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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
09/06

Home Again, and a Bunch of Updates

Home again, after the best trip yet.

 

Diving around the wreck of the USAT Liberty (sunk by the Japanese in 1942) in Tulamben, Bali, August 28th.

 

My friend Joelle and I were texting regularly all through our respective trips to Iceland and Asia, and after she got home she wrote,

I’m in that phase where it kind of feels like my trip didn’t really happen. There’s always a struggle to live just a little differently than I did before.

I’ve been turning those words over ever since. After this trip I am far less of a mystery to myself. I have finally begun to understand why I feel and react the way I do in difficult situations (and in truth, how I tend to create those difficult situations). I know I’m being vague here, but I may be remedying this soon (see next paragraph). For now, I’ll just say that Joe Dispenza’s book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself has more than secured a place on my (not-yet-official) list of the Most Useful and Enlightening Books I Have Ever Read. I’m looking forward to writing about exactly how and why it’s helping me!

Now for Getting Specific: because Life Without Envy is on sale at the end of the month (!!), I’m doing the usual promotional thing, albeit on a scale that makes sense to me. One of LWE’s essential messages is about making oneself useful, and I’ve been pondering how to walk my talk in ways that feel authentic and effective. Admittedly, there is a part of me who would much rather hole up and get back to writing fiction, but how can I write a book like Life Without Envy and then run away from my own advice on community building and becoming as honest as possible about one’s messiest feelings?

You may recall that I posted a virtual writing workshop series on Youtube back in 2012, and I’m thinking about starting up something similar again—only with shorter (2 to 3-minute), more-to-the-point videos with frank advice on practical topics related to the book. That is one immediate way in which I can make myself useful.

I brainstormed topics. I made a list. “Success” Versus Satisfaction. Impostor Syndrome. How to Think Your Way Out of Self Loathing. (The IRONY of Self Loathing.)

Then, of course, my ego piped up. What if you post a bunch of videos and NOBODY RESPONDS, you loser? (I will say this over and over again: I wrote the book I most needed to read.)

Then I remembered something one of my new internet pals Alexis Donkin wrote in a recent newsletter. 

What we say, what we write, how we act—it DOES matter. If I post a video and it turns one person’s day around, then that is mission accomplished. Nobody has to go viral on Youtube in order to make the world a little bit kinder. (I actually have a specific anecdote on this topic—about overhearing a conversation in a restaurant that helped me lift myself out of a frighteningly gloomy mood—and I will share it on video.)

So yeah. I think I’m going to start a new Youtube channel, and if you have any topics you’d like me to cover (or other tips/suggestions), please let me know!

* * *

Now for some newsy things:

The wonderful Jamaica Plain restaurant-cum-bookstore Tres Gatos is hosting the Life Without Envy launch on Sunday, October 2nd starting at 3pm. Come early for brunch (alas, they aren’t the most vegan-friendly place in town, but what options they do have are excellent). And do please RSVP on Facebook!

I’m also giving an hourlong Life Without Envy workshop at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 15th, 2016. We’ll have space for about thirty people. I can’t imagine it’ll be that crowded, but come early just in case!

* * *

And here’s a quick link round-up, ICYMI on social media:

Immaculate Heart write-up in the Improper Bostonian

Life Without Envy in 18 Must-Read Nonfiction Books of September 2016 in Bustle

Why Having My Book Go Out of Print Was a Pretty Great Thing, After All in Publishers Weekly

My Intentional Writer interview with Alexis Donkin

* * *

More soon!

06/30

The Grand Tour of Asia

Oh, HELLO! I almost forgot I even have a blog. Moon Ireland revisions were frantic (I did get them done on time, though, whew!), and now I’m stoked to be working on a follow-up to Life Without Envy. I will get back to blogging someday, I just don’t have any idea when. September! Yeah, September. For sure-ish.

My next adventure is coming up very soon: a two-month backpacking trip with Seanan (and a few more friends, for different portions) around south-east Asia. My sister and the crew went to Indonesia back in February while I was in Ireland…

 

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Yogyakarta photo by Kate.

 

…and when I got home to New Jersey yesterday I was delighted to find a stack of rupiah waiting for me. Thank you, cookiesister!

You can follow me on Instagram for pics from Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Cambodia again, and Indonesia, in that order. We’re plotting a trip to the Banda Islands for a DIY writing holiday towards the end. I am the luckiest person on the planet. (Luckier than Seanan, since he’s got to put up with me.) In all seriousness, though, I have set some powerful intentions for this trip, and I’m insanely excited to see what happens.

A couple notes before I go:

There are three more Goodreads giveaways for Life Without Envy scheduled for the weeks of July 11th, August 8th, and August 30th…though September 27th will be here before we know it!

And ICYMI, read this. I literally cried at my desk.

Happy summer, everybody!  <3

 

Wish you were here, @fionaashleen. #beach #yoga

A photo posted by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

 

05/02

Twenty Years Later

I’m remembering my beautiful grandmother today, twenty years after her passing.

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04/26

Life Without Envy at the “Vulnerability Museum”

I’m coming out of Moon Ireland-induced hibernation to post something really cool: thanks to Ashley Kirsner, whom I met at #whatimake, my Life Without Envy preparatory mind map is traveling to North Adams, MA as part of the CommuniT Boston “Vulnerability Museum.”


If you’re in western Mass, check it out at FIGMENT North Adams this Saturday, April 30th, beginning at 3pm. The exhibit will also be traveling to NYC at some point; I’ll post details when I get them.

(Now back to frenzied Googling of updated tour and accommodation prices!)

 

04/16

#whatimake Slide Show and Resources

I’m just home from the first-ever #whatimake conference, and it was AMAAAAAZING. Proper post to follow, but in the meantime I want to drop my slide show and resources link here for any attendees who are looking for it. Thank you for coming!  <3

 

#Whatimake excitement at @aeronautbrewing!!!

A photo posted by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

04/13

Five Years Vegan

As I love to remind you each year, April is my veganversary month. I know I haven’t done a proper vegan-themed post in ages, but it’s not for lack of passion or interest. Between various other writing projects and commitments, I just don’t have the bandwidth at the moment. (I know, I’ve been saying this. It’s still true.) I’m stockpiling links and pictures and recipe ideas and philosophical musings (heh) for when I have more time to blog again.

And in the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram—my #vegan-themed posts are mixed in with Ireland travel pics and the occasional “yay, it’s my book in the bookstore!” photo.

 

 

 

 

Made goji-berry pecan granola this morning especially for @elliotsomethin & @crazyliberalkate! #breakfast #vegan A photo posted by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

 

04/11

Comet Party Yoga and Writing Retreat

Update, 5/5/16: Alas, we haven’t gotten the numbers we need to be able to run this retreat. If you’re interested in participating the next time we try to run this thing, drop me a line!

 

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Photo by Amber Wachtl.

This is the last week to get the early-bird price ($300 instead of $350) on the first-ever Comet Party yoga and writing retreat with my dear teacher Anne Wichmann! Since I’ve been posting information about the retreat rather piecemeal, I thought I’d do one more post to gather all the info in one place.

When: Friday, May 20th (afternoon) to Sunday, May 22nd (afternoon), 2016

Where: Bethel Farm, Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Get psyched for long walks in the woods and the wood-fired sauna (maybe alternating with dips in the pond!)

What: Jivamukti yoga classes, meditation, and kirtan paired with intuitive writing sessions

Why: to relax, learn more about yourself, and meet lovely new people!

Meals: 100% vegan, baby! All allergies and dietary restrictions catered for (just let us know.)

Accommodation: small dorm-style with shared bath. (I know this set-up won’t be for everyone, but I love the cozy summer-camp feel of the Bethel Farm guesthouse.)

Retreat schedule: here.

Transportation from Boston: we’ll be organizing ride shares.

More about Jivamukti: it’s an athletic yet well-rounded style of yoga, including chanting, breathwork, dharma talks, and meditation along with the asanas. I’ve found Jivamukti teachers to be the warmest and most giving yoga instructors I know. Oftentimes you’ll get a quick warm-up shoulder massage with china gel (a menthol-based cream, very tingly and refreshing), and/or another little massage during savasana. Jivamukti teachers walk the talk when it comes to ahimsa, the principle of non-harming. Anne is a very chill and loving teacher.

More about Stephen Bethel (owner of Bethel Farm and another awesome Jivamukti teacher!) here.

What is “intuitive writing”? Good question! We’ll be taking journaling to the next level with exercises designed to lift you out of your ordinary way of thinking, priming you for a transformative experience. Everything you write during this retreat is for your eyes only. You can get a sense of the type of writing exercises we’ll be doing here. There’s also a sneak preview of Life Without Envy in your retreat workbook!

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You can register for this retreat either through Bethel Farm or by emailing me. Anne and I are so looking forward to it!

 

04/04

Lovefest

Last week several friends read Immaculate Heart and reached out by email, text, and social media to tell me just how much it affected them. (This is in addition to my sister and her in-laws forming a four-person book club on vacation!) I have wonderfully supportive family and friends, but I don’t remember anyone calling me a “genius” before. Maybe this novel really is my best yet.

 

 

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I’m not posting the praise here to toot my own horn—I just want to acknowledge how much it all means to me, especially when there hasn’t been much in terms of reviews or “buzz.” I have smart friends and I value their opinions, and those opinions will continue to hearten me on days when I wonder how I can continue to make a sort-of-living in publishing.

How is the operative word, though—not if.

I can either reach for hitherto-unrecognized opportunities—making my own opportunities—logging even more time at the Writers’ Room than I already do (and loving every minute), or I can think and act as if my disappointing sales figures will dictate my future career.

…Yeah, right.

Of all the gorgeous heartfelt praise I received last week, there was one piece I most needed to hear. My friend Keith texted me on Wednesday afternoon as soon as he finished the book, asking me to call him as soon as possible. We talked about who (plural) inspired my narrator, why I’d made certain narrative decisions, and his actual physical reactions as he read the closing pages. Keith said, I hope you know your own power.

And I got goosebumps.

So thank you, my friends—thank you Ailbhe, thank you Angela, thank you McCormick, thank you Susan, thank you Mackenzi, thank you Keith. Thank you, everyone, for buying my books, reading them, and talking them up to anyone who will listen. The writing may be its own reward, but the icing is the most delicious part of the cake.

 

03/28

Launch Night!

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Photo by Amy Lou Stein.

 

Well, it was another glorious whirlwind of a launch weekend! Porter Square Books did a great job, as always, and even though the crowd was a bit smaller than last year (lots of friends were out of town for Easter weekend) there were more unfamiliar faces in the audience, which was really neat. And Mackenzi, of course, gave me the sweetest introduction.

 

Launching @cometparty’s Immaculate Heart.

A photo posted by Porter Square Books (@porter_square_books) on

 

I have a bunch of favorite moments, but here are a few. I decided to read the poitín passage on pages 152-158 (beginning with Síle’s journal entry and ending with the nightmare at the end of the chapter), and since I always love hearing how a seed of an idea grows into completion, I started off by reading a text message Seanan sent me on December 22, 2007:  

Had a poitín tasting tonight. 20 year old bottle and more recent vintage. One tasted like whiskey made from battery acid and the other tasted like vodka made from battery acid. We’ll keep some for your next time.  

I’m always a little surprised (delighted, but surprised!) when people tell me I’m funny. I got a lot of laughs throughout. (Credit for the funny text message goes to my friend, of course, but I did deliver with good comic timing, if I do say so myself.)       

 


My other favorite moment came at the end, when I was signing stock—there was an internet order from my fourth-grade teacher on the top of the stack! I have such happy memories of her reading historical novels to us after recess each day. That was a sweet moment. And needless to say, there were no more cupcakes left by the end of the night.

 

@cometparty at her Immaculate Heart book launch with her disappearing gluten free vegan cupcakes. 🍀 A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

I’ve promised to post the cupcake recipes, so here they are:

Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon icing from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World  

Carrot with vanilla icing from the Babycakes cookbook (though the icing recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)  

Chocolate lavender with coconut cream topping (using maple syrup instead of honey)  

Vanilla with butterscotch icing and coconut bacon (but again, I used the basic frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with 3/4 tsp. butterscotch extract in lieu of vanilla extract; I tried the original recipe for Kelly’s birthday picnic last summer and the frosting melted all over the place, so I’m sticking with what works best!)

 

 

I made all the cupcakes gluten free this time—just subbing Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour plus one teaspoon of xanthan gum for regular flour in the gingerbread and vanilla recipes. (The other two were already gluten free.) I am super pleased with how the vanilla/butterscotch/coco-bacon cupcakes turned out—I’d tried a bunch of vanilla cupcake recipes and none of them were light and fluffy as promised until Kathy Patalsky’s version. She is a genius!

 

 

Details on the launch dress coming in a future post.  😉

 

03/22

Pub Day!

ImmaculateHeart_CoverImmaculate Heart is on sale today! The fanfare this time around has been, shall we say, muted—but it is my best work so far, and I feel good about that. If you’re in the Boston area, I really hope you can help me celebrate at Porter Square Books this Friday, March 25th, at 7pm. There’ll be a (vegan, gluten-free) cupcake with your name on it.

Otherwise, if you wanted to pick up a copy of the book, well, that would be amazing. Thank you very much for your support!

Porter Square Books (order this way and you get the book signed along with a set of three original Ireland postcards—at least until I run out of them!)

Indiebound

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Yesterday I was ruminating on the phrase the work is its own reward. It sounds pat on one hand and downright ludicrous on the other, if you’re hoping (as I am) to make a living at this whole wacky business. It’s true, though. I write to bring whole new worlds into being—to thrill and entertain and inspire and comfort myself, so that hopefully I’ll end up thrilling and entertaining you too.

 

Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.
Photo by Anne Weil