Meet Angela K. Ryan

The fireworks are over, graduations (such as they were this year) complete, and vacations have started. In other words, we are in full gear summer mode. My husband and I are doing “staycations” this year; lounging by the pool with the cats. What about you? Are you sticking close to home in light of the pandemic or branching out from the nest? One benefit of a slower-paced summer is plenty of time for reading. I have read several books by Angela K. Ryan and love them. And I think you will too. Now onto the interview.

92948265_3075097849188692_7494302844405678080_n Meet Angela K. Ryan…

Angela K. Ryan is a Cozy Mystery author, and you can find her books on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. She writes the Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Series.

 When did you start writing?
I have loved to write for as long as I can remember.  In college, I majored in Print Journalism and worked briefly in that field as a freelancer, but soon decided to go in another direction. I got my Master’s in Ministry and have worked in college campus ministry ever since. However, several years ago, I realized how much I missed writing. I published some religious fiction under another name, and plan to write more in that genre, but I also wanted to try something lighter. Cozy Mysteries were the natural choice. I have always enjoyed reading them – my Kindle is filled with cozies – and I discovered that I LOVE writing them as well. Strong female sleuths, often in the midst of a life transition, who live in a close-knit community with an interesting puzzle to solve. What more could you ask for?

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I try to make each one of my cozies fun, clean escapes with characters that uplift and inspire. As a reader, I frequently turn to cozy mysteries at the end of a long day to relax and escape from the pressures of work and life, or when I am dealing with something particularly challenging that I need to put aside for a while. You could say that cozies are my drug of choice! Similarly, I hope that when people read one of my books, they feel as though they’ve been taken on an enjoyable adventure away from their own stresses and challenges.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I wish my process were faster. I start out with a rough outline, usually creating all the suspects, some of their secrets, motives, etc. I also jot down ideas for plot twists and turning points, but many of them come to me as I’m writing. Then I briefly outline any subplots. After I’ve gone as far as I can with the outline, I write the first draft. If I can devote 3-4 hours a day to writing, I can write the first draft in about ten days, but it is still VERY rough. That first draft sucks the life out of me!
Then I start the editing process. This is where the writing process becomes fun for me again! I polish it up, add in more suspense, twists, and turns. This takes about two weeks. Then I do another two read-throughs, which go much more quickly. I enjoy plotting and the last few drafts the most.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Several elements in my stories are taken from real life. My main character, Connie Petretta, has a background in humanitarian work, having she spent time after college volunteering in Kenya. This is based on personal experience. For a number of years, a friend and I had a small non-profit organization and raised funds for impoverished communities in Rwanda and India. I had the opportunity to visit Rwanda twice, which is what inspired the idea of having an m.c. with connections in Africa. I chose Kenya because at the time my main character would have been doing her post-graduate service, many programs had suspended volunteering in Rwanda because of the genocide. So, since one of my best friends is from Kenya, that is the country I chose for Connie.
Also, the last names of my main characters – Petretta and Belmonte – are taken from my family tree.
My mom lives in southwest Florida and my Sapphire Beach Series takes place in a fictitious town in southwest Florida. I love spending time there and I enjoy bringing it to life in my books.
And finally, there are some funny stories in my books, especially in Books One and Three, that are based on true stories. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the funny stories are connected with Gertrude, a loveable octogenarian. You’ll have to read the books to find out more!

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A final word from Angela…
It’s always a treat to hear from readers and to chat with other authors! I’d love for you to introduce yourself by emailing me at angela@angelakryan.com

Be sure to visit Angela’s Amazon Author Page to find all her books!

Link to stay in touch via weekly updates: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c6q6e7

In August, I will continue the author interviews, but with a bit of a twist. No, I’m not giving out any clues, but boy, you will enjoy this next series! (hint-hint; there’s two clues in that sentence, ha-ha!). While you’re working out my puzzle, I’m off to continue the next book in the Beach House Mystery Series. Don’t forget, Mist By The Lighthouse, book 3, is now up for preorder.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Trisha J. Kelly

Hello everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy. And taking advantage of being home to catch up on your reading. And getting to know new-to-you authors! Here is our next guest…
I am so pleased to introduce our next author. We have become great friends, and I have the privilege of being part of Trisha’s ARC team! I can promise you her books are enjoyable and a splendid way to spend an afternoon.

trisha j kelly   Meet Trisha J. Kelly…
A multi-genre author. Cozy, mystery, crime, children, middle-grade. Those are her published books. She is now also working on YA, horror, historical fiction, and a contemporary comedy. She enrolls all her books with KU available as E-books and paperback. Her books are 99p so everyone can afford to read them.

When did you start writing?
I started writing this time around, in November 2016. It was at a time in my life I wanted a change, writing was something I’ve always wanted to do. As a child, I wrote poetry and won first prize in a national competition. I then went on to write a few poems in the early 90’s which were published alongside other authors.
Back then I wrote a book for children called the Bromington Nomad. I didn’t do anything with it, it’s still in a folder. All these years later I’ve taken that fictional place and I’m using it in my current set of cozy books.
So, in November 2016 I wrote my first book.  The first in a middle-grade series called Discovering Witchetty Waters. It took off, I won two awards and hit some No.1 hotspots on Amazon in Hot New Releases and Children’s Books. It was an honour to be sandwiched among the great writers, even if for a short while!

Describe your writing space.
Most of the year we stay in our caravan, which is right beside the seafront on the West Norfolk coast in the UK. It is central for my husband’s work and we have a beach on the doorstep. This is a great playground for our dogs (or it was) sadly, we lost one this January after nearly 14 years of cuddles and fun. Our other dog is a monkey for his age, so we don’t let him off the lead alone now, for a little guy he is still full of mischief! So, this is my space, and it’s a great one for writing.

Who is your favorite character?
This has got to be Rosie, Rosie Wodehouse in my Bromington series. She has a great personality, loving, generous, astute, and a tiny bit fragile. She also has great resolve and doesn’t let life get her down when times have been tough.

Does one character hold a special place in your heart, and why?
Again, this is Rosie Wodehouse. Sometimes in life do you ever think, I wish I could turn back the clock? Do things differently? I suppose in Rosie, I’m living the alternate side of life through her. I’ve had some great times and I love my family, but if I had my time again, I would never have married the wrong guy the first time! I would have met my husband ten years earlier, and then this would have been my dream, investigating! Living in a gorgeous property and raising my family in an idyllic place. So, as a writer, I’m giving this lady my ‘perfect’ life! If that makes sense.

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
My heart and soul. When we write, we project our personalities into everything we create. I hope people can feel my characters, believe my stories, and enjoy them. Can’t ask for any more than that, really.

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Click on covers to go-to books

Want to connect with Trisha? Here are the links…
Website, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramAmazon, WordPress, Tumbler, Pinterest, Linkedin, & Goodreads!

From Trisha…

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The first of July is this week! Not only does that mean summer is in full swing, but it is also the signal for many writers, like myself, to buckle down and write! Once again, I will take part in Camp NaNo. My goal is to write 45-50k words in 30 days. I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it. Good luck to all who are joining in on the writing challenge.

Meet r.e.joyce

I hope this post finds you all well and taking care of each other and just as importantly-taking care of yourself. This week we see signs of re-awakening as some restrictions are beginning to be relaxed. It feels like spring is arriving after a long hard winter.  But remember to be cautious, and take it a bit at a time. And that will still give you plenty of time to read. Which brings us to our guest author…

.jejoyce fbpick    r. e. joyce writes Epic Fantasy and all books can be found through Draft2Digital worldwide

Stories by r.e.joyce
I write to express the joys and adventures I have found in this world.  Most come from the grace of being chosen to guide two beautiful souls through the adventure of growing up.  It is my children, Stephanie and Bill, who make this life worth living.  The grandbabies are a marvelous recreation of the joys I experienced without the diaper changes – such a fabulous gift!  Do you want to have a taste of the worlds my mind creates?  Come and Join in the fun: https://books2read.com/ap/KnAMpn/R-E-Joyce

Why Write?
They say that reading fosters the urge to write and experience chooses the genre.

As to the first, I can attest.  My world in the 1970s and 1980s consisted of work-centered travel.  My last job in New York was a one-hour-forty-minute commute into the Big Apple if all connections were properly made.  It gave me time to read and I ordered the Franklin Library Book of the Month Club Classics for the train ride, promising to read each one before I picked up a dime store novel.  Month after month I would struggle through Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain or Homer’s Iliad awaiting the day I could call it read and pick up Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Eddings, Terry Brooks and of course C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien.  It was in the fantasy worlds of these great writers that I found a place for my mind to take flight.  For four-and-one-half years I clickety-clacked down the tracks and let these fantastic worlds open within my mind allowing me to become part of so many epic adventures.
Then the urge took hold.  I could write one of these epic fantasies!  The scolding of my English teachers and the wanton grades they scratched into my report cards could not deter the building desire to put words together and go on my own adventure.   The writing bug bit and I was destined for the torment and elation I never expected in life.  We will get back to the swings of emotion later.  For now, with pen in hand (soon turned to computer keyboard) I used the spare minutes of my life to write—catapulting me into the wonderful world of epic fantasty

Meanings
The explanation of my life is Grand Poobah-dum.  I have no timeless words of wisdom beyond those that guide my life.  Live to serve and serve until it feels good.  The world will be better for it.

  • I, like Tevye, wish for a little wealth. I promise to pray more if…
  • I, like Joseph, find strength in quiet support of family.
  • I, like Don Quixote, always seek the windmill over the easy path.

It started as an urge and took root in the rich soil of familial love.  The experiential writings made spirituality all the more real for me and touched a life of one or two along the way.  The honing of skills hardened my resolve until I allowed myself to stand before all as I am.  The wayward critics seek to mold me in their image.  I choose the one that is God-given and life affirmed.
I am a story teller and if you have a moment I will share with you worlds that can enchant and even make you dream.  If you need proper grammar I have some teachers I can recommend.  If you want to touch life, I believe I have some ready for you.

Where do you get your inspiration?
There are experiences directly related to my feeble first attempts.  Stephanie came to me with skinned knee and turtle tears, clutching her pink unicorn.  Holding her, I whispered if she would allow me to clean her boo-boo, I would write her a story about a unicorn.
Oh, did I fail to mention that God graced me with two of the most beautiful gifts a man could ask for.  To give this justice, we would need to consider a longer story format.  For now, I will affirm their epic effect on my life.
Stephanie came into the world pink and beautiful and when the nurse placed her in my hands a fear, beyond anything ever imagined came over me.  How could a lumbering old fool like me ever care for such a precious princess?  She seemed to fit within the palm of my hands, and my trembling left others to wonder about my joy.  Nothing can ever exceed the gift I held that day and that I continue to embrace as she explores her own world.
Now Bill, having arrived three years later almost to the day, bounced out and the now trained hands of a father gathered him up, placing my hereditary standard on the boy with the quiet soul.  He has been more than and continues to amaze me with the deep-seated love he shows the world around him.
We will have an epitaph written or imagined at the end of our stay here on earth.  Mine will contain the blessing from God of these two souls.  If nothing else graces the journey of my life, I am fulfilled.

Back to the story…  The boo-boo healed and the little girl grew up and the scratching of a novice writer found its way to the page.

My mission in life:

To write is to place love in the hands of generations to come.
The rest of my day is giving to helping others…

Seven Stars of Midnight                         The Finding

 

You can connect with r.e. joyce at Vision Management Publishing and find his books at books2read.  

I leave you tonight with r.e.joyce’s beautiful covers to look at and be inspired…

It’s Time for a Change

Hello, readers and writers, I hope this post finds you well and staying hopeful in our changing world.

Just because more and more of us are for staying home to practice social distancing, that doesn’t need to mean that we can’t meet new people and make new friends.

With the help of some of my writing friends, I’m going to start a series of blog posts that will introduce you to not only great people but new books and a little bit about what goes on in the authoring process.

I count each and every one of these authors as my friends,  even though many I have never met in person. Some I’ve shared a laugh or two with, others exciting news in the author community. Many have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. One thing I can say with confidence is we have each other’s backs.

Each post will include a new author, highlighting 1   or 2 of their books along with answers and questions about their writing process and a little bit about themselves. I will be sure to include contact information for you to find them on social media or purchase their books.

So I hope you’ll make some new friends and find some great books to read.

I’ll start the series with some information about myself…

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I was born in upstate New York, the Niagara Falls area. After I got married, we moved to  South Florida and have been happy here for 35 years. We raised our son here (a real Florida Native!), and he is now married and finishing up his college degree. So in our household consist of me, the hubby, and two very demanding cats.

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I primarily write in the cozy mystery genre, although I have started to expand into cozy paranormal mysteries. I have a new series coming out in May that I’m excited about.  You can find out about all my books from my website .

That’s enough about me. I hope you’re as excited as I am to meet these new authors and find out more about their books and what makes them the author that they are. Watch for the next post and be surprised at who you will discover!

Victoria LK Williams

Dance and Sing for Books!

Well, I hope you all had a chance to revisit your childhood over the holidays. I’m talking about the release of the new movie Mary Poppins Returns. Now I don’t usually post my thoughts about movies on my blog, but this one deserves some attention
I have to admit I was skeptical there was no way they could outdo the first. There is no way that someone else would play the role of the ultimate nanny and carry it off the way Julie Andrews did.original_1099048853
But boy was I wrong! I’m in love with the new movie it was everything I hoped for and more. The return of old characters, new characters, song, dance and Disney the way it used to be!
It felt like the movie was made just for me; the writer, the reader, the adventurer.

Big, big, big spoiler alert here!! If you haven’t seen, the movie, you may not want to read the rest of my blog. Or you can go ahead and read, I promise not to give too much away.
The original Mary Poppins had this beautiful scene where Bert and Mary took the kids on an adventure through pictures. They jumped into the paintings on the sidewalk, and the fun begins. Everything that you remember from that scene in the original Mary Poppins– keep that in the back of your head. Because in Mary Poppins Returns they took the same concept, but instead of jumping into pictures they made the emphasis on books.

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Books, books, books! There is a fantastic song, & dance number called ‘The Cover Is Not the Book’ and the song stuck in my head for most of the movie. You can even play it on iTunes.
I think for me as a reader and a writer it felt like the movie was calling out because of the accent on books. It is all about judging a book by its cover, and the lessons that it taught the Banks children through song and dance are excellent.
Now as a writer we know you can and should judge a book by its cover– because the cover is what sells your book. So don’t lose heart to that concept.
The movie was taking an old saying and giving it a new song and a fun visual concept. One that I hope will resonate with every child. Teaching our children to remember that each person is an individual and has their own redeeming qualities. Qualities that you can’t see by looking at a person until you get to know them.
So, thank you to the Disney Company, and the creators and writers of Mary Poppins Returns. You touched my heart and my soul, especially with that song and dance routine.

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PS  I have the soundtrack playing as I’m writing this, and I can’t stop grinning!

Victoria LK Williams

Magic or Stress?

 

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There’s a certain magic in the air when you get ready to start a new project.

Ideas are popping, seemingly out of nowhere. Your thoughts are racing in all different directions and sometimes it’s hard to rein them in for sorting. This is an exciting time for anyone about to begin something new, but especially for an author. We’re taking a simple thought, expanding and creating, until we have a story to tell.
Whether it be a romance, mystery, fantasy, thriller, or anything else; it’s something we want to create and share.
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Sometimes it’s a continuation of an old idea. For example, continuing a series, writing a sequel, or finishing a trilogy. With these type of books, we’re merely continuing an old idea. or expanding on it, making it better each time we write the next. We may or may not produce a complete outline for all the books. Whether or not we have the outline; our thoughts will continue, and ideas will spring forth.
But there’s a side to the creativity which is fearful as well. This is overwhelmingly evident for me when I start a new series. I’m leaving the comfort of the characters already created, the settings I’ve already got down pat in my head, and the storyline. But there are times when you know it’s necessary to move on. And when you move on, fear begins.
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Will my readers like my idea for the series? When do they fall in love with my characters as I do? Would I want to visit the settings created on the pages? Or will the whole thing just be a flop!
But when I start a new series, I trust my ideas and I move forward, squashing down the fear in my eagerness to get my ideas onto paper.
Not every idea will work out, or make it into a story. But once I find the idea I can’t forget, that haunts me during the day, makes me wake up at night and has me talking about it to my husband, then I know I’m ready to put the idea into book form.
I think this is why I have several series going at once. Not every idea will fit a certain series, so I create another. And with each creation, there’s an elevated level of excitement that needs to be toned down, so the words come out and make sense.

 
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Being a writer is more than just putting words on a page. It’s also about juggling ideas and letting them form with questions.
And knowing which ones to pursue.

Victoria LK Williams

Pinterest: an Authors Tool

Do you struggle to find inspiration for a new story or plot line or a blog?
I’m not talking about writers block. I’m talking about just needing that edge to move your story forward or to put a twist into it. Or maybe you need to help to describe something and you can’t quite visualize it on your own.
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What you need to realize is inspiration is all around you. Whether it be walking through art show or walking through Museum, inspiration is everywhere waiting for you to take notice. Think about it; the artist has already pinpointed the focus of the piece, they’ve even had it framed. The saying “writing is painting with words” comes to mind when I think of how these pictures have help inspire me.
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Most of us heard of Pinterest and probably used it . But it is also a great tool for the writer. For example, if you go to my storyboards, you’ll find I have storyboards for every book I’ve written, and every book I plan to write.   I drop pictures onto my board to help me keep hold of an idea, sometimes for a plot twist or an interesting fact about a character. I can go back and reuse these pictures. They can spike an idea help me describe the location, person or they can help me expand on something I already thought about.
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But before there was Pinterest, there was something called a magazine. You could find magazines everywhere. If you found you couldn’t afford to buy them, a trip to the library and would give you the opportunity to look through them. Travel, cooking, fashion, sports, hunting, the list of magazines goes on.  If you found inspiration about something new to you, the information was right in front of you.
The work of other people can give you inspiration as well. I was walking through the art gallery and I came upon a picture of a small little inlet, palm trees swaying boats bobbing in the water and a rustic old shack at the beaches edge. It was perfect for what I was thinking about. I hadn’t realized what I was looking for until I saw that picture. Getting permission from the art gallery, I snapped a quick picture and then I made notes. I would never post that picture because belongs to somebody else. Not without their permission, but it was enough to inspire me and get me over the hump.
So where have you gotten your latest inspiration from? Something you saw on the news, something you read in a magazine, or something you saw on Pinterest? Wherever you get your inspiration, don’t be afraid to run with it. However, I caution you to make sure you are not interfering with anybody else’s copy rights to the picture and you’re only using it for your own inspiration. If you need to use a picture in something you plan to post or promote with and you haven’t taken your self, pay to use it! Lawsuits are a serious problem, and besides, it’s the right thing to do! There are many sites you can purchase photos from, I use Shutter Stock.
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If writing is like painting with words, then find your inspiration and begin writing.
Paint the picture for your readers.

 

Goodbye?

Yes!  

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Well, I’ve reached my word count for the April 2018 Camp NaNo challenge. As a matter fact, I went over my word count. And that’s a great feeling of satisfaction.
But, along with that satisfaction comes the knowledge I haven’t completely finished the book. There’s still more work to do; I have to come up with my ending.
 For me, the ending is the hardest part. I know what I want my characters to do; I know how the mystery has to end. Often, I might have more than one ending in mind, and I only need to choose which one best fits the directions my characters took me in.
And even though I have this knowledge, I still find the endings are hard. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to say goodbye to my characters. They’ve become such a part of me, as I’ve written these stories. The thought of shutting the doors on their adventures is a little sad.

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But wait — that’s why I write in a series!
 I don’t have to say goodbye to my characters; they can keep having adventures– as long as I can come up with ideas. As a matter-of-fact, some of my ideas are calling for spin-off series with minor characters from the main story. Now they are branching off on their, own seeking their adventures. Isn’t that great? I’m giving myself endless possibilities for new stories. Believe me, I will never in my lifetime be able to write all the outlines I’ve come up with. Mainly because I keep coming up with new ones. But I will have fun trying.

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There’s always the next story sitting on my desk waiting for me. Sometimes I sneak into it to add a line or two of outline, or I might even write the first chapter. Sometimes an idea just grabs hold of you and have to get  it on paper. I may rewrite it later, but the ideas needs to get out of my head, and onto paper. This will free my mind to continue with the work in progress.

Meanwhile, on my desk is my current WIP, waiting for my attention.
Speaking of which, now I need to make a decision. Do I kill somebody in the story ending? Or perhaps a more gentle ending is called for, maybe a romance can work better?
See what I mean?

This is why endings are so hard for me. Because there are so many directions to take them. So, I guess I’m like my reader, I’ll have to wait until I decide which way to finish the story.

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 Or rather, my characters will tell me which way they want to go to find out their ending. 

 

VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Stolen Moments

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I think everybody has a “to do” list.
Some are short, some are long. A few might even be considered part of a bucket list rather than a to do list, but everybody’s got one. You’ve written it down are in the back of your head. We’re all busy; kids, school, work, writing. And there’s only so many hours in a day to get everything accomplished. Often things on today’s list get pushed to tomorrow, because there just wasn’t enough time.
But every occasionally, you find a stolen moment. A moment with nothing on your agenda, a moment when no one is clamoring for your attention and you can breathe.
So, what do you do with that stolen moment? Do you pull out your list and work on something else?
I think that’s what most people do. But here’s a novel concept; take that stolen moment for yourself.

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Grab a cup of coffee and go out and sit in the garden with a book you’ve been longing to read or a blank piece of paper to doodle on. Perhaps you can simply sit back, close your eyes, and do some deep breathing exercises. Not every minute, not every second has to be productive. Sometimes it’s healthier to be inactive.
Once I get over the guilt of having a stolen moment and taking it for myself, I find my mind wanders. I come up with some of the best ideas this way. Things that were in the back of my mind finally work their way forward; getting the attention they need, and yes, deserve
There used to be a time in our society when quiet moments were expected. After a long day’s you work came home, ate dinner, and had a quiet time. It might have been in the company of your family, or maybe sitting by yourself out of the back porch letting your thoughts wander. Personally, I think our minds were more stimulated because of this. We were forced to use our imagination in the days before there was a TV in every room and a phone in every hand. Everything wasn’t programmed for us on the TV or in a game.

Recently I had the opportunity for some stolen moments for myself. My husband was out of town, leaving me on my own with no obligations. It was amazing! The first thing I did? Turn the TV off. It felt weird, the house was too quiet, so I turned onto my old music to listen to. The stress and tension when out the windows.
At first, I just unwound. But then, the quiet moments led to productive thinking moments. A lot of “what-ifs” were tossing around my head about possible story lines. But rather than hurrying up and writing down an outline, I let them develop and nurture inside, without forcing them. By the second day I was ready for an outline. Because I had given the chance for the stories to form  on their own, my outline flowed from my fingers to the keyboard.

 

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Now I’m not saying you should get rid of your husband (because I really did miss him), or family, or leave your job for a week in order to be productive in your writing skills. But, if you let some stolen moments work their magic, you would be surprised at the results.
And here is an original thought: why wait for a stolen moment?
Why not set aside five or ten minutes every day for quiet time? We used to make the kids do it, at least to my house we did. Quiet time was for either book reading, or quiet play. No electronics, no TV. Set aside ten minutes for yourself every day. Develop this habit, and before you begin writing for the day, let your mind wander; almost like you’re exercising your fingers before you sit down to play the piano.

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Not being productive might be the key better production.

http://www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

 

 

Travels

Have you ever wanted to get behind the wheel of your car and just drive?

No destination, no agenda, just drive. Would you head north or southeast or west? Would you stay in your own country or would you crossover one of the borders surrounding us? Do you head north to Canada or south to Mexico? Would you stick the city roads or are you the type to try to back roads of our great country?

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Some people pass through places, not making connections. Perhaps you’ll take your time; stopping at a small diner and getting to know the people. Asking questions about their lives and finding out what their hopes are for their futures can give you not only insight about them, but ideas for stories.

Maybe you drive straight through, stopping only for necessities, to reach your destination Your answers will tell you a lot about your personality: perhaps you’re a driven person, with a goal and agenda. Or are you someone comfortable meandering through life? Neither one of them is wrong. It’s simply who you are.

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For me if I were given an opportunity I would visit the small towns and explore the countryside. It would be a perfect way to find the sights most people won’t find on the cover of a fancy travel magazine. There’s something about driving by a field of cotton or corn feeling in tune with nature, wondering when the crops will be harvested. If I found a park, I’d stop to walk the pathways, find little creeks for skipping stones when the mood takes me, and picking wildflowers as they bloom.

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This sounds idealistic, I know, but wouldn’t this be a wonderful way of life? To sit back and enjoy what God’s given us. No timetables, no time clocks, only the ability to enjoy life and help a person or two along the way.

Of course, it’s only a dream. There are too many responsibilities in our lives; bills to pay, children to raise and preparing for the future. We are sometimes too busy putting away for the future that we forget to enjoy the present, and we never really appreciate the past.

So what if we can only wander the back roads of the country on weekends? We can still enjoy our own immediate environment. I would bet right in your own hometown there are small parks you’ve never visited, views you’ve never pulled off to enjoy. If you drive a little way out of town, I’m sure there are places to find that you’ve never even imagined.

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My challenge to you? Learn to enjoy what you have around you. Get in the car and take a ride, see what’s around your own town. Or better yet; get on your bike or walk, and find what’s in your own neighborhood.

Think of the possible stories you can create from all these new experiences and locations!

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