Hope

At this point in the writing journey or year, many are burning out, dwindling and losing hope of finding time, money, encouragement, motivation, etc.

Part of my knew site is to provide you with encouragement and motivation as you travel along your journey. So every other week will be a focus word with details and motivation for you on that word.

Today’s word is Hope.

Some definitions of hope are:

Wiki

– an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

Dictionary.com

– the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best

– a person or thing in which expectations are centered

– to believe or look forward to with sister and reasonable confidence.

Now, the reason for the definition is to give you different aspects of the word, not to create a sense of stupidity or agitation. Hope has many ways it is looked at and I wanted you to see many of them.

You may be going though a tough time right now, but hope is what makes humans, human. It’s what keeps us go day after day, continuing with the things we love and the things we hate. Life is built on hope.

Now there are different ways to view hope:

~ In a goal-oriented way – where hope is centered around the goals you make and whether or not you achieve your goals. “I hope I accomplish my goals today”

~ In the Journey we take – throughout our journey we come across things that cause us to “hope” for a better solution to our problems. The hope that there is a better way.

– Beliefs – As things in life become difficult to handle, hope is there to create a sense of peace and acceptance. Providing hope when all else seems lost.

I believe Emily Dickenson said it best when she stated:

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

                                                           — Emily Dickinson
Allow that ‘thing’ to continue its tune, don’t fight what hope has put on your heart to achieve or overcome. Let it fill you to the point of overflow, allowing it to pass from you to those around you. Sometimes the best gift you can give is hope.
What is it that you are hoping right now? What is it that you are hoping to achieve, or overcome? 
Me ~ I am hoping I can catch up on my goals since I am a bit behind. That I can create a place for people to come and be encouraged, motivated, and inspired to achieve the dreams they’ve put in front of them.
What about you?

One Last Thing…

Are you looking for a new series to start? Looking for a great read(s) where the characters are battling to keep hope alive as they journey along the path set before them?

I’ve just finished revising book 1 of the Conquer the Darkness Series. And as an added bonus I’ve created the prequel as well. Both Free to download.

 

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A young boy, smart beyond his years is kidnapped for his research. The family left behind falls apart as they each handle the loss in their own way. He must stay alive to be saved by the brother who promised he would always be there for him.

 

 

 

 

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A young nurse finds out that her accident was not accident at all. Determined to find out the details forces her to face her past. With the help of new friends and an unexpected ally she faces her demons and finds out more about her herself than she ever thought possible. 

 

 

 

Download both Free and enjoy a new tale of those overcoming obstacles, finding hope in the every day, and defeating those who would do them and those close to them harm.

Join the Journey and Experience the Adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

Events For Readers

As an author I am alway thinking of ways to engage my readers, to give back to those who support and read my work. Well today I wanted to give you, the reader, more than just books to read.

After doing a quick search, I realized there are so many events for readers and writers alike and I want to share some with you.

Conferences:

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Title: Readers & Writers

Locations: Seattle, WA & Tampa, FL

Dates: July 14 (WA) & August 25 (FL)

About: Meet Authors and Models from all over the world with an after party to enjoy

For More Information:readerswritersevents.com

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Title: Penned Con

Locations: St. Louis, MO

Dates: Sept 20-22

About: Keynote Speakers, informative panels, workshops, book signings with over 150 authors, parties, and so much more!

For More Information:Pennedcon.com

Retreat:

cfrr_2019 ReadersReg Now Open

Title: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Date: 2018 is closed, Registration is open for April 5-6, 2019

About: This is a one day event gathering of Christian Fiction readers and authors. There will be featured speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship along with author signings.

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, enjoy giveaways and free books!

For More Information: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

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Title: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Date: 2018 is closed, April 2019

About: This is a one day event for readers to meet authors, have lunch, play games, and possibly a party or two!

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, book signings and more!

For More Information: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Book Fair:

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Title: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

Location: Reno, NV

Date: May 15-20

About: If you are an author, reader, or anywhere in between there is something here for you to enjoy. From crafting your writing, to book events, to themed parties, there is something for everyone!

For More Information: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

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Title: Book Expo America

Location: New York City, New York

Date: May 30 – June 1

About: More business related for meet and greet for authors, booksellers, distributors, literary agents, publishers and more. Build relationships that last!

For More Information: Book Expo America

Other:

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Title: Romance Writers of America “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

Location: Denver, CO

Date: July 21

About: A two hour free event, where the public is welcome to purchase books for a good cause.

For More Information: RWA “Readers for Life” Literary Autographing

Create Your Own:

There are many ways you can create your own reader events. Here are some I’ve thought of:

Book Clubs – These are pretty self explanatory as we have seen, heard or even participate in one.

Book Parties – Whether is a lunch party or a themed party based on a book, genre, or story, these can entertain readers for hours.

Giveaways – Also self explanatory, but you could always get creative and offer something unusual, but still book related. Perhaps an object used in the book or crazy author swag.

Scavenger Hunts – This is something I enjoyed greatly. Authors come together to create a scavenger hunt for readers to participate in for prizes. They can search within a series, within blog posts, or within the author website if a single author is performing the event. Have your readers find words to create a short story, a popular sentence, or anything else your creative mind can come up with.

Game Day – Something my family does each weekend is play board games. Search out games that are within the same genre, location, characters, etc . and play games to have some fun. One of my favorite games is called Shadows Over Camelot where you have to work together to defeat different battles from the tales of King Arthur. (One of my favorite tales!)

Extras:

Looking for more? I’ve got you covered! There are so many more than I could list here so below are links to many more for you to enjoy!

Romanced Redefined

African American Literature Book Club

Book Events By State

13 Literary Events for Readers

Know of any more events for writers to add to this list? Any other ways to engage readers with fun activities? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!

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My Progress so Far…

One quarter gone… Where did the time go?

We are now one quarter of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

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Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I would like to say that I am progressing here, but it is definitely slow going as I am in the process of revising book one of the Conquer the Darkness Series due to a publishing conflict.
  • Book 4 is still in the editing stages due to the revision of book one
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked.

~ Some life events took precedence this quarter and I’ve gotten a bit behind here, but never fear, I’ll get back on track bringing you awesome stories and fantastic content!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I have read three of the twelve books, so I am behind one book. The last book I read was really hard for me to get through and caused me to put it down for several days at a time before picking it back up.

~ Now that I am through that one, I’m ready to pick another and forge ahead!

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go!

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • Again I’ve done research and have a goal of getting qualified readers for my Beta group, but have yet to gain actual people to be in the group. So, now I ask you… would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Yet another area I’ve worked on very little. I’ve signed up for Scribofile, which is on-line critiques of your work, but you have to critique and gain points before you can publish your own work to be critiqued.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up here.

           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, may get this up before scheduled!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve complete three already and it’s only been four months!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well, and I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable!

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A Story Grows as a Plant Grows

Spring is upon us and we are beginning to ready our garden for seeds/spuds. Yep, we are adding potatoes to our garden this year!! I can’t wait!

Since my little man loves gardening and all things that breath life, I am dedicating this post to him. Not to mention it’s his birthday today, so Happy birthday buddy! If not for him, my thought process would have skipped over this topic and on to the next.

Anyway, as we are deciding on seeds and what to plant where, my author mind took hold and contemplated as I often do… how a story is similar to a plant and how it grows.

Here is what I’ve noticed:

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The Seed:

The seed in the story is, and you’ve probably guessed this… the spark of inspiration. That first initial thought of “Wow, this could be something great!” or “I’ve got to write this down, this would make such a great story!” And you’re probably right! 😉

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Germination:

This is where your story gets interesting, where it takes root as you write notes, plot, gather ideas for characters, settings, plot, conflict and the journey your characters will explore. The story will stretch it’s roots creating the beginning of something awesome!

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Growth:

As plants need nourishment, so to does the author. As a plant battles nature with weather, animals, and even humans, you to will discover the hardships of writing your story. Doubt, distraction, writer’s block, discouragement are all things we face as writers, but as the plant holds firm, you will too.

Find encouragement in others, inspiration in words and enjoyment in your characters, your setting and your plot twists to keep you motivated. Some plants may take days to flower while other take months or even years, but they WILL flower.

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Polination:

This is the part of your story where you get down to the nitty gritty. As bees pollinate the flowers, you must go from place to place researching your story further with interviews, history, occupations, folklore, or whatever topic is in need of researching for your specific story. Enjoy this journey and have fun with it!

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Reproduction:

Reproduction is the act of bring things together to create a new and exciting being. In the same sense, you bring all the components together from your notes, research, interviews, and more to create a new and fascinating tale. The journey of the characters, the realism of the settings, relationships and conflict as they move along their path create something people are dying to read!

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Spreading the Seeds:

Spread the seeds! Are you ready to enter the realm and start again with a series or did you discover a new tale while writing this one? Keep going with characters your readers love and create their story. Create your tale so that readers are coming back for more and sparking that seed of inspiration in others writers who dream to be where you are.

 

What do you think? Ever sit and think, “This is so much like writing!” What have you noticed around you that you could relate to the writing process? Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

What Can’t You Live Without?

During the last few weeks my husband has been on vacation and I’ve been traveling down to my sisters for watch her children while they were out of town because… I’m an awesome sister.

With all the traveling, I’ve had to cut down access to my work to my IPad and my phone, which got me thinking… If you had to pick on thing, what is one that you could not live without. Let me know! I would love to hear from you. I’ll include my answers here, in green (my favorite color 😉 )

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The One Thing: ___________________________

My Answer: Pencil/pens

Why? What’s special about it: _____________________________________

My Answer:  They are the most versatile utensil. As long as you have something to write on – paper, napkin, journal, flyer, whatever you can find, you can write

I bet you were thinking I was going to choose my IPad… what I have found while traveling the last few weeks is that my IPad and phone need to be charged, sometimes I need WiFi, and that where is going back to basics comes in handy. When inspiration strikes, if you have a pencil/pen you can grab something, anything nearby to write it down on for later contemplation. So, what’s yours?

Ok, not that we got that out of the way, why don’t I make this a bit more fun and give you some categories for other things you can’t live without:

General Item:

A general item you tend to keep handy, just in case…

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Answer: __________________________

My answer: Sweater – I’m the type of girl who can’t go long without getting cold.

Sweater with a cup of hot chocolate… even better!

On your desk:

The one thing one your desk that doesn’t include your computer, keyboard, mouse or other electronic…

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Griffin Candle: What better inspiration than an item from your chosen genre? He sits on my desk and watches me type everyday without a word, but ever encouraging.

The one electronic:

Ah, here’s the electronic… what is the one you can’t live without?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer:  I guess I would have to say my iMac – I purchased it last year and I’m loving it! It has all my projects, graphics, social media, plans, etc all in one place and even if it can’t travel. I know my stuff will be there when I return. 

Social Media:

With all the social media outlets out there, which one could you not live without?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: I would have to say Patreon, not only can I post blog posts, it’s an easy way to offer more to readers, fans and audiences for their support while still providing awesome content.

Music:

What type of music or music platform could you not live without while working?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: I usually listen to Pandora while I work and my favorite channel to listen to is “Song of the Lonely Mountain” from The Hobbit. My genre is romantic fantasy adventure, so it fits. 

Snack:

What is one snack you can’t live without while working? or do you not snack while working. I’m always snacking on something… I guess my brain associates writing with food so I’ve now got a few healthy snacks on my desk while I write.

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Oh, this one is a bit harder, I really love something with pieces I can just pop into my mouth and keep working. What I’ve been choosing lately is cereal. Fruit in the Middle Mini Wheats. Love those! 

Writing Utensil:

What writing utensil can you not live without? Mechanical pencils? No. 2 pencils? Colored pencils? Black pens? or my personal favorite… Colored pens?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Well, here is something that doesn’t take any thought whatsoever. Colored Pens! Yep, I am one of those people who gets excited when she receives pens as a stocking stuffer, colored pens – even better! 

 

Have others to add to the list? Comment and let me know so I can add them and give my answers! Go ahead and comment, I would love to hear your answers.

Patreon Benefits

Patreon Benefits For Authors and Writers

Nothing is better for Authors and writers than gaining the support of their readers. Whether that is liking posts, reading their books, writing reviews, critiquing their work and more. Let’s talk about another platform that you could be utilizing to support your favorite writer, author or creative entrepreneur. Yep, I’m talking about Patreon! I’ve noticed that quite a few artists and creatives have begun to use Patreon for various reasons:

Communication ~

As with blogs, social media and websites Patreon connects with them all to offer another platform to communicate with fans, readers and audiences from all over.

  • Not only do they provide a way to keep readers up to date with posts, it also allows you to create additional content for those that become a patreon of your page.
  • Connect your website and social media sites to provide more ways to find you and what you are posting.
  • One thing that I love about this site it the fact that you can provide an Intro Video, giving your readers, fans and audiences a face and personality to go along with the person they are supporting.
  • There is the ability to provide additional information with adding graphics and video into your posts.

Community ~

Community is an important part of any creatives repertoire. With Patreon you can build a community with others just as amazing as you!

  • Like, comment, follow and support others like-minded creatives who love the same things as you
  • Or ones who don’t! Inspiration comes from everywhere
  • Communicate with creatives in your field such as graphic designers, cover artists, marketers and more!
  • There is no limit when you are surrounded by others who are working toward a similar goal.

Linking ~

Patreon, like many other sites allow you to connect to your other sites for better conversion rates and communication.

  • Link your website (and don’t forget to add that on your posts along with your author page)
  • Link your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Twitch for gamers)
  • Don’t forget you can add links in any of your posts!

Patreon Extras ~

Man, did I forget to mention the rewards… and more?

  • If you visit most patreon pages, the right hand side is a column of rewards for becoming a patreon member. You could receive anything from Patreon Only posts to free goodies and more!
  • Also, if you are an Author, you can offer a reward section for early releases or sneak peeks of your work!
  • There are many things to provide as rewards
    • Sneak peeks
    • ARC
    • Short stories
    • Author Merchandise/Swag
    • Coupons/Discounts
    • And more!

If you are thinking of starting a Patreon page (or supporting a journeying author) check out Patreon or My Patreon page to find out more.

Creating and Planning Characters

I posted on social media last week about how you come up with your character’s names and that got me thinking how I create and plan my characters. And because I love to share, I thought I would post it here to provide an inside to my thought process and possibly help those who are struggling in some areas.

So, let’s dig in.

Naming my Characters:

When I start a new story, I tend to have an idea for the main character in mind before the story actually starts or is planned out. What they look like, their personality, etc. Whether the character is timid and will grow in strength, or they are strong, but realize that showing weakness makes them human. Or maybe something different all together.

So, then comes naming my character(s). I really don’t like writing a story and not knowing my character’s name. It seems so impersonal. So, I think of a name and I tend to use the same technique to come up with their identity.

Letter(s):

I tend to, well I can’t say tend to, because I alway have a letter or a few letters in mind for the beginning of the first name. It’s hard to explain how that works, but I think of the characters, how I want them to be portrayed throughout the story, and a letter usually presents itself.

I will use the characters of my Conquer Series for examples:

  • R – Raylynn
  • B – Blessing
  • J – Jazzmine
  • B – Brandon
  • J – Jynx
  • K- Knight

Syllables:

As with the letters, I usually know how many syllables the character’s name will have. Most do have two syllables with a nickname, while others have one or even three. Again, I can’t explain this, but I know how I want the names to work, so why not know their syllables? 😉 I didn’t realize it, but most of the names fit the characters so well they actually tell something about the characters.

Examples:

Raylynn, who’s nickname is Ray can be a “ray of light” (You’ll have to read it to get that one 😉 )

Blessing, who doesn’t realize she is not a nuisance or burden, she is a blessing

Jazzmine, well her personality fits her nickname.

And these were totally unintentional!

Visuals:

My next step is to find a visual for my characters, a picture to put with the name. I use sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to find my photos, because most likely I’ll be using them to create their covers and photos from those site are completely royalty free.

Here are some example of photos I’ve found and how I used them:

Raylynn:

b7830-jazzmine2bfinal-2        pexels-photo-247203

Jazzmine:

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I may change their features a bit to fit the character better, but usually there isn’t much that needs to change. They are quite similar to what I’m looking for in my characters.

Physical Description:

This is one area I do stick to the norm and fill out a list of descriptive qualities such as:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Build
  • Skin tone
  • Distinct feature(s)
  • Clothing
  • Age

Visit my Writing-Education or Writing- Character Inspiration pinterest page for great ideas to help in these areas!

Personality:

This is another area I have a list for:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Personal Goals
  • Struggles/Challenges
  • Accomplishments
  • Future Expectations
  • Future Reality
  • Internal and External conflicts
  • Quirks
  • Flaws
  • Secrets
  • Pet peveves
  • Personality type (I use the list from 16personalities.com)
  • Character archetype (I use The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden)
  • One more thing I add to this category is their Ability. Most of my characters have some sort of power that makes them who they are so I mention that here.

Now the characters may not fit the personality or archetypes exactly, but that gives you a chance to use that as weaknesses or lessons they’ll learn throughout your story.

Habits/Mannerisms:

This is where I list quirks, things they do that make them… them. Make them real. (Link previous post) Things like running their hands through their hair, tapping their chin, tapping their fingers when their arms are crossed. Maybe they carry something with them always or rely on something for security.

Background:

Here is where you can add things like:

  • Family
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Brief Life History
  • This is where I like to give a little about how they ended up where they currently are when the story begins as well.

Looking Forward:

This is where I like to give a little about the Character and where they will end up at the end of the book. It’s not a bad I idea to know where your characters will be by the end of their tale.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Anything I don’t have you think I should? What do you have and how do you plan your characters? I would love to hear from you!

Is Your Story Real

Is Your Story Real?

One of the best parts of the weekends is sitting down to spend time with my family and last weekend was no different, except we decide to do a Hobbit/LOTR (extended versions) marathon, which fried my eyes by watching TV for two days straight, but it was totally worth it!

Let me tell you why:

Relaxation:

With the Holidays at an end, we are still feeling the fatigue of the run around. Next week I will be traveling back and fourth to my sisters house which is two hours one way to watch her kids, then back again to watch them again two weeks after.

So, we decided to do something fun and relaxing since my husband will not be accompanying me.We had been discussing that we spend way to much on snacks for game/movie days so I spent a few hours Friday afternoon baking. Yes, I know. I hate baking, but it was worth it and I didn’t burn anything so that’s a plus. (If you know me, I am not a baker, my twin on the other hand is. She had to mark her calendar for this!)

I made four loaves of banana bread (my favorite and my kids apparently, because they ate three of them before I got a slice!), two loaves of white bread, four loaves of garlic bread with pasta sauce, three batches of Peanut Butter balls and three batches of chocolate/peanut/coconut bark. (I have a sweet tooth).

So I made all this from scratch (except the pasta sauce which is still in the works, but that my husband’s project) and set it out to munch while we watched our movies. What is better than watching movies than watching them with your favorite comfort foods?!

Inspiration:

Now we chose The Hobbit and LOTR because they are our favorite, and they provide inspiration to an author when stuck on a scene, or story line, character, or… anything really. There are so many great quotes, ideas, and characters. You really can’t go wrong with this series.

So many fantastic quotes came from these series:

“I miss my books and may armchair, and my garden. That’s home.” ~ Bilbo Baggins

“These are Rosgobel Rabbits. I’d like to see them try.” ~ Radagast the Brown (This is my favorite!)

“Mithrandir… Why the hafling?”

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don’t know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” ~ Galadriel and Gandalf the Grey

“I can not do this, Sam.”

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we should’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, This shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories That stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk In Those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only They didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

“What are we holding on to, Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo … and it’s worth fighting for.” ~Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

“Are we not a part of this world?” ~ Tauriel

“If the mountain defeats you, will you take a more dangerous road?” ~ Saruman the White.

“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” ~ Samwise Gamgee (Samwise the Brave)

The Unexpected:

Our daughter loves theater, dancing, singing and anything else drama related. When it’s time to play games or watch movies, she is up in her room acting out her current favorite scene. This weekend, she finally sat with us to watch the whole series. (Though Legolas and Tauriel may have had something to do with it) She likes awesome characters like her mother. 😉

But what got me and the reason for this post was the one sentence my husband said. I got up to switch discs when he said something that nearly stopped me in my tracks. It was so inspiring, I changed my post for this week to this topic. He said,

“I love how Tolkien wrote his books as if they were real.”

That stuck with me because I wanted that experience for my readers. I want them to finish feeling as though the story was real. And yes you are always told to create characters that are believable, but do you create them as if they are real? Real settings (even if they are fantasy/space/other based), real events, real lives, real people. Is your story Real?

If us authors looked at creating our stories as if the events, settings, characters, etc really happened – really existed, would the outcome provide a greater experience for the reader? I gained a new perspective while watching these movies with my family and I’ll be keeping that in mind as I move forward with my writing.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PS. Incase you are wondering about the recipes I use for my bread and treats they are listed below with links:

Banana Bread

Bread, Rolls, Garlic Bread (I use this same recipe for all my breads – except pumpkin and banana bread, instead of rolling in to rolls, I make loaves and bake them. For garlic bread I make long loaves, bake them, then mix oil, parsley, oregano, and garlic – either minced, powder or freshly chopped, whichever I have on hand and bake for another 10min.)

Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Peanut Coconut Bark (This has walnuts, but we had peanuts, so I substituted)

New Beginnings…

The new year brings new beginnings and everyone is ready to forge ahead with plans, goals and resolutions. Since the New Year thrill is still upon us, I’ve been thinking of a way to keep the excitement going… and what better way than with a freebie!

Yep, I am offering a New beginning – short story for free! Now, this is in the beginning stages, but I would love your thoughts and heads up… there is a cliffhanger at the end since it leads into my Conquer Series books.

So, if you are interested in what happens before Raylynn’s story and how Conquer Enterprise and Security starts, here is a sneak peak and a link for the whole story!

I hope you enjoy, and (shameless plug) leaves you wanting to read more!

So without further ado, here is your sneak peek at Conquer E.S. – The Prequel!

Conquer E.S.

Where It Begins…

There was nowhere else for them, they insisted on creating a place for them. A safe-haven for his sons and others with unique abilities, but where? A soft knock interrupted his thoughts as his youngest entered.

“What are you doing?”

“Why Brandon, what a pleasure! What else would I be doing in my office, son?”

“Working on that secret project of yours. I won’t be but a moment, I wished to ask you for a Petrie disk or two. I have a hypothesis and wish to test it out.”

He rose from his chair moving to the cabinet along the side of the room; enjoying his son’s fascination not just with sciences but languages as different ones slipped through.

“Sandalwood.”

“What?”

“Your office always smells of sandalwood and gum.” He turned from his

notes to look up at the man he called father and smiled. “A hint of cinnamon, am I right?”

“That you are. That you are.”

“Thanks dad.” Petrie dish in hand, he walked to the door. “Oh, if you plan to build something to protect those like Knight and yourself, you may wish to create a second branch to cover conspicuous actions of the company. I’d suggest a Non-profit Organization dedicated to giving back to the community.”

“Ah, Brandon?”

“Yeah, dad.” The thought brought a grin to his face as the boy glanced up from his studies. Brady understood Max was not his biological father, but that didn’t stop him from calling him dad and it made him swell with pride of the son they adopted.

“What’s your hypothesis?”

 

“Well, it’s more of a comparison study. I wanted to compare my blood with Knight’s and combine a small sample to see the reaction. With his blood, I hypothesis it will, in time overtake mine leaving nothing behind, since I have the weaker human blood.”

“Hmmm, care to share your results when your study is complete? I’m curious what you discover.”

“Sure, dad. I gotta go, time for school.” “See you later, son.”

He sat back at his desk, knowing Brady was careful. He understood the consequences should any of his tests be brought to the public eye and that most evidence was locked away or destroyed for the protection of the family. His sons got along so well it was as if they were best friends and not stepbrothers. It still amazed him to think on it.

His thoughts returned to their discussion and how Brady discovered the project he was creating. He lifted the phone, dialing his wife and partner to relay the information for her to think on. He hoped his boy kept his composure when he found out he may not be as the Campton family, but he was no human either.

She answered on the third ring, “Hey, dear.”

“Good Morning love, how’s work at the office today?”

“Boring, once we get ours up and running I’ll be happier to spend the day in my own building instead of someone else’s.”

“Speaking of that, Brady came to visit me a moment ago.”

“Oh, what did he want?”

“A Petrie dish for anther small comparison project he’s working on.” “Is that why you are calling? To relay that our son is at it again with his testing kit?”

“On the contrary, I believe you are correct in your assumption that Brady has his own talent.”

The tapping on the other line stopped as he gained her full attention.”What did he do?”

“He gave me a suggestion.”

“Maximus, if this is one of your jokes…”

 

“No joke. I walked across the room to get a Petrie dish for him and he commented on the smell of sandalwood and cinnamon. Then told me that if we insisted on building a safe-haven for Knight and others like him, we might consider a Non-profit Organization. One designated to giving back to the community to cover conspicuous activities, which I find brilliant.”

“That’s because it is and I have the perfect idea. We’ll discuss this more when I get home, boss is coming. Call Jynx, he can help. Love you.”

“I love you too.” He hung up and returned to work on his secret project wondering what his young son possessed within him.

His fingers grazed the screen as he dialed the number for the young man so similar to his older son he considered him a part of his family. He answered on the fourth ring.

“Yeah, what do you need, Max.”

“I’ve got a business proposition for you. You are one of my best men and I want you in on this. Choose who you wish to accompany you, bring the Manzerell brothers.”

“What kind of business proposition?”

“One, if all goes as planned, will be quite lucrative for those involved and provide the protection and training for those like ourselves.”

“I’m interested, but why me?”

“I understand your age may put a damper on things, but we consider you a part of our family. Though my sons no nothing of this venture, at least not full details, we wish you to be a part of it. You understand more than most how hard it is to deal with what’s within. If at all possible, we will have the resources to save your brother from the destructive path he is on. Any news on his condition?”

“Still struggling, but I’m optimistic. I believe we can pull through this.” A struggled growl came through the phone. “Listen, I’ve got to go. What time do you wish to meet and location?”

“Here, in an hour? If you think you can make it if not we can Skype. Whatever works best.”

“Thanks, Max. I’ll pass on the information to the boys. See you in an hour.”

 

“Take care, Jynx.”

He hung up the phone and reviewed what he gathered of Jynx’s position. His brother was struggling and if they failed to find a solution, his brother may not make it through this ordeal. That was the reason Conquer Enterprise and Security was within reach. His wife refused stand to watch Others suffer the ridicule of humans nor what lives within them.

The sound of his son’s talking caught his attention, Knight was leaving early for a class and Brandon will follow after getting his things together. He thought to ask if he wanted a ride, but understood Brandon enjoyed the walk to offer time to ponder. He let it go and prepared for the meeting he scheduled with his new employees/partners.

***

Brandon walked into the kitchen in time to catch his brother before he left. “Knight, I’d like to conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis I’ve been working on.”

“Yeah, what hypothesis is that?” He pulled the milk carton from the fridge and grabbed a glass when his brother stopped him from drinking straight from the carton.

“Well, it requires some of your blood.”

 

 

What to read more, Click HERE to get the full download ~ FREE! 

How Writing is Like a Puzzle

I received the best birthday gift from my husband last month and after putting it together I thought about how it relates to writing. Obviously, from the title you would guess what it is my husband got me, but you’re probably thinking, “Really, Kelly? You couldn’t possibly be that excited over a puzzle.”

Well, I am about to prove you wrong. This wasn’t just any puzzle. It was a 1000 piece Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – A mystery jigsaw puzzle. This was the best gift because for one, I love Sherlock Holmes and two, not only was it a puzzle; it contained the story and required you to put the puzzle together in order to solve the mystery of the Speckled Band! The best part… the puzzle was not that of the image on the cover so we had absolutely no idea what the picture was. Of course we had some clue from the story, but no picture to go off of. Three of us, my sister, husband and I spent eight hours straight putting this puzzle together so we could solve the mystery! We had a blast!!

Now, why am I blabbering on about this puzzle and how much I enjoyed it? Well, as the title suggests, it got me thinking about how writing is like a puzzle. So, let’s get started.

So, how can writing be related to puzzles?

Buying and Opening the Puzzle:

In this case the puzzle was a gift, so even better! Anyway, this would represent that moment of awe inspired revelation that you found a new idea for your next great novel. That initial excitement and enthusiasm for the newest story growing in your mind. Now that you have it home you open it to find it neatly packaged, but in a mess of pieces. What to do next?

Preparing the Puzzle:

Now, if you are anything like me (and I know some of you are), you open the pack and the sorting begins! The what seems like endless searching for edge pieces while the rest are filtered back into the box for later. Those edge pieces are your guide, your starting point to the finished product. Much like writing a story, the outline or planning stage comes first. You construct the base or starting point for your puzzle or story to begin and then take off running.

Proceeding With the Inside Pieces:

Now, it’s time to dig in and start forming the puzzle with the inside pieces, but where to start? Do you organize the pieces by like object depictions or do you dive in looking for whatever fits along the edge where you are currently sitting? In this case since we originally began with four people, (my nephew ducked out to play video games before to long) we each took a side. Unfortunately, I took the side with really dark pieces and had a really hard time finding the right pieces, so I decided to look for all the pieces to an object in the top corner and was able to gain momentum. As you move through your story, you start with a flourish of excitement and enthusiasm for the new ideas brewing in your mind as you do a puzzle searching for those first few pieces that will start you on your journey to the finished product.

Ugh, Those Annoyingly Frustrating Pieces:

You gain momentum and for a while you cruise along finding piece after piece, but then you hit a snag an you get stuck working on a section that is all floral carpet and every piece you need looks the same! As with puzzles, you may hit a snag in your writing with a difficult scene, event or even chapter. You struggle to find the right pieces to keep your momentum going or the right action, words or story arc. You syphon through the rest of the pieces to search for the ones you need, but it is no use. Your brain is just to worn staring at this section of the puzzle and you need a break to you gather your thoughts.

New Perspective:

So, you decide to take a break, switch spots (to which your sister finds all the pieces I was struggling and frustrated with within a few minutes :/) or ask for advice from a trusted ally. Taking a break and coming back will give you the rest you need to return with a fresh mind, and a new perspective. You could also move onto another area of your story and work there, then come back when you are ready to tackle it again or ask for advice. You could post your situation on forums and discussion sites to get suggestions and thoughts from others. This is where, when you are finished with your manuscript, beta readers are immensely helpful.

Finishing the Puzzle:

After eight long hours of working to find the right pieces, switching spots and perspectives several times, we finally finished the puzzle! The accomplishment was a collective sigh of relief. The same goes for finishing that first, second, fifth, or twentieth novel, a sigh of relief and elation. It is finally done, finished and the puzzle was ready to be solved. Your manuscript ready for the editor or if you added your editor to the last phase of a new perspective, ready to publish! Now, on to the next puzzle… I mean story!

Looking for a puzzle to enjoy? Try this one from my store. Or see others here as well.

So, what do you think? Could a story be similar to a puzzle? Let’s here your thoughts. Comment below!