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Tag: Amazon

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Sister Carmelita, The Fear of God and Me

June 15, 2017 by in category The Write Life, Writing tagged as , , , , , ,

The day I stood in the choir loft surrounded by my fourth grade peers I had no idea that I was about to learn a lesson in suspense, terror, fear, retribution and resolution that would lead me to a career as a thriller author.

The day was hot, air-conditioning was unheard of, and we wore our itchy, ugly, brown wool Catholic school uniforms year ‘round to save our parents money. I was a very good girl. I never drew attention to myself, folded my hands with fingers pointing heavenward when I prayed, picked up trash on the playground and helped pass out papers in class. But that day, I made a blunder that put me in Sister Carmelita’s crosshairs. As she raised her arms and positioned her baton in anticipation of another rousing chorus of a hymn I have long forgotten, I rolled my eyes. Yep, I rolled them to the back of my little ten-year-old head in frustration and exhaustion.

Sister Carmelita cut her own my way. I realize now that she had mastered the art of eye cutting because she couldn’t move her head given her the box-like wimple. Everyone stopped breathing. No one knew what I had done, only that I had done something very, very bad.

“Miss Forster.” Sister Carmelita’s voice was modulated appropriately for God’s house. “Wait after choir.”

My stomach lurched. I felt light headed. I was doomed.

Sister Carmelita is long gone. During her time on earth she faced changes in her church and her life, but I doubt she ever knew how that day changed me. So, if you’re listening, Sister, I want you to know that, 30 years later, that moment sealed my fate. I spend my days writing thrillers, trying to recapture the exquiste sense of suspense I experienced that day. Here is what you taught me:

1) Less is More: Your understated notice of me, the glitter in your eye, the sound of your voice was more intriguing, more compelling, more enthralling than screaming, railing or ranting.

2) Timing is Everything: All 29 of my classmates knew I was in trouble. I knew I was in trouble. I even knew why I was in trouble (disrespecting you, God, choir practice, country, family and all living creatures with a roll of my eyes), yet you didn’t nip things in the bud with a mere instantaneous admonition. My comeuppance was exquisitely timed. You threw in an extra hymn to extend practice, studiously ignored me, meticulously folded your sheet music as my classmates silently went down the stairs. You waited until the door of the church closed, clicked and locked us together in that big, shadowy church before you turned.

3) The Devil’s in the Details: You were taller than me (back then almost everyone was taller than me), but that wasn’t why I was afraid. It was your whole package, the details of your awesome being that were so formidable. Covered head to toe in black, your face framed by your wimple (which, by the way, looked like the vice used during the Spanish Inquisition), your hands buried beneath the scapular that fell in a perfect column to the tips of your shoes, made for quite a package. But there was more: The scent of nun-perfume (I think it was soap, but it smelled like nun-perfume to me), the clack of those huge rosary beads attached to your wide belt, the squish of your rubber soled shoes. I saw all this, I heard all this, I smelled all this and each sense was heightened because of the hush surrounding us.

I remember your methodical advance into my personal space. I remember you lowering your eyes as I raised mine. The suspense was heart-stopping, the anticipation of my penance almost unbearable. Quite frankly, you were terrifying.

But here’s the funny thing: I don’t remember how it ended. Did you scold me? Did you show mercy and forgiveness? I only remember being terrified. Like the brain of the seven year old Stephen King swears gives him inspiration for his horror books, you, Sister Carmelita, inspire every sentence I write in every thriller novel I pen. For that, I can’t thank you enough.

I also want you to know, I have never rolled my eyes at anything since then .

 

Rebecca Forster | A Slice of OrangeVisit me: http://rebeccaforster.com/

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A Namaste Revelation

March 20, 2017 by in category A Bit of Magic tagged as , , , , , ,

Woman doing yoga outsideI spent a couple of post retirement years writing full time and I had a blast. 5 books on parenting and 4 of my first fiction series – The Witches Of The New Moon Beach later, I felt fulfilled. However, I never anticipated how quickly I would gain weight and at the same time stiffen up from lack of movement. Oh sure, my fingers were regularly flying across the keyboard but my butt remained stationary for hours on end.

All three years I focused my energies on my writing. During that time I religiously avoided visiting my bathroom scale until one day when my doctor asked me to “step on up” and I froze. Yikes, I had gained ten, twenty… uh oh more pounds! What had happened? After all, I wasn’t a total slug. I had actually taken an occasional yoga class or two.

I knew that I had to make a change so I altered my eating habits, upped my yoga classes and increased my walking time. I poured myself into my black stretch pants and promised to stay faithful to my yoga master and my new found routine.

But wait! My weight gain was not my moment of enlightenment; at least not the one I want to talk about today.

Almost anyone can do yoga and I am surely an example of that. Moving from Mountain Poses to Yoga Backbends has taken some time, but I have actually started to enjoy it. I find myself centered and calmer as I leave the studio and that certainly has helped me with my writing focus. It was during one of my recent yoga sessions that I had this revelation of which I now speak.

Here it is – Practicing yoga and writing a book have a lot in common. I truly believe that as a byproduct of my self imposed, yoga packed, body limbering routine, I simultaneously improved both my body and my writing abilities!

According to the latest YOGA Journal the three segments that every yoga class should have include a slow warm up, a recognized theme and a slow cool down. Hmm, sounds similar to the elements of writing an article, story or book. 

Slow Warm Up– Just as a yoga master warms up their students through challenging stretches so do writers warm up their readers by introducing characters and locations to engage and stretch the imagination. While yoga teachers struggle to keep their students fully involved in their yoga practices – so do writers toil to keep readers connected to their story line. It’s important to mix up yoga poses and some sessions need to be more impactful than others. This is also true when writing a book. A good writer builds from scratch, keeping the action moving and creating momentum while making some passages more action packed than others. A solid warm up is critical to the success of yoga students and writers as they learn to stretch both body and mind.

Recognized Theme – While a yoga class may focus on leg stretches or balance enhancement a book must have an equally identifiable focus or theme. The writer must be able to clearly articulate a storyline. Whether completing a challenging yoga experience or typing the last words of a book, the benefits can be similar. Both can bring satisfaction -physical and mental.

Slow Cool Down – One can find a parallel between a yoga cool down session and the completion of a well written conclusion. A passionate yoga practitioner might expect to feel more limber, relaxed and properly aligned – both mentally and physically – upon completion of their workout. Upon creating a final passage, a writer could anticipate feeling mentally stretched, emotionally fulfilled and totally in tune with their thoughts. Of course, throughout the process, both activities can be potentially filled with frustration and challenge.

I found a couple of other similarities between yoga and writing. I have to work hard at both to achieve any success and neither come naturally to me. Upon completing a satisfying chapter or a fulfilling yoga class I experience a sense of calmness, mental clarity and satisfaction. Usually exhausted at the end of either, I quickly recharge. I am now fully committed to both as they bring me joy. And some of my best storyline twists and turns have actually come to me in the calm of my yoga studio.

Surely you too can add a bit of magic to your day. I would encourage anyone to take a yoga class and if your heart so desires – try writing. Over time, you are sure to find satisfaction in either or both. For me a side benefit is that the scale numbers are going down; something we can always talk about later.

Meriam
www.meriamwilhelm.com
Meriam Wilhelm
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.

I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.

I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.

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Royal Magic and The Road to Monterra: Part 2 by Jina Bacarr

July 11, 2016 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is magic what we see or what we think we see?

Find out in ROYAL MAGIC, my next The Royals of Monterra Kindle Worlds story.

I had a time of it getting all the magic tricks down, making sure I walked the characters through the steps without giving it away to the reader. The real magic was creating a girl from South Philly with an ache in her heart to make something right in her family that caused so much pain years ago…and not give the surprise away! 

I loved creating this world within Sariah Wilson’s world — I was inspired by what was magic to me when I attended La Biennale...here’s what happened:

I love it when art imitates life. When something so unexpected happens to you that you know someday it will become a story. The inspiration for Royal Magic, showed up in an email from the cultural arts committee in Venice, Italy.
Italy! Carnevale, gondolas, and pizza. 
And to think I almost deleted it. What fools we authors be. They were asking me to speak and then perform at La Biennale, a celebration of art, music, dance, film, and architecture begun in 1895.  
I had written a nonfiction book and a novel about Japanese culture and they wanted me to be on the panel with a performance artist and dancers from Japan.
Before I could say, Mama mia, I was on my way to Venice. The festival committee treated me like a princess, arranging my airfare on Air France and setting up my accommodations in a century-old hotel near Piazza San Marco with all the trappings of a grand palazzo. They even assigned me a bodyguard to make sure I got to my hotel okay. 
I’ll never forget wandering the cobblestone streets of Venice, checking out the gondolas, the exquisite shops, and so many bookstores I lost count! It soothed my romantic soul, while the people of Venice warmed my heart.
And I had the best pizza ever.
My trip to La Biennale inspired me to create my own festival in Monterra. Magic, music, and Monterran cuisine seemed a natural fit for a kingdom located so close to Italy. And so my series within The Royals of Monterra Kindle Worlds, “Fairy Tales & Magic,” was born.
In the first book, Royal Magic, you’ll meet Afton, who performs on the aerial silks, and her sister Emma. Sparks fly when Afton meets a handsome magician who isn’t what he seems. We also meet four other American girls who come to Monterra to perform at the festival . . . each hoping to find her prince and live her own fairy tale!
I hope you enjoy Royal Magic. Ciao!
PS — here’s a video I made about my trip to La Biennale in Venice, Italy!


Royal Magic inspired by La Biennale, Venice, Italy from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com
  ================
 

Love_Me_Forever_500x798
LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.
 
I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author

https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
www.pinterest.com/jbacarr
https://instagram.com/jinabacarr/ 
https://vimeo.com/user216350

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How Kindle Scout set me off on the Road to Oz…I mean, Monterra by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2016 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever slipped on a pair of shoes that fit perfectly?

Soft, dreamy leather. Straps not too tight.

Heels not too high. You don’t want to feel like you’re about to go over a cliff.

I have.

And get this, it’s a glass slipper. 

When I entered my Civil War time travel romance, LOVE ME FOREVER, in the Kindle Scout program*** I didn’t realize there was a technicolor ending in my future.

I went to Oz.

I mean, Monterra.

When Sariah Wilson asked romance KS winners if we’d like to write in her Royals of Monterra Kindle World, I jumped at the chance. I love princess stories (check out my Princess video!) I wrote ROYAL DARE about Princess Violetta, who appears in Sariah’s ROYAL DATE. Violetta has a drug problem so I sent her to rehab. But getting clean ain’t easy…even for a princess

Can she make it through rehab?

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing Royal Dare is the fact that several addiction recovery

sites have discovered the novel and follow me on Twitter. I hope Violetta’s story encourages those who need help to seek it out.

I loved writing in Sariah’s KW so much, I decided to write another story, but on a much lighter subject.

Magic.

ROYAL MAGIC will launch with Sariah’s next Royals of Monterra book, ROYAL GAMES.

Royal Magic is the story of a girl from South Philly with a dream to become an aerial silks performer, but there’s a dark secret in her past that keeps her from her goal.

Until she’s invited to perform at the arts festival in the kingdom of Monterra for the royal family in Fairy Tales & Magic: Magic, Music & Monterran Cuisine. There she meets a handsome, mysterious magician who’s not what he seems…

Royal Magic will launch along with Sariah’s Royal Games and new Royals of Monterra stories from other talented writers on July 8th!’

I’m almost finished with the cover, so I’ll update this page as we get closer to the launch.

I’m enjoying my road trip to Monterra and plan to do more Royals of Monterra books after Royal Magic. And to think it all started with Kindle Scout…

~Jina

***You can read my previous posts about my experience with the Kindle Scout program by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5


The Princess and the Stilettos for Valentine’s Day from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.


The Princess and the Magic Shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com
  ================
 

Love_Me_Forever_500x798
LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.
 
I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author

https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
www.pinterest.com/jbacarr
https://instagram.com/jinabacarr/ 
https://vimeo.com/user216350

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