Creating in the Time of Quarantine

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

On Monday, Julianna Baggott, best-selling author of over twenty books, shared an inspirational post on the Writer Unboxed blog. Here’s an excerpt that resonated with me:

Don’t beat yourself up if this is hard. You should be rethinking your priorities; and it might be difficult — in light of all that’s going on — to prioritize your craft. The other day, I wrote a paragraph — that was it and not a hard paragraph — and I was pretty sure I deserved a parade.

Also if the work feels forced or faked or simply awful to make, remember that when this work is actually finished, no one (not even you, most likely) will remember whether you wrote it on a great writing day when everything felt organic, hitting full stride, or awful. The writing will exist and sometimes that’s all that you should ask of a first draft. It will have been rewritten — no matter how it was conceived. Sculptors begin with lump of clay. We have to sit down and make the lump. So do your future self a favor and create even when you’re faking it.

Read the rest of Julianna’s blog post here.


In Praise of Quotes

In my late teens, I started a quote collection. I would underline sentences (and sometimes entire paragraphs) in books and jot down inspiring thoughts from other print media. I would then copy these words of wisdom into a journal. When I joined Pinterest, I set aside a page—Words I Love— where I recopied these quotes.

Maintaining a personal collection of quotes has helped me immensely. Here are some of the benefits I have discovered:

• Quotes have the power to transform moods. While books and movies can accomplish the same goal, quotes do it faster. I don’t have to invest hours of my time to experience the same effects. Whenever I need a quick jolt of inspiration, I click on my Pinterest page or visit one of many twitter hashtags devoted to quotes, among them #Quoteoftheday, #Inspirationalquotes, and #quotes.

Continue on reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


Be At Peace Today

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s a timely segment from Monday’s email:

The mind is our biggest battleground—you know it’s true. It’s the place where the strongest conflict resides. And with COVID-19 occupying so much of our present attention, we need now more than ever to keep ourselves in check.

In the game of life, we all receive a unique set of unexpected limitations and variables in the field of play. The question is: How will you respond to the hand you’ve been dealt? You can either focus on the lack thereof or empower yourself to play the game sensibly and resourcefully, making the very best of every outcome as it arises, even when it’s heartbreaking and hard to accept.

Obviously, with the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly right now, we are all facing a hard reality. And while human lives are the primary concern, it is also prudent to consider the impact it may have on your mental health. Truth be told, we occupy an uncertain moment in time, on the cusp of a potentially historic event. It’s important to think of ways to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself.

Remind yourself that when you can’t control what’s happening in the world around you, you must challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. Because that’s where your power is!

Thus, we all have some incredibly important choices to make…

We can choose how we spend our time in the days and weeks ahead. We can choose gratitude and grace. We can choose whom we socialize with—and perhaps more importantly, whom we don’t (social distancing). We can choose to love and appreciate the people in our lives for exactly who they are. We can choose to love and appreciate ourselves, too. We can choose how we’re going to respond to life’s surprises and disappointments (COVID-19 being one of them), and whether we will see them as curses or opportunities for personal growth.

And, perhaps most importantly, we can choose to think better about our present circumstances, and let go of what we can’t control, so we can consciously make the best of what’s ahead of us.

When we THINK BETTER, we LIVE BETTER, and peace becomes us.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.



10 Lessons I Have Learned From Life

I’m happy to welcome author Erin Pemberton. Today, Erin shares ten life lessons and her new release, The Prophecy.

1. Life is hard, don’t make it harder by making stupid decisions. As a teenager, I thought I knew best and I thought I could get away with playing around with no real consequences. I was wrong. Being a teenager is hard, going to college right after high school is not easy either. Being a single parent while finishing high school and then going on to college is even harder. You have your whole life ahead of you, make wise choices.

2. It’s okay to say no. I am one of those types of people who like to help out others despite what I have on my plate. Through many stressed out days and lots of hard lessons, I learned that it’s okay to say no when you already have a lot going on. In fact, when you do, your work will reflect it in the fact that you’re able to give more attention to the things you’re already taking on. They’ll be of better quality and you’ll be happier with the results.

3. Marriage takes two. Through two failed marriages, I realized in my third one, that it really does take two. You have to be willing to put your spouse’s needs ahead of yourself and make them a priority. By both of you doing this, everyone’s needs are met. Even when you have kids, your spouse needs to come first. Because when the kids are all gone, you’ll still have each other. Better to enjoy life with your spouse than to resent life with them.

4. It’s okay to let your kids fail. This is something that I struggle with daily. It’s unnatural for us to let our kids fail. However, how will they learn to live life if you’re constantly taking over for them? Last fall, my son was failing three out of five classes in high school. After trying to put him on a homework schedule, emailing teachers daily, and more screaming matches with my son than I care to admit, I finally looked at him and said, “I have two jobs, a husband, and five kids. I cannot and will not fight with you on this anymore. If you fail these classes, you’ll have to take them again. If you pass, that’s one more step toward your goal of going to Shawnee State. I’ll help when you need it or ask, but otherwise, I’m tapping out. Fail or pass, it’s on you.” By the skin of his teeth, he passed and he’s done so much better this year with keeping up to date on all his assignments. It was a tough lesson for us both.

5. It’s okay to ask for help or to let others lead for a change. As a preschool supervisor, I struggle with feeling like I need to accomplish everything our program needs in order to make it a great program. However, I’m finding that by creating teams and letting others take on leadership roles, it works out so much better for everyone. Not only do we end up with so many more ideas than I could ever dream up, but by sharing the role, I find my stress level goes down considerable and my team members value me more.

6. Take time for you. Whether it’s sitting down and reading a good book, doing yoga, or taking a mini vacation with my spouse, finding me time is critical being able to do as much as I do on any given day. I can recharge, I give myself permission to think of something other than work, and I’m ready to hit it again when I do come back.

7. Hobbies are for you. Something I struggle with as an author is asking other people to read my books. It’s not because I don’t want others to read them, I just don’t like asking what they thought of the book. I find that when I start valuing other’s opinions of my work more than I value my own opinion, my hobby or writing changes. I have a tendency to focus more on what other’s think and how I can make the world happy versus just writing because it’s something that I enjoy doing. When you find a hobby, don’t let anyone tell you how to do it. Make it yours.

8. Don’t let anyone stop you. If there is something that you want to accomplish in life, by all means, get it done! We can come up with a world of excuses, but the truth of the matter is, you’re the only person holding you back. Stop it and get it done!

9. Light will always defeat dark. As I mention in several of my books because they usually have a dark/ light battle going on, the light will always defeat the dark even if you have to search the darkness to find it. Hang on because around every dark corner, there is always light waiting for you.

10. Life without God, is not much of a life. God is the light in my world, my marriages, my parenting, and my work has all failed when I turned from him. By keeping him the center of my life, not only am I happier but I find myself blessed even when things are tough.

Blurb

In a land plagued by war, King Dorvin and Queen Shiara are expecting their first child. They are excited until the good fairies tell of a prophecy; that their daughter is the key to winning the war against the Shadow tribes. To protect her, mages of the kingdom create a tower to keep her and her guardian hidden until her eighteenth birthday. When Ella turns 18 she leaves the tower, only to find that her parents are dead and the Shadow tribes now control the kingdom. Trained as a warrior, and aided by the good fairies, Ella must now bring her subjects together and prepare for the final war.

Excerpt

“If you don’t tell me your name, you’ll find out the hard way,” Ella responded calmly even though butterflies were carrying out their own battle in her stomach. The magic was showing her just how far she could throw him with its use. She was beginning to think of it as a whole separate entity within her mind.

Just as she pulled her arm back in preparation of launching him through the night sky, he shouted “Erek! I’m called Erek.”

Ella, bemused, smiled serenely at him as she placed him none too gently back on the ground. “That wasn’t so hard, now was it?”

Erek mumbled something under his breath but made no attempt to say anything else.

“What are we going to do with him?” Ella asked, turning to look at Tia.

Tia, ignoring Ella’s question, took a step closer to Erek, grabbed the rope that bound him, and pulled him toward her. “What do you mean we’re trespassing on your land? This land belongs to Dorvin, king of Fablina,” she hissed, apparently taking care to spit in his face as she talked.

The ugly smirk appeared on his otherwise handsome face, a mirthless laugh consuming him. “My tribe killed and replaced your king seventeen years ago. This land belongs to the Shadow tribes, and you are as good as dead.”

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

Author Bio and Links

I’m just a small town girl, living in Ohio and making up worlds for my characters to live in. A preschool teacher by day, I live with my amazing husband while dreaming of walking hand in hand with him on the beach just searching for seashells. Together, we have five incredible kids, who are starting to make their way in this world as they take on college, high school, and elementary school. I love Christmas, the beach, seashells, painting, reading anything fantasy related, and in my very little spare time, creating new worlds for others to enjoy.

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway

Erin Pemberton will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Enter here.

Follow Erin on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Karma Brown Visits Kitchener

Yesterday, I attended “An Evening with Karma Brown” at the central branch of the Kitchener Public Library. A National Magazine Award winning journalist, Karma Brown is the best-selling author of Come Away With Me, The Choices We Make, In This Moment, The Life Lucy Knew, and Recipe for a Perfect Wife.

After reading a short excerpt from her latest release, Recipe for a Perfect Wife, Karma participated in an armchair conversation with Toronto-based novelist (and friend) Samantha Bailey.

L-R: Samantha Bailey, Karma Brown

Karma’s first four books have been described as emotional women’s fiction by her editor. These tearjerkers feature women deep in the throes of life challenges. Eventually, they do survive and thrive.

You won’t need a box of Kleenex to read Recipe for a Perfect Wife.

This dual-narrative novel features two distinct characters: Alice Hale, a modern-day woman who leaves a promising career to follow her husband to the suburbs, and Nellie Murdoch, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As Alice cooks her way through Nellie’s recipe book, she discovers many parallels between Nellie’s life and her own.

This novel has been painstakingly researched: Karma watched many Home Economics videos, read through her stepmother’s stack of magazines from the 1950s, and talked to her parents about the language used during the period.

Released less than three months ago, Recipe for a Perfect Wife has been reviewed by the New York Times and made the list of Best Books for 2020. Definitely a must-read!

Interesting facts about Karma Brown…

• Karma writes each morning from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. This habit started when her daughter was young and couldn’t sleep or nap. Karma would get up with her daughter and bake, do crafts, and other activities. As her daughter became more independent, Karma started spending more time on her writing.

• At age seventeen, Karma created a Bucket List with 140 items. Writing a novel was one of those items.

• She had hoped to become a TV journalist and anchor. When that wasn’t possible, she turned to magazine writing and then decided to try her hand at writing novels.

• Her favorite authors include Margaret Atwood, Meg Wolitzer, Ann Patchett, and Stephen King.

• Karma wanted to be traditionally published. She wrote three books before finding an agent.

• She is a quick “shelfer.” She prefers to move on rather than linger on a book. While her first two books have been shelved, she has used some of the scenes in her published novels.

• Karma is currently working on a non-fiction project that will be released in 2021. Her next novel will be released in 2022.

Find out more about Karma Brown here.


Lose More to Win More

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his new release, You Are Awesome, New York Times bestselling author Neil Pasricha, shares the following secret to his success:

When I was a little kid, my dad bought me The Complete Major League Baseball Statistics, a frayed paperback with a green cover. I treasured it and kept it in my room for years. I flipped through it so many times.

As I paged through the numbers, I started to notice something interesting.

Cy Young had the most wins of all time in baseball (511).

Cy Young had the most losses, too (316).

Nolan Ryan had the most strikeouts (5,714).

Nolan Ryan had the most walks, too (2,795).

Why would the guy with the most wins also have the most losses? Why would the guy with the most strikeouts also have the most walks?

It’s simple.

They just played the most.

They just tried the most.

They just moved through loss the most.

It’s not how many at-bats you take.

The wins pile up when you pile on the number of times you step up to the plate.

Lose more to win more.

Source: You Are Awesome, pp 143-144