Dawn Reno Langley's Blog

October 14, 2018

Overwhelmed with Work and Underwhelmed with the Results

For the past couple of months, I've been traveling and working and working and working. Some of what I've done has been for myself (a new novel and a new memoir coming to life, while I've been trying to meet deadlines for the books I have coming out next year), but quite a bit has been for other writers.

As a coach/editor/ghostwriter, I'm as invested in my clients' works as if they were my own. I won't take on a project that doesn't interest me, because I wouldn't do my best work, and I don't believe in giving my clients/students anything less than everything I have. I think that bodes me well, but it also bites me in the butt, because my clients seem happy, so, therefore, they give me more work!

Still, there are days I'm so tired that I can barely read a page for enjoyment, and I think I need to learn how to organize better than I am.

I'm beating myself up right now, and I think I probably need to quit writing this and get back to doing the work that puts food on the table.

Thanks for letting me have a mini-rant.

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Published on October 14, 2018 13:49 Tags: food, frustrated, happy, rant, reading, working, writing

August 13, 2018

Exciting news! Workshops, retreats, new books . . . oh my!

I haven't posted recently, because the summer has been bonkers! I've been working on three new books (I know. I'm insane.), have put together a new writers' collaborative with two good friends (called Rewired Creatives, Inc. -- check us out!

We're going to do a daylong Business of Publishing workshop at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro on August 6, 2018 -- and then in April we are GOING TO THE BEACH!

For four days on Topsail Island, we will mentor a very small group of writers who either have an idea, are already writing, or are in the stages of deciding what they're going to do with what they have written.

We're calling this retreat WRITE-ON-THE-BEACH, because that's exactly what we're going to do. Each day will start with yoga, breakfast, and a mini master class devoted to discussing our favorite techniques and why they work.

Then we spend the day writing -- with individualized coaching sessions with your chosen mentor. Evenings will be good food, talk, and maybe some special visitors.

If you want to come just for one day, we have a special one-day workshop planned just for you so you can enjoy the beach, too.

I'm very excited about what's going on, and I do hope you share the word about this new workshop and the retreat at the beach. And join us!!!

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April 9, 2018

Monday and a pick-me-up for The Mourning Parade

I've been hard at work on other projects since The Mourning Parade cross-country tour last year, so it was a nice surprise to see this review for my novel today (and it's a Monday, to boot -- always a good time for a pick-me-up!)

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Published on April 09, 2018 14:34 Tags: elephants, monday, novel, ptsd, review, school-shooting, the-mourning-parade

April 4, 2018

What's your religious philosophy?

In the process of putting together a questionnaire for my new book, You are the Divine Feminine, I'm immersed with thoughts of what I learned about religion when I was a child. The focus of my book is on those divine females in all religions, so I want to talk to women who represent every philosophy. I'm proud to say that I have friends who embody every major religious theory, and all of this discussion about females in their particular religion is absolutely fascinating.

My first memories of the church were of the Glendale United Methodist Church in Everett, Massachusetts. From the time I could walk, I spent every Sunday in Sunday school, then later on, add Mondays for Brownies, Wednesdays to fool around with the basketball (I can't call what I did playing), and those days continued through junior high and Girl Scouts, teaching Sunday School, and becoming one of the first female acolytes. I pretty much spent my life there and loved it. The building itself provided me with immense peace every time I went into what I believed was the largest sanctuary with the highest arched ceiling and most gorgeous stained glass windows in the world. I had no comparison other than local Catholic churches, which felt mysterious and dark to me. Our church was full of light, the ceiling carved by shipmakers who created a rich oak, high-arched ceiling that mimicked an upside-down ship. Yes, I loved that place.

I learned about Jesus and loved the benevolent-faced, bearded man with the children around his knees. Our Jesus seemed a tragic figure to me, gone too young, betrayed by friends, sacrificed. My mind wandered (a writer even in church -- especially there! What great stories the Bible told.) and I convinced myself that Jesus had escaped and met Mary Magdalene somewhere on the Baltic Sea where they lived in a tiny house on a river, raised a family of five, and Jesus healed people but never brought attention to himself again. (And other such stories about Daniel and the den, Jacob and his coat, etc. Different spins on old tales.)

It didn't dawn on me then that I really didn't hear too many stories about women. All I really knew about Mary was that she was Jesus's mom. And Mary Magdalene . . . I probably imagined her as far more than what was actually written in the Bible.

I think about that a lot now, and I have just bought a book about the women of the Bible, more for research for the Divine Feminine book, but I'm really looking forward to reading it.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what the answers are going to be to the questions I've cooked up for the book. I'm hoping to find one quotable sentence from each women so that I can give equal time to everyone from all the religious philosophies.

Back to research . . .

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February 28, 2018

New Book!

It's been a while since I've been on here, basically because I've been writing my fingers to the bone! Well, not really to the bone, but suffice it to say that I think the strongest muscles in my body are in my hands.

Anyway, all winter long, I've been either at my kitchen table or upstairs in my office (where I overlook the neighborhood like a war lord, especially when the kids across the street -- ages 5 and 3 -- are out on their bikes. I worry that someone isn't going to see them dashing out between parked vehicles). Yes, I've been writing. And writing. AND writing. and WRITING.

I finished an idea/proposal for a new nonfiction book before Christmas and shortly before the New Year, I got the green light from my publisher. The new book is nonfiction entitled You Are the Divine Feminine and is about the goddesses and spirits who've been part of all religious philosophies and how we, human females, possess every bit of the magic those divine feminine people do.

The book is slated for the holiday season in 2019, so that means I have to finish writing it and work on it with my editor before the end of this year in order for the production company to "build it" for the following year. I think it's going to be a beautiful book!

I've also sent in two other projects to my publisher: a new novel, entitled The Art of Rivers, the story of an interracial family whose love for each other keeps them glued together even throughout the most dramatic moments in civil rights history.

And an essay collection entitled At the Heart of it All, the pieces centered on travel and specifically looking at how different it is to travel as a woman alone.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! I've been working hard, and I'm hoping that these next projects will be available for readers in the upcoming years!

Stay tuned!
Big hugs to all of you,
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November 26, 2017

Tis the Season

Have you been over to my Facebook page yet? No? Whatcha waiting for? I've got major sales going on my books (one every day) throughout this holiday season. Half price! C'mon over: www.facebook.com/DawnRenoLangley

And while you're at it, have a great week!

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November 20, 2017

the 13 Days of BOOKMAS! Discounted titles!

Okay, this year, there will be 13 days of BOOKMAS... each day, a different book 50% off and autographed! We will work our way up to a big PRIZE on the 13th day for all those who have bought a book along the way. On the 1st day of BOOKMAS, I'm giving away an autographed copy of The Writer's Hand Divine Feminine Journal, normally $9.75 on sale for $4.75 today only! Message me! The Divine Feminine Journal
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Published on November 20, 2017 07:44 Tags: authors, autographed, bookmas, divine-feminine, feminine, journal, sale, spiritual, woman, women, write, writers

October 20, 2017

Weymouth: The Haunted Writer's Retreat

How appropriate that this is Halloween season, and I'm staying at a haunted writer's retreat.

Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities is North Carolina's gift to its writers. James Boyd (a writer himself) and his family originally owned the house and made it a haven for writers through the years for literary giants like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Sherwood Anderson. Today, the house becomes home to a new set of four authors every couple of weeks or so. The authors live upstairs, while the downstairs section of the house holds office space and is often used for special occasions, like weddings, fundraisers, and meetings.

This is the third time I've stayed here, and each time I do, I am amazed at my productivity, but this time, there were other things that took my attention . . .

Wednesday night, I read from my novel The Mourning Parade in the great hall on the first floor here. An elegant room with tall ceilings and French doors that lead out to open stretches of green grass, incredibly lush and ornate gardens, and a stretch of long-leaf pine, the hall creates the perfect space for an intimate concert or reading.

After the reading, we drank wine and ate hors d'oeuvres before heading out with executive director Katrina Denza to one of the local restaurants in Southern Pines to celebrate. It wasn't long before we started telling ghost tales.

The first time I came to this lovely rambling home that has more elegance and formality in its lines than most people, I stayed in the Thomas Wolfe room, that last bedroom in a hallway that twists, turns, and dips, because the house has grown through the years, and the additions sometimes created an odd hallway to make the bridge between the previous segment and the new. The Wolfe room houses two twin beds, a full fireplace, and from the windows, you can see almost the whole garden area, particularly beautiful when it snows (which it did).

It was cold in the hallway when I went to the bathroom that first night, and shivers ran up my spine which I attributed to the weather. But the next night, the heat was on, and I still shivered. I felt like something or someone was in the hallway watching me, and after I finished in the bathroom, I beat feet across the hallway, locking the door firmly behind me once inside. After that, I left the hall lights on all night.

Still, I felt I wasn't alone.

Several days passed before I met and spoke with the other female writers with whom I was sharing the space. They started telling me stories about the house, its ghosts, and the people who'd had experiences with them.

After that, my lights never went off, but other than feeling uncomfortable in the hallway, I didn't experience anything I'd call spooky . . .

Until this visit.

I have a different room for this stay, a smaller room (the Max Perkins room) at the other end of the hallway near the kitchen. I've noticed a distinct difference in the way I feel -- I'm much more relaxed here -- but the woman staying in the Thomas Wolfe room has had her share of visitors.

The first night, she reported hearing some sounds, but chalked it up to the house settling. We talked about the spirits, and I'd come to the conclusion that the hallway was keeping them "trapped." The other women here shared their own experiences, and it was clear that the spirits were more active now than the previous times I'd been here.

The next night, the woman in the Wolfe room asked at breakfast whether any of us had heard the furniture moving around the night before. In fact, she wanted to know whether the woman staying in the room closest to her was moving furniture.


She told a tale of listening to a TV show and hearing the sounds (after the rest of us had gone to bed), but when she turned the sound off on her laptop, the furniture moving stopped. She tested that premise several times. Each time was the same. She laughed it off.

The rest of us shivered.

The next night, one of the other women heard a rap on her door at 3 AM. There was no one there. And the night after that, we all had dinner with the director, who told us more stories. (She'd slept in the reportedly most haunted room in the building and had woken with the bed moved at least three feet from the wall. A heavy bed, it took two people to move it the same distance the next day.)

We scurried back into our respective rooms that night, sure that if we kept on all the lights and our doors locked, we'd be safe from all the spooks that went bump in the night. But we're writers and we have a curious streak down the middle of our backs.

One of our group downloaded a "ghost-tracking app" on her phone, and when we came back from dinner the next night, we went through the whole house (the four of us holding each other's shirts or hands or whatever we could grab) with the app pinging in all of the places where we'd either experienced a chill or heard a sound. Surprisingly, my bedroom (which I'd, up to that point, felt safe in) was a hot spot, but even worse, every doorway and the segments in the hallway I always found creepy sent the radar pinging into the red zone.

By the time we'd finished going through the whole house, we were all convinced that either the spirits had followed us throughout the house, or there were more than the two or three who'd had untimely deaths in the area where we were staying.

I have one more night here, and I'm not looking for any spirits, but there will be a special event at the end of the month with REAL ghost hunters, and I have half a mind to come back and join them. Just to get that story.
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Published on October 20, 2017 12:28 Tags: authors, ghost-app, ghosts, north-carolina, paranormal, southern-pines, spirits, spooks, writers

October 6, 2017

The New Novel

I've spent the day trying to get some work done (sending out proposals for workshops and articles), because I've spent the past couple of weeks working on my new novel. In fact, as soon as I push send on this blog post, I'm going back to work on the novel.

I'm calling it The Art of Rivers, because the settings in the book are all located on rivers, and the main character is an artist. The story is about the Johnsons, an interracial family trying to navigate the difficulties of being who they are over a 30 year time period. They've kept secrets from each other, have held grudges, and have fought hard, but through it all, they've loved each other, and that's what has kept them going.

I've struggled with splitting the story into time periods told from each of the characters' points of view, but right now, I'm going back and forth in time, letting each of them "direct the scenes" that are most important to each. It's still the first draft, so that might change.

The family has been part of two other novels, so I've taken bits and pieces of those books and put them into the new one. Maybe this is the charm!

Part of the story is told as the father and son grapple with the mom's death. They are tracking red wolves as they have the tough conversation, so I've had to do some research on those gorgeous creatures. In the early 80s, the wolves were just about extinct, and thanks to some dedicated animal activists, they were not only saved but are now living and building the red wolf community in the Alligator River preserve in eastern North Carolina.

Though wolves don't attract the warm/fuzzies like elephants do, I find them fascinated, and I'm still intrigued by the connections animals and humans have.

Back to writing . . .

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Published on October 06, 2017 10:37 Tags: alligator-river, elephants, fiction, interracial, north-carolina, novel, wolf, wolves

October 3, 2017

How about a Giveaway?

I received a box of my ARCs for The Mourning Parade the other day, and I've been thinking of what to do with some of them. I want to send some to special movie folks who I think might be interested in optioning it for a film. I'd also love to start a Homeless Book Club. I would start with my books, then get other local authors to bring copies of theirs to share, as well. Or a discussion with a group at the local Senior Center. AND I'd love to share a few signed copies with my favorite group of readers: Goodreads Readers! Watch the Giveaways for some very special copies :-)

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