story sessions

Somewhere Between Water and Sky {A Book Launch + Giveaway!}

I heard it said once that every human is a story with skin.

If this is true, paragraphs would be etched in the scars on my wrists.

Whole chapters could be written about the way my heart pounds when I startle awake.

And every single one of my tears could fill a book.

But stories, with all their promise, only leave room for disappointment. I don’t have room for that anymore. I left it all—the hope, the love, the promise—back in my old life with the ghosts I’d rather forget: Jude. Emma. Pacey.

Kevin.

This is how I dare to move forward and to believe in a new beginning. I let go of the old. I just grab the new and run. I don’t wait around anymore. I can’t.

Waiting leaves room for the voices.

Somewhere between water and sky, I'll find a way to burn these voices to the ground.


Writing a book is really hard.  Like, really hard.  The combination of blind hope, precision, and sheer guts that it takes to not only write but release a book is insane, and awesome, and calls up all sorts of exhilaration and terror (the good kind) within me.

So when someone I know does it, launches a book out into this wide world, I'm going to say something.  And today, Elora Ramirez releases her latest book, Somewhere Between Water and Sky (that's what the above gorgeous words are from).  This is the sequel to her premiere novel which came out last year, which I also highly recommend.  I haven't gotten to read SBWaS yet, but I'm looking forward to it.  I know Elora from her online writing community, The Story Unfolding, and without her and the wonderful women I met there, my own book would never have happened.  So . . . thank you, and congrats, Elora!

And -- Elora is giving away a coaching session and an Amazon giftcard!  You can enter here, and following are links to where you can purchase a copy (psst: it's $0.99 on Kindle!), and to more of Elora's creations.

Grab a copy:

Elora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space--including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. Since then, she's grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She embraces the power of story and teaches women from all parts of the world how to embrace theirs. She has a knack of calling things out , the truth and the detail, the subversive threads that make a life a story. She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, music, and her husband's lavender liqueur. 


http://www.amazon.com/Somewhere-Between-Water-Elora-Ramirez-ebook/dp/B00MR3Z62A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410403770&sr=8-1&keywords=Somewhere+Between+Water+and+Sky

When We are Wanted


When you spend long enough doing a certain thing, no matter what it is, I think, you put down roots.  You meet people.  And you find things you might not have been looking for, but now would never, ever trade. 

Blogging has been like that for me.  I'm not sure why I started that first LiveJournal in 2004, exactly, except that I enjoyed writing, enjoyed being read, and thought making money off of blogging was a thing (uh, yeah).  And while I haven't exactly hit the financial motherlode, I have discovered exquisite treasures that I never expected.

Story Sessions, an online community of writers run by Elora Ramirez, is one of those things.  A few of my online friends had taken Elora's intro ecourse, Story 101, and I like what I saw of them and their writing enough to give it a try myself.  I enrolled in 101 in the spring of 2013, and have never looked back.  I went on to take Elora's next course, Story 201, and participate in online retreats and workshops. 


The writing part of Story Sessions is good.  It's really good.  Like, really good.  If you want help discovering your voice, discovering your why, pushing past fear, and finding your legs in the publishing industry, then Story Sessions is for you.

But that's not the greatest treasures that I've found here.

No, for me, it's the community itself, these amazing women, that are the unlookedfor diamond that fell, shining through the dust of excavation, into my lap.


So many people roll their eyes at me when I tell them that I met some of my best friends online.  That's not real community, they think or say.  Remote community can't ever compare to local community.

For a long time, I thought the same thing.  I thought that online community was lesser, less than.  I ached because I failed to find the in-person kindreds that I'd found in the women of Story Sessions.  I thought there was something wrong with me.


This June, though, those digital hands and feet grew flesh and blood.  I flew to Texas to take part in the annual Story Sessions retreat, and those women who were my "lesser" community, my "not as real because it's online" kindreds, stormed into my life and swept me off my feet with their unconditional love and caring.

I went into the retreat lonely, desperately lonely.  My soul has been leading me on walkabout, as you know, and to my dismay I've had to abandon the local friendships and attempts at friendships that I'd been selling myself to.  Not because there as anything wrong with those local people, not because they didn't or don't try hard to love me, but because (through no fault of their own) I felt wrong around them.

I went to Texas nursing this long-gaping wound of being different-in-a-bad-way, broken, of always being the outsider.  When I got to the retreat, I expected to be disappointed, to find myself the outsider once again.

And --

there were no outsiders.


These women, these women, they put their hands in my hands, rubbed my shoulders, pulled their fingers through my hair.  They celebrated my newborn book, and my heathenry.  They looked into my eyes and heard my words and found no fault there.

They saw me, and loved me -- as is.

No caveats.  No conditions.  No "I'm worried about you" or "you're on a slippery slope."

(Did you know that Story Sessions is a Christian community?  Doesn't sound like the "Christian" communities I hear way too much yuck about way too often.)

This condition-less love and acceptance -- well, I didn't expect it.  I hoped for it, but life had taught me that it was likely out of reach for me.

But it exists.  It exists for me, and for you.  It's out there, and it's powerful beyond the imagining.


In Texas, I found women who celebrate my quirks and eccentricities and odd little passions.  I found women who run after me, literally, when I run away, who see my soul weeping when I hide my tears.  I found women who reminded me of the sacred truths of my glorious soul, and who continue to remind me when I forget.  I found women who tell me that I am beautiful-in-all-ways, and mean it.  I found women who cry with me, who rage with me, who will not, cannot accept injustice.  I found women who I can snuggle on the couch with without wondering if I'm doing the wrong thing, and who love how I don't love small talk.  I found women who ask me to howl at the moon with them.

I found women that I'd bleed for.  I found the women that would bleed for me.

I found the artists and renegades and lovers and world-changers.  And because of them, I remembered that I am one myself.  
 

So -- if you're looking for a writing community, well, Story Sessions is a good one.  Story 101 is running for its final time, so this is your last chance to get in where it all began.

But be careful, because you're not only getting a writing education when you sign up.  You just might find that you've found your courage, and the holiness in the darkest places of your soul, and some of the truest friends that you could ever have hoped for.


Online community is real.  It is true and authentic and alive.  And the folks you meet online have the powerful ability to slip quietly into your heart and turn your life upside down in the best of ways.

I hope that this is the case for you, no matter what digital hook you may hang your hat upon.  It has been one of my greatest privileges and joys to discover it for myself.

If you're interested in the final run of the ecourse that started it all, you can learn more about Story 101 here.

https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=176080&c=ib&aff=168836

*this post contains affiliate links