Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Book Recommendation: The Illumination Code by Kim Chestney

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.)

[Adapted from a post I made on my Facebook page.]

The other day, a friend of mine asked her list “What made you happy today?” And I replied, “I got to be on a contributor panel at a book launch for a friend, and it was such a great time.” 

The Illumination Code: 7 Keys to Unlock Your Quantum Intelligence is the book whose launch I attended as one of the contributors. I wanted to share this book with you as your next potential read, but first I want to tell you a little bit about the author.

I met Kim in January 2018 when some idle scrolling on Facebook surfaced an advertisement for a one-day intuition retreat she would be presenting at a local yoga studio. I felt a sense of calmness as I clicked the link. I felt excited as I signed up. I thought, “Yes this retreat is the right call for me…”

…But I really had no idea what I was getting into.

What I got into life-changing. At that retreat and since, I’ve not only learned how my inner language speaks to me in various scenarios (such as feeling overwhelmingly good about clicking that link), but I learned to trust myself again. 

As many of you know, after I nearly died in 2006, it took me several years to explore who I was as a person and why I was still here on this earth. I had to remember who I am and find my calling—as a creative, as an editor, as a threshold singer—and getting in touch with my inner self really helped with that. 

Many people helped me along the way, including Kim Chestney. Since that day in 2018, I have met many people who have been helped by Kim, who is so passionate about her work. This book is a true labor of love, and she presents the pathway toward inner knowing in a fun and accessible way. Not only that, but she has created a warm and loving community of people through her Intuition Lab. 

And bonus: you’ll also read contributors’ stories, including a really cool thing that happened to me and the author not too long ago.

I hope you’ll pick up and read this book, and when you do, please don’t forget to leave a great review for the author. Many people don’t realize that reviews help books reach more readers; they are vital to an author’s work. 

Kim, I am so proud of you, my friend. And I’m so glad that we are still working together since that day we met at your retreat in 2018. 🙌✨💛


#quantumintuition #quantumconsciousness #illuminationcode #intuitionlab 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

National Blood Clot Awareness Month

This is slightly edited from a Facebook post I made. Feel free to follow me over there, by the way. 

I became aware that March is Blood Clot Awareness Month, and today I am celebrating what I call my 18-year do-over-versary.
Photo credit: National Blood Clot Alliance

Often the first symptom of a pulmonary embolism (PE) is death. I was one of the lucky ones.

For me, I had all the classic signs leading up to it: I had a broken ankle and developed a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in my lower leg after being laid up for a while. Unfortunately, despite showing symptoms (swelling, calf pain, etc.), having high-risk factors, and intuitively knowing something was very wrong, I could not get a single doctor to take it seriously or even test me for it for 3 weeks. 

THREE WEEKS they ignored me and let me just about die.

When someone finally decided to test me and found my leg full of clots, he let me go home again instead of immediately admitting me to the hospital, with the instruction to take an anti-inflammatory for my fracture pain.

Even when I ended up in the ER unable to breathe, the staff there did not follow a blood clot/PE protocol, making me walk around on crutches for countless tests until it finally became too much for my body. 

The last thing I remember was my vision getting smaller and smaller, til I couldn't see anything around me, but I heard my then husband telling me he'd gotten ahold of my parents and they were on their way from Dallas, TX, as well as a lot of rushing around and frantic beeping and someone telling me to stay with her as I basically suffocated. 

Do you know how painful suffocation is, by the way? Try holding your breath beyond your capacity to do so. It hurts, right? Multiply that tenfold. A hundredfold. I don't know. It freaking hurts.

So I guess I decided to leave HERE for a while and go THERE—somewhere way less stressful—and now I’m able to tell you about it. 

I’m one of the lucky ones. According to the eMedicineHealth website, 25% of people with PE were diagnosed because they died. 23% of those diagnosed who don't die right away die within 3 months, 30% die within 6 months, and there is a 37% chance of mortality after one year. 

Miraculously, I fully healed, even after being told my blood vessels were permanently ruined. Miracle of miracles: every single one of those blood vessels rerouted and created clean, new pathways.

Since then, I've told many doctors my story, and they've all been horrified at how I was treated against protocol and amazed I lived through it and healed.

Please: familiarize yourself with the signs of DVT, PE, and other blood clots. You can find more info here: https://www.stoptheclot.org/about-clots/

In conclusion, our time here is short, even if we’re here 90 years. How will you spend that time? I’ve learned a few things since 2006, and I’d like to share some of them with you:

Live *your* life, not someone else's.
Have gratitude. 
Love more.
Be happy.
And know all will be well. 

#bloodclotawareness #pulmonaryembolismsurvivor

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.)

Monday, February 19, 2024

Book Recommendation: The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.)

Last year at ConCarolinas (a convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina, every year), I purchased a book from author Darin Kennedy. I was attracted to the book's cover as I passed by his table on my way to a talk and stopped to look at it. The Mussorgsky Riddle is the first book in the three-book Fugue & Fable series, and once Darin told me the gist, it was an easy sale for him! 

My copy of The Mussorgsky Riddle

Psychic Mira Tejedor is hired by a family to help their son, Anthony, a very special boy who has been catatonic for several weeks. She possesses the ability to connect with the boy inside of his mind, and what she finds there is a fantastical world as Anthony's fractured psyche reveals itself through Modest Mussorgsky's suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she works with him, it becomes evident there is a link to a real-world missing person's case: a local teen with a tie to the family has gone missing, and it's tearing both the family and the community apart. Mira, the local police, the family, and an eminent psychologist work together to solve the riddle, but the stakes, both psychological and in the real world, are higher and more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.

This was a book unlike any I have ever read. Between the thrilling fantasy world based on Mussorgsky's work and the suspense of the missing persons case, this book was "un-put-downable"! I read it in a weekend and was so into it that there were several moments when my husband spoke to me and I simply did not hear him. 

The book's experience is enhanced if you listen to the music as you are reading. While the focus is on Mussorgsky's work, there is also a reference to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. The musical aspect spoke to me particularly because I am a classically trained musician and I majored in Russian, but anyone with an appreciation for a good fantastical thriller and classical music will become hooked by the musical theme as it weaves through the story, giving even more texture and context to this richly layered work. 

[And as a side note to the author if he reads this, I am completely ear-wormed by those thirteen notes, now, myself. I can't get them out of my head!]

I plan to be patient and buy a signed copy of the next book from the author when I see him at ConCarolinas in a few months. Meanwhile, you can find this book and others by Darin Kennedy at any of the following places: the author's siteAmazon, or the publisher's website at Falstaff Books. Your local bookseller can most likely order it, too.

Five stars!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Essential Editorial Project Management Course

I took a course in Essential Editorial Project Management this weekend, and it was very informative. I've been feeling drawn to editorial project management mostly because I have experience managing projects in former jobs, and I'd love to be more involved in book production beyond copy editing and proofreading, so I felt an overview was a good place to start.

I found this little gem of a course offered online through the Publishing Training Centre in the UK (a well-respected place to get editorial training; I found it either through the EFA or through CIEP). I wanted to know the gist of how to apply project management principles to the lifecycle of a book's publication. 

The course was a self-paced e-learning course, with six modules. The first module consists of instructions on how to use the platform, however, so it's really five modules. The course discussed assessment of a project, timelines, project management tools (e.g., Kanban, Gantt charts, etc.) and other considerations when managing a book's publication process.

It was a good introduction, and showed me how to apply those skills I used years ago to publishing specifically. Plus it should come in handy when I publish a book of my own! 

If you're interested, the PTC also has a more robust three-day live course available, but at £720+VAT, I can't do that right now. I'll tuck it into my bookmarks for later consideration, though! 


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Giving an Editor Credit or Not: What Should You Do?

I've had many conversations over the years about whether an editor should be credited or acknowledged in a book. It has led to some great discussions, mostly with newer editors who want to know how to navigate the issue, but occasionally with authors too. After another of these discussions with colleagues a while back, I came across this article and this one and bookmarked them because I found them to be a good overview of the topic. 

The gist is this: while it's lovely you want to credit your editor in your book, consider asking them for their preference, first. If your editor says, “No, thank you” and you’re confused by this, then below are some reasons your editor may politely decline being acknowledged in your book.

Editors' reputations rely on how their work is viewed by the public, and many people don't understand the scope of different types of editing. For instance, if you worked with a developmental editor to nail down the structure and plot of your story but didn't hire a copy editor or proofreader to clean up the grammar and spelling, you could accidentally create the impression that the editor you credited in your acknowledgments didn't do their job cleaning up the text. But it’s not a developmental editor's job to clean up the text...and because readers don't know that, they may blame the developmental editor unfairly for any typos.

Or let's say you hired a copy editor or proofreader to clean up the manuscript, but then before publishing, you added some last-minute text...including that unfortunate typo right on the first page that Word's spellcheck didn't catch. This actually happened to me with a book that got a lot of visibility, and several people thought it was funny to tease me for that one typo in a piece of writing I never even saw before the book was published. It’s not a big deal at the end of the day, but based on some people’s reactions, you’d think it was the Great Typo Debacle of 2023. 

(And just a note to editors who work on high-visibility projects: get ready to develop thick skin. There’s something about the internet that causes people to poke at minor things. In my case, I was touched that the client was happy with my work and came to my defense, even though he didn’t have to.) 

Here’s another thing to consider: everyone involved in the production of a book—author, editors, proofreader, layout person, cover designer, your cat walking across the keyboard—is human. (Okay, not that last one. 🐈) A mistake can be introduced at any point in the process, and one or two will absolutely slip through. There is no such thing as perfection...but we copy editors and proofreaders will do our utmost to get your work as close to perfection (grammar- and punctuation-wise) as we can. In our industry, there is an acceptable error rate (and depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer), but even the best editors will miss a few things here and there, and we can't control anything that happens to the file after we've handed it off.

At the end of the day, all decisions regarding the book, whether it be research, creative direction, art placement, adding text at the last minute, or accepting/rejecting an editor's suggested changes (and they are suggestions based on our expertise, but suggestions all the same) are up to the author. 

So what should you do if you’re happy with your editor’s work and you’d like to acknowledge them? Simply ask them if they are okay with acknowledgment, and if they say yes, ask them how they'd like to be acknowledged. If your editor chooses not to be credited for editorial work, please don't be offended or worried about it. Other ways to support your editor include:
  • recommending their services to other authors
  • writing a testimonial
  • mentioning them generally in the acknowledgments along with anyone else who helped you
I'm always touched when an author wants to give me some sort of credit, but I am fine with staying in the background too. (Though getting a shoutout from a client during his band's concert was REALLY sweet, I have to admit! 😊) These days I usually opt for a general mention in the acknowledgements. I feel it's my job to support my authors' work and not take any more credit than helping them polish it up, and I try to make that very clear when people ask me about editing anyone's book. Any credit truly should go to the author for the content itself, so if you think you've read a great book, please consider leaving a five-star review for that author and/or reaching out to them (via their newsletter, website, or social media) and letting them know how much you enjoyed it. Authors deserve (and thrive on) that feedback. 


To all of the authors who have so sweetly supported me in my journey as an editor by giving a referral to your friends or colleagues, writing a testimonial, or thanking me in the acknowledgments, thank you! I really like you, too! 😃

PS: Thanks to the editor who helped me make this a better article than the first draft had been. You rock!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

When Intuition Takes Off Like a Rocket, Trust It

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.)

One of my goals for 2024 is to be more intentional in the time I set aside for meditation and intuitive practices. I'm trying to do my meditations in the morning instead of on an ad-hoc basis, now, and here is why: once I start working on a book edit or start up with the day's appointments or buying groceries or running errands, then the time I set aside for meditation gets smaller and smaller depending on how the day goes. 

Today was my first day trying it this year, and the result was phenomenal!

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

I closed myself into my study and sat in what I call the reading nook chair. I used a Tibetan singing bowl to clear my energetic field, then centered myself with some deep breathing. For any thoughts that cropped up (like an email I need to send later today), I thanked myself for the reminder and visualized myself tacking a note about it to a cork board to address later. The reminder will be there energetically (and as soon as I finish this post, I'll go send that email, LOL!), but this was not the time.

After a few moments, I pulled out my journal, a pen, and the deck of cards that I use to inspire receiving messages for the moment.

I took the deck and spread them out on a lap desk, continuing to breathe deeply. One of those cards started to look a little bit lighter. It had a little bit of a "pick me" feeling to it. So I pulled it out, but did not look at it, then scooped up the rest of the cards into a pile and put them aside. 

I held the card in my hands face down and continued to breathe and relax my body, and before long, an image formed in my mind of a rocket ship taking off from a NASA launch pad, complete with all the clouds that get kicked up when those huge engines crank up. I'm not an artist AT ALL, but here's the sketch I drew in my notebook after receiving that image:

What I drew in meditation—I promise it is not a pencil! 😂

And then I turned over the card. What do you see here? 

Card from Kim Chestney's Intuition Deck

Okay, it's a lighthouse, right? Not a rocket. 

But look at the general shape of it. It's long, thin, tall...much like a rocket ship. And there are some sort of clouds underneath it, right? Much like those engine clouds I drew. 

And then I softened my focus, breathed deep...and an entire segment of my forthcoming book about my near-death experience just fell out of my pen. 

This meditation experience is a wonderful reminder of how our intuitive language isn't meant to be literal a lot of the time (though it can be). Instead, our receptors are capable of getting the gist of something...in my case, the shape of something long and tall and thin with clouds under it. 

Turning over the card was just a fun little validation of trusting those receptors are working JUST FINE, and then letting the pen fly was an amazing, freeing experience. I often suffer from writers' block, and that rocket ship just blasted through it. 

This is one example of how using meditation and intuition for creative pursuits works for me, and I hope it's helpful to those of you who are just learning about how your own intuition works. 

Have you ever had something similar happen to you? Feel free to share in the comments! 

Have a wonderful day! 🚀

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Book Series Recommendation: Oxford Key Mysteries by Lynn Morrison

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

I did not do as much reading this past year as I did the years before, but the reading I did manage to get in was high quality. I'd like to start recommending books more here, especially as a couple of friends have recently asked me for recommendations. 

So, first up is the Oxford Key Mystery series by Lynn Morrison! 

This series has all the hallmarks of a British cozy with the addition of magic and wonder! Natalie lands a dream job in Oxford as the Head of Ceremonies (basically, an event planner), and while her first day on the job was expected to have a steep learning curve, she didn't realize dead bodies were going to be part of that. 

With the help of new friends and coworkers, ghosts, and a very special black cat (among others), Natalie tries to get to the bottom of the mystery...but the stakes are high as Oxford's magical field is in danger of being destroyed. 

Each book could be read separately, but I do recommend starting at the first and working your way up. The books are available individually on Amazon, but even better, the author has 2 box sets (1–3 and 4–6) up as well, which are well worth it. 

I hope you enjoy them. If you read them, let me know what you think! 

Book Recommendation: The Illumination Code by Kim Chestney

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.) [Adapted f...