I want to paint my front door red, or peacock-blue or maybe even black. I want to hang a swing in the middle of my office. Not one of those old, boring, wicker egg-shaped deals. I want a swing with a wide wooden seat that’s painted Tangerine Tango Orange. Oh, and the swing has to be suspended on long, thick oatmeal colored macramé ropes that are soft to the touch. Of course, my swing must be hung in a fashion that allows me ample room to pump my long legs so I can stretch my toes up towards my ceiling. And speaking of ceilings, I also want to add a skylight or two to my office, so I can see the stars while I’m enjoying my evening swing.
While I’m heading through my list of wants, I want to create the perfect fashion line that will of course be featured in the next Vogue Magazine and worn by Oprah, Emma and Reese. I wish to build a massive teak table for my office that’s big enough for me to lay out yards of fabric and tons of books I’ve yet to read by authors I’ve never heard of. I want to speak three more languages, be known as an expert on healing crystals and travel to Australia.
For a woman in her sixties I still have a lot of wants, desires and dreams. But my front door will probably remain white, my office is too small for a large table, let alone a swing. And since there is a second story comfortably resting on top of my home office – the sky lights are out. I’m creative and I do sew, but not well enough to ever be featured as a designer in any magazine. I speak English and a bit of Spanish, know a smidgen about healing crystals and have never been to Australia.
So how do I not despair and continue to power through my life with such a big list of unfulfilled dreams? I imagine, envision, research, fantasize, visualize and then… I write. In short, I give life to my dreams when I tell my stories.
When I write, I control my whole world. I have the power to bring life to any desire, curiosity or interest I might have. My characters can be fashion designers, carpenters or creative entrepreneurs. They can be rich, curious, beautiful, provocative, engaging, powerful, sarcastic, brilliant, silly or any other quality I might wish to paint them with. I’m not confined by financial restrictions, time, geography, ability, language, knowledge or skills. All of these can be addressed with a some hard-core research and quick run of my fingers across my computer keyboard. My only limitations are those created within my mind.
That’s one of the reasons why writing sometimes makes me feel giddy with power. I can do or be anything through the manipulation of words. I can paint my front door any color, have my own swing, become a famous fashion icon or anyone else that my imagination so desires. Rather than growing frustrated with my earthly limitations, I simply find the words to experience my desires through the stories I write. Even if I can’t actually physically have it all, I can imagine what it would be like.
I love to pick out something that seems totally unattainable and bring it to fruition through the plot, setting and characters who live in my stories. And since I write about the paranormal world, I have even greater freedom to pretend.
It’s all rather magical and I love it.
Summer is just around the corner and many of us have already started planning our family vacations. If you too are in the midst of gathering travel ideas, don’t forget to include your kids in the process.
Not sure how to start? It’s as simple as a trip to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local library. Find a book or two about the places you plan to visit. A well selected storybook or child focused travel book can be an invaluable tool when it comes to building enthusiasm, sparking curiosity and planting important destination facts.
Get your kids excited about where they are going and what they’ll see. Introduce them to some of the town’s historical characters, artwork, curious facts or interesting folklore. By providing them with an engaging preview of the places they’ll see, you’re more apt to get their buy in.
But don’t stop there. There are two more things you can do to make your trip all the more memorable for your child.
While on your trip, collect an age appropriate book or two at each of the sites you visit.
These books are sure to capture kid friendly info about:
• The people who live or lived there
• The geography & ecosystem
• How the state or country came to be?
• Important historical figures
• The culture
• Flowers & animal life
• Curious facts, legends & folklore
Make sure that you or your child write down on the back cover, the date and place where you bought the book. Add one thing your child found most interesting about the place. And if time allows, take a moment to read a little something from the book while you are still there. By doing so, you might just find another place of interest close by that you’s like to visit.
If the book happens to mention that Lupines fill the hillsides just outside of town, go looking for them. If the story mentions a historical site or local birds, make a point to check them out. And once you’re home, read the stories together. Encourage your kids to compare and contrasts the places you’ve been and the things you’ve all seen as a family.
Finally, consider having your child keep a travel diary. They don’t need to write a novel and this isn’t even something in which you’ll want to correct spelling or sentence structure. Just let this be a chance for your child to capture a few of their own personal memories of what they found most exciting about their trip.
Looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon next winter? Have your kids take out their books and journals, make some popcorn and sit down and share recollections of your exciting family vacation.
I knew that I needed to work on the next chapter of my book if there was any chance it would be completed by this July. But did I? Did I hit the keyboard, do a little more research on witchcraft in the 1600’s or even pick up my editing pencil to work on what I’d already written?
Instead, I sewed. I made my granddaughter bibs and blankets and stuffed bunnies. I made pot holders and hot mitts. I love to sew almost as much as I love to write and my two passions often collide with each other. Truthfully, I know I often turn to sewing when I’m stuck for an idea and I was good and stuck! I had a million directions that I wanted to take my story, but no clear path. It always seems that when I’m three quarters of the way through writing a new book, I lose speed, my focus waivers and I become fearful that my creativity is ebbing. A scary feeling indeed for any new writer like myself.
So what did I do?
I transferred all of my energy into my third passion – reading. But not just any reading. I was seeking something to jolt my spirits, inspire my creativity and get me motivated. So I want to share with you where I found it – in case you’re ever searching for something to inspire your own creativity.
Visiting Barnes and Noble with my sister, on a quest for a book about how to build a bird house, that’s creative right? – I stumbled upon WHERE WOMEN CREATE. It’s a great magazine, albeit a bit pricey, that shares the stories of truly creative modern day women. And what a great treat it turned out to be!
I savored the magazine like a fine wine. Okay, I savored it over a couple glasses of fine wine before deciding that I wouldn’t just speed read through the pages. I wanted to immerse myself in each woman’s story, take in her words of inspiration and enjoy the great photography that accompanied each story. I read an account or two each day over the next week. Of course, I soon realized that I had to replace the wine with cups of hot hazelnut coffee – my favorite – if I was going to get the full value out of this periodical.
The magazine focuses on women who express their creativity daily in a myriad of ways. It talks about what they do, where they do it and how many have been able to make a successful career using their innovative skills. They share their tricks of the trade, their frustrations and inspirations. Some seem to have realized success early on while others have worked for years to bring their dreams to fruition.
Anyway, I truly enjoyed the inspiration I found within the pages of WHERE WOMEN CREATE . These are artsy women who have created magic, many of them from their own kitchen table. The magazine is a relaxing trip through the lives of inventive, resourceful women. I can’t tell you for sure whether it was the wine, the words or the wonderful stories that inspired me to return to my writing. Whatever it was, it worked and I am back with a renewed spirit.
Oh, and guess what I else I found in the magazine? A sister series; a magazine (apron*ology). Now I can be inspired with both my writing and my sewing. Who knew?
Have a wonderful, inspired and magical day!
If you’ve never read any of my books you might not know that I love to write about spirits, ghosts, witches and the like. Over the years I’ve developed a growing curiosity about the paranormal world. I’ve filled my personal library with books on everyday spells and rituals and located several websites where I’ve come in contact with some intriguing folks. Most recently I’ve become enamored with the use of crystals and natural healing remedies as a means of tapping into our earth’s truly magical gifts. I find it all quite fascinating.
So it makes sense that I’d use some of this new found knowledge to create a mystical world of my own by writing my first series The Witches Of New Moon Beach. At least it makes sense to me, although my father (if he were still alive) would surely call me a “kook”!
Thankfully, my husband has patiently supported my interests and helped me to seek out curious sites, stores and book shops to aid in my research. And my children have done their part by alerting me to unusual stories, websites and people they’ve come in contact with.
For Christmas, my daughter jumped right into my kookiness by giving me The Ghost Tour on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California where we went this past weekend.
We were both so nervous and excited and arrived on the ship at 10:45 p.m. ready to hunt for spirits. What we didn’t know was that the guide planned on extending this evening’s event until 3:00 in the morning… a little more time in the bowels of a supposedly haunted ship than either of us were prepared for.
After lengthy instructions from our supernaturally sensitive spirit hunter – aka our guide, we set our cell phones to record and wandered the engine room; stopping occasionally to pose a question or two to any waiting spirits. Sitting in cold metal steps in the dark we asked repeatedly for any sign of spiritual existence.
Sad to say, if there were ghosts aboard, they must have been traveling in a different part of the ship. Or maybe they just weren’t very talkative that night.
By 1:15 a.m. my daughter and I were both beat and opted out of the rest of the tour. Armed with recorders, movement sensors, a compass and other data collecting devices the rest of our troop happily continued on with their supernatural investigation while we jumped in our Uber and jaunted home. I understand that we missed the best part – the haunted pool area. Oh well.
You might wonder if I thought the trip was a bust because we didn’t run into any visitors from the other side?
No way. Absolutely not. I learned a lot about collecting paranormal data, the inner workings of the Queen Mary Ship and how much people really do want to engage with the spirit world. Would I do it again? Maybe.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you – when I got up the next morning I hid out in my bedroom where listened intently to my cell phone recording of the evening before. Was that a spirit I heard softly whispering and who was that giggling in the background? Was the tapping I heard a natural mechanical sound emanating from old pipes or was it a spirit attempting to communicate with me?
I guess I’ll never know for sure, but I can tell you that no spirits followed us home and I did get some great ideas to add to my next book.
Next research investigation? The castles of Scotland.
I enjoy including interesting quotes when writing my blogs and even sometimes in my books. So I’m always looking for new ones to add. Many times I find the quotes inspirational, sometimes funny and often motivating. While I love to include comments from famous world leaders, educators and even fellow authors—I’ve rarely included any quotes offered by actors. Not that I intentionally rule them out—it’s just been that way… until today.
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
What famous human being uttered those profound words, you ask. It may surprise you to learn that the insightful thoughts were offered up by none other than Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. He said them while celebrating his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week. When asked what the recognition meant to him, he shared that it was all about family…about working hard and surrounding himself with good hard-working people…about the happiness he found in always sharing his gratitude for his friends, family and for his professional success.
His words struck me and I decided to try to put them into action. I thought—I should be more like him. It’s not that hard—after all, I can be a nicer personcan’t I? But man, during this crazy holiday season, it turned out to be a lot harder to do than I had expected.
Whether I was interacting with a cranky postal worker, a harried sales clerk or a nasty fast food server – I challenged myself to try and remember The Rock’s words…”it’s important to be nice”. It was exhausting at first and at times I had to grit my teeth and force a smile on my face. It would have been so easy to give up and succumb to my feelings of frustration and fatigue.
But once I got started, I have to tell you that I found that the tides quickly turned when I took the time to offer a kind word of understanding or gratitude when confronted with an unpleasant individual. I’m not sure if my smile and nice words embarrassed others into change or made them just stop a moment to think about how they were acting—but more than once I heard surprise, relief, and far nicer words offered back to me in place of anything negative. And it felt pretty good and rather empowering to project niceness in place of nastiness.
Thanking the grumpy postal worker for her hard work during these busy days caught her totally off guard. She actually stopped, looked me in the eye, and touched my arm as she smiled and thanked me for noticing and wished me a Merry Christmas too! I admit that I had a little more of a struggle with the store clerk who rang my sale up wrong not once, but twice. Yes, I really did want to choke her until I noticed her eyes filling with tears as she looked at the long line of unhappy folks waiting behind me. I turned around and faced the formidable crowd, smiled and said, Ain’t Christmas great! I’m sure that a few of them wanted to kill me right there, but it seemed to give the kid behind the counter enough time to figure out her mistake and to actually ring up my order correctly. I left wishing her a Merry Christmas and she sighed a thank you and squared her shoulders ready to take on the next customer with a smile on her face.
It hasn’t been easy and I haven’t been always been successful. More than once I’ve had to choose to swallow a comment with a smile rather than announce what a craptacular job I thought someone was doing. I’m glad that I happened to hear The Rock the other day and I actually appreciate the challenge he unknowingly sent my way. It’s been tough to say the least, but I’m going to keep trying to be nice…because it’s important!
Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
In the second pulse-pounding thriller in the series, Detective Gabriel McRay is once again forced to face his inner demonsMore info →
Eleven romances from New York Times, USA Today and bestselling, award-winning authors.More info →