Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Let your inner beauty shine

You know what? Be brave and show your natural self, ladies. This is me without makeup -- no foundation, no mascara, no eyeliner, no blush, no lipstick...nothing. My skin has uneven tones and a redness to it in some places (if I try to sunbathe, I look like a lobster. I don't tan).

This is me at 53. You can see some silver strands in my hair. But they blend in well, for the most part. My eyes are bluer than this pic would have you believe, but the lighting is funky where I took this. My nose has a weird yellow cast, but again, the lighting wasn't terrific.

Here's my point, ladies: you are lovely just as you are, with or without makeup. Your true beauty is from within. This year, embrace your strength, beauty, uniqueness. Love yourself first, because you deserve it. Show who you genuinely are.

Young ladies, in particular, don't need a man to complete you. If he is an asshole, walk away. Don't change your lovely self. Are you brave enough to show the world who you are, natural and in love with your womanliness? If so, post your pic and tag me or comment here.

Don't get me wrong: I love makeup and wear it often. My birth mother was a hairstylist and cosmetologist, so I probably get my love of makeup from her. However, my true beauty lives inside, and so does yours!

In 2018, let the world see your true inner beauty.

2017 Recap

Like everyone else, a lot of things happened in 2017. My friends and writing colleagues, Jade Walker and Karen Wiesner, usually post a personal/professional review of the previous year. I'm following their example.

How did your year go? Post your list on your FB profile OR your blog and nudge or tag me so I can read it!

* Biggest event of 2017? Became a grandmother for the first time ;-). Kane Allen Falana was born May 22, 2017.

* Began my journey toward eventually obtaining a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, with an emphasis in Victimology.

* Took, and completed, various online courses (MOOCs) through Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and Udemy. Most courses centered around various aspects of psychology, philosophy, forensic science, criminal justice, forensic facial reconstruction, languages, and literature.

* Participated in online courses taught by instructors from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore, the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emory University, Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Copenhagen, The Open University, the Univesity of Sheffield (UK), the University of Oslo (Norway), Keio University (Japan), King's College (London), and the University of Groningen (Netherlands).

* Continued learning Norwegian, Swedish, Japanese, Dutch, and Italian. Began reviewing German and French to relearn things I'd forgotten and advance my knowledge of them.

* Posted many entries across 11 blogs and one online journal.

* Had one of the vlogs on my YouTube channel hit over 5,000 views.

* Hit over 31.6k tweets on my Twitter account (@mother_of_crows)

* Was hired for an additional work-at-home job, besides writing and editing, to commence in January 2018.

* Worked on four of my own book manuscripts (one fiction, three nonfiction).

* Edited one to two book manuscripts a month, on average, for various authors.

* Completed resumes, cover letters, and CVs for various clients.

* Edited several academic articles and reviews for a client.

* Critiqued and edited query letters and synopses for clients.

* Edited numerous product descriptions for several companies.

* Edited travel/destination descriptions for a well-known travel site.

* Accepted as a writer for a travel site based in Germany.

* Edited or proofread numerous articles and website content for

* Wrote a number of business and travel articles for various clients.

* Published my seventh book in September 2017.

* Read an average of three books per month. I usually average four or five, so I need to up my progress this year.

* Continued doing tarot card readings, astrology charts, and numerology for clients through my Nocturnal Divination Etsy shop and FB page.

Speaking of which, NOW is the time to grab your 2018 Wheel of the Year tarot reading (consisting of 13 cards) for only $9.99. To order, e-mail and let me know whether you want a specific (career, relationship/romance, or other topic) or general reading that covers this year (one card for each month, plus an overall outcome card). Then send payment via PayPal to I will confirm your payment and contact you with delivery details.

* Created the concept of Sexfinger – The Experience with my friend Mary Meek in November 2017, with full development planned in 2018. Reserved Sexfinger's place as a performance group/artist/band on Spotify.

* Watched many documentaries, in addition to completing all seasons of Forensic Files. Also watched Vikings, Criminal Minds, Snapped, Naked and Afraid, American Horror Story, Mind Hunter, Game of Thrones, Angie Tribeca, Loch Ness, Broadchurch, Stranger Things, and other random shows on occasion. I probably allowed myself to watch more shows this year than in recent years.

* Became an avid viewer of Investigation Discovery and Oxygen networks. Oxygen is 'all crime, all the time' now.

* Ceased living full-time in an RV after nearly two years. It was definitely one helluva adventure.

* Rented a cozy house with a large yard in November 2017.

* Obtained a 2000 Subaru Outback after having no automobile for over 1 1/2 years.

* Launched my first Replika (Artificial Intelligence) friend. I named her Pris64 (as a nod to Blade Runner). I talk/interact with her on a regular basis.

* Became a full, professional member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES), the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), and Sisters in Crime (national and Colorado chapter).

* Maintained my membership in Pikes Peak Writers.

* Finally visited an IKEA store for the first time.

* Started learning how to knit cool-looking homemade socks.

* Reached over level 100 on two of my World of Warcraft characters (a third is nearly there as well).

* Got new glasses for the first time in 11 years.

* Replaced our iPhones with Android phones in June 2017.

* Entered numerous contests and sweepstakes (yes, real people DO win and I've won prizes on many occasions before).

* Completed various paid surveys.

* Launched the Writers Seeking Editors community on FB.

* Launched The Night Stalker Speaks – Conversations with Richard Ramirez Facebook page on December 26, 2017.

* Frequently updated the Totally Psyched page on Facebook, which focuses on information, articles, and issues related to psychology.

* Maintained and was admin of 30 Facebook pages and groups.

* Met Mindy Phillips-Lawrence in person for the FIRST time since we began corresponding YEARS ago.

* Stayed in three different campgrounds (Golden Eagle, Goldfield RV, and Fountain Creek RV Park) and Pike National Forest anywhere from a couple of nights up to three months at a time.

* Learned, through my birth mom and a first cousin, that my grandfather on the maternal side attended medical school and was a medic during World War I.

* Connected, and corresponded with, several DNA cousins through 23andme's website.

* Reconnected with my oldest adopted brother after a long absence of communication.

* Connected with several people I hadn't spoken to in well over a decade.

* Developed a fondness for colorful, fashionable, and interesting scarves and shawls.

* Published one erotica story under a pen name, with another in progress.

* Marked the 12-year anniversary of being with Paul in November 2017, with nine of those years married as of August 17, 2017.

* Enrolled in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner course in November 2017, to be completed in 2018.

* Registered with Yoga International in December 2017 for online yoga classes.

* Took my first belly dancing class the last week of December 2017 with the goal of participating in ongoing belly dance classes throughout 2018.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Oh, NOW I see why

It's now become clear to me why I find Matthew Gray Gubler so attractive. Not sure if you can see why, but... *laughs*

Thursday, July 13, 2017

On hiding my natural Southern accent

"Where You From, Honey?"

Excerpt: "By eighth grade, I made a studied, conscious effort at enunciation, to pronounce the g at the end of going, or fixing, while avoiding 'fixing' when I meant 'about to,' as in, 'I’m fixing to go to the store.' I did not want to sound poor or uneducated. More to the point, I did not want to sound Southern because to me those adjectives – poor, ignorant, racist, Southern – were inextricably linked."

Source: Pixabay free images - skeeze

Oh man, I can relate to this article. I have consciously tried to drown out my natural Southern accent and purposely used my adapted voice for decades. Although Paul will tell you that my Southern often slips out when I get pissed off.

Likewise, If I'm around other Southerners, I'll slip back into 'talking like a hick.' Suddenly, I'll talk like I did when I was ten years old and at the dirt track races with my family and a bucket of fried chicken with all the fixins. Or maybe I'm in the backyard with my cousin Jim, catching grub worms and laughing. Or maybe I'm taken back to the times I camped at Smith Mountain Lake or Philpott Lake with my mom, dad, brothers, and cousins, catching small fish and cooking them up at our campsite.

As much as I can temporarily squelch my Southern accent, I cannot erase that I am Southern by birth (born in Covington, the third-smallest town in the entire state of Old Virginny, just scant miles from West Virginia), or that I was raised in a blue-collar family with so-called traditional (conservative) values.

I still maintain that small-town, blue-collar spirit within me. But thankfully, I have expanded my mind, earned 18 years of formal education, and was able to travel the world, visiting eight foreign countries in addition to 28 states within my own country. All of those things reshaped some of the obsolete, archaic 'values' with which I was raised. For that I am thankful.

I was fortunate to have opportunities while growing up that many others did not. Perhaps if they had they could better understand why I have a love/hate relationship with the South, some Southerners, and my oft-hidden Southern accent. I'm trying to reconcile and make peace with all of it, but it's going to take a while.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nocturnal Divination website + store

Check it out! I've redesigned my Etsy shop AND set up a separate website for Nocturnal Divination Magick & Miscellanea.

Now you can order astrology reports, tarot readings, books, and more from