Monthly Archives: May 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

It’s been a busy week.  I launched my  indigogo campaign igg.me/at/sistersofavalon a week ago tomorrow and boy, do I feel loved.   Not that I didn’t beforehand but I am overwhelmed with emotion and cannot wait to share Sisters of Avalon with you all.   I am guessing if you are reading this blog than you have already seen my campaign.  In any case, I am at 42% of my funding and still have a way to go yet. But for those that have reached out to help, you have made me feel extremely blessed.  With you by my side I know I can do this.  Seeing a dream come to life is a precious thing and I have not taken any part of this journey for granted.

My hubby has been by my side cheering me on, editing my book, recording videos and taking our boys out weekend after weekend to give me time to write.  What a household of great men I have in my corner.

My friends from far and wide have been reaching out and donating, even friends that I didn’t think I had, have come out of the woodwork.  I am grateful for the love.

My family, once again, you are holding me up.  Keeping me strong and cheering me on.  I am filled to the brim by your generosity.

With 9 days to go I still need you to share my annoying posts, keep them going until they reach enough people, I appreciate it so very much.

Bringing Sisters of Avalon to Newfoundland is my dream because this novel would not even exist if it were not for my home .  This story is my love letter to my birth province (even if the story line is rather dark).  Newfoundland is my beacon and I would be lost without its beautiful light.  This campaign is more than just about raising money for me, it’s about sharing a part of my soul that has been hidden for so long.  Three years ago, right around the time of my fathers passing, a light got switched on inside of me.  It was a glimmer of hope that came after a year of heartbreak and excruciating pain.  I knew deep down that if I didn’t find some sort of way out of this sorrow that I would lose myself in it forever.

I began reading books about finding my Dharma and began healing through my creativity, which of course was writing.  The Sisters of Avalon script came first, I wrote dialogue between characters that also felt pain but looked for forgiveness and happiness.  Then came the book, and I can tell you that the book became something entirely different.  All the darkness, sadness, and pain that was once inside me came pouring out.  I will apologize now to anyone who thinks this story will end wrapped up in a pretty pink bow.   It will not have your  typical happy ending, but will challenge its readers to look for their own happy ending, their own joy, and their own bliss.

Sisters of Avalon is more than just a story, it is my manifestation of something I believed so strongly in, that there was no way my ego could destroy it.  It is my way of saying that when you allow yourself to break free from all the crap that is thrown at you, anything is possible.  As human beings we  get caught up in so much shit, pardon my lack of decorum, that we lose our spiritual connection to self.  We were all put here on this earth in the same way, and in that moment we are all infinite creatures capable of extraordinary things.  It took me 36 years to figure that out, and I am grateful for every moment that lead me there but now it’s time to let go of everything that held me back.  The path ahead of me is already laid out, I just have to be courageous enough to follow it and not “sweat the small stuff,” as they say.

Thank you to everyone who has joined me on this adventure, as I will forever hold your gratitude in my heart.

Namaste.

R.H. Downs

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My Indigogo-Sisters of Avalon Newfoundland Launch

Well everyone the time is near.   No,  not for the second coming but time for my book launch.

Just about one year ago to the day, I finished up a week-long screenwriters workshop on Prince Edward Island, where my script, Sisters of Avalon, got accepted to be part of the 2013 PEI Screenwriters Bootcamp.  My little class of 6, plus our mentor, Tom Shoebridge, made a very big impact on me that week, and set me on the path of becoming a novelist.  Mr. Shoebridge, eloquently told me that if I write the book first, than they would come to me for the screenplay.  I was overwhelmed by his encouragement and made a promise to him on the last day of “camp” to take Sisters of Avalon down a different road.  And what a journey it has been.

After my workshop, I started writing the outline for my book, not knowing really where I would take it next.  When a little angel stopped by, and tapped me on the shoulder during the late days of September 2013, I listened.  That angel found a way to let me know that I could pitch my idea at the Word on The Street festival.  When I saw the posting stating that there would be a limited number of spots available, I jumped in head first.  Being that it was late in the game, I managed to get the very last spot available.  I had a couple amazing angels taking care of me that week.

The day of the pitch came, and I was over the moon.  Not only did I land myself a coveted pitching slot, but I also won a contest that the festival was running to sail on the Silva with several east coast authors.  Starting my day out on the water with the likes of Greg Malone, and my fellow book clubbing  momma’s, was invigorating to say the least.  I got to chat up one of my favourite Newfoundland comedians.  He was a sweetheart, a real gem as they say back home.   Nothing like being out on the water and feeling the salt water spray on your skin.

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The wind was blowing a wicked gale that day, but her breeze helped to calm my nerves.  The time came to pitch the publisher(s).   I stood at the back of a room, about 30 strangers in from of me and I let my story loose.  There was a presence with me in the room that day, and at some point during my ramblings to the panel, I felt something shift.  A voice from outside my head said, “my dear, that’s good, you got it.”  Than sure enough, there he was, Mr. Terry Biles, my soon to be publisher for Sisters of Avalon.  Terry and I agreed to meet in the coming weeks to discuss signing me for RedemptionHouse Publishing.

I eagerly began writing in October of last year, and many drafts later here I am, about to launch my first novel.  Not only was my story too big for my screenplay, but I came to find out it was also too big for just one book.  There are still two more books waiting in the wings that will become part of my Bride Family Trilogy.  I cannot make it stop, and nor do I want to. I am a writing addict, and the Bride family have become part of my psyche.  My clan of sisters live in Bridgette’s Cove, Newfoundland, a fictional place I created for my characters.  Even though I grew up in scenic Green Bay, my book takes place on the Avalon Peninsula, simply because my characters ancestry dates back to the times of Arthur, and the Isle of Avalon.  I wanted to tie both places together and link my story accordingly.   I have always loved stories that have an air of mythos about them and have brought some of that into the Bride’s story.   I cannot wait to share my book with you all.

Sisters of Avalon cover lrSisters of Avalon is set to launch in Nova Scotia near the end of June ish.  I have a group of wonderful friends who will no doubt help me plan a stellar book release, once the time comes.  But, and this is a big BUT, I fantasize daily about bringing my book back home to Newfoundland.  My publisher of course cannot make this happen as they are located here.  I know they would love to be able to say,”yes Renée, fill your boots” but it’s just not a reality for them right now.   Going back home to share my book with my island people would mean the world to me.  I have a large family, and many great friends who have supported me on this journey, who live in Newfoundland, and sharing this experience with them is very important to me.  Which is why my wonderful sidekick, helped me put an Indiegogo campaign together.  I knew very little about crowd funding until my hubby mentioned it, but when I checked it out, I thought, why not?  I am not one to give up on my dreams so I am going to give this Indiegogo thing a go, go!

If you have a second, and wouldn’t mind checking out my page I would greatly appreciate it.  And if you cannot donate than that’s ok, maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing it for me on your Facebook page or on Twitter.  I am even cool with you calling home and telling yer mudder about it too, lol.  I will take what I can get, and will sing your praises to the heavens.

Here it is, R.H. Downs Indiegogo campaign.

P.S. I would also like to give a special shout out to @jeffmacarthur for generously allowing us to borrow his equipment for our video.  Thank you Jeff.

And another thank you to David who reads my blog and sent along this little guy.  Thank you, your gift is a great treasure for this E11ephant lady.

photo (99)Namaste!

See you next week.

R.H. Downs

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Dear Dr. Dyer

Today I am being pulled back towards a work in progress, my Dear Dr. Dyer book.  I started it back when my father was going through his last days here on earth.  Writing has been and always will be my therapy.

I actually had the opportunity to give Dr. Dyer some pages from my early draft while he was visiting Halifax in June 2013.  I got to sit so close to him that I could actually reach out and touch his arm, but I didn’t.   I got to shake his hand instead and told him in person how much I truly appreciated the gift that he had given me.   My breath was all over the place that day, both centered and excited all at the same time.

I often channel Dr. Dyer when I meditate, as even the thought of his very presence brings me peace and contentment.  When I actually sat in a room with him  in “real” time it was a holy experience.  His words washed over me and filled me with great joy.  I live my life now believing that I am on a spiritual quest and it was Dr. Dyer who helped put me on the path I had been so desperately seeking.

My life completely transformed the day I found Dr. Dyer.  I grew up hearing only Christian stories about religion and the Bible but I never once knew “God” until I read Wayne Dyer’s words.  I still remember being about 14 years old and attending a church service in my little community.   A minister of sorts asked if I could feel God and I had to answer honestly, I was in church after all so I simply said, “No.”  I felt none of what was happening around me and was made to feel ashamed because of it.  I would be going to hell apparently.  I think the shame that was placed upon me for not knowing God when I was younger was what actually kept me from realizing what it all meant.  But now I know the secret to knowing God.  God is quite simply love.  Well, that’s how I feel on the matter and Dr. Dyer taught me that.

I have read Dr. Dyer’s, The Power of Intention, Wishes Fulfilled, and am currently reading his memoir I Can See Clearly Now.  I have listened to many of his lectures, mostly online with only 2 in person, so far that is.  I long to learn more about myself through his teachings.  When I am having a bad day, Dr. Dyer’s, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life is my go to book for guidance.  It lives on my bedside table and travels with me where ever I go.

I can see clearly myself, that finishing the book I started back in 2011 is a must.  I feel a strong calling to tell my story through my love letters to Dr. Dyer.  There is much to thank him for that is for sure.   I know now without a doubt that I was put on this earth to tell stories and I believe that there is always something to be learned from them.

Namaste.

R.H. Downs

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Oceanstone and A Foggy Rainbow

This weeks blog originally started out as a letter to my ego telling it to take a hike but as my week came to a close magic happened.  Magic in the form of a foggy rainbow.

 

Foggy Rainbow

 

Seeing this up close and personal took my breath away but I expected nothing less from the mystical breeze that blows over Oceanstone Seaside Resort.  This little piece of heaven has an energy that cannot be found any place else.  I visited Oceanstone for the fourth time this past weekend to attend a workshop with the equally breathtaking, Donna Morrissey.  I truly believe that the Universe answered my call when I prayed for a writing session with her before moving west this summer.   The marriage between Oceanstone and Donna Morrissey was one that was brought together by God.  I strongly believe that, as I take nothing for granted these days.

Upon arriving at Oceanstone, I was greeted by three different staff members each one with a lovely smile on their face.  They were all genuinely happy to be working there and it showed in the loving way that they greeted their guests.   The workshop did not start until 10am but I was there by 830am, eager to soak in the magic that stirs my soul and fuels my fire.  Barbara, the marketing coordinator, was the first person to say hello.  She didn’t scold me for being way too early but welcomed me as if I were her own family.

Barbara had to help ready things for the workshop but Grace was right there to offer me a coffee and agreed to watch my laptop bag while I went for a stroll down to the beach.  Breathing more deeply than usual, I filled my lungs with the kind of air that made them want to sing.  As I  slowly walked  along  the sandy shore singing “Face of the Earth” by Joel Plaskett, my eyes gazed upon the essence of a rainbow trying to fight its way through the fog.   The effort of the rainbow’s struggle was not lost on me.  I connected with nature’s story and went about my day feeling blessed and happy to be alive.

Back from the beach, I sat myself down on a very comfy sofa to enjoy the heat from the fire that Grace had roaring in the front room of the office.  I still had time to kill as I broke out my laptop and started writing.  I always write when I visit Oceanstone, everything just seems to flow better there.  The pull of the ocean was welcoming as I ached to put pen to paper.  I began a new project that took me back to writing dialogue, my old familiar friend.   I allowed the magic to flow through my fingers as I wrote what I predict to be a comedic hit someday.  A girl can dream right?  I always dream big at Oceanstone.

I managed to get some good solid work in before the other participants started to arrive.  Anxious to begin, I gathered my things and went inside one of the most amazing meeting room I have ever seen.  If Donna Morrissey was not so incredibly engaging I would have found it hard to focus.  The large windows that surrounded us could have doubled for seaside paintings.  Once in a while my eye would catch a longliner coasting the ocean blue.

The day really flew by as Donna had all 15 of us unlocking our right brains.  Some really beautiful words floated around that room, as one of Canada’s great writers revealed a side of herself that made us all want to share too.  Donna may be a little sprite of a thing but her personality is a hundred times bigger than her skinny legs and all.  What a woman, what a writer.  After attending a previous reading of hers a few months back, I knew what to expect and I was not surprised that she commanded the room once again.  An Evening with Ms. Morrissey.

After the morning came and went we took advantage of the beautiful day that was bestowed upon us and ate our lunch outside to enjoy a rare glimpse of the Sun.  The amazing staff at the resort once again went above and beyond serving us butternut squash soup, wild rice, with a choice of salmon and or chicken.  In my case it was both, I could not decide between the two and took a little of each.   I was not disappointed by my decision but could not finish all my chicken.  I did not want feel to logy for the afternoon session.

The wind decided to give the Sun a break and only let us have her shining brilliance for a few hours.  And like the celestial goddess, we only had Donna for a snippet of what we all really craved of her.  Many of us wished that Oceanstone would make Donna Morrissey a regular guest and offer more workshops, hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

Leaving my seaside pocket full of heaven felt like leaving a best friend as she went off to summer camp.  But in my heart of hearts I just knew I would be back.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit this little bit of Nirvana then I highly recommend it.  Thus far I have slept in The Treehouse, The Pines, and Dovekey.  Before it’s all said and done I am sure I will make my way through all of their unique and beautiful accommodations.  Oceanstone may reside in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia but it will forever live deep in my heart no matter what part of the country I am living in.

Namaste.

See you next Tuesday.

R.H. Downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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