February Fun: Monthly Missives from the Dream Pedlar

In which I offer you something new, take away something old, and together we learn how to discern what truly matters in our journeys ...

February Fun: Monthly Missives from the Dream Pedlar
Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash

Hello Dreamer!

Although I'm no stranger to the relentless flow of time, I find it hard to believe that two months of 2023 have already (almost) gone by!

But first things first ... here's a gift for you!

To celebrate my five-year-anniversary as a published author, I'd love to give you all a free copy of my short story, The Mind Meddler!
ebook cover of The Mind Meddler depicting a psychedelic colourful combination of face silhouettes
The Mind Meddler

This story secured an Honourable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest, 2nd Quarter (January–March) 2022. So the gods that rule have deemed it worth a read!

I dedicated this book to my dear friend, Helen, bringer of all good things into my life! ❤️

You can read the story on this website right away using the link below. If you are prompted to enter your email address, please use the one at which you receive and read this newsletter.

fiction: the mind meddler
All it takes to seal your fate is a single thought. The Mind Meddler will sneak it into your mind when you aren’t looking.

Alternately, if you'd like to read the tale on your e-reader, you can download it in your preferred ebook format here.

The story, both on the website and in downloadable ebook formats, will be available for free for only a fortnight! So please grab your copies before Sunday, 12 March!

Another gift coming your way in March is a discount offer on Erased From Existence, a parnormal mystery tale.

Front cover of Erased From Existence depicting a woman disappearing
Erased From Existence

This promotional offer will run during 1–21 March, and the book will be showcased among a number of other works across a variety of genres. You can take a sneak peek here but the link will go live only on 1 March.

I will send you a special edition of the newsletter on Saturday, 11 March, to remind you to download your free copy of the The Mind Meddler if you haven't already and to take a look at the abovementioned catalogue of books, some of which may be on sale.

So, how has February been for you?

For me, it has been a month of stillness and clarity, so much so that I've decided that henceforth I'll make any life-changing decisions not during the festive madness of December but in the calm and tranquility of February, long after the clamour of the holiday season has died down and after enough time has lapsed following the inevitable letdown that tends to linger for much of January.

For instance, getting The Mind Meddler into your hands was something I wanted to do in January itself, alongside publishing In Seach of Leo in a newly formatted ebook version as well as in paperback (both of which are now available), but it wasn't until February that I seemed to be able to get my act and focus together on doing what needed to be done.

In end-November, I had begun to take stock of the year that was ending and draw up plans for the year ahead.

At the beginning of January, I had a huge list of all that I wanted to tackle in 2023, obviously a humungous list of the kind that one tends to make when high on optimism and the promise of future action, while being completely disconnected from reality.

Sometime in February I had the sobering realization that I wasn't at all proceeding in the direction I wanted to.

And that's because I had filled out my roadmap with all sorts of attractive detours and sojourns; so while it felt as if I was moving a lot, turned out I was simply meandering about in the same place. My focus was scattered, and I had spread myself too thin.

High-performance coach, Sarah Arnold Hall, recently said something in direct, hard-hitting words, which resonated with me a great deal:

Trendy "Success" Habits I Stopped Doing: Taking cold showers, Drinking extra water each day, Getting up early, Making my bed, Having the perfect morning routine.
I realized that NONE of these things matter for the goals I'm going after. But I felt the pressure to do them because it was what would supposedly make me successful.
After a while I noticed they were taking my energy and focus away from what actually mattered for my own success.
So now, these are the habits I focus on instead: Choosing thoughts that motivate me, Doing something everyday to move me closer to my goals, Simplifying my tasks to make them easier to execute, Uncommiting from anything that doesn't create results or joy.
~ Sarah Arnold Hall

So if I were to take an honest look at the list of things I had deemed as important and must-dos – taking courses on the craft of writing and mindset, blogging about my learnings, reading more fiction and writing about those books – none of these in themselves were really moving the needle when it came to my two main goals, writing and publishing books, because all these other activities were crowding the centrestage and had stealthily pushed writing and publishing away to the periphery.

The other wake-up call for me came from KrA, who pointed out to me a few days ago that I hadn't written a novel in 2022. It's true that I published Erased from Existence last year, but I had written most of it in 2021, on the heels of finishing and releasing Dying Wishes out into the world.

So in the quietude of February, I made the decision to discontinue the Tales for Dreamers paid subscription service at the end of this year.

When I launched the weekly short story subscription service last November, I was lucky enough to have a number of readers who signed up for a yearly subscription to Tales for Dreamers.

Since 3 November, they have received a total of 17 wonderful, whimsical tales, and I will send them another 44 tales, offering an additional four weeks of whimsy and wonder beyond the end of their subscription period.

Fountain pen on a sheet of paper with handwriting on it and a bunch of lavender flowers
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Several factors influenced my decision to discontinue this offering, and I shared those with my patrons earlier this week. But the one really decisive factor that continued to nag me, and which I want to share here, was the vast dichotomy between writing novels and short fiction.

They require vastly different skills and frames of mind and, in my experience, gaining expertise in one form seemed to come at the expense of mastery in the other. The more I leaned towards writing short fiction, the more difficult it became for me to work on novels.

Additionally, I found that I tended to write short fiction especially when I ran into trouble while tackling a longer manuscript. The quick win that finishing a short tale gave me seemed to compensate for my lack of progress on the WIP novel, but the longer I kept up with this, the more I realized that I was only fooling myself.

And so I have to admit this to myself and to you that ...

Writing novels is a greater priority for me as it provides a richer and more immersive emotional experience to you, the reader.
In a world of quick fixes and instant gratification, the unfolding of a story over several hundred pages is quite a treat, a luxurious indulgence almost. And in not providing more of that, I do no justice to my readers.

I have already discontinued new sign-ups to Tales for Dreamers, so only existing subscribers will continue to receive the weekly tales until the end of this year.

But fret not! You will still continue to receive a Tales for Dreamers story in this newsletter every month!

I share all this in great detail because we're all in this journey together and it gives me great joy when I come across something simple yet life-changing and I can't wait to tell you about it because who knows if it may change your days too in unexpected ways?

And when it does, you will let me know, won't you?

On Elsewhere-ness

Many of you know that I've long harboured a deep longing for what is not, instead of accepting and cherishing what is.

I came across a poem on this very theme by Sarah Key; the homepage of her website is perhaps one of the loveliest little things that exist on the Internet. There is even a video of her reading the poem at an event.

THE PARADOX by Sarah Key

When I am inside writing,

all I can think about is how I should be outside living.

When I am outside living,

all I can do is notice all there is to write about.

When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.

When I love, I think I need to read more.

I am stumbling in pursuit of grace,

I hunt patience with a vengeance.

On the mornings when my brother’s tired muscles

held to the pillow, my father used to tell him,

For every moment you aren’t playing basketball,

someone else is on the court practising.

I spend most of my time wondering

if I should be somewhere else.

So I have learned to shape the words thank you

with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night.

When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful

for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.

All those places I made it to,

all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.

And even if it is just for one moment,

I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Tales for Dreamers

take a penny, leave a penny

I can't quite remember where I took this picture but the visiting card in the image has the address of a bookstore based in Los Angeles. I simply can't remember this visit, and I suspect the talking skull in the picture decided to take more from me than the penny I was willing to offer it!

tales for dreamers: take a penny, leave a penny
Give the talking skull a penny, and he will reveal to you a life secret. But do you have enough pennies to hear all that he has to say?

Books You May Love

I've made little progress on that huge pile of books I showed you last month because I've been reading the Harry Potter books instead now that little D has taken a great interest in them.

The last I read a Harry Potter book was almost sixteen years ago, in 2007, when The Deathly Hallows was released! We've also been listening to the audiobooks and by Jove, it has been such a treat immersing myself in that world again!

But I do have another gem of a find to share. A new author I stumbled upon recently is Anthea Sharp, and I'm presently reading her book The Dark Realm, which is the first in her Feyland series.

The premise of the story is a refreshingly new (to me) fairyland-as-a-video-game world, so there's much here that would appeal to fantasy lovers and video gamers alike. Isn't that an unusual and intriguing combination? I'm halfway through the story, which is exciting and also very well-written. I suspect this is a series I'll be working my way through in the coming weeks!

It's time to part again, dear dreamer.

We've had some snowfall, which had remained mysteriously elusive this season until now. After the snow clouds have unburdened themselves, the sky turns a beautiful blue, the sun shines a bright golden, and the snow sparkles in the sunlight as if tiny precious jewels are hidden just beneath the surface.

A leafless maple tree on a snow-covered ground

It's Friday night as I write this, and I heard on the radio earlier that after today, the sun will not set before 6 PM in my part of the world for the next eight months! Hearing that brought a smile to my face, and on that happy note, I will bid you farewell.

Remember to take your gifts. I made them for you with much love. It's alright if you forget, for I will send you a short, special reminder in slightly less than a fortnight from now.

Until then, adieu!

~ Anitha