Tag: inspiration

Home > ArchivesTag: inspiration

Strange Inspirations

March 6, 2022 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

I’m writing. I’m always writing, and I’m committed to write several more books that I’m working on, both mystery and romantic suspense, which is a good thing.

Even so, my mind is always churning around new ideas. Yours too? If you’re an author, that’s undoubtedly the case.

So what are some of my oddest inspirations these days? Well, for one thing, someone was attacked on my very nice residential street recently. I learned a little of what it was about, thanks to neighbors and others, and looked it up on the internet. The information wasn’t complete, but it did get my mind considering what I could do to fix that in a fictional story. But not yet.

Then there’s a neighbor who has an affiliation with the Ukraine. No, though I feel highly sympathetic and concerned about the Ukranian people, I don’t think I want to write about that. But still—I’m a writer, so my mind churns about that too.

I’ve already mentioned how I’ve wondered about writing something including the pandemic—or not. Yes, in a way that could also be an inspiration.

Inspirations that are fun instead? Well, we’re awaiting a new puppy to be a companion to our dog Cari. We lost her former companion Mystie last year. Not sure how Cari will feel about not being an only dog again when the time comes—and my mind churns about writing something in anticipation.

Then there was the fact that we were babysitting our grandsons recently in Indiana, in the snow—leaving warm California behind. Delightful to be with them, and even dealing with the snow. Is there a story in that?

How about you? What in your life or neighborhood inspires you to write?  Anything? Everything?

Linda O. Johnston

A Few of Linda’s Books

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published 52 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels.  More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.  Her latest release is Colton 911: Caught in the Crossfire, for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

She has also written several mystery series including  the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  Nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!

Linda enjoys hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.LindaOJohnston.com and friend her on Facebook.

BAD TO THE BONE

Buy now!
BAD TO THE BONE

BEAGLEMANIA

Buy now!
BEAGLEMANIA

BEAR WITNESS

Buy now!
BEAR WITNESS
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

Buy now!
COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

Buy now!
GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

HOUNDS ABOUND

Buy now!
HOUNDS ABOUND

PICK AND CHEWS

Buy now!
PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

Buy now!
PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

Buy now!
SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

THE MORE THE TERRIER

Buy now!
THE MORE THE TERRIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

Buy now!
TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

Buy now!
TRAINED TO PROTECT
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

UNLUCKY CHARMS

Buy now!
UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

Buy now!
VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

0 0 Read more

A LOVE STORY

February 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , ,

45 Years and CountingWe are fresh off Valentines Day, so I thought I’d share a little love story.

In November ,2021 we traveled to Albania – a country we fell in love with ten years ago and where our youngest son now lives – and to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Our son arranged the party and the details were kept secret. On the day of the party we were picked up by a driver who didn’t speak English, could barely understand my few words of Albanian, and seemed confused as to his destination. Finally, the car turned up a dark and winding road and delivered us to our party destination—an ancient castle.

People we didn’t know greeted us like old friends; those who didn’t speak English blessed us in their language. We danced for five hours to Turkish and Albanian music with a little Roy Orbison and The Doors thrown in for good measure.

That night was  joyous, exciting, and exactly the kind of adventure my husband and I love. But it wasn’t until I was back home and writing again, that I understood what made the trip so magical. It was like a good book long in the making. My husband and I had 45 years of a backstory, so our sons had a lot of information to draw on. They intimately understood our individual characters and loved us quirks and all. They also had an appreciation for drama, and pitch perfect pacing. Together they crafted the perfect narrative with a very happy ending.

I’m going to remember that night forever. I will also remember the lessons I learned because of it.  If I love my characters, so will my readers; if I’m excited by the adventure, the reader will be too. I’m not sure if my books are as perfect as our anniversary adventure, but the fun is in trying to make them so.

Stay tuned for the sequel, watch out for the next book. Meanwhile, happy belated Valentines Day. Here’s to the next chapters of all of our love (and life)stories.

0 0 Read more

Are You Giving It Your All? by Kitty Bucholtz

February 9, 2021 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz tagged as , , ,

I went through a bad burnout period a couple years ago that took me nearly two years to recover from, so I got used to treating myself very gently during my recovery. I tried to give myself the compassion I would give my best friend. In fact, even the compassion I would give a stranger would be better than how I had gotten used to treating myself!

So I was surprised to find myself hearing over and over this idea of — am I truly giving this writing life my all?

It’s a growth mindset and I’ve been feeling myself itching to move from a stable recovery back into growth again. That’s probably why I kept noticing — but quite possibly it was also a matter of hearing what I need when I’m ready. I think God was pushing me to consider some areas of my writing life anew.

I “accidentally” had a Disney movie with Mark Wahlberg on in the background while I was working last week — “Invincible” about a professional football player who was a bartender and former teacher the week before. He was waiting to find out he was cut from the try-outs, but he didn’t get cut. However, the coach yelled at him during the first game that he needed to start giving 100% or he was out.

That was such an inspirational movie that I turned on “Miracle,” which I had already seen a couple times (meaning: so I could work and ignore it, use it as background noise), about the US Olympic hockey team that beat Russia back before they started using professional players. Again, the coach was incredibly tough on those college students, pushing them to give 100% or get out.

Trying again to turn on something I could ignore, I put on “The Blind Side.” Again, I’d seen it several times, didn’t have to get caught up in the story, and I genuinely dislike American football so…ignore, right? But these stories aren’t about sports so much as they’re about the underdog doing more than they think they can.

Fully inspired now, I turned on “The Rookie” today and specifically looked for the most inspiring parts because…the movies weren’t the only things reaching out for my attention.

We’re having a prayer and fasting week at church so I’ve been praying specifically over my writing business. The Bible verse in my Bible app was about — “are you trying hard enough?” The devotional there led me to a book about creativity (The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus), and the excerpt on Amazon ended with the author asking himself if he was trying enough, praying enough, expecting enough.

Then, because apparently God wanted to be very clear that He’s talking to me and didn’t want me to think some of these things were coincidences, I opened up a devotional book (My Utmost For His Highest) I hadn’t read in a couple years and turned to today, February 9. At this point, I can’t say I was shocked to discover it was asking, “have you given all you have?” And it reminded me to stay aware of my “why” — why am I doing what I’m doing? Because that’s what will keep me going.

By the time I’d had all of these things filling my brain, I was full of questions. Am I giving all I have? Am I giving 100%?

And you know what I decided my answer was? No.

Even though I’ve been working 6 days a week, and 3 nights, too, every week for months to build my writing and coaching business, I’d say I’m giving about 98%. Like Vince, the teacher-turned-bartender-turned-professional-football-player in “Invincible,” there is a small part of my mind that isn’t sure I can do this and is ready to lead the way out when I fail. (Vince was sitting on his bed with his duffle packed waiting for the knock telling him to go home, he was cut.)

Like Vince, it’s easier to say, “Look how far I’ve come, I should be proud of my accomplishments,” and have my duffle bag packed and ready for when someone points out that I’ve failed to build this business but boy, you sure tried hard.

But like the coaches in those movies, and the writer of the Bible verse, and the writer of the devotional — someone is pushing me to just believe and give that last 2%. Because it will change everything!

I was an A student in school. While I tried to get 100% on tests just for the fun of it (and for my pride), I was happy to get a 90 or 95 or whatever other number gave me the highest grade. Sadly, being an A student doesn’t prepare you as well as being a C student. I didn’t learn to work for it; I learned that 98% is generally more than enough.

But 98% is not enough in professional sports.

And apparently Someone is trying to show me that 98% is not going to be enough to achieve what I very much want to achieve.

I genuinely and passionately want to write books that change people and change the world, and I absolutely want to help others finish and publish books that do the same.

But it’s going to take 100% of me to do that.

What are you thinking about right now? What do you need to give 100% to?

0 0 Read more

And Then Comes. . .

February 6, 2021 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

A post from our archives . . .

For the last couple of months, my posts here included some of my take on what was happening with the Corona virus and how it was affecting my life–and how the changes had become my new normal.

Then there’s the economy, and all the people suffering because we mostly need to stay at home.  Businesses are closing. People are losing their jobs. Where’s the money??

My new normal now also includes worrying about the protests occurring in many places in our country–including areas of Los Angeles, which is where I live.  Oh, I sympathize with the protesters who are out there marching peacefully against racial inequality. The death that precipitated it all this time shouldn’t have happened.  But now looters are using the protests as an excuse to get out there, break into stores, and steal a lot.  And injure others. A lot of businesses in areas near me that haven’t experienced the riots are all boarded up, just in case.

And now here, and in other blog posts I’ve done, I’m wondering what’s next.

I’m writing, of course.  Right now I’m working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I keep thinking about the second one I wrote, when much of the action was precipitated by an earthquake–Colton First Responder.

Are we due for an earthquake as yet another major issue in our existence, like a pandemic and riots? After all, as I said, I live in Los Angeles. And there was an earthquake worth noting in Ridgecrest, a location not far from here, this week.

Other areas may be deluged with hurricanes or other storms.

Or will our next problem–no, read “disaster”–involve something else?

Well, I am a writer and my imagination never stops.  And I keep telling it to calm down and imagine instead what things will be like when there’s at least a small semblance of a return to normal.

Although what normal will be next…?

Anyway, I hope that all of you who are reading this are well and safe and not subject to any of those or any other major issues.

Who knows? Next time I post here, things may be quite different… again!


A Few of Linda’s Books

BAD TO THE BONE

Buy now!
BAD TO THE BONE

BEAGLEMANIA

Buy now!
BEAGLEMANIA

BEAR WITNESS

Buy now!
BEAR WITNESS
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

Buy now!
COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

Buy now!
GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

HOUNDS ABOUND

Buy now!
HOUNDS ABOUND

PICK AND CHEWS

Buy now!
PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

Buy now!
PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

Buy now!
SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

THE MORE THE TERRIER

Buy now!
THE MORE THE TERRIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

Buy now!
TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

Buy now!
TRAINED TO PROTECT
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

UNLUCKY CHARMS

Buy now!
UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

Buy now!
VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

0 0 Read more

Dear Extra Squeeze Team, Should I Quit Writing?

October 31, 2020 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , , , ,

Dear Extra Squeeze Team,

It feels like the entire world is telling me to quit writing…is this normal and what should I do? Should I quit writing?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

I am tempted to sit down beside you and just cry.

Instead, I’m going to tell you to buck up, bucko!

I know, I hated hearing that too, but we’ve all been there, done that. Instead of being the company misery loves, I’ll offer this. I sold my first three books and then spent years trying to sell another one. When I finally figured out what was wrong, there was no stopping me. I also had a good friend who was rejected 40 times, and when she finally sold a book her career took off. Every writer’s struggle is different and how we deal with it is too.

In my case, I defaulted to my comfort zone — analysis. I certainly could put a sentence together, but when I reread my rejection letters, I realized my storytelling was lacking. Instead of flying by the seat of my pants as I had early on, I now sought out ways to educate myself about structure. I also realized I was afraid to delve into my characters. They were cookie cutter, and I needed to be more invested in their lives. I asked myself if I was writing in the correct genre. When the answer was no, and I switched genres my career turned around. Finally, I asked myself if I understood the publishing businesses well enough to navigate it.

The bottom line was this I needed to learn a craft. Writing isn’t just something that happens magically. You need to stretch your creative and business muscles, learn the game, and then make it your own. Information is out there. Embrace it, understand it, and use it. If you’re having trouble being objective about your own work, seek out an editor. If you can’t afford an editor, find a mentor. If you can’t find a mentor, find a friend who loves to read and who is very honest to give you feedback. If the world is telling you to quit, figure out why, and then show the world they were wrong.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

Do your level best to ignore those negative feelings —there’s probably few writers who haven’t felt doubt. Keep writing. Everyday. Storytelling is a craft and like every craft it takes practice to perfect. Rejection is a part of that process and is often the most instructive tool a writer can receive: why was the work rejected? Work on strengthening the weaknesses that caused the rejection. Same with healthy criticism.

 

Simple is not always easy, but it really is simple. If you want to write, then there is nothing that will stop you. Just keep on writing and improving, writing and improving even more.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


Yes, it’s normal.

Commercially speaking, it’s very hard to know when to listen to the world and when to defy it. Sometimes great works are never appreciated until decades later.

Outside of money, if you feel you have to write, then it doesn’t matter what the world thinks. Most writers find their fingers tapping away at something regardless of negative reviews, poor sales etc. It has to be a hobby you enjoy before anything else.

 

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

Welcome to the world of writing.

It is completely normal to feel, from time to time, that this world has conspired against you and that it is secretly or not-so-secretly telling you to quit writing. This quitting option seems to present itself at critical moments repeatedly while creative people are wandering up the road less traveled.

When you feel this kind of despair, you have two simple choices: quit or don’t quit. If you decide to quit, perhaps you can imagine that the quitting is just for a while, not forever. Sometimes quitting for a period of time can be a pretty good choice if you are exhausted and burned out.

But, I would hope that you might choose to not quit. If you choose to carry on instead of quitting, perhaps you could take this juncture to step back for a moment and evaluate what is happening to make you feel this way.

Perhaps you have surrounded yourself with naysayers. If so, get away from them. Perhaps you have driven yourself to exhaustion with self-demands of perfection or self-expectations of production. If so, get some help from someone who can objectively reset those goalposts with you.

Everyone goes through stages and phases of battle weariness when fighting the unknown. Writers face a lot of unknowns and the most intense moments typically happen right before a breakthrough.

The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

If you have a question for The Extra Squeeze Team, use our handy dandy contact form.

0 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>