Do you look for messages in dreams?

Two crows perch in a tree
Freud is famous for (possibly) saying, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Dreams don’t always mean something.

But my favorite game is to ask, “If there were a message for me here, what would it be?” With dreams, you have to play right away, or the details will be lost. I’ll often narrate the dream to my cat upon waking, because speaking it helps me remember.

Why I don’t rely on dream books for interpretations

Dream dictionaries seldom help with this game because symbols in dreams are personal. For example, a dream featuring a baby. To an artist, it could represent a new creative project that needs nurturing. To an overworked manager, could represent a time-consuming responsibility. To a hopeful mother, it could represent a promise of pregnancy, and to a grieving mother, regret and loss. Etc.

My murder of crows

Last night, I dreamt of a tree full of crows. The tree stood between me and a place I visited often. As I approached the tree, crows flew toward me. I dropped to the ground and covered my head to protect my face. But the crows flew right on by.

Seems the crows were saying, It’s not about you.

Turning big symbols into personal tools

I should have known the crows weren’t a threat to me. Earlier in the dream, I’d shared coffee and conversation with someone at a table beneath that tree. So why the paranoia? And perhaps the more interesting question, why was “saving face” my primary concern?

(You can see why I’m a fan of narrating dreams and listening to the details I choose. That’s how things like saving face show up, along with other personal symbols unlikely to be in a dream dictionary.)

And connecting the dots

I’m reminded of my real-life crow visitation, about a year and a half ago. I saw that as a call to find magic in everyday things. But I used a book for that interpretation. If it happened today, I might see my food-carrying crow as a prompt to pay attention to juicy opportunities.

Could having dream crows fly past me indicate great opportunities I’ve failed to notice? Perhaps I tend to miss seeing opportunities that don’t mesh with my precious self-image (to bring saving face back into it).

Lots to think about.

You say you don’t remember your dreams?

A couple of things you can do to get better at it:

  • Before you turn out the light, set an intention to remember
  • Before you get up, spend your muzzy-headed minutes fishing for dream memories
  • Anything you get, speak it out loud. Write notes ASAP
  • Keep a notepad, pen and small flashlight handy for mid-night captures
  • Practice

Once you’ve nailed one, play the game. Bring friends.

A couple of my friends make great dream sounding boards. They catch things like saving face if I miss them. Maybe you’ve got similarly perceptive friends who can listen to you describe your dream and help you play the “if-it-had-a-message-for-me” game.

Have fun. Dream big.

Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot

What does “personal brand” really mean?

Flip side Sally Felt biz card example designed by Kelly Mills
My business card

I carry two business cards. My main card describes me as WriterSpeakerAdventurer, same as this site. and you can see the art for yourself. What the description lacks in specificity, it seems to make up in memorability. Folks see it and smile. Some exclaim in delight, needing to repeat it out loud.

When I chose these three words, they represented my personal aspirations. True, I’d been a writer for decades. But I’d not yet had a real speaking gig, and with a few exceptions, my adventures were mostly spiritual.

It worked. I’ve grown into the description. It fits me. When I give someone this business card and get a reaction, I’m not just connecting—I’m paying it forward. Inspiring someone else to take a risk, be playful, stretch a bit. That’s a brand I happily inhabit.

Sally Felt biz card example designed by Kelly Mills
My card’s flip side.

So why carry more than one card? Let me start with a question (and a rant about my personal preferences in business card design).

What do your business cards say about you?

Do you carry cards? Perhaps, like me, several different ones? Trying to find a meaningful, memorable way to represent yourself on a 2 x 3.5” bit of card stock is confusing, isn’t it?

When working for someone else’s company, you take whatever is offered, even if the logo is ugly or your job title doesn’t reflect what you do.

When working a side hustle or are self employed (like me), you face delicious, agonizing freedom of choice all the way down the line.

Job title, yes or no?

If yes, what? I’ve seen quite a few that say President, or Owner. That doesn’t suit me, especially since I don’t operate under a business name. (“Owner of Sally Felt,” makes me giggle.)

I’m more drawn to cards that suggest what’s being offered, such as Illustrator, or Programmer, or Handyman, or Author. As time passes, cards like this help me remember who you are and why I kept your information.

Include Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, 2 phones, 2 webs, email etc.?

In the interest of helping clients, fans, colleagues and prospects reach us, it’s tempting to load up the business card with all our addresses, from email to website, social media, and maybe even snail mail address. Plus at least one phone number. Some authors I know include a list of book titles.

I prefer something sleeker. Simpler. Give me a card that doesn’t try to be all things to all people and I see you as a confident professional. I start to trust you before we’ve done more than exchange cards.

Paring down to essentials

The process of creating ideal business cards proved so tough that I’m currently carrying two cards while pondering how to get down to one.

Things I’ve solved: what to include

  • My name
  • A 2-3 word description of what I offer
  • My mobile number
  • One email address
  • This website

It makes for a clean, simple card that gives essential contact information. And I chose uncoated card stock so it’s easy to write on with an ordinary pen. (Do you like to make notes on people’s cards, like where and when you met them? I do.)

And at last, my answer to why two cards?

All that differs between my two business cards is the artwork and the self-description.

My second business card says Intuitive Tarot and uses striking close-up photos of dragonflies, suggesting the transformative potential of receiving a card reading. A Tarot reading is an intimate experience, and though my playful approach to life spills over into my Tarot business, I want a business card that reflects my client’s potential more than it reflects me.

Perhaps I’ll find a pare it down to just one card. Until then, I carry two. What’s a WriterSpeakerTarotAdventurer to do?

Business card design by Kelly Mills

Two more March events: Keeping company with amazing authors

Book cover of the sweet, sexy erotic romance, Going Native, by Sally FeltThe final two weekends in March see me taking part in big public events for readers.

Saturday March 23, 10am–5pm

Romancing the Books, free to the public
Bedford Public Library, Bedford TX

Join me and more than 30 authors and poets for a day of workshops, public readings, book signings and drawings for free goodies. At noon, I’ll be reading from Going Native.

Friday March 29, 6:30pm–8:30pm

Dreamin’ in Dallas book signing, free to the public
Doubletree Hotel, Richardson, TX

If you love romance, mark your calendar! I’m privileged to signing alongside such luminaries as Cherry Adair, Christy Craig, Meijean Brook, Lori Wilde, Shayla Black, Liliana Hart, Lorraine Heath and dozens of other incredibly talented authors. Sixty authors altogether! A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to support local literacy programs. Great books for a good cause. Bing the clowning dachshund adds fun to Going Native, a romance by Sally Felt

SWAG: One more reason to see me at the Dreamin’ in Dallas event

If you’ve read Going Native, you know one of the key characters is a dachshund named Bing… and he inspired my giveaways for this huge Friday night event. Stop by to say hi, and I promise you won’t go away empty handed.

Romance that lasts: vintage London Fog

The tag of my perfect (vintage) London Fog coat
You could say Violet (the heroine of Going Native) loves clothes a little too much, especially the clothes in her friend Giselle’s closet. To her, they represent romance, adventure, feminine power and sex. When she tries on Giselle’s clothes, she’s trying on Giselle’s life—and gets more than she bargained for.

There’s romance in my closet, too, in the form of a raincoat I bought more than 20 years ago.

I justified paying full price for it by measuring it against my list of requirements. And quite a long list it was. My perfect raincoat needed:

  • Career-appropriate appearance
  • Zip out liner
  • Single breasted
  • No belt
  • Neither beige nor black

Yes, I was an unapologetic perfectionist. Some requirements were practical, like the lining. Most were vanity, based on mistakes I’d already made. (I don’t look good in trench-coat tan, not many belted coats look good unbuttoned, etc.)

I looked high and low, unwilling to compromise. And then I found it. A grey-green London Fog with a floral print in muted purples. It fulfilled every requirement.

At rainbow’s end, I found rain-repellent happiness

As I pulled the coat from the department store hanger, I heard angels sing. This was love.

Detail of Sally Felt's beloved vintage raincoat.

Some garment love affairs are short lived. One season. Two. And I admit my trusty London Fog hasn’t always been the first coat I reached for every one of the 20-plus years since my ecstatic purchase. But it’s been a consistent player in the rotation. This winter it’s enjoying near-constant wear, partly because it’s been a perfect match to local weather and partly because a friend’s daughter knitted me an infinity scarf that’s an uncanny match, color-wise.

“Where did you get your coat? I love it!”

From a cost-per-wearing standpoint alone, it’s become one of the thriftiest purchases I have ever made. But there’s more.

The coat attracts groupies. Fashion-conscious women, who were toddlers when the coat was made, lust after its stand-up collar and shoulder pads. They dig its inverted back pleat and angular sleeve detail. They swoon to think there’s a coat that goes so perfectly with a purple purse and gloves.

It’s even possible they hear the angels sing, though I’ve not asked.

Is the thing fashionable? I haven’t a clue. I wear it because I love it and because it’s just so darned perfect. I don’t even mind the smug told you so offered by past-perfectionist me.

How’s your closet love life? Tell me about one of your longest-lived garments. Do you still love wearing it, or is the thrill gone?

When “good girls” go wild

Sally Felt models t-shirt reading, "Recovering Good Girl. Tempt me."Family expectations. Peer pressure. Poor self image. It’s easy to understand why so many of us wind up living life by someone else’s rules—being Good Girls. Do it long enough and it becomes a tough habit to break.

Ready to join Good Girls recovery?

Good girls don’t make demands or attract attention. Even the smallest steps toward independent self expression take courage. It feels like a crazy rebellion, rife with potential for dire consequences.

It helps to have a friend or role model who actively creates the life of her dreams. Someone to encourage us to say what we think and pursue what we want.

For Violet, the heroine of my sexy romance Going Native, it’s a free-spirited friend who lives the glamorous lifestyle of Violet’s dreams. In the book, Violet literally steps into her friend’s shoes for a month, learning what it feels like to live larger.

(Naturally, complications ensue. It’s a romantic comedy, after all.)

Bravery comes in all forms (and t-shirt sizes)

If you’re like me, still working to break the habit of second guessing yourself (or whatever Good Girl behavior is your personal bugaboo), I invite you to solicit support. Friends. Or a mentor.

Step out. Take a chance. Learn what sets you on fire. You are the only you the world will ever know (and I am the only me). Our voices matter. Solidarity for recovering Good Girls!

To get a t-shirt like the one I’m wearing here, visit my CafePress store. And if you’d like to read Violet’s adventures on the wild side, order Going Native from Ellora’s Cave or your favorite book e-tailer.

New year, new book release!

Book cover of the sweet, sexy erotic romance, Going Native, by Sally FeltWhen a clumsy redhead takes a walk on the wild side, expect one heck of a fall.

On January 23, my sexy romantic comedy, Going Native, hits the market. It’s an ode to long-suffering Good Girls who dream of romance and adventure. (Yes, I was one. Writing this book got me on the road to recovery.)

The blurb:

Going Native, by Sally Felt

Violet longs to break free of her good-girl persona. House sitting a Dallas penthouse loft makes a great start. From her first giddy step in her friend’s sky-high heels, she’s way out of her comfort zone, planting a tipsy kiss on a sexy neighbor. 

Eddie is in town to close a business deal—and lick his wounds after a bad breakup. But the clumsy, drawling redhead next door proves a Texas-sized distraction he can’t ignore. Violet’s demure one minute and suggesting clandestine sexcapades the next. Eddie can barely keep up. Or wait to see what Violet does next. 

But even when she learns he’s held the key to the future of her family’s business all along, Violet can’t go back to playing it safe. And what began as a champagne-fueled dare becomes a gutsy showdown her heart might not survive.

The grand finale of my 50th year (filled with 50 new things)

Given that Going Native is about a woman who tries on a risky exciting new persona, it’s only fitting this is the book I sold during my great 50-in-50 experiment.

I’m still compiling a list of all the new stuff I tried as part of my 50th birthday year, and hope to blog about it soon, but selling this book ranks high as one of the biggest new thrills. It began with a pitch in May, became a contract negotiation in July, a first peek at my cover in September, and edits, edits, edits. It culminated last week, the day after my 51st birthday, when my editor gave me a release date—January 23!

Going Native is available for preorder at Ellora’s Cave and will soon be available at your preferred book etailer.

The Lovers: Tarot energy of 2013

Keywords: Harmony, decisions, union, rite of passage, romance.
Keywords: Harmony, decisions, union, rite of passage, romance.

The year 2013 is a “6” year in numerology. (We get that by adding 2 + 0 + 1 + 3 = 6) The sixth card in Tarot’s Major Arcana is The Lovers, so expect the energy of this card to be widely available. If you have any dreams or plans with a Lovers-like flavor, dust ‘em off and put them into motion—there’s lots of support available this year.

Under the energy of The Lovers, an overall strategy of cooperation (or collaboration) will be more successful than competition. This is the year to release thoughts of us/them in favor of seeking win/win solutions. It’s a time to remember that our decisions impact others.

"Cream & Sugar" in The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie & Dennis Fairchild.
“Cream & Sugar” in The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie & Dennis Fairchild.

Of course, there’s a chance of getting carried away with the feel-good, romantic energy of The Lovers. The shadow side of The Lovers includes the temptation to over-sacrifice in the name of harmony. Or to get so swept off your feet that you make decisions you later regret.

That said, The Lovers can provide a welcome spirit of optimism and an interest in working together. To repair/renegotiate/release inharmonious relationships. To explore what’s possible when we embrace a more romantic view of life. Who will we meet? How will we treat the people we love? What happens when we our decisions arise from love, rather than fear?

This is the year to find out.

Check out The Kitchen Tarot at Hay House. It’s currently featured for just $1! (Not affiliated, just a fan.)