Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays and A Little Announcement

Quote of the Day:
Laughter is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't permanently solve any problems,

but it makes things more acceptable for a while.

~ Unknown~

Current Local Weather:
Showers of urine along with unreasonable
and frequent shit storms on the horizon.

Currently on my iPod:
Lush Life
Kurt Elling
"Dedicated to You"

Dear Friends, Family and my Family of Friends,

Tis the season, eh? Sheesh, has it really been 5 months since my last blog? I suppose so. Want to know what I've been up to?

Here ya go:

World, I would like for you to meet Natalie Jane.
She was born on December 7th at 1020am. 7lbs, 11oz.

So if you were wondering what I was doing with my time, that's about it. Actually, that isn't's just the main piece of the puzzle for now. I would write about the pregnancy and how it absolutely sucked 99.9% of the nine months, but I'm going to save that for when I'm less sleep deprived. This way, I can assure you that it won't just be a top ten list of complaints about living in my own skin and written in a more cohesive manner.

As of right now, Natalie is in a coma from her gluttonous intake of milk. I think I should join her while I can and rest my weary bones.

I promise for a more interesting and informative blog later on.

I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas and an even better 2011.

Yours in Drool, Darlings and Doing the Right Thing,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quickie Thank You's and Shout Out

Quote of the Day:
It is not clear that intelligence
has any long-term survival rate.
~Stephen Hawking~

Current Local Weather:
Crap is falling straight from the sky
at an alarming rate and landing on my shoulders.

Currently on my iPod:
Blood Bank
~Bon Iver~

Dear Friends, Family and my Family of Friends,

This is a quickie post. I must say that my week or so on the road to promote my book taught me a lot. I know now why folks do this. As horrendous as it is to give birth to a book it is all worth it in the end. Despite the disappointments, the positives, the love, the hate...I've forgotten, already..., about the pain.

I wanted to thank the following people who have helped me survive these past few weeks and have made them actually enjoyable:

Natalie at Black Cat Books in Manitou Springs. You made my birthday and book release one of the best days of my life. I can not possibly thank you enough for all you've done. You're in my heart forever.

Mike and Ashton Cigars and all the dudes working and hanging at Cigars on 6th in Denver. What a fun time. You guys rock my world and I'm so very thrilled to have you support Ned and me.

Abby Murray and the CS Writers Reading Series: You inspire me beyond belief and I am so glad we're in eachother's circle of crazies. Thanks for having me...

Joni at the Book Lady Bookstore in Savannah, GA for hosting me and for providing love, feedback and a warm, friendly smile when I truly needed it.

Ellen and the crew at Foxtale Books in Woodstock, GA. You guys are so overly generous with your promotion and love that I am still feeling it all the way back in Colorado.

George at Eagle Eye Bookstore in Decatur, GA. Love the yellow hat and even more love the atmosphere you provided for me. Despite the lower turn out, meeting you made it all worth it.

I hope if you're a writer, especially one living anywhere near the vicinity of these fine independent book stores that you'll consider making them not only your regular shop for new and used books but also a place where you will hold your own book signings and events in the future.

Also, if you're looking to read more about how I got to where I can go here:

Guide To Literary Agents ( I was a guest columnist for the How I Got My Agent Section...thank you Chuck!)

You can also pick up a copy of September's Issue of Writer's Digest and see a nod in the Notable Debut section for the New Face of Jazz. If you're a writer, I highly suggest you pick this issue up as it has so much amazing advice for writers it's like getting an entire writing conference's worth of advice in the palm of your hands.

I have some more news I'll share with you sooner or later too. And for those who have emailed etc. I am doing fine and the baby is doing great too. I'm at 19 weeks now! Almost half way there...eeks!

Yours in Surviving, Staying Strong and Skittles,


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Here Tis'

Quote of the Day:
Dream as if you'll live forever,
live as if you'll die today.
~James Dean

Current Local Weather:
Amazingly high spirited winds
gusting across a boosted ego valley.

Currently on my iPod:
Nat King Cole

Dear Family, Friends and my Family of Friends.

IT'S HERE! Need I say more? Go to your local independent booksellers and buy your copy of THE NEW FACE OF JAZZ TODAY! I can't f********* ******** believe it's done. Actually done and available for you to read.

I have readings, signings, parties and more scheduled for a lot of places. Please go HERE
for all information regarding dates. You can click on the header titled TOURS AND SIGNINGS.

I truly hope to see everyone at them. And if you run a jazz organization or radio show or blog about anything relevant to books or jazz, or whatever! I'm more than happy to arrange a signing or schedule an interview. I'm chatty. Trust me. But, if you read this blog you already knew that.

Much love to everyone and I'll tune in for a life from the road post soon.

Yours in Books, Believing Dreams Can Come True and Busting One's Own Ass To Get To a Better Place in Life,

Cicily Janus

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catching Up With the Old and the New

Quote of the Day:
Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy.
~Robert Anthony

Current Local Weather:
Hotter than hell on it's hottest days. Humidity is
at 200% and chance of stroking out

is around 100%.

Currently on my iPod:
GG Train
Charles Mingus

Dear Friends, Family and my Family of Friends,

You may be asking yourself why it's hotter than hell in here or at least up in the local weather forecast. Well, I'm sitting in the Jacksonville, Florida airport waiting on my plane to take me back to a reasonable, cooler, less humidity and more friendly but weathered destination like DENVER or COLORADO SPRINGS! beloved Colorado...I shall never leave you again. I'm sorry for straying this far from home and believe me, because I know you're going to ask when I get was worth it for the business, but it wasn't worth the physical discomfort. Please accept my apologies and take me back into your arms.

Moving on.

I was here (Jacksonville, FL) for a very good reason. It's my next book project and believe me, it was well worth the humidity and the thigh stickage to uber hot leather seats in the rental car. You can also say that I'm stimulating the economy by taking such trips and advancing my career and the amount of reading material in the world...yeah, that's it. I'm working WITH the government to advance our current economic climate.

Jacksonville, Florida, for those who know me, is no stranger in my life. I lived here for several years during college while attending The University of North Florida. U.N.F. (a.k.a. You Never Finish). I'm sure some folks graduate each year from the fine institute of learning it is, but not too many of us in the jazz department did, so it is what it is. I haven't been here since that fateful day in 1998 that I left the grounds and said I never would look back. Then again, I've said that about a lot of things in my life and had to suck on my own words a few years later. So traveling to the land of the Osprey's was bittersweet at best. I was most looking forward to meeting the folks I am working with on this book and catching up with the old folks who know that I'm not always the classy kinda gal I appear to be.

Catching up, in many ways, can be a blessing and a curse. Of course there's always the one man that got away that you WISH you would have had the opportunity to make a future with. There's the girlfriend/wife that now OWNS that man and then there are the friends who are more/less successful than you and you wonder, whether it is more/less, how in the hell they got where they are. There's the gossip, the rumors, the poking fun at yourself or each other, the back and forth that was once so integral to your existence. Catching up also, in one way or another, can force you to take a good look at how far you've digressed or progressed in your own goals in life. Goals, of course, change over time just as we all do both personally and professionally. My goals, and this is hard core fact, have changed drastically over the last few years, and even more so if you look back on my last fifteen years of life.

I used to want to be a professional trumpet player. I LIVED for the horn. I practiced day/night, worked on gigs I thought would forward me to the next level, took lessons from the VERY best folks, and even went to school to try my hand at making a living with it. Sure, it worked for a while but then I found that when you DO all the work you set out to do at a feverish pace from the time you're in middle school on into college, you learn first hand what the words BURN OUT mean.

So I changed my ground to nursing. Sure, say what you want. But this was "easy" for me to change to. I loved people (still do for the most part), I enjoy taking care of others, and I hate to see others in pain. Whammo, for ten years my goal was realized. I worked in a variety of areas in the nursing field but soon felt that I was unfulfilled as a creative soul. I began writing as a way of coping with this. Throughout all this time, I was a writer on the inside but never outwardly expressed it. Ryan soon went off to Basic Training to realize his goal of supporting his family as a musician and I strayed from the nursing world to write for a while. Soon enough, this writing "hobby" became a full-blown Glenn Close like obsession. Most writers will tell you this is true with their careers as well. Starts out safe, happy, and not fully realized. Soon enough, you find yourself wanting the career to leave it's current wife and kids and be YOURS. ONLY YOURS. OR YOU WILL KILL IT AND ALL OF ITS OFFSPRING!

I digress. Not that I would EVER do that...

Of course people thought, at first, that I was crazy when I went into nursing. No, not crazy, desperate. But I survived it and now have TONS of fodder for books I'll never write. Of course everyone I knew had a hard time accepting the fact that I was going to leave a well paying, respected job like nursing so I could pay more attention to the voices in my head. I shouldn't talk like these voices are bad things. After all, they changed my life in so many great ways. I have a career, albeit in its infancy, that is enviable and wonderful and ideal. I have so many great new friends and I have lots of that great new concept called: TIME. I spend lots of time with my kids, my loved ones, and supporting other writers in their quest to get published.

But catching up, back to the original premise of the blog, has helped me realize that I'm in a great place. I'm not so afraid of UNF or it's surroundings because it no longer has the same meaning or symbolism to me. It's not a place where I failed to realize one dream, it's a place that helped me get to where I needed to be to live amidst my new dream. One of those circular journeys in life, I suppose. I was first here as a young (17) college kid hoping that what I picked to follow in my education was what I was meant to do. And although many of my friends are still in that same dream they began years and years ago, I am not. But what I learned through catching up with myself and my friends, is that no matter where you go, where you stray off to, how much weight you gain or lose or where you intend to be in the next fifty years, change is always waiting for you around the corner.

I don't really feel the need to reminisce or worry about what has been or what is to be, from now on, and for the little one inside of me and the little ones and even the big ones I love that live with my cranky and sweaty butt on a daily basis, I'm living in the now.

Yours in Catching Up, Cooling Down, and Carrying On,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Serenity NOW and Other Priorities in Life

Quote of the Day:
Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going
to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.
~C. Palahniuk~

Current Local Weather:
Spring showers. Lots of them, including
pollen, stinky pear trees, gray skies and all.
90% chance that they'll be followed by
tears, sneezes and utter disappointment
in your sinuses.

Currently on my iPod:
April in Paris
Charlie Parker with Strings
(i.m.o. this is one of the most absolute essential recordings any person can own. If you don't have it, shame on you.)
Peace, Piece
Bill Evans
(listening to them over and over as a matter of fact to calm my soul)

Dear Friends, Family and My Family of Friends,

Okey dokey. I know, it's been a long time since I've posted. Sorry folks, I've been a slight bit stressed, put-out, put-down, and hurting in ways I don't even want to talk least physically so.

I believe it was George's father, Frank...ya know, those folks from Seinfeld...who cried out the infamous phrase: SERENITY NOW! The whole purpose of him screaming this out was to supposedly lower his blood pressure.

Lately, at least on an internal level more than external, this has been my mantra. I've been known to scream it out while I'm in the shower and at the nurses who have been so patiently waiting on me, hand and foot, while I have made many, many...too many, visits to some of the local hospitals. The medical shit is really starting to get to me. I'm hoping to see an end to it all very, VERY, soon.

As for my regularly scheduled life, it's not slowing down no matter what. Sick? Nah! I can still do all of your press kits, bios and liner notes and write your mother's father's sister's god-mother's daughter's first cat owner's neighbor's little kid brother's biography! Bring it on.

Seriously though, I'm beginning to wear thin. Yes, I've lost weight but that's besides the point.

Sometimes we have to start prioritizing our lives. I have been doing this to the nth degree since I have been faced down with my own mortality hard and fast lately.

I think we all have these but somehow, somewhere, in our crazy days and nights and weeks and months and years, they get buried. Screw over the shit in your life that doesn't matter. Trust me, the stuff that doesn't matter will eventually leave you alone.

If you're curious, here are the priorities I'm making in my own life right about now:

  • If my stomach allows food on any given day, I'm eating dessert first. I have to survive on something, right?
  • If I have the opportunity to listen to music, like REALLY listen to music in the quiet sanctuary of my home, I'm only listening to only the very best. Life is WAY too short to listen to crap.
  • Reading. Don't sweat the BIG stuff. I've invested some time in reading shorts by famous folks. They're WONDERFUL. Start with George Saunders. He is self-described as Disney on Acid. I saw him read in person at AWP and he's completely accurate with that description. I've also recently invested in a writer's group here in town. I LOVE THEM. And I'm not sure how I've lived without them. They give the voices from my head their much needed validation.
  • Writing. I'm cutting out the writing crap in my life. Period. I'm only writing crap that I find interesting.
  • Kids. Nuff' said. Lying around playing Candy Land has it's perks.
  • Love. Find it. Got it? Keep it. Don't lie to yourself or anyone else about the love you've "got" or the love you think they want for you. Go after the love you've always wanted RIGHT now. Be the person you want to love or you want someone else to know. The real person. I'm a firm believe in the saying that Love Wins. It ALWAYS wins. Even if it's self love, you deserve it. We all do.
  • Yoga. When I'm well enough to attend the bi-weekly class, I do. Downward dog is VERY helpful in a physical and emotional way.
  • Friends. Got em? Keep em. Period. Don't overcrowd your life with simple acquaintances. For the ones that come through for you no matter the circumstance, give them the time they need in return. Simple acquaintances are great, but they can usually wait for a response to their needs. Also, re-evaluate those in your life that ONLY take and never GIVE. I know you can't do anything about family, but you can about everyone else. Are you exhausted with doing things for those that never are willing to help you back? Dump em.
  • Emails. Can it wait? Even a few days? Probably. Ask people not to forward crap to you unless you are one of those that can't live without it. And unless it's one of your friends asking for advice or a business issue, let it be. If it's a friend and it's logistically possible, take them out to lunch instead of returning an email. Or call them! Novel idea...I know...
  • Cleaning. Blech. Do it better and you'll have to do it less often.
  • The retreats. They cleanse and renew my soul even though they take mucho amounts of work to get to the actual house with everyone intact.

At least this is my list. This is essentially my life right now, other than book tour planning, and other such business matters. If you're one of those that are eagerly anticipating my book's release, well, we're only a few months away! Details regarding appearances, workshops and more are coming soon. Thanks, as always, for reading.


Yours in stressful days, seemingly lovely and stress-less sleep and sinus infections,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The True Meaning of Life

Quote of the Day:
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
Charles A. Beard~

Current Local Weather:
Coldfront with inevitable snow showers will be sliding in
from the outside while warmth is felt all around inside.

Currently on my iPod:
Don't You Worry Bout A Thing

Stevie Wonder

Dear friends, family and my family of friends,

Usually, when life takes you by the neck and squeezes so tight you believe that reality is not only out to get you but actually threatening to kill you, people say you get to find out who your true friends are. Over the last month, I got to be one of the special people in this world that knows what a TRUE 10 is on a scale of 1-10 of pain. I also found out that I can endure an enormous amount of emotional distress...I got to take a field trip in the hospital from my medical bed when the doctor t
old me the "pain" was in my head to the suicide watch bed and see what all that consists of in a hospital setting...Regardless, this is my point, I found life among the pain, chaos and feverish storm my body was creating.

I am truly blessed. Truly, enormously and surprisingly blessed with life.

I found out that my true friends are all over the place, even as far away as Australia. Some people discount the weight of internet friendships and say that it is all about hooking up or that your internet friends aren't actual friends. Turns out that I have an enormous network of people that I have met and not met and talked to online and not talked to but maybe once or twice, that poured out of the woodwork to save not only my sanity but my life. The internet is a god-send in many ways and for me, it truly saved my life.

Tsk...tsk...go ahead, say it.

But, when I announced that I was in the hospital (of course the hospital has wi-fi, they'll serve you coffee too!) to my network of twitter folks and facebook, I started getting daily phone calls (people found the hospital, the room number and began to ring my ears off!) cards, e-cards, messages of affirming love and well-wishes and queries regarding what kind of help they could provide me even from a distance. Over 1,000 messages/cards and whatnots arrived. Packages of books, music and downloads came in by the dozens. I got flowers from my best girlfriends and guy friends. Even when I was too out of it to remember people calling, I got calls. I cried myself to sleep most nights thinking of not just the pain but wondering about the simple statement of, do I deserve this?

I believe, when we're at our worst, we should burrow down and ask these kinds of questions. Leading up to the 18 day stay followed by a reprieve of 3 days only to be admitted again for another 8 days, I had been in pain. I had over 23 ER visits in one year for the same pain, in the same place and with the same intensity. It struck me at all hours, and sometimes rendered me unable to walk or even breathe properly. When I got off the plane in Denver from the NAMM show, I was swollen, barely able to walk and vomiting every few feet. I had to go get help.

Doctors earlier in the year, other than my newest pal in the medical field, Dr. Larry Melia, had given me the run around. I had one ER doc tell me that pain affected every woman and that I just needed to get in line and learn to deal. I had one doc ask me if I was an IV drug user. I had another that denied me care because he said that I had been in the ER too many times and they weren't going to give me pain meds anymore. I guess it didn't matter to him that I had not asked for pain meds, but merely an ultrasound of my swollen, tight and somewhat puckered belly. I cried. And cried. And cried. Many, many nights I had pain so bad that Dr. Melia would get a call just to reassure me that I wasn't dying.

I was admitted to the hospital over Thanksgiving. I spent three days in there and the GI doctor said that he was sure that I had some kind of adhesion disorder as my stomach just didn't "look" right but he couldn't pin point it to a disease and that the general surgeon on call that day refused to even come in and talk to me about it.

Six nights into my stay in Porter Adventist in Denver, the surgeon I trusted came into my room and told me what I did not and could not stand to hear. He said that this pain was all in my head and that a good dose of haldol or anti-depressants would do me some good. I not only began to cry, but I began to doubt my ability as a human being to think and react logically to what I was feeling on a physical and an emotional level.

The psychiatrist and nurse came in my room the next night and asked me what they could do to help put my mind at ease. I asked for a second surgical opinion and if he would say that it was in my head then I would put matters to rest and seek serious psychological help, including an admission to a state facility. I've never been so crazed and out of my mind. I was hurting, throwing up and losing weight and it seemed that it was a sort of "depression."

The next morning the wonderful Dr. Tilquist came into my room, took one look at the old scar embedded into my upper left quadrant of my abdomen and said, what about Monday? He was shocked and surprised at the difficult time I had been given and was more than willing to take a look. I don't remember much about the day of the surgery other than telling him, as they wheeled me in, that if he found "nothing" that they were to just sedate me for the rest of my life.

Three something hours later, one large mid-line incision later and the removal of copious amounts of scar tissue that was binding up my stomach, colon and innumerable other organs, I was declared "fixed."

Despite the heinous complications I had thereafter, I feel better. But I feel better in a way I never expected. I feel grounded, full of life and in love once again. Things are brighter than they were the days before this as I truly hit rock bottom. And instead of abandonment by my "friends and family" I was lifted up upon the shoulders of everyone I have come in contact with over the years and brought to a healing place by the warmth of their hands and hearts.

This, in my humble opinion, is the meaning of life. If we can not lift each other up when we are down, whether it is the people of Haiti or our next door neighbor or fellow writers etc...then what good is the life we're living. I have a renewed sense of spirit and belief in my fellow man. That sounds quite stilted but it's honestly how I feel. Again, I am truly blessed and as I said on my facebook update the other day, in the game of life, I'm finally winning.

Yours in fevers, friendship and finally finding yourself,


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Writing Away Retreats: May 6-10th, 2010

Quote of the Day:
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start now
and make a brand
new ending.
---Carl Bard

Current Local Weather:
Soft, beautiful snow with
waves of gut-wrenching pain

Currently on
my iPod:
"Turn Around"
The Bittersweet
David Ryan Harris

Dear friends, family, and my family of friends,

You all are owed a nice, long and info. filled blog about my adventures over the last few me, I'll get it to you soon. As soon as humanly possible. Really I will.

But, for now, I'm throwing out an advert. for the Spring Writing Away Retreats. Taking place in Breckenridge, Colorado this coming May, this is a great opportunity for writers of all levels to receive feedback from top players in the literary world.

This May you have the opportunity to work with:

Kevin Doughten, Associate Editor with Penguin/Viking
Tim O'Connell, Associate Editor with Random House
Sorche Fairbank, Literary Agent with Fairbank Literary Agency
Linda Rohrbough, Bestselling author and Writing Coach, Editor etc.
Kevin Doughten, Associate Editor with Penguin/Viking

10K word MS critique with each of these pro's is included in the cost...not to mention great food, great company and a great lodge...

Want to give a boost to your career? Longing for a better place to learn the craft of writing? Yeah, got it all right here...

Writing Away Retreats

See you in May...

Yours in Better Career Beginnings, Boosting Your Smiles and Believing in Yourself,