Steampunk called him home…

Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong time or era?  Are you very creative and eclectic?  Do you have a fondness for fantasy and sci-fi?  If so then you are like many of us who have discovered the magic of the Steampunk Culture!  One person who felt the call to “go home” to Steampunk in a big way is Jeff Mach!  I met Jeff several years ago when he was planning his first Steampunk World’s Fair event in Central NJ….it took over a large room in a corporate hotel and has now expanded to a 3 day extravaganza, often taking over two complete corporate hotels, with hundreds  of cosplayers, artisans, vendors, musicians and those that want to just be a part of the spectacle!

Goth Girl

Goth Girl

As you may or may not know, Steampunk combines sci-fi with the Victorian Era, so fantastical contraptions are created as if solely fired by steam power.  Elements of Goth, fantasy and anime can be found as well.  Here’s a taste of what Jeff’s events bring…  https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies/videos/1317398068374556/?pnref=story

And in his own words, here’s a bit about what drew him to all this madness: 

3D computer graphics of a cyborg woman with a headdress in science fiction style

There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.

What does that mean?
The second martial arts school I attended was literally in the back of an alley, up a long flight of stairs. And leading to the school door, there was a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school notice, “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”—and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly”.
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things are different. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our world, a place where we belong, a place where we are not the outsiders, a place where what we do matters, is meaningful, is real, and we are NOT the only ones who know it.
Steampunk, Rocky Horror, Renaissance Faires, Geeky spaces; it doesn’t matter.
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
We bring our homes with us, inside us, we foster them with love and passion.  We’re different–not better, just not the same–and sometimes, we realize: we are not alone.
And that place?  That place is home.
The next Steampunk World’s Fair is May 5-7, 2017 in Central NJ….here’s where you can find all the info & tickets:  www.SteampunkWorldsFair.com

Goth comes back to life in NJ

Goth Girl
Some of you may remember the Gothic sub-cultural movement of the 80’s….to me it was a heyday for music, fashion, art, literature and more…with roots stretching as far back as Victorian England, to 70’s punk & a romantic way to rebel against the mainstream, Goth became a major genre & continues on today…it waned for a while but has been making a huge comeback & Steampunk Convention guru, Jeff Mach has joined forces with Gothic networking powerhouse VampireFreaks to create a brand new event….
Dark Side of the Con asks the simplest question:  Why aren’t there any weekend-long Goth/Dark Alternative events in the US anymore?

Answer: Dark Side of the Con…an Underground Event for meeting alternative-minded people; A Three Day Gothic, Dark Alternative Festival and Convention in New Jersey!

Jeff Mach says:  I’ve had the good fortune to run into Jet from VampireFreaks a few times as I’ve run around doing The Steampunk World’s Fair and Glimmerdark and Wicked Faire and our other events.  He’s such a great guy, and his team is pretty marvelous to work with.  And VampireFreaks has helped us put together such an incredible weekend.
I mean, we’ve got Voltaire, we’ve got Xentrifgue, The Amatory Murder, Nigel from Platform One, and a whole slew of panels.  We’ve a hundred vendors, and marvelous drink specials.  And, of course, we’ve got dance parties to suit every taste, running until the wee hours.
We’re working with our favorite hotel, the Radisson of Piscataway.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Here’s a bit more info from the event site:

St Patrick’s Weekend – for 3 Days we take over the beautiful Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ and provide you with an escape to socialize, make new friends and create new experiences.

To show our support for independent businesses and alternative culture, we will have a wide variety of unique and unusual vendors, catering to all your dark needs.

For your entertainment pleasure we bring you a host of events, entertainers, panels and activities.

Sponsored by VampireFreaks and Jeff Mach Events, both companies have an impressive history of hosting events and bringing people together in the dark alternative scenes.

The very preliminary schedule is up; check out all the cool things we have going on!

Here are the links:

www.darksideofthecon.com for info, darksideofthecon.com/tickets/ for tickets, and https://www.facebook.com/events/199366893801128/ to follow on FB, and http://vampirefreaks.com/cult/DarkSideOfTheCon on VampireFreaks.

Fairyland goes “Glimmerdark”!

If you’re like me, you love fantasy, sci-fi, and to just somehow believe that other worlds do exist containing magical beings and mystical places.  Well, fantasy & Steampunk entrepreneur  Jeff Mach believes it and has helped create these universes here on Earth…and his newest creation is the Faire called GLIMMERDARK!  Here he tells us about it in his own words…
What do you do when you’re ending the world’s largest indoor Renaissance Faire?  When the event and project which have defined your life for literally a decade have lived their course?
You go to Fairyland.
I created Wicked Faire to try to make a place where it was safe for you to be anything.  If you could imagine it, if it worked in your head canon, you were invited here.  If the outside world didn’t understand you, didn’t want you to dress the way you want to dress, didn’t want you to be who and where you were – Wicked Faire was a home.
Glimmerdark is that.  Only on fairy dust.   And fairy dust is pretty much the most potent and transformative element in the world.
Every other Fairy Festival I’ve seen is: “Step into the world of the Fae”.  Glimmerdark is the only one that says, “The Fae want more out of life.  They’re stepping out of Fairyland and we’ve all got this massive hotel for a three day party.
If you check out our entertainment, our entertainment list is absolutely massive.  This is a tremendous festival, and since it’s first-year prices, it’s cheap as fairy dirt (which is just slightly more expensive than regular dirt.)
I’m always looking for new ways to build and use creativity.  Fairyland called.  And I answered.  For more info. and to get tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1683805541908177/
The event will be:
Feb 3, 2017 at 2 PM to Feb 5, 2017 at 5 PM at the

Hyatt Regency Princeton

102 Carnegie Ctr, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
And here’s a glimpse into Jeff’s Glimmerdark world….

SITTING BEYOND YOURSELF

These certainly are trying times….economically, politically, spiritually…and for many of us, we don’t always know how to cope….and I think creative people tend to feel this even more intensely….so my friend, a very creative, spiritually attuned person, Stephen Fountain, agreed to share some of his insights with us….

SITTING BEYOND YOURSELF     By Stephen E. Fountain (c)2016

XraytedPowerOfWordsJan2012sm

(“Power of Words” (c)Lauren Curtis)

Sitting… for hours upon hours, days upon days and month after month, getting so much done, and yet, nothing accomplished. You sit some more, unable to see and wondering what you have been doing in the past year. Feeling drawn to this technological vortex, pulling oneself away can be a delightful journey into a world yet discovered. Sometimes you flail in inertia, as if on the event horizon of a black hole in the deepest of space. Who can hear you? I make my own music to reflect the sound of my heart. Paddling through the cosmos, taking my time to observe the regal beauty of stars stories behold, while the brunt of society focuses on their little box, sitting on the edge of their chair, while electors and electees waltz in a room that covers the doom of their lying gloom, and people, blindly aware, clap and cheer and leave their intuition and instinct to rest in a tomb. Surely the world has gone mad or has my isolation allowed me to view a world I never knew, that I thought was in sync with me. I feel lost in expression that has voided its own appeal, competing with sugar coated commercialism that they drink so wildly, as if they cannot notice their under garments fit so perfectly. Praying for change, it is me that has evolved while the world remains grasping in its ways. Where am I going and what will I do? Times like this obsoleting movement bring me to a place of screaming torched solitude, where I am in harmony with the groundhogs waddle and the hummingbirds buzz. I tend to my garden in beauty and peace, while at the same time I continue to sit and stare and my endless work, knowing that my soulmates are there, yet flattened and splayed like a supernova. What really is important when everyone is sounding their view and no one listens? Inside my process I hide as I yell and long for the beings of light and love to stop building their utopic doom. Like memory gongs, in a sea swallowing me, I transcend depths that become steps. Looking back, it was me drowning in my own illumination that the world had misplaced. They refuse to learn and instead they stay where I was. I hope they follow my steps instead of bedazzling in their own dread.

To learn more about Stephen & his organization…

Design, art, music, literature, humanities, elements, inventions, temple, spiritualism, travel, environments, science, culture, community development.

http://www.thezoc.org

Words from the soul of an author.

One of the best things about being a freelance artist is creating illustrations for novels. I get to work with imaginative authors to bring their visions and stories to life, and often, clients become friends along the way!  This is the case with Hawaiian author Samuel Omega Salt.  He hired me in 2014 to create many pen & ink illustrations for his spiritual, intriguing auto-biographical novel and we are now working on part 2.  I found his story so interesting that I invited him to be a guest blogger to share what inspired him to write his novel, “Preacher’s Kid”…

Bio 

My Father was an ordained Missouri Synod Lutheran minister, who served God  faithfully until his untimely death. Through Christ our Lord he gave me my  foundation built on the rock which I stand. The confidence of believing what  cannot be touched or seen, taken solely on faith.

Both sets of Great Grandparents came from the old world – Germany. Pre World War I. My only claim to fame is my Grandmother on my Father’s side was  born on the ship that brought her to this large melting pot called America. 

Wait a New York minute, that’s a fib. I am living proof miracles can, do and will  happen. From birth according to Mother, I came close to death as an infant on  numerous occasion. An as a young teen, I played chicken with a train caboose. I hit that caboose broadside doing over 100 mph. I literally walked away from that  major collision on my way to church. All of this and much more is in volume I  PK  Preacher’s Kid.

I moved to Hawaii in December 2003 from the original 13 Colonies, Atlanta  Georgia. Lost my southern accent to the Hawaiian W, which is a V sound.  HavaiiEwa is Eva. Little tidbit from your uncle Earl. Hawaii is where all  rainbows come from and the Menehune like to play tricks on you. 

I also lost my sister Ariel in January 2016 and the death of my Father is still very close to the surface. Adding fuel to the fire, not just writing about the previously stated, I also have to tell the story of Izzie. The second person I have  ever fallen madly in love with. Maria being the first. Many a day tears blind me from seeing the keyboard clearly and the shadows of melancholy over power me. Don’t be disheartened, I will recover and forge ahead. I’m currently  working on volume II and talking to a new publisher. 

“PK: Preacher's Kid - Volume One” book cover

“PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” book cover

Synopsis

Facing his own image in the mirror and not recognizing his reflection was the last straw. A haunting figure broken on the inside and his attire skintight, gut sticking out from under the sweatshirt and overlapping his belt and pants. You would never guess he once was a star athlete half a life ago.  Zac found his way to Dr. Phoenix Redgrave’s doorstep, emotionally dead, fragmented into a million pieces of emptiness. His last chance for atonement and survival back to humanness.

Choices, two sides of the same coin. You can call it heads or tails — choose… and accept the consequences of one’s choices that may changes one’s path and the decisions one makes thereof. A wise man once said, “Think before you act and before you speak.” Choose wisely.

SOStreeMar2014sm(c)Lauren Curtis

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul out of troubles. Proverbs 21:23  Tree of Life Version.

Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow! Proverbs 10:19 Living Bible

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. Proverbs 18:The Message

An allAmerica boy your garden variety male specimen growing up in the Midwest. Zachariah Wolf is a ‘PK’, a Preacher’s Kid’. The son of a pastor means your life is always under a magnifying glass. What really happens behind closed doors is out of sight from the prying eye. From birth Zac struggled with an under-developed esophagus causing mucous to block off the air passage Zac would gasp for air. He also has a learning disability later deemed as dyslexia. This caused his mother to resort to extreme abusive tactics of discipline from as far back as he can recall. Can you memorize a prayer with your head in a toilet?  Now I lay me down to sleep…

As Zachariah grew into adolescence, the abusive relationship with his mother did not affect his athletic ability and achievements. The doors of opportunity opened as he gained popularity, he took full advantage with a full ride scholarship.

The escapades of young manhood did not escape him in college life.  Zac strutted like a rooster around campus moonlighting between two older chickadees. In reality, the women were the foxes in the coop. One got his virginity, both trained him to their pleasures of womanly wiles….

SOStombDec2014sm(c)Lauren Curtis

To read the full story you can find the book at amazon.com | Barns & Noble | iTunes | Google play

Title of the book is PK Preacher’s Kid volume one by Samuel Omega Salt 

Please write a review of the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/PK-Preachers-Kid-Volume-One/dp/1682131254

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pk-samuel-omega salt/1122651492?ean=2940150950245

 

 

 

How to Gain Clarity with a Realistic Schedule

Everyone wants to be more organized, but no one more than a freelancer!  We have the chore of not only being our own boss, the marketer, the bookkeeper, the job searcher but during all this, if we don’t stay organized, it can be disastrous…and this can be an especially difficult task for creative people.  So, I’ve invited my friend Alisandra Wederich to share helpful information with us on the concept of organization through “unscheduling”.  Read on….

Do you (realistically) know much time you have available in a given day?

Before you answer, take a look at the image below. Does your calendar looks like the one on the left or the right?

 

 

 

 

Unschedule Diagram v1 0915 PN

This view on the left is a typical daily schedule listing meetings with other people. The view on the right is what Neil Fiore in his book, The Now Habit, calls an “Unschedule.” It’s a list of activities that most people are ALREADY DOING, but don’t take into account. Even if they’re not tracked, these tasks still take time to perform, impacting our actual availability on any given day.

Building a personal “Unschedule” provides you with a highly accurate assessment of your free time.

1. Realistic Time Assessment. Although building an unschedule can initially be stressful, it’s highly worthwhile to have a realistic understanding of your time. A realistic time assessment means the ability to plan based on your true availability. Instead of underestimating your available time and overbooking yourself, you can provide timelines that work for you instead of against you.

2. Motivation, Focus and Efficiency. Reinforcing the knowledge that your time is limited through an unschedule means an increase in valuing the time that you have. This often helps to improve focus and efficiency because it creates mindfulness around how your time is truly spent. Being distracted by email or social media notifications is a loss of valuable time, and turning those notifications off will provide you with an additional boost of focus and efficiency.

3. Time Value and Appreciation. If your time is constrained, you can be sure that the time of others is constrained as well. This means doing your part to make sure that the time you need from others is spent wisely so they are less impacted by your schedule. Alternatively, sharing your unscheduling habits with people you work with gives them a better appreciation of your time as well as their own, improving team culture and collaboration efforts.

Do It For Yourself

These instructions will work for any calendar application you use. Remember to be realistic when you’re putting these activities in.

1. Open your work calendar and/or your personal calendar.

2. Create recurring calendar entries for all your typical activities for both the weekdays and weekends.

Here are some examples that I’ve frequently seen used:

– Wake Up + Get Ready – Breakfast

– Walk Dog – Take Kids to School – Travel (To Work/Home) – Lunch – Email – Prepare Art Supplies

– Clean Up – Work Out

– Date Night – Wind Down + Sleep

Looking for more productivity tips?

Follow Double Gemini on Twitter, Facebook, G+ or Tumblr or visit our website at http://www.doublegemini.com and sign up for our free newsletter! Hope you found value in this article. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at Alisandra@doublegemini.com.

About Double Gemini

Double Gemini is a productivity consulting and workshop firm that specializes in email, meeting, and project productivity. Our services transform team cultures and help people work better by reducing stress and increasing efficiency. Learn more about us by visiting  www.doublegemini.com

Unschedule Alisandra

Alisandra Wederich is the Creative Director of productivity start up Double Gemini in NYC, the founder and manager for NJ Artists and a professional artist going by the pseudonym Altered Aesthetic. Offering creative solutions from an artistic mind, Alisandra’s background in K-12 visual arts education has developed her natural communication skills, enabling her to find unique solutions in situations of conflict. With a history of professional multi-tasking, and constant focus on improving natural workflows in any environment, she finds joy in bringing increased productivity and efficiency to artists, clients, and everyone else she meets. She’s thrilled to be able to offer this Unschedule article and strongly encourages anyone seeking further productivity tips to get in touch with her on LinkedIn.

 

The pen creates words & art in this new novel.

Firehand (c)Nov2014 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

It’s very satisfying, as a freelance artist, to be able to bring an author’s words to life and that’s what I’ve had the honor to do over the last year and a half for author Samuel Omega Salt (Hawaii) and his fact-based novel,  “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One”.   This fascinating, spiritual journey is a riveting read and I have been commissioned to create pen & ink illustrations to accompany this novel.  I look forward to continuing work on volume two this coming year!

Now, here’s more details about “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” & how you can purchase your copy….

 “PK: Preacher's Kid - Volume One” book cover

“PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” book cover

Samuel Omega Salt’s new book “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” is a fact based story about being the proverbial black sheep in a religious family.
Recent release “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” from Page Publishing author Samuel Omega Salt is an all too true account of a young man under constant scrutiny, who manages to implode his family and his father’s ministry.
Samuel Omega Salt, a former rebel without a cause, has completed his new book “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One”: the true story of growing up the son of a preacher, and making one terrible choice after another.
Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Samuel Omega Salt’s poignant tale describes the life of Zachariah Wolf. Young, healthy, and the son of a minister, Zachariah’s life choices are constantly under examination. While his siblings seem capable of maintaining the superior standards of conduct expected of a pastor’s family, Zac is not. He constantly gets into trouble causing his mother to resort to extreme tactics of discipline.

Firehand (c)Nov2014  pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

Firehand (c)Nov2014 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

Zachariah’s personal struggles conflict with his great athletic achievements. The doors of opportunity open as he gains popularity, which he uses to his advantage. He engages on one relationship after another; including the university president’s daughter, an affair with the police chief’s wife, and an IRS agent. Zac’s failed marriage disgraces the family, which causes the congregation to split; taking down his father’s ministry along with it. Through all of his struggles he learns a lot about life, faith and the will to survive. In the end, he is able to see beyond his own existence and saves the lives of two young girls from certain death, reaffirming his faith in God and gaining a sense of peace and purpose.

Car Crash (c)Feb2015 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

Car Crash (c)Feb2015 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

Readers who wish to experience this revealing work can purchase “PK: Preacher’s Kid – Volume One” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes and Noble.
For additional information or media inquiries, contact Page Publishing at 866-315-2708.
About Page Publishing
Page Publishing is a traditional New York based full-service publishing house that handles all of the intricacies involved in publishing its authors’ books, including distribution in the world’s largest retail outlets and royalty generation. Page Publishing knows that authors need to be free to create – not bogged down with complicated business issues like eBook conversion, establishing wholesale accounts, insurance, shipping, taxes and the like. Its roster of authors can leave behind these tedious, complex and time consuming issues, and focus on their passion: writing and creating. Learn more at www.pagepublishing.com.

Church Exterior (c)Sept2014 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis

Church Exterior (c)Sept2014 pen & ink by Lauren Curtis