Sunday, February 01, 2009

Votre Vray Blog -- MOVING!

Thank you to all who supported the baby steps of the Votre Vray blog. The good news...

drum roll please....

is Votre Vray blog now has its own domain, a WordPress template and is hosted by GoDaddy!

Come to our new home at!

(Oh! If you're such a loyal reader that you see this post before you get an e-mail announcement, thank you, and please realize my links to Friends of Votre Vray are still in the process of being added/updated.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Resolution Reload - Get Your Art On!

Okay. We're about a month into 2009 and most of you set some sort of goal, intention or resolution about yourself. This is where the cliches fly and the rubber hits the road...

Are you shooting for the moon or are you "but"s hanging out?
Do you want to soar like an eagle or pick at roadkill leftovers on the highway of life?

I'm willing to bet most of you started with gusto and all that, and 90% of you are just doing the same things you've always done, getting the same results, or worse yet, thinking in the back of your head about a full-time day job with benefits. (Trust me..I had that argument with myself just the other day as I began my taxes for '08.)

Solution? Get your art on!
1. Find a like-minded group of people and create some inspiring ideas together. (No artist is an island, babe.)
2. Take a class, yes, even if you're already a pro, these events can be great ways to network, get new perspective and..gasp...even learn something new.

Here's one suggestion for readers in Greenville, SC:
Meg Cowan is offering a 12-Monday class for The Artist's Way for less than $100. (By the way, Julia Cameron is okay with people teaching this and charging a fee, if you're worried about copyright and intellectual property issues.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poetry Slammed by Recession?

The news is out. Geraldine Dodge Foundation has canceled the 2010 poetry festival. The big name event akin to storytelling's National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, just isn't able to stay afloat financially.

Problem and Solution?
Is the problem that most people aren't interested? I don't think so. Perhaps the issue is the model of these festivals. Akin to religious revivals, these events require big tents, performers on platforms, dozens of chairs, lodging and food. All of these factors make the event cumbersome to pull off, and the audience size limited by both space and personal budgets. What would happen if the event were smaller in person but larger across the 'net? Broadband webcasting is much more affordable and bound to garner viewers from around the world. Hmmm...maybe I'll suggest this to the powers that be. There's got to be a better way and cutting these events out entirely would be more than a crying shame. What do you think?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Creatives, like President, in Right Mind!

Researchers have said for years that the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body, and if you look at the image above, you'll see the workings of a famous "lefty," aka Mr. President Barack Obama. If you're a creative person, you too are in your right mind. Don't let anyone tell you any different (and if you're feeling feisty, you might want to Shout: Kiss My Art).

Oh, and you're creative and left-handed, you might want to visit the official society here. The solution to marginalization is community. Thank you for being part of the Votre Vray community and supporting each other in your creative endeavors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Votre Vray's Attitude and Gratitude Wins Award!

2009 has been the best year of my blogging life already!
1. I won BlogHer registration
2. Votre Vray won the MLK Win a Dream Award
3. Now, I've been tagged in another blog with an award -- The Lemonade Award!

The bottom line still is, I am all that I am thanks to the wonderful people I'm fortunate enough to know, meet and greet daily.

Thank you to everyone for supporting Votre Vray!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Artist Who Sell Their Work on the Web

Karen Leland is doing an article for an Artist's Magazine and she needs artists to write about.

Deadline: 5:00 PM PACIFIC - January 22

"For Artist's Magazine, I'm looking to speak with visual artists who utilize sites such as
,, Imagekind; RedBubble; Zazzle and others to sell their art work. I'm also looking to speak with any art consultants who help artists locate sites to sell work on and coach them about how to go about it. I'm looking to discuss: What types of sites are best for which types of mediums, how to make a site pay off; the upside and downside of these sites."

If you fit the bill, e-mail Karen directly at: (and if you don't fit the bill, please let the woman get her work done and don't sent off-topic pitches).

*Query originally appeared on HARO; posted here with Karen's permission.

Call for Artists

Celebrating the Arts in Saluda

SALUDA, NC. -- Three years after the first passenger train panted up Saluda Grade, what was known then as Pace’s Gap became the chartered town of Saluda in February 1881. Celebrating its heritage and arts culture, the Saluda Business Association is pleased to announce its sixth annual Arts & Music Festival scheduled for May 16, 2009 in historic downtown Main Street in Saluda.

Featuring more than 50 talented artists from Western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina, visitors will see a dazzling diversity of art media including oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, pottery, wood turning, blacksmithing, sculpture, jewelry, painted furniture, stained glass, and more.

In addition to art exhibits, festival goers will be entertained by a variety of musical performances.

Applications for participation can be downloaded from the web site (after January 25) or by contacting Susie Welsh at 828-749-3900 or Catherine Ross at 828-243-8696 or email at for more information. Applications are due by April 1, 2009.

"Saluda abounds with natural assets. It’s our duty to the heritage of Saluda to celebrate and promote its artistic culture, historic buildings, and the natural beauty of our mountains and waterfalls," said spokesperson for the SBA, Cathy Jackson.

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Saluda is a great place to visit. Visitors experience a slower pace of life, a warm community spirit, good food, leisurely strolls among tree-lined streets of lovely Victorian homes, and browse the many distinctive shops along historic Main Street.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Change Your Mind, Powerfully

Recently, I went to a workshop given by Pamela Bruner. She's originally known as being a master at the harp, but she is also a coach for service professionals. The focus of the workshop was money -- something most artists and creatives always want more of. Even though I'm pretty savvy when it comes to mind/body connections and energy work (I'm a Reiki master and an Ashtanga yoga teacher), Pamela introduced me to EFT.

What is EFT?
The acronym is for Emotional Freedom Techniques. Apparently, it is used for treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and the rest of us with our morass of personal challenges and blocks. In the workshop, we used it to treat our emotional blocks to receiving money.

How Does it Work?
It involves vocal acknowledgement of an emotional issue, ranking of the level of anxiety the issue produces on a 0-10 scale, and tapping along your meridians as you state the problem, what you believe. Later, once anxiety is below a level 5, what you're willing to accept as your new truth. I used it this morning in regard to some sciatic pain that has recently developed, shortly after a medical practicioner treated a minor injury and said, "You must also have terrbile sciatic pain too." I said, "Actually, I never have," but sure enough, in a matter of days, I manifested the pain. I can say, after a few minutes of EFT this morning, the pain is gone.

You Can Do it!
Please visit her site to watch a video of her teaching the basics of EFT in a workshop. Give it a try, but understand, some emotional issues may be too intense to just work to a zero or one level in a session, especially when done by a newbie with no coach or trained professional to assist you. Still, I believe it was worth the price of the workshop just to learn this technique.

Oh, and if you reach out to Pamela, tell her Mel Edwards sent you!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hey Trek, Pick Me!

Trek (the bike company) is looking for a few good women bloggers...who ride. This morning I submitted my entry about why I love to ride and why they should select me. I hope you have fun reading my entry. I had a giggle or two writing it.


As a girl, I rode every day of my life -- for fun, to go see friends, recreation -- and the sheer trill of coasting down a hill yelling, you got it, “Wooo hooo!” As an adult, I have barely used a bike at all because I find it difficult to find a place to ride that is safe and away from highways, or a bike that is WSD and small enough for my 5’ tall body. This year, I've decided to return to my roots because I was healthier, happier and life was simpler in my hometown. These days, I ride for the fun of it, the physical activity and to reacquaint myself with a natural pace. (Let’s face it, multi-tasking only makes me a harried, grumpy girl!)

My Commitment to Ride
I sold my truck (my husband and I now share a Toyota Yaris if a car is necessary) and I am getting a bike that fits my stature. Currently, we have a bike trail located a few miles from our current home that is safe to ride but hard to get to without being hit by a car. (No death wish here.) As a result, we plan to move to my childhood hometown (Glens Falls, NY) early this summer so we can live in a place where bikes are used regularly: bike lanes on almost all of the roads, and a bike trail that leads to Lake George village (9 miles from our home there to the lake).

My Commitment to Others
I believe that I have a moral obligation to share my learning and expertise with others. I’m a teacher and hold a master’s degree in storytelling, and am a blogger already. My primary blog is, and focuses upon people living their “truth” or truest life path that honors who they are. I believe these combination of skills make my writing suited to teach others in an entertaining way. I don’t hold back. If my butt hurts after a ride folks will know it -- on the blog, my Facebook friends and I’ll Tweet about it too. I’d love to help encourage other curvy girls to get their butt in the saddle and give the wheels a whirl again. Together, we’ll have one heck of a year!

Why Pick Mel Edwards?
I'm going to have my bike, be out there riding and writing about it anyway. Why not pick a chick who has the passion and commitment and a big mouth to shout about it? I'll be at BlogHer Conference in Chicago crowing about my work, living in two states (SC and NY) and I'm telling you, it is better to hitch your dreams to my wheels than to build a blogger from scratch.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Making New Friends...and Introductions for YOU!

Every day I am blessed to meet more people. Today I went as a guest to a local networking group and met a handful of people who never heard of me, what I do or the people I have interviewed. Last Friday, when being interviewed as a finalist for the MLK Dream Weekend's Win a Dream contest, I met a half a dozen people who also didn't know me, my dream or the goals of Votre Vray.

What I've Learned Meeting People
It never fails, when I tell people I'm a storyteller who interviews people and shares those interviews, listeners get confused. The first problem is we only hear what we can understand and are interested in. Our minds filter the words and we instantly begin compartmentalizing the information people tell us: who they are, what they do, and if we have any interest in what they're telling us. The second problem is I am not a person who easily fits into a set definition or "box" and people cannot compartmentalize me.

No Box for Me!
I do not want to be in a box. That's why I'm not a public school teacher anymore. I am far more than what that job left me time and energy to be. I think "creative truth teller" sums up what I do well-enough so that those who are intrigued will ask. When they ask, I get to introduce YOU, or other Friends of Votre Vray who have met me. Those who don't ask, because they think I'm too touchy-feely, woo-woo, or crazy to deal with will move past the titls, miss out on meeting some of the most amazing people in the world. They're just not our soul mates. I'm okay with that.

Collapse the Box
Live your life and know, those who don't get you, aren't meant to. Let them be and seek like-minded friends everywhere. Don't forget, you've always got a friend here at Votre Vray!

Monday, January 12, 2009

MLK Dream Finalist Notified: Congratulations, You Win $500!

The call just came from Sheldon, one of the judges from the MLK Dream Weekend committee. Votre Vray (and the work behind "Shout: Kiss My Art!) wins $500! I will be honored at the Diversity Banquet this Friday night!

Earlier this week I posted this. Tonight, when I hadn't heard, I admit, my faith wavered. I thought, "What did I do wrong?" The answer was, nothing. Thank you to all the Votre Vray fans, creative women who participated in the interviews and to those who believe, as I do, that anyone can live their creative dreams.

Winners of Shout: Kiss My Art! Contest Chosen

Last Tuesday I asked,

What Makes You Take Action?

Apparently, a "Shout: Kiss My Art!" T-shirt only appeals to a select few. That's okay, the entries were honest, true-life work of real women artists, and the winners are:

Aimee of Creative Flutter.
Kimberly of Painting a Dog a Day
Bailey of BaileyFiberArt.
Mimi of Mimi Artz

Congratulations, Ladies! The shirts will be mailed to you at the end of the week.
Until next time,
keep creating.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Message are Your Sending?

I've read an enormous amount of marketing and pr materials and really examined what it appears the pr and marketing people are saying to me. The biggest problem I see is that most of these books lack voice. After reading their work, I know little to nothing about the authors or why they do what they do.

One such pr/marketing guy gives out a free chapter of his book and then sends a follow-up e-mail asking what the readers think. I responded that I won't be buying it because of lack of voice, choice of content (nothing struck me a new, novel or urgent) and the fact that I just don't feel his goals are in line with mine. I was shocked that he wrote back, personally, almost immediately. He said I make a lot of assumptions but he needs to provide for his family.

Fair enough, but my ideas about him came from my perspective of the message he sent out. Not once did I see or hear anything about helping people, building relationships (not for gain, but for the sake of positive connections to others) or that leaving a lasting legacy were his goals. I feel badly for him, because he apparently is a person with heart, but he never shared it with his readers. (Or if he did, it was so buried in marketing copy that I missed it.)

I am not out to make a quick buck. Would a windfall be stellar? Absolutely! However, my primary mission is to live my creative truth while helping others do the same, and leave a lasting positive legacy for the world. I rather have a thousand fans who really appreciate the stories I share of creative people, and have those fans become long-term customers of the creatives I've interviewed than to be a household brand name with no positive impact.

Here are a few marketing books that I love because they are rich, rich, rich in voice of the author.
  • Self-Promotion for the Creative Person by Lee Silber
  • We Can Do That? by Peter Shankman
  • How to be a Famous Writer Before You're Dead by Ariel Gore
These books are all in my personal library and I go back to them time and again because I feel a connection to the authors. My question to you is, if you're leaving your voice out of your promotional or written work, what are you forgetting to say that might make all the difference between a purchase, a pass or a lasting connection from a committed fan?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2009 Update: This Blog, She is a Changin'

I've had a brilliant flash of the obvious. The blogs I love and read the most are less business-formal and more blogger-personal. I just don't think most of my readers really know who I am and what I do on a daily basis and I think that is an enormous mistake.

My Mission To empower people to live the life of their creative dreams (and make a living while doing it) while I do the same.

My Dream Votre Vray means your truth. I strive to learn all that I can about living the creative life running from a day job. (Day jobs: Boo! Hiss!) Then pass on the information.

My Work
  • My primary business and personal focus is information sharing -- teaching people how they can live their creative dreams while using experts in their field as exemplars. I do not pretend to be an expert at anything other than teaching, but everything I learn, I teach.
  • I have TWO blogs that teach - this one &
  • I'm striving to learn all I can about how to have a successful creative person's business and I read dozens of books, interview even more people and watch listen and learn all over the place in social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
  • I am a storyteller and public speaker who has taken the information I've learned and my experiences and turned them into a one-woman show called "Shout: Kiss My Art."
My Spiritual Side
  • I promote equality, kindness, honoring your spirit and from time to time I'll post things that really tug at my heart. For example, you may have heard of the Richmond Jane Doe who was brutally gang-raped. You can reach out to her here.
  • I'm a Reiki master teacher and a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher, specializing in beginners and primary series practice.
My Gift (and Bad Habits)
  • My greatest skill in life is generating new ideas and enthusiasm. Biggest problem? Finishing what I started because I have more ideas than time or expertise.
  • Oh, and to be honest, I'm a potty mouth and have an Irish temper that cannot be equaled. One step from a berserker, I have to learn calm and patience in this lifetime. I expect if I live as long as the lesson takes, I'll be around another sixty years or so (I'm 40 now).
Personal Life
I'm happily married and have three bunnies. I cannot have kids. (Why must people ask, "Do you have children?") This is sometimes not an issue for me at all but some days, it spurs me to tears. I had a hysterectomy and it saved my life. That said, my mission to help others is made even more serious because I cannot teach my offspring my knowledge. I only have you. Everything I share is all that I know and I give it with love and hope for us all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Excuses, Excuses....

It never fails. Every time I ask someone why they're not living their dreams, they give me excuses. The first excuse is they don't like computers and/or know anything about being a viable web business. The second excuse is, "I have a website but no one visits." Well, I'm NOT an expert on web traffic. I know it is my weakness. As a result, I am always on the lookout to learn from others.

Jeremy Shoemaker has a poignant post about excuses and web traffic called the Seven Deadly Sins for People Trying to Make Money Online. Don't know ShoeMoney? If you're interested in making cash for your online work, you ought to check him out.

The world is full of wanna-be winners. The winners are those who take action. If you haven't noticed, last night I launched a contest for action in 2009. Check it out -- and fast -- because the contest ends on Monday, Jan. 12.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ways to Help Women in Need

I've never done this before...and don't know if it will make a difference, but I know of TWO families that really need a helping hand.

One is Gwynne, the one who was Queen of Spain's winner to go to BlogHer.
Gwynne literally is too broke to go to the dentist, or even ride the bus to the grocery store. She needs $800 to make it to BlogHer.

The other is a woman named Daniela who is in Chicago escaping domestic violence.
Daniela and her children need an apartment, and $5000.

I'm all for people supporting those that they know, and local folks and friends first. Though, sometimes, you want to do something nice for someone without them feeling like they have to thank you. I thought if I mentioned these ladies there might be a chance you'd do something nice for one or both of them.

I don't expect to ever ask my readers to do this again, or to make it a regular feature. I just felt it was the right thing to do, especially when I've been a domestic violence counselor and I'm also trying to raise money to go to BlogHer. Sometimes the reaper is so close to home you've gotta say or do something besides wish someone the best.

What Makes You Take Action?

Thanks to the most generous gift of Dawn, from Alex Year Two, of the free admission to the BlogHer '09 Conference, I've finally gotten myself together enough to join and make my first post. Honestly, I run around the 'net and my office so much that there is a long, long list of "want to get to" items that appears not only on my vision board, and my white board, but also in my head. It took Dawn's generosity to get me to take action.

What nudge would you need to actually do one of those things that are listed on your "want to get to" list? For some, unfortunately, it takes a major life crisis to get motivated. For others, it is finally getting some hope that their dream is going the way they envision. Perhaps, you're a visual person and the above image of the KitKat bench (from Trend Insights) got your brain bubbling. My new year's challenge to myself is to cross one item of my "want to get to" list each week for the year...yes, my list is really that long. I'd love to have you join me. Create your own "want to do" list, and start acting. Then, please post comments here or e-mail me about what you're achieving for yourself. I'd love to celebrate with you, and I'd be happy to blog about your efforts if you'll let me.

In fact, I will give away FOUR free "Shout: Kiss My Art!" T-shirts to motivate you. One shirt will go to each four readers who post a comment here that sends me to your blog or website. Your blog or site must have a post detailing what actions you've taken on your "want to do" list. The actions you've taken to shorten your "must do list" have to be related to moving your dreams forward. Please be sure to tell us what your dream is! The contest begins Wednesday, January 7th and runs until Monday, January 12th. I'll post winners here on Monday.

Happy First Week of 2009 and good luck!

MLK Dream -- A Winner!

Several weeks ago I posted my dream to a local MLK Dream contest. This morning, I received a call that I am one of the winners of a finalist spot. On Friday, I'll be interviewed by the judges and Friday night I'll be at the Diversity Banquet at the Hyatt Hotel. This is one more win for Votre Vray and one more step toward getting the word about about all the creative women I've been so blessed to interview this year. Thank you, everyone, for your unending support! Together, we'll make living your creative dream a viable alternative for ALL people.

My dream is to empower women of all shapes, sizes, ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, physical ability to be able to live an artistic or creative life that is not only personally and spiritually fulfilling, but also financially rewarding enough to pay her bills and foster her growth in her work. I have created a one-woman presentation called “Shout: Kiss My Art” that showcases parts of 75 different female artists/creatives dreams, but now I want to put those dreams (along with my own) and the dreams of artistic Greenville women into a book. (Next year I plan to expand to do all of the same for male artists.) I have received some support and my blog also showcases some of the women I’ve had the pleasure to meet in the past few months. ( It is my final goal to use at least 20% of the money raised from sales of tickets to my show, sales of the book, or sales of T-shirts to fund grassroots scholarships to women who want to try to begin their creative dreams. I would hand over scholarship money directly to artists and arts organizations who will teach women how to do their art and begin their creative path. (However, right now this dream has cost me several thousand dollars, and before I can give scholarships, I need to have my materials ready to go to market.) I would deeply appreciate any assistance or partners I can find in this journey. (The Metropolitan Arts Council has already given me a small grant, and the yW has partnered with me to hand out Women’s Empowerment (entrepreneurial) info. Both organizations have been essential to moving this dream forward. Thank you.)

Point of claification: My win at this point is like a finalist in a beauty pageant. I haven't won the whole shebang yet...but I feel it. I really do.

Monday, January 05, 2009

OMG! BlogHer Winners Announced!

Thank you to Queen of Spain for holding the BlogHer giveaway and announcing this morning that Gwynne is going to BlogHer....but my favorite part of the news is that Dawn of Alex Year Two was so inspired by Queen of Spain that she also is giving away one BlogHer registration!

I could go ahead and make you read all the details...but I can't resist blurting good news....

She just sent me a link to her post. Within the post it said, "Mel Edwards - start figuring out your end of the budget, I’ve got yer registration right here."

OMG! I'm going on a train to BlogHer! (Anyone need a roommate?)

I immediately called mom. I was sobbing and I said, "I have good news. I know I'm crying but it is good..." When I finally explained the whole thing and read Dawn's post to her, she said, "I'm sending you a check for $300 for your train ticket." In return, I'm to send good vibes and Reiki to a friend of mom's who is having cancer surgery on the 15th (something I would have done anyway). Mom reminded me it is all about paying it I'll do my part with her friend...and anything I can continue to do to help promote independent creatives who are starting their journey of following their truth.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Could the Possibilities Do You a Favor?

I live pretty close to Asheville, NC and am always astounded by the creative resources available in this city, and how the city is connected to the rest of the creative world. Because I'm lucky enough to be networked with some absolutely amazing women, including poets Glenis Redmond and Vera Gomez, I recently received an invite to become Facebook friends with James Navé, founder of the Writing Salon, and former collaborator with Julia Cameron (creator of The Artists' Way). I began asking myself, how can knowing James and The Writing Salon help me aide other creative people. First, let me share (in their own words) what The Writing Salon is.

What is the Writing Salon?
At The Writing Salon we believe that, while we often write alone, we are part of a community of writers that spans the globe, and that by coming together we can serve each other by offering new perspectives, ideas, and inspiration. Whenever a writer lifts a pen – to invent or reinvent, to speak truth or tell a story, to collaborate, to dream, to make it messy then clean it up, to communicate – the world is a better place.

The Writing Salon was born from the Artist’s Way creativity camps, workshops, and retreats that poet James Navé produced with Julia Cameron from 1995 to 2003. In 2004, Navé, along with writer/editor Allegra Huston, held the first Writing Salon in the legendary artists' colony of Taos, New Mexico. The Taos Writing Salon is now a yearly event, and we're constantly adding international Salons in places of secret beauty around the world.

Mail: The Writing Salon
P.O. Box 2454
Taos N.M. 87571

within the US: 1-877-994-8267
outside the US: +1-919-949-2113

Why Visit their Site and Know their Work?
You can learn a lot from your creative peers -- even if you're a visual artists or a performance artist, or a graphic designer -- because there are a models for success in all arenas for creatives that you can examine, learn from and adapt for your needs. If you're already a headliner in Taos, Paris and on a first-name basis with Julia Cameron, by all means, skip visiting The Writing Salon. Otherwise, could it do you a favor to look at the possibilities? I know it spurred me on enough that I'm sharing James' work here.

Until next time,
keep creating!

BlogHer '09 - Wanna Go?

Erin Kotecki Vest, aka Queen of Spain, is starting off the year with a most generous offer -- to give away 1 full registration to BlogHer! Queen of Spain will make this decision on January 5th and is paying for it out of her own pocket because she a. is a great person, b. believes in BlogHer, c. (in her own words) "I want this registration to be given to someone who would love to go, but really could use the extra help getting there."

I don't know about you, but I think that $198 (early bird pricing) is a HUGE help to most women in business - especially bloggers.

Where: Chicago @ The Sheriton and Towers When: July 24-25

Then, I started looking at the location's rooms rates. Rooms: $199/night (yikes!) -- Three nights with taxes $688.94!

..and I thought, geeze, Mel., how do you think you'd get to Chicago...since you sold your only vehicle...that means a plane or train, right?

Transporation: Up to you - $395 for me to fly round trip from GSP to Chi-town via US Airways.
But AmTrak, with my AAA discount, $272...and 27 hrs each way...leaves plenty of time for blogging and meeting new creative people. (I'd still have to figure out how to get from the train to the hotel and back...but I'm a pretty smart woman, and I have faith I could figure it out.)

Why Mel Edwards/Votre Vray Wants to Go
I live in a pretty happening little city with many wonderful men and women who are passionate and gifted in their craft. However, I admit, not once, ever, have I met anyone half as good at blogging as I think Queen of Spain (Erin) is. She knows her audience, seems at ease with all sorts of technology, and just getting to meet her would be worth the trip. Multiply that by all the other women (and men) who will be present, and then think of all the ways Votre Vray reaches out, stumbling, mumbling and tumbling, to creative people. I'm awestruck to think of how many more people I could teach and help through my blog if I really knew what I was doing with this medium and technology. (That also means more readers when I talk about you, dear creative friends.)

I admit, I have nothing to wear, no idea at this moment how I can afford it with all my other start-up expenses, but that free registration is the open door to my dream: to be the equivalent of the creative love child of Studs Terkel and Eve Ensler reaching out to creative people everywhere via this blog.

I've spent years telling the world I honestly believe you can live your dream if you're willing to do the work necessary to get there. Talent is nice, but hard work and determination can take you to realms you always dreamed of. I'm willing to figure out my end of the budget if Erin picks me.

Note for Erin (any any other new visitors to Votre Vray blog)
Since you don't know me or what I do, here's the quick summary. I'm a storyteller by education, and a teacher by training and practice, who has interviewed 75 creative women this past summer and wrote a one-woman show about women living a creative life called "Shout: Kiss My Art." The show is one step on the way to the big picture. The next step is March 13th and 14 I'll hold "A Weekend to Grab Your Truth" where women (and men) can come see "Shout: Kiss My Art" and then have a full day workshop on finding their best choices for living their truth -- or a fulfilled life based upon who they are and what they value. The third step is that the interviews will appear in part along with credits to all interviewees, even if they're not directly quoted, in the book (working title) Votre Vray Creative Women. I also list here (sidebar) all the "Friends of Votre Vray" to create traffic for the women I've interviewed and have two groups on Facebook to allow women to claim their art and crow about it (Shout: Kiss My Art group) and post what they're working on to create traffic to their sites (Votre Vray group). I do all this to empower people to live the life of their dreams and create avenues for creative people to find support networks as well as business to pay the bills, and I consider it my mission in life.

So, Dear Readers...are YOU in?
Visit the Queen of Spain's blog and let her know.
Just don't be surprise if you see my hat in the ring too...and may the winner have a wonderful 2009!

Until next time,
keep creating!

Best Indie Artists to Know?

Who are the best business and role models for you art?

I'm looking for names of artists, what their type of art is (performance, fine, applied or literary), what makes them a great model for people to follow.

Here's an example:

Artist: Henry (aka Hank) Rollins
Type(s) of Art: Performance/Spoken Word, band member, indie publisher, actor, poet/writer, etc.
What makes him a great model: This man works harder than any creative person I know. Yes, he speaks his mind, doesn't hold back the swearing/cussing, and admits he screams and can't sing a lick. What I love about him is that he's a good person with strong moral values (believes in "live and let live," doesn't drink or use drugs, hates abuse of power, respects individuality), and he gets a great deal accomplished not only for his career but in support of others whose work may never see the light of day without his help.

So...who do you respect who is a self-made artist/creative and is NOT signed with a major label/publisher etc.? Be sure to list name, type of art, what makes him/her a great model. You can either post a reply here or e-mail me your answer at: MelEdwardsConnect [at]

I'll be posting a follow-up to this in a month.

Until next time,
keep creating!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mel's 2009 Horoscope?

I'm always looking for inspiration, so I admit, I do look at horoscopes from time to time. If I like what they say, I pass them along. So, according a link on Yahoo! 2009 looks like a good year for Virgos. Not a Virgo? Don't worry. Check your career (or romantic) horoscope here. Just know, if it is bad news, you can reject it. I LOVE that concept more than any -- carry what serves you, drop what fails you. - Mel. Edwards, founder Votre Vray
Virgo 8/23 – 9/22
Year 2009: Career

You are greatly empowered in your creative endeavors this year, and you emerge like a butterfly from a long sleep in a cocoon! This personal transformation has you sharing wisdom and knowledge your might have never known you possessed. Great potential awaits you as you find new sources of personal strength.

You are feeling very playful, and being creative is the only type of career that will satisfy you. You will be recognized as someone who can totally transform nothing into something ... an alchemist of sorts. The beauty and magnificence that arises from your self-expression feels like a celebration in and of itself. During the summer months, a new contract opportunity may appear; go for it, but make sure you don't take on more than you can handle. You will be paid handsomely for what you do, and you welcome the challenges.

By the fall, career advancement is very possible for you, and with that, greater responsibility. Your far-reaching ideas will be well compensated. Your optimism helps you stay on the bright path, and you can overcome any hurdle. You are learning lessons of faith in your own process, and it's helping you create a positive attitude and harmonious work environment. The world welcomes your positive energy of love and service to others. You see a higher purpose in your work, and this helps you focus on attaining your dreams.

Ladies, Been to NYC Solo? Call for Stories!

Ladies, have you ever traveled to NYCity solo? You can submit your story to Gina Greenlee for consideration and you might just end up in her next book!

Gina Greenlee gave attendees of Votre Vray's Shout: Kiss My Art! November 11th performance a free copy of her book Postcards and Pearls, so you know she's a sweet woman who supports creative and artistic folks. Why not return the favor by sharing your expriences with her?

To submit your story for consideration, visit Gina's website and follow the links.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Creatives and Truth Seekers Must-Haves for 2009

Welcome to 2009...okay, so we're in the second day of the year...but your resolutions and momentum should just be getting into gear. This is an excellent time to look at what resources are out there that will help you hone in on what your best path for 2009 is.

First Resource:
Other people who are on the path you want to be walking, running or rocketing down. Make friends, build relationships, watch, listen and learn. Are you on LinkedIn? Do you tweet on Twitter? What groups are you in on Facebook? Are you where the sonic-speed movers are? If you want to be, these online networks might be a good place to lurk (or as my best friend says, stalk those you want to be like). Oh! When you get there, connect to me and I'll be happy to help in any way that I can. Anytime.

Second Resource:
If you haven't figured out exactly what your strengths are or what you want to achieve, lurking on forums won't help you very much. I've never seen a tweet that says, "Hey! This is the perfect choice for the rest of your life!" One book that I strongly recommend for creatives is Carol Lloyd's Creating a Life Worth Living. This is actually more useful than The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for those who aren't sure they are an artist. (However, if you're certain you're an artist, you can't afford to not read Cameron!)

Third Resource:
Your own personal network of like-minded individuals. If your mom thinks you're wasting your time by not becoming a MBA, don't share your dreams with her. In fact, you might want to get her a copy of Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future because Pink is sure the MFA is the new MBA of this century.
No one around who is "like minded"? Go back to resource number one, the social networks, or better yet, go to a conference or event that caters to people in your dream industry. You're bound to find kindred spirits and the only way you'll live your dream is to find it, claim it and live it!

Until next time,
keep creating.