistakes in art.

Ms. Conformity begged to differ. So in a nod to the importance of following directions whether or not you understand them, we expanded upon my philosophy. While there ARE no mistakes in art, there ARE revisions.

Sometimes you have to follow certain rules.

Those rules come into play when your audience is more than yourself.

That means when you sketch a face and accidentally knock over the bottle of ink onto the page, that we'll now put a tree branch in the drawing. Revision. It also means when your kindergarten teacher gets her knickers in a twist over your pink Abraham Lincoln, that you color a new one in whatever shade she likes. Revision, as your audience demands.

Revision also means you expand your skills and put your best foot forward in your art. 

My No Mistakes in Art philosophy means first and foremost that you don't let anyone suck the joy out of your work. We create with our heart, putting all we have into our work. But writing needs editing both to please readers, and to be certain to please ourselves when we see how what we intended can be expanded upon, polished and grown. Artists and Actors perfect their skills and grow their craft for their audience, and kindergarten students pander to their teacher's ideal of Abraham Lincoln.

Michelangelo is purported to have said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Imagine patiently and confidently chipping away at a block of marble to release the angel within. What would you create if you had that type of certainty? 

Michelangelo's Pieta

Trusting creativity makes me fearless, but respecting my audience is why my writing goes through editors. My No Mistakes in Art philosophy lives on. It's hard to see through all the changes and revisions, but it's there, because if we worry about doing it wrong we'll never create anything. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Floating with Confidence

Karfelt, Cosmos, Greece, Float, The Glitter Globe, Karfelt

The cosmos

The world

Apples and pears

Your shape

Limbs and body

Your senses

Time or courage

Joy, holy mother

Years, forever

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Joy List, Good news, happy, life, inspirational
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Every once in a while I like to rework this list. It’s simply a list of things that bring me joy. Years ago I attended a lecture where we were encouraged to write one. The idea is to come up with 100 things of any size, shape, or form that bring you joy. 

Despite all the bad in the world, there's still plenty of good too.

Can you do it?

  1. Sex.
  2. Sex.
  3. Sex.
  4. I’m married, I can say that.
  5. And I’ve been married thirty years, so if you’re a perv trolling the internet keep right on going. I only like sex with a guy who’s adored me every day for thirty years.
  6. Freaking my kids out a bit. (See above.)
  7. Surreptitiously snapping photos of other people’s dogs. Storing them on my phone. AND naming them.
  8. My sonic toothbrush. To each her own.
  9. Laughing with other writers.
  10. Laughing with my kids.
  11. Talking to my kids when they toss out something wildly inappropriate for a mom to hear. That means that we’re actually communicating.
  12. The mint that grows wild around my house.
  13. Making tea from the mint around my house.
  14. Bright yellow lemons.
  15. Hummingbirds.
  16. My hummingbird feeder.
  17. Wild foxes in my backyard.
  18. Garden tomatoes.
  19. Houseboats in Amsterdam.
  20. Riding trains.
  21. Skydiving.
  22. The Grand Canyon.
  23. Phantom Ranch.
  24. Hiking.
  25. Roughing it in the wilds of Canada.
  26. Car trips with my husband.
  27. Flying.
  28. Night writing.
  29. Autumn.
  30. Summer.
  31. Blackwing pearl balanced graphite genuine incense-cedar pencils. So sexy.
  32. Writing with pencils on good paper.
  33. Dancing.
  34. Loud screamo music.
  35. Walking.
  36. Sorta jogging (but not really).
  37. Smencils.
  38. Kinderfest supersticks classic colored pencils.
  39. Doodling.
  40. Amsterdam.
  41. Rome.
  42. The shire.
  43. German beer. This is very new.
  44. The people I meet in Alonissos.
  45. The beaches of Alonissos.
  46. The rocks on the beaches of Alonissos.
  47. Writing with pencils in Alonissos.
  48. The Acropolis Museum in Athens.
  49. The woods.
  50. Old cemeteries. It’s my list, I get to pick.
  51. When my kids are happy.
  52. When my kids are safe.
  53. When dogs howl.
  54. Stickers.
  55. Autumn leaves ironed between sheets of wax paper.
  56. Striking up deep conversations with strangers.
  57. Good dental floss. My list again.
  58. Fountain pens.
  59. Irreverent rotten cats that belong to other people.
  60. Working dogs.
  61. Old books.
  62. Classic novels.
  63. Good books.
  64. More books.
  65. People who trash stereotypes. The Democratic gun enthusiast. The eighty-year old lover playing the field. The obscenely wealthy woman who lives in a trailer and rides her bike everywhere.
  66. Rainy nights.
  67. Misty mornings.
  68. Sunsets.
  69. Wildflowers.
  70. Including dandelions—but not when they go incognito prickly cactus in the grass and I step on them barefoot.
  71. Fall foliage.
  72. Naked trees.
  73. Hamsters running on wheels.
  74. Hedgehogs in the wild.
  75. Snorkeling.
  76. Open-minded people.
  77. Passionate people.
  78. Kind people.
  79. Honest people.
  80. Determined people.
  81. Dependable people.
  82. Trustworthy people.
  83. Magic markers.
  84. Halloween.
  85. Greek salads in Greece.
  86. Styling blank notebooks.
  87. Picnic baskets.
  88. 3M Scotch Tape.
  89. Walking a strange city at night.
  90. Crispin apples.
  91. Good cucumbers.
  92. Iced water to drink.
  93. Lavender Chamomile Tea.
  94. When my Levis are roomy in the waist.
  95. Overgrown lavender bushes.
  96. Pots of fresh basil.
  97. Those teeny tiny sea snails that crawl across the bottom of the sea near shore.
  98. Smooth egg shaped stones.
  99. Sea glass.
  100. Beeswax candles.

Can you tell I was getting into it? It was hard to stop. How about sharing your list? It's a good way to turn your day around, and dig up some enthusiasm. I promise. Volcanic rocks. Prickly pear. Babies. Flying—in dreams or for real...I could go on...obviously. Your turn.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween Witches! I Have a Surprise for You!

Happy Halloween, Free, Last chance, Karfelt,
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

If you saw how much candy I’ve been stockpiling, you’d never suspect I’m a bit anti-sugar. It’s been many Halloweens since anyone has ventured to my house deep in the forest primeval and breached my writer moat. I’ve created a night-writer’s paradise here in the shire, but on Halloween it kind of bums me out. I always have full-size candy bars AND glow sticks, but all I’ve gotten for my effort is crickets.

This year that’s all about to change.

This year I’ve been promised an epic Halloween involving 400 Trick or Treaters. I'm willing to breach my own moat for that! I've been prepping for this event for weeks now.

Because 400?! That requires at least 1,200 pieces of candy, right? Amiright?

This means pumpkins, autumn leaves, black bean soup, glow sticks galore, and bag after bag of candy! (Only some of them are banana/apple chips.) I’ve stocked up on stickers, feather boas, and even face paint in all the most shocking colors. I’m ready to FAKE being an extrovert for possibly FOUR hours!

And you’re invited to join in the fun because I made something just for you! It’s a book, of course, because you didn’t think I actually baked or anything did you? And I can't mail you candy because I'd have to actually go to the post office and mail something. I’d have to talk to people if I did that. In person. With spoken words.

No silly! It’s a FREE copy of BITCH WITCH! Whaaaaaa?! This took some serious finagling. Free books are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but in celebration of the spirit of Halloween (read FUN and GAMES baby), everyone gets a book.

Yes, you get a book, and you get a book! Everyone gets a BOOK.

This extravaganza lasts two days only. Sunday and Monday! And then Bitch Witch will never again be free for everyone. I’m excited about this, because this book will make you laugh out loud. What other Halloween treat can offer you that?

S.R. Karfelt, free book, Halloween, Witch, witches
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, Bitch Witch
But it's so easy to get into the Halloween spirit. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I have three, but this is the only one that involves too much sugar and a free book! It doesn't matter how old you are, there's just something magical about Trick or Treat, isn't there?
And enjoy your time with Sarah Archer, I certainly did. Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Relaxation. Meditation. And Metaphorical Squirrels., Relaxation, Meditation, Metaphor
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Once I took a class where we were instructed to close our eyes and focus.

“Now picture a beach…”

Beach? Wow. Like a South Carolina beach? Man, remember when there were black flies on the beach there? Remember how you always get sand in your contact lenses on beaches? Why do they always say beaches? I can’t relax on a beach!

“The waves are gently rolling toward the shore and the sun…”

And the sun always BURNS me. I have to hide under the beach towel with sand crawling up my swimsuit. Maybe they mean beaches like in Maine. Acadia National Park has those amazing beaches. Remember the whales? Remember the starfish? I should take the kids there. I should set a book there…

“Let yourself go—go with the waves. Float away toward the sunset. Do you feel it?”

Although the black fly beach would make a better setting—gotta make those characters miserable. It could be a first date on the beach. She has sand in her contacts, she’s trying to disguise her thighs, and she gets her period. Yep, definitely a perfect first date—from a writer’s perspective.

Then I tried meditation DVDs. They instructed me to stretch and sit on the floor cross-legged, while listening to a voice tell me how to breathe.

“Inhale through your nose, slowly-slowly, feel your lungs expand…”

This floor needs vacuumed. How long is this DVD? I need to vacuum, put dinner in the crockpot, shower, and finish my novel.

“Can you feel them press against your ribcage? Sit up straight, clear your mind…”

Don’t think about chores…I think I need more shampoo—stop! Clear your mind…this is when images of a book enter my brain. They’re very visual, like a movie scene and I’m the director—although the characters sometimes ignore me. Sometimes they audition. It’s a rainy night. The heroine storms away from the hero and climbs into a boat. He starts to follow but is interrupted by…

“Exhale slowly.”

Shoot. I was supposed to be breathing…I need to work on that fourth Covenant Keeper novel again. I've got the whole thing in my head. I'm never going to be able to get it out until it's written down. Sometimes writing is like an exorcism! Delphine is on that boat headed for Ireland, and Augustus—gah, I crush on that quester. But no! I need to write that other book first! If I can finish that next month, then I'll have time to finish three books for next year!

“Roll your neck—slowly, slowly.”

Wait! Why can't I focus? What am I supposed to do? Breathe? No, roll my neck…I should bake some apples with dinner tonight. That sounds so good. 

And that’s about as far as I get. Getting dinner into the crockpot and me into the shower win out because I can’t wait to get back to writing. It took me a long time to realize that my relaxation and meditation happen when I’m deep into my writing flow. Sometimes the things I write then are good, sometimes they require a whole lot of rewriting and edits. But I’m exactly where I want to be and doing exactly what I want to be doing.

Relaxation, meditation, metaphor,
S.R. Karfelt
When I want to quiet my mind I have more success with walking, running, hiking, or even exercise, than I have ever had trying to meditate. For me quiet time and being still equal time for the brain to go over its to-do list, or slip into story mode. Maybe I’m just not a cooperative person. 

If you’ve mastered the magic of meditation, feel free to defend it. Or do you have the same problem? Is anyone else plagued by metaphorical squirrels?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gummy. My Evil Plan. And Maybe Dementia is Contagious.

Are evil geniuses immune to dementia?

Or are they first in line?

No, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I don't think I'm either, but allow me to present my case and you be the judge. 

Just because I have three books I'm writing simultaneously AND moved my mother-in-law into my house, because of her memory problems, is not proof of anything.

Sometimes you have to be the one who does what needs to be done.

After raising dozens of children (MATH FACT: 2.5, but they had a lot of enthusiasm and friends), I'm used to being followed to the bathroom 24/7, and answering the same questions over and over again.

And things were going just fine.

Yeah, that's a lie. You don't have to cross examine me. I'll admit it. Things have not been fine. Anything involving dementia/Alzheimer's is not fine. The person with the disease struggles. Everyone around them copes. Mostly poorly because it's a Herculean task for all involved. 

Remember Ten Second Tom from Fifty First Dates? It's exactly like that, only we're not in a comedy no matter how often it feels like that.

Gummy isn't a character actor with a juicy role. She's a woman with hopes and dreams and plans that could fill up another seventy years of life. But dementia doesn't give a damn what she wants. It's taken root in her brain and knows only destruction. Every moment of every day she battles that monster. The people who love her are often reduced to worn out cheerleaders or strangers.

No matter how much enthusiasm you bring to this game, it's never enough. The fallout from this disease will take everything and every minute you have. Still. I believe in solutions and thinking outside the box. Plus I learned to multitask from those legions of kids I raised.

The only way I could write with Gummy here was to wait for her to fall asleep (parents, does this sound familiar?) and then write, but only in my bedroom. My office is too close to the room Gummy sleeps in. If a sound or light escapes, Ten Second Tom must investigate. The fact that I'm up working is a shocking surprise. Every. Single. Time.

Even though this care-taking had been happening for the past months, while simultaneously juggling regular life, I'd been doing pretty well with it. Not physically because you can never get in front of it when you're shoveling sand against the tide, and there's not much time to sleep, but mentally. 

This was my job now, until we could figure out what was best for Gummy.

But then DUDE SERIOUSLY day hit, and it had nothing to do with dementia. Not really.

Gummy was tired all day, because she had gone late into the night worrying and packing. This is what she does. Every. Single. Day. She can't remember not to. She can't remember why she's here. She can't remember where she should be. Like that sand and the tide, she can't hold onto anything. 

Thought is transient. Memory is muddled. Intent is insoluble.

My job was to calm her down. To answer the same questions over and over again, and get her to stop packing and go back to sleep. Then I tried to sleep, until the packing and questions started again. So when the straw dropped onto my camel back that day, I had no patience for anyone else on the planet.

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what triggered my confession for all the world to see. Because the whole world comes by The Glitter Globe. (Another lie. I think we're establishing a precedent.) Fine. But the whole world does get on Facebook, and that's where I pasted my manifesto.

My DUDE SERIOUSLY is because rumors in her hometown crossed state lines and triggered my inner Bitch Witch. It's no coincidence I wrote a book about one. She's in here, and sometimes she gets out.

I probably shouldn’t address rumors, but DUDE SERIOUSLY, Judge, I’m gonna.

Dear Haters and Gossipers,

Subject: Me Selling Gummy’s House and Keeping All the $$$ for Myself. 


I shall be purchasing a Yacht to Sail the South of France and Live off the Proceeds.


Yes. I married Gummy’s son and hung on for thirty years so I COULD DO JUST THIS.


Yes. Working all these years WAS A FRONT.

Hell, investing every cent from the work in order to found my own start up photonics business was also a FRONT.

All those engineering conferences I wanted to jam picks into my ears during was ALL JUST A FAKE OUT!


The night owl writing and the books I’ve written and published and sold? Just part of the trickery. HAH YOU ALL BOUGHT IT DIDN’T YOU?

I admit the whole damn thing. The entire thing was with my eye on waiting for the right moment to sell Gummy’s house and WALLOW IN THE BANK. Everyone knows that three bedroom one bath 1,200 SQFT fifty-year-old homes in Small Town America (where all industry left decades ago) is SOLID GOLD bitches.

Everyone knows that Memory Care units in Assisted Living are virtually FREE. Like a hotel in New York City free. Like a first class airline ticket FREE. Like a trip on the Mars shuttle CAKE. I'll just stick her in there with my pocket change from my WRITING EMPIRE and sail away like I've always planned! 

I’m going yacht shopping.



S.R. Karfelt's Inner Bitch Witch

P.S. — Bite me.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you be the judge. I'm of the opinion that the ones losing the fluff out of their bean bag chairs are the gossip-mongers. If I were the judge, I'd sentence them all to dementia duty. It builds character, and strengthens the inner Bitch Witch.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Want to Say...

I want to say…

I’m ready to bake in the sun
Listen to the waves
Float in the sea
Hear other voices.

I want to say…
I’ve written all the words
Crammed them into books
Crashed Microsoft Word
Documents over 650,000 words will do that.
Who knew?

I want to say…
The to do list is endless
Arbitrary deadlines exhaust me
Shades of grey cloud my vision
Shut down the inquisition.

I want to say…
Time to be still
Be still to time
Still time to be
To still time—be. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kahtar's Shieldmaiden—A Vignette by S.R. Karfelt

S.R. Karfelt, The Covenant Keepers, A Covenant Keeper Novel Karfelt

"Listen, I love you. Joy is coming." Kahtar waited.

Carole didn't answer. She sat cross-legged on the cot and didn't move, didn't flinch. If not for cold fury emanating from every cell he might have thought she'd gone deaf as well as mute.

"It's my fault," he said.


"Beth thinks so too."

Carole slanted her eyes in his direction. Muscles in Kahtar's shoulders tensed. He hadn't forgotten their last fight. She'd nearly kicked his nuts into his stomach. He hadn't approached his wife for sex for nearly two weeks after.

"Beth. Forgave. You," Carole said, and closed her eyes, shutting him out.

"I'm not asking your forgiveness."

Eyelids opened. "Good."

"I'm saying I want you here with us. This is your home now, and in time—" Carole moved with the suddenness of a stone ball shot from a catapult. One sensible loafer caught him square in the chest. Kahtar tripped over his piles of hunting boots and fell against the wall of the closet-like room.

Carole shot out of the doorway and slammed the door shut. The sound echoed into the rafters of the cabin.

Pressing fingers against his ribs to check for a fracture, Kahtar finally understood. Carole wanted joy on her terms, not what they offered.

It wasn't going to be easy living with his mother-in-law.

This scene takes place after the third book of the Covenant Keeper Novels. Just a little glimpse of how life carries on between behind the scenes. Currently I'm working on the fourth book in the series. If you read the third book, you might have an idea that the next book will pick up somewhere other than Willowyth. 

The next book will be released later next year, with another stand alone novel released in May 2017. That book has been in the writing pile for years. Obviously I've bitten off more than I can chew, but I love writing. There's always another scene/book/story anxiously awaiting. This vignette is proof of that, and how sometimes stories just can't wait.

Or maybe that's me. I'm sure you have all the patience in the world. I can tell that by the fact that I get emails and messages on book release day asking for the next book. Allow me to assure you, the muse is on your side. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

On Writing, Flow, Zen, Nirvana, Blood

Karfelt, The Glitter Globe,, Writing, Author
TheGlitterGlobe/S.R. Karfelt 

This is the flow. Zen. Nirvana.

It’s had at a tray table in my room.

I feel sorry for people who don’t have this. People who don’t know all it takes is a pencil and paper. And the muse. She has the best ideas.

I didn’t realize then that she has two faces. One is worse than a resting bitch face, straight from the depths of hell.

It’s my fault.

I treated her like cake.

Wow. This is sooo good! Bet more is better.

Delicious story. Yes, please, I’ll have some more.

Score more.

Bigger is better.

If I’m really going to do this I need classes, conferences, workshops, an agent, a publisher, lots and lots of books about writing, writer friends, writer mentors.

An office.

Plenty of stationery.

More books.

A couple laptops.

A desk top computer too.

A great big desk.

An office chair.

That one hurts. Let’s try another.

How about a yoga ball?

A kneeling chair.

A standing desk.

The mat to go under it.

Bigger monitors.

Prescription computer glasses designed for distance to the computer when writing.

Two pair.

One for sitting. One for standing.


MSWord sucks ass.

Or my computer skills do.

Let’s buy the manual and learn how to paginate that MOFO.

Wait—we need the manuals for MSWord 07 and 10—the laptops have an old version.

Flash drives.

An external hard drive.

A computer bag with wheels to take to conferences.

Oh, Amazon! You excite me.


Cover artists.

Interior designers.

Another editor.

Conference. Conference. Conference.

Now I’m watching football at the house of a famous horror novelist.

He’s sitting in the armchair with a cat on his legs.

It’s name is Tinkerbell.

I’m having trouble with that.

It’s my anniversary and I didn’t call my husband, because the author’s wife has invited me to stay here tonight.

I think about how I’ll never sleep here.

About my toothbrush.

My husband.

I go back to the hotel and fall asleep without calling him.

I decide to join writer associations.

SFWA. NANOWRIMO. ACFW. RWA. Ragged Blue Monkeys. Obey the Muse. Read Write Muse.

It makes no sense.

A mishmash of conflicting direction.

But I don’t want to miss anything.

They all want something.

Proof I’ve sold enough books.

My pledge to read and judge six new erotica books.

My attention.

My soul. For reals.

I drop that group.

I’m a bad Christian anyway.

Too much science.

But I love you guys.


Paperwork waits impatiently.


Business cards.

Book marks.

Release parties.



Frequent Flyer numbers.

Airline credit cards.

Marriot rewards.

Hilton Honors Program.

Starwood Preferred Guest.

Write. Write. Write.

The muse is wearing stiletto thigh high boots and carries a whip made of anchor chain.

She hides behind the office door and jumps me when I walk inside.

I need to get sales up.

More social media.

No. Less.

A presence in bookstores.


You need three books out.

I meant four.





Meaningless awards.

Impossible awards.


More reviews.

Who do you have to do to get reviews?

Hysterical laughter with other writers late into the night.

A patient husband.

Children who do not want to hear about my GD effing books again.

A mother-in-law with dementia.

“You write books? Real ones? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

The muse is hanging onto my ankles, pulling my pants down, begging.

The ideas never stop.

The fingers are mortal.

Authors say I’m one of the lucky ones because the ideas never stop.

Enjoy your obscurity they say.

More attention is more pressure they say.

I hear.

And I’m thinking about…

Flow. Zen. Nirvana.

Time spent in worlds of words.

Dancing with the page.


Monetary justification for years of work.

And the pursuit of validation.

Black holes and glittery rabbit trails.

Maybe writers are crazy for obeying the muse. 

But she has cake.

For blood.