catch & release…reviewers alert!

Create Space George High Resolution Front Cover_6020780 2 2 16Buy your copy here!

Change is good!

I’ve just released the second edition of my novel, Making Room for George (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016).  TADA!

This love story, based on real events, was first released in 2013 by Balboa Press & has 22 five star reviews on Amazon which you can read here.  That edition will soon be out of print.

The second edition is improved because (this is a secret), I have removed many song lyrics used in the first edition (without permission; mistake of ignorance) and gained permission for the use of the few lyrics still in print in this edition.  It was this Book Baby Blog post by Chris Robley that helped me understand how to use song lyrics in my novel legally.

In short, song lyrics (written after 1923) are NOT in public domain and do not fall under the fair usage policy.  YIKES!

So, I got to work doing research I should have done before releasing the first edition of the book, but honestly, I thought lyrics, as long as I didn’t claim them as mine, could just be quoted.  Wrong.

I’ve changed the font.  The cover has been redesigned.  But otherwise, the book is the same.  So why did I change from Balboa Press to Create Space?

Money image bill cut up Tax Credits on flickr

image:  used with permission of the artist Tax Credits via Creative Commons some rights reserved. 


Indie authors have to pay.  For everything.  Themselves.  And we have to do it all:  write, market, read, network, & run a business.  I’m TERRIBLE at running my writing career like a business.  I’m getting better at networking.  Mostly, I tend to hole up and slink back to my studio where I’m friendly with all the paper & pens and color, and this slinking usually takes place after too much effort at “marketing,” or too much time at the PC.

I need my swing and the palpable sweetness of natural things.

bench swing on formidable woman 4 13 16 ccimage:  used with permission of the artist, Chaim Zvi via creative commons

I’ll let you do your own research if you are considering becoming an indie author.  For me, knowing what I know now, Create Space makes more sense.  I can choose the price of my book.  I’ll make more of the money I have spent on the book back (as long as readers buy directly from my e-store).  There will be no additional pressure disguised as “marketing help” to spend any more money for anything.  I can conduct a book giveaway at an affordable price.

Which brings me to my point!  I’M DOING A BOOK GIVEAWAY!  As soon as the Kindle version is ready which should be in about ten days, I’ll be gifting an e-version of the book to the first thirty people who follow this blog and opt-in to my email list starting now!  Whoohoo!  There is no obligation, but I’d sure love a fair and honest review.  I’ll send that info along with your copy.

For your chance to win, scroll down to the bottom of my About Me page, click “follow” on the right sidebar and add your name to my email list on the contact form (be sure to click “I want to subscribe to your email list.” Go here now!


please share…& thanks with Big Love!







National Poetry Month: 30 poems in 30 days

DMotherBelov back-001

What to do first?

Once, a writer friend, visiting my studio, viewing a bronze sculpture of mine (still sitting on my hearth today) said, “It must be hard for you to decide what to do first when you get up in the morning!”  She said this because I paint, I’ve done some sculpture, I write (poetry, a novel, a blog…sometimes) and I do body & soul work with private clients.  She was thinking all that doing and going in so many directions might be causing me some conflict.  She’s right.  But I don’t seem to be able to stop.

I’ve been working in this circular way as an artist for twenty-five years, each media delightfully informing the other.

However, last month (March, 2016), I agreed to write 30 poems in 30 days for Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project.  This very creative way of raising funds for the small press was a wonderful challenge that, as you can imagine, kept me quite focused!

It was a thrilled to see my DAILY work “published” on the Tupelo 30/30 blog pages alongside the other six accomplished poets who also wrote during March.  The poems are still “up” through the end of April,  National Poetry Month  & you can read them here.

Pick up the pen…

This coming Friday, April 15, 2016 from 7-9PM, I will be very happily reading in Austin at Malvern Books, with other awesome Tupelo 30/30 alumni from previous months and/or years:  Robert Okaji, Christine Beck, Pamela Paek, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, & Ronnie K. Stephens.

Yesterday, I re-blogged a post by Rober Okaji:  How to Write a Poem.  The reason I like the poem he posted so much is because it beautifully describes how poetry happens for me as well.  I do just what he says to do:  live and let the words come.    But during March, I picked up my pen.  Every day.


image: used with permission via Creative Commons by Antonio Litteri0


The pen is the difference between simply living a life and living a writer’s life, the pen, the art of listening, and a strange penchant for recording everything!

One of the most interesting things that occurred to me during this writing exercise is that as Naomi Shihab Nye says, poems are everywhereBut you have to be listening.

I didn’t want to “cheat” myself out of the chance to learn this (again!), so I decided that I would wait, each day, for the prompt life would provide.  Life did not disappoint.


windshield wiper in the rain cc Kezee

image:  used with permission via Creative Commons photographer, Kezee

Have you ever prayed for rain?

Close to the end of day #24, I still had not written anything, but on my way home from the grocery store, I stopped at the intersection, turning left to go home.  Here is the poem that stop prompted:




at the intersection

i nod



the cement truck

to cross


—huge tumbler



i think      about








too much


too little








the day       you



i’ve joined the army


how i thought

this        might


harden      you


how it did:


pills for rage

pills for sleep

pills for pain




too much


for years


you wouldn’t

look up


your back

to every wall




have you    ever




for rain

for a job


for a soul




today      you call





of the old      you

the one     i knew




i want

 to tell you


i have     

so many





i think      about



of faith

of mistakes


how i

came to

call you


my son


by making one




i think      about


the time      you

& i         prayed


for our lives





in front of

the cement plant


that day

the tornado


turned up



only yards

from us




how we shook

how the deluge


(almost) overtook


how we bow


to a god

neither of us




d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, A Love Story (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, forthcoming 2016.)
















How to Write a Poem

“do it all again.” meet #poet, Robert Okaji, one of the poets reading with me this Friday night. I love this one. It is right on.

O at the Edges

chain saw

How to Write a Poem

Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up

the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through

curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read

the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you

need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first

gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,

but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create

and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing…

View original post 97 more words

April 15 Tupelo Press Poetry Reading

I’m delighted to be included in this reading alongside six other accomplished poets. Come join us this Friday, April 15, 2016. 7PM

O at the Edges



7:00 – 8:30

Join Tupelo Press 30-30 and Conference Alums for an evening of poetry. Featured readers include Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Robert Okaji, Pamela Paek, D. Ellis Phelps and Ronnie K. Stephens.

View original post

30/30 Project Contributors

I’m one of these #poets!  So proud.  So proud.  Read poems here.    Send a book of poems to your mom, to your lover.  Read poems to laugh, to think, to live.

Support this work:  #penniesforpoems #donate now.  Every $ helps.  Please say I sent you…


March 2016 30/30 Tupelo Press Poets: Claire Acerno Claire Acerno’s poetry comes from the day to day. She’s house frau, mom, grandmother, dreamer. Invisiable– a nobody’s nobody. Sh…

Source: 30/30 Project Contributors

tulips #mixedmedia #collage

tulips close up

This teeny-tiny art fits beautifully in small spaces like between cabinets and counter tops, for example.  Spice up space that’s usually ignored.  Poor space.  It hates to be so naked and neglected!  Makes an affordable, one-of-a-kind gift of fine art for the art-lover in your life.

unframed 6X6″ mixed media India Ink painting on paper with collage.  Ships bubble wrapped in appropriate box to protect integrity of the piece.


A percentage of profits from #formidableWoman are donated to charities that help women in need.  My current charity-of-choice is The Healing Touch Worldwide Foundation, toward educating Healing Touch Practitioners.

Fill in the form below to initiate a purchase or inquiry.



blue woods #painting #mixedmedia


I’m having big fun making teeny-tiny art for teeny-tiny spaces!  6X6″ mm on paper painting (acrylic, India Ink and oil pastel) is mounted on acid free backing-board.

Ships in a bubble wrap in an appropriately sized box to prevent damage.


A percentage of profits from #formidableWoman are donated to charities that help women in need.  My current charity-of-choice is The Healing Touch Worldwide Foundation, toward educating Healing Touch Practitioners.

Fill in the form below to initiate a purchase or inquiry.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

"jesu" 15X11" watercolor on paper unframed, circa 1995.  $150
“jesu” 15X11″ watercolor on paper unframed, circa 1995. $150

Though my spirituality has morphed and evolved into a very broad, multi-faith practice, the mantra-prayer I use most often, especially when I am experiencing fear, is “Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.”

In 1995, my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent surgery.

As I sat in her apartment, she in the hospital recovering, me waiting for the day I could bring her home, coming back and forth from the hospital, not knowing how much longer she would live or if the surgery was successful.

I came as close as I had until then to recognizing her mortality and my own.

I felt frozen.

I sat at her table, her things all around me, but not her.

I pulled out my paints, these I’d brought with me because from the beginning of my artistic journey, I knew this was how Spirit would speak to me, how I would listen.

Not anticipating any image but just allowing the paint to flow onto the paper, connecting, praying, “Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy” for my mother, for myself, this image emerged.

In that moment, I felt as close to this teacher/healer as I have ever felt, knowing the Essential Energy of his work in the world was fully present to me then, as I know it is now.

Today, I use many other equally powerful mantras and memorized prayers, some from the Christian tradition and some not, but the one element that remains steadfast as essential to my connectedness with the Whole, with Great Spirit is what I now call the christ, the essential truth of being.  Mercy.  Mercy is Lord.  Gentleness.  Care.  Compassion.  Being and living into these qualities day by day.

What prayers sustain you?  Do you use affirmation?

Let us gather here in a community of gentleness, sustaining one another as we enter this season of darkness returning to the Light.