Our Traditions… What are yours?

Traditions

box-2953722_640

Traditions are everywhere during the holidays and we are no exception. Though some may find our traditions silly or unique, they are ours and we will continue them for years to come; passing them to our children and our children’s children.

What Are They?

Well, I’ve touched on this as well as reasons for and the importance of traditions in another post you can find HERE. Today I want to tell you about a few we have in our family and I would love, love, LOVE to hear some of yours so comment below or send me a message!!

Reason For Our Traditions

Honestly, some of our traditions started by accident and continued from there. Perhaps it was a treat and was asked for year after year. Perhaps it was something we just always did naturally as the night wore on…

girl-2105155_640

Whatever the reason, I’m glad we have traditions to pass down to our children that show compromise, love and a willingness to come together no matter the circumstances. My and my husband’s families are quite different, but we’ve been able to blend them so that each of our traditions are still present for everyone to enjoy.

Importance Of Tradition

I’ve touched on this in a previous post as well, but the importance of tradition for us is massive. We are able to bring things to light that our children may not have known about their families, the differences as well as the similarities. It teaches them that even though we come from different families, we’ve come together as one to share in the events that we believe are special to us. Not just the ones that appear during Christmas or Thanksgiving, but during any time of the year.

question-mark-2405218_640

What stories can you tell your children about these traditions that they didn’t know about? Do they know how they started? Who started them and what they stand for? 

Some Of Our Traditions

Here is the part you’ve been dying to know, I’m sure.

Since it is the holidays, I’ll focus on those and perhaps I’ll update this throughout the year with our others as they happen.

Thanksgiving:

Every year on thanksgiving we spend time with our family, usually his side because mine is larger and everyone has their own things going on. We usually host, but this year his little brother hosted and it was wonderful. We had a great time with our nieces and their side of the family.

fb9094b555e9bfd590faa541081dec1c

When all the eating is done and cleanup is finished, everyone had gone home. We settle down with some hot chocolate (glass bottles of Coca-cola for my husband) and put our Christmas tree up while we listen to Christmas music.

Yes, I know its still Thanksgiving and we are very thankful. Thankful that we have each other present to participate in this tradition that been in my life since before I was born. My children are experiencing something I loved as a child.

Christmas:

Now here is what you’ve all been waiting for, right?

With our two families coming togethers and some other complications, we have 3-4 Christmas celebrations beside our own. We schedule a day to meet with all my sisters for a sister Christmas, which is scheduled whenever we can get six sisters together. We see my parents on Christmas Eve, his family on Christmas day, and my family has an extended family party too.

christmas-3026688_640

But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. One of our traditions came by accident when our middle sister couldn’t think of what she wanted for Christmas. My parents would ask her and she would say she didn’t know.

So, my dad being him, did something that would create the best tradition we have ever had. That one act had created years of creative enjoyment for all his daughters to enjoy and it will continue for years to come.

What is it, you ask? What did he do that would spiral us into a creative tradition that we all love? Well, he grabbed a large box, some rubber bands, and one of those rectangular fruitcakes. He taped the fruitcake to the rubber bands, stapled the rubber bands to the inside of the box, wrapped it and had fun asking people to guess what was inside it whenever they came over.

To be honest, I thought it was a bunch of small bouncy balls, but the great thing was that we all laughed when we found out what was inside. And don’t worry, that wasn’t the only gift she received that year.

The Christmas Fruitcake:

That was the year of 1998 and every year since it is passed to another sister to disguise and re-gift to another sister for the next year. Yep, it’s the same one from 1998 and yes, it’s been wrapped multiple times in plastic wrap and duct tape.

christmas-2743943_640

It’s one of the things we look forward to every year and gives us another reason to see each other, cause really? Who wouldn’t want to see what you could do with a fruitcake.

If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve done with this fruitcake, you can check out my Patreon Page. I update it every year with the latest disguise. We couldn’t remember all of them when I decided to start keeping track, but will from now on.

To not leave you hanging, I’ll give you a few things we’ve done.

~ It’s been baked into a birthday cake (my and my twins birthday is close to Christmas)

~ It’s been put in a bear you have to squeeze for it to poop it out.

~ It’s been literally mailed to another sister

~ Buried in a box of coal (I was the lucky one to get that one!)

~ Buried in a box of Crackers (They had snacks for a long time!)

What are Your Traditions?

I would love to hear about your family traditions! Do you have something unique that you pass around as we do?

Favorite Writer/Author Gifts

It’s that time of year again where everyone is struggling to find the perfect gift or perhaps you haven’t even begun to think about the holidays.

Well, I’m here to give you a hand. I’ve written about Writer Gifts before and you can check those out here, but I feel I should add to that with some new items Writers and Authors may like as well as book lovers! Us authors would be nowhere without our lovely readers that keep us sane and encourage us to continue providing fantastic stories!

Note: No affiliate links are contained within this post. All thoughts and opinions are solely those of the author and provided for your benefit.

I’ve decided to create some categories this years for gift ideas so bear with me.

Let’s get started:

Tools:

These are things that every Author or Writer could use. You may have to do some digging for some of these, but it’ll be worth it. I promise you.

Subscriptions:

Find out discretely what they subscribe to in their business… writing programs, classes, etc and gift them some subscription time.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, If you, er, they haven’t tried 4thewords.com, they gotta try it. Fight monsters by writing words and collect awesome stuff. What could be more fun?!

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 11.54.47 PM.png

Check it out on me, enter this code to get a month free: OSUBW81786 

Software:

Has the writer in your life been hinting, or just plain out blabbing about a some new software or gadget they want?

Well, here’s your sign… you would make their day by gifting it to them!

Have they always wanted to get Scrivener? The Hemingway app? or even upgrade to Pro-writingAid? This is the perfect time to surprise them and show them that you do indeed listen when they talk. 😉

Books

Have they been raving about a specific book? Have they been telling you, you need to read one they thought was awesome?

shelf-159852_640

Buy them the paperback to add to their library. Even better… get it signed by the author! Bonus points!!

Or you could just look at their amazon wish list, they always have books on there. Whether it’s books they’ve saved to read or ones they want to learn from. Go ahead, take a look.

Small Tools:

Now, you may think the author/writer in your life has plenty of these, but I’m telling you right now that they could always use more. No matter how large that bin of pens is.

Us authors and writers are picky when it comes to our writing utincels. Sometimes one pen will work and the next time we pick it up, it just doesn’t feel right. We’re crazy like that. So here are some things we are always looking to get more of…

Pens/Pensils:

Like I mentioned, the more of these the better. Make them colored and you add more bonus points! Anything to make our dark and dismal lives in front of the computer a little more colorful.

pen-581881_640

One thing I found interesting is this Attachable pen case! They can use on just about anything. Any writer would love this!!

31wDFimpgCL._AC_US218_

Markers/Highlighters:

marker-455701_640

Again, the more the better and the more colors the better. If you can get scented ones that would be awesome too! Let them write with their favorite scent permitting the air. They’ll find a reason to write if they could write with their favorite scents!

Journals/Notebooks/Spirals:

pagan-1467864_640

Like the others these are a must have for any writer/author. The more the better. We may never fill one completely, but we’ll feel better knowing we have plenty of space to write those random notes, inspirations, story ideas and more.

Comfort:

If the writer/author is anything like me, they want to be as comfortable as possible whenever they can. Why not help them out with that? And If they are even more like me… the warmer the better.

Foot Hammock:

416vo7+p6NL._AC_US218_

What better gift than to allow them to put their feet up while they are working, right? This is just the thing!

 

Book Rug:

The best thing to add to any writer/author’s office. What could be better than a rug they’ll love?

61PKlaIxP6L._AC_US218_

Travel Bag:

The perfect thing for the author/writer on the go. Something to hold everything they could ever need AND keep it organized. It’s a dream come true!!

cecc9881458d6f97005b3dc0e2c51886

Mugs:

41i-EaBdJ6L._AC_US218_

There are SO many mugs out there for writers/authors. Ones about writing, ones about books, ones about popular novels, but you could take this a bit deeper and scan their FB. See which authors are providing some awesome swag and purchase one from their favorite author!

Touchscreen Gloves:

51TZk3AI-uL._AC_US218_

I’ve seen a lot of people use fingerless gloves, but if your writer/author is anything like me, their fingers are the first to go when cold. So get them something that will keep them productive and a bit warmer with Touchscreen Gloves! I SO need a pair of these.

Fuzzy Socks:

41tHni1QEDL._AC_UL260_SR200,260_

Dude I am all for fuzzy socks. We have all hardwood floors and man they get cold. Someone just wanna buy me some more? I could really use some. My feet are always cold.

 

Shirts/Sweaters:

09419dcc461d7e841b878cd2e5e62ac2

Like the mugs there are so many shirts and sweaters out there that have awesome writer quotes and sayings on them. Any writer would love one!

 

Extras:

Stockables:

Anything they can stock up on to make their lives easier would bring them joy.

Snacks:

I love munching when I write. I always have to have something next to me, so getting a stash of whatever your writer/author/reader loves to snack on would make their day. Especially if it’s their all time fav treat!

Drinks:

Do they love tea? hot chocolate? Monster? La Croix? Get them some to stock up their fridge and if you want to be that ultimately awesome person in their life… add in the mini fridge while you’re at it! 😉

Jewelry/Accessories:

infinity bracelet

You’re not going to hear this from me very often, cause I am totally not the whole wears jewelry/make up kind of person, but I may wear jewelry more if it related to books or stories in any way. Look up some awesome ones and add to that girl’s collection. Or guy, you never know, right?

Signs/Decorations:

Sigh Link                                                                                        Clock Link

One thing we all love are quotes from and about writing. Find some your writer/reader friends love and either purchase them one/some or make it for them. They will love you for it, I swear!

Unconventional:

Those gifts you never would think of as gifts but are THE BEST ones you could give to an author/writer.

Reviews/Compliments:

What every author/writer wants for their career/business are more reviews. Be that awesome person and do something that only takes a few moments of your time and no money. Yep, it’s completely free! Write a positive review on one (or all) of their books.

Go ahead and screenshot it to them, print it and put it in a card, but make sure you show them that you’re thinking of them and appreciating their work.

Critiques/Suggestions:

Offer to beta read or critique their work. Even if you’re a loved one, they will appreciate the gesture and your interest in their work. Offering them some constructive and helpful critiques will keep them on the path they’ve chosen, and show you care for what they believe in. Good going you!!

Purchase Their Book(S):

Now this is probably tied with reviews, but purchasing their books allows them to continue what they love. Providing amazing stories to readers just like you. Add the review and they will love you forever!

 

So, what else could we add to this list? What are you getting your writer/author/reader friends/loved ones this year? Go ahead add to the list. 

 

Motivation

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, many are looking for motivation to get started writing, continue writing, or to even come up with an idea for their project. Today I’d like to go through some ways you can gain motivation for your writing.

But first… you know me, let’s take a look at the word Motivation.

WIKI

  • The reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs
  • One’s direction to behavior
  • What causes a person to want to repeat a behavior

Dictionary

  • Providing with a reason to act in a certain way
  • The reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
  • The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Motivation may come as inspiration from others, events, or from within you as an individual. In fact, I believe the words inspiration and motivation are connected since inspiration can create motivation.

If you are looking for motivation, you may need to find what inspires you to get that motivation.

So, let’s take a look at what we can find…

Other People

Family and Friends

family-2485714_640

  • Your family and friends can be very supportive if they are inclined to be so. They can be encouraging, give you ideas, and provide the support you need to get through tough times.
  • Some may even be willing to provide assistance with thoughts on your work, providing insight and suggestions for your work as beta readers and reviewers.
  • If you have that, you are one step ahead of the crowd and I say congratulations.

Celebrities

audience-1867754_640

  • Though they have their issues, they provide mentorship and encouragement by what they do to help others. (Let’s not focus on the other crap they do, shall we?)
  • Helping to entertain the sick, donate to those in need and more create the image we search for in people of such wealth and station.

Actors/Actresses

jack-sparrow-496090_640

      Photo Courtesy of Stuart Hampton via Pixabay
  • As with other celebrities, actors/actresses also provide mentorship, encouragement, and proof that dreams of being on the big screen can be accomplished. Their success at creating characters we hate and love encourage us to emulate similar characteristics within our own characters and writing.
  • Whether it be pirates, aliens, those with powers or ordinary people, there are aspects we as authors are able to draw from to create well rounded characters of our own. Watch your favorite movies and really pay attention to the characters, settings, emotions they evoke as you watch and you’ll see that you can learn quite a bit from them.

Business People

american-3704358_640

  • There are so many successful people that can provide a word of advice, encouragement, or inspiration that have successfully gained the status of entrepreneur, business owner, or author.
  • Some are even willing to speak about their success and motivate others to do the same. Listen to those who came before, learn from their success and their mistakes. Create connections that will help you on your journey as a writer. You never know when you’re going to need further research on a doctor, bus driver, theater attendant, or baker.

Electronic Visuals

Movies

demonstration-767982_640

  • What could be better inspiration and motivation than those from the creative minds of others. The characters, settings, emotions that are evoked within the epic battles, journeys, and actions in films are all things that create inspiration within people. Providing motivation to continue with your projects once you’re mind is full of new ideas and materials.
  • Movies provide you with every aspect of a story in visual form. Watch your favorites to gain what is needed to complete your current work in progress or finally get started.

TV Shows

retro-television-3681054_640

  • Like Movies, these provide more on series inspirations, character development, settings, conflicts and more. Providing more insight to inner turmoil, setting changes, and more. There is so much you can get from watching series on tv that your motivation is just a button away.
  • Go ahead and binge watch your favorite series, but don’t forget to actually use the information you’re gaining from them and get some words down. You’ll never get that book done if you’re constantly watching the television.

YouTube Videos

youtube-2844504_640

  • Need a bit more one on one motivation? There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can provide you with motivational stimuli. Just search for a word or phrase and choose from the videos provided to view what others have to say. Learning, listening or even creating your own videos can provide all the motivation you need to create that story you’ve been striving to complete.

Other Forms of Motivation

Nature/Everyday Locations

map-2789052_640

  • As with anything else; nature can calm, inspire, and even motivate you to complete your manuscript. Other locations can provide what you need for settings. The sounds, sights, and even smells can give you everything you need for your story. It can also provide a way to relax and clear your mind to focus on what you need in order to find that special something for you, whether its in a quiet space or crowded mall. You know you, so do what feels best.

Fantasy/Si-Fi

renaissance-367238_640

  • If you’ve read anything else from me, you know I love going to renaissance fairs. Not only are they full of inspiration, you can always find something there not just by the performers, but those just like you. They love to stay within character and can provide the inspiration you need to get things done. And if you’re like me, it’s motivation enough to be able to gain enough money to go and see all the wonderful acts, characters, even the environment of the fair.

Events/Entertainment

baseball-field-1149153_640

  • Sports event, hobbies, and others will provide aspects that can be useful within the story you are working on. Sports events, conferences, and more provide settings, conflict, entertainment, interaction with others, and more to gain ideas for your work.
  • When fights break out, those who propose in the crowds, or emotions of those around you cheering for teams or performers can provide so many aspects of your story, you just need to look to see what is there for the taking.

Every Day Life

Needs

dollar-499481_640

  • What is something you need either for fun or for business/writing. Use that item as inspiration to get done what you planned to accomplish. A new computer, awesome accessory, or other item can be all the motivation you need to complete your goals.

 Wants

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 5.09.45 PM

QwertyWriter Keyboard by QwerkyWriter.com
  • What is something you don’t exactly need, but really want to have? Use that as motivation to complete what you need to get done. Keep it posted somewhere where you can see it every day. Visuals are great for keeping things in your mind fresh. Work your way to accomplishment, then reward yourself with that item when you accomplish your goals.

Family

people-3104635_640

  • If you have children and/or significant other, they can provide all the motivation you need. If you want to make them proud, wish to provide an income for them/help provide income, or just want to show them you can accomplish your goal, they can be exactly what you need to push yourself to get it done.

Environment

girl-1955797_640

  • You can pull aspects from your environment as motivation. Where you want to live, the perfect house, and more. If you want to do better than you are or have better than you have, this could also provide motivation to gain what your heart desires.

Do you need motivation? Take a look around you and your life as a whole, you may be surprised by what you find that could proved motivation for your writing.

What motivates you?

October’s Writing Theme: NaNoWriMo!

It’s getting to be that time of year again! That time when aspiring and published authors alike bunker down to hammer out another novel in 30 days. Drinking caffeinated beverages and staring at a screen for hours and days on end, typing until their fingers get tired. Yep, you guessed it!

NaNoWriMo is back and authors all over are preparing to sit and write that first, fourth, or eighteenth novel and I say “Way to go! I will be right there with you!”

NaNoWriMo

Though we may not write for the same genre or be in the same state, you know there are others like you trying to get that piece they’ve been thinking about for weeks, months or even years finally down on computerized paper. (Or notebook paper and then the computer) No matter the process, your endeavors are inspired by others who came before along with those joining for the first time.

So this month’s theme is all about NaNoWriMo! Are you going to join the thousands of writers readying to type their hearts out starting November 1st? Do you have a plan for a story you want to write? Are you preparing for when you’ll be at the computer for long hours, stocking up on your favorite snacks and drinks. (Man, I wish I had a mini fridge in my office for this purpose. 😉 ) What type of story do you plan to write?

 

Example: Although I haven’t planned hardly at all for this years NaNoWriMo, I do have an idea of what I would like to accomplish. As you may know, I’ve been working on my Conquer the Darkness Series which follows the struggles of seven women who’ve experienced some really terrible things and how they not only meet each other, work together and overcome their past in the present, but they find friends, happiness in the darkest of times, and love. 

Anyway, there is a couple in that series you know are together and there are hints to their story along the way, and I’ve been thinking of writing it for a while. So for NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll be writing Andrew and Laurie’s story!  

If you haven’t started the series and I’ve caught your interest, visit my website to download book 1 and the prequel for free! 

Update: Ive decided to start a whole new series and put that one on hold as I feel I’ve been looking at it so long, I need a break. I’ll get to Andrew and Laurie’s story, don’t you worry.

What do you do plan to do for NaNoWriMo? What genre are you writing in? Come be my Buddy on NaNoWriMo and let’s write together! (Just visit my profile – KellyJeanTaylor – and click ‘add as buddy”!  I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

 

Discover

This weeks word is Discover. What does it mean to discover? Well, let’s take a look before getting into some other aspects of the word.

What is Discover?

Dictionary

  • to see, get knowledge of, learn of, find, or find out; gain sight or knowledge of (something previously unseen or unknown)
  • to notice or realize
  • Archaic. to make known; reveal; disclose.

WIKI

  • To find or learn something for the first time.
  • To remove the cover from; to uncover (a head, building etc.).
  • To expose, uncover.
  • To create by moving a piece out of another piece’s line of attack.
  • To reveal (information); to divulge, make known.
  • To reconnoitre, explore (an area).
  • To manifest without design; to show; to exhibit.

 

So according to those Discover is the knowledge, uncovering, exploring or exhibiting of something new or unknown. This is where this word gets interesting. If you think of this word, what comes to mind? Discover what? I’ll be focusing on a few topics that relate to writing and you as a person for this post, so bear with me here.

Writing/Business:

literature-3033196_640

With anything in life, things are learned, discovered by doing, reading, and performing actions. Nothing is ever found by being stationary… unless it stumbles upon you. Than you are just darn lucky.

Discover Your Purpose?

Are you trying to discover the reason you are here? What to do with your life? What purpose you bring to others?

This is something that you will have to discover 😉 for yourself, but if you look deep down as to the things that interest you, your passions, and your dreams, you’ll find what you’re looking for. This may come to you when you least expect it, during a time you dread or a time you are happiest. Keep searching and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

vintage-1722329_640

My Experience~

For me it was while working in a factory. Something I told myself I would never do… work in a factory or in fast food like my parents. Now working in a factory or fast food, if it’s a necessity isn’t bad, but I wanted better. I wanted to follow my dreams. What were those dreams? Well, up until my fist year in college, it was to be a teacher. When my financing fell through I had to bring in something and off to a factory I went.

While working on presses, I would dabble with stories, create characters, go on journeys that tested the character’s resolve, their strength and their love for others. That is when I knew I wanted to be an author. And yes, I’m still working on that story, but that’s what happens when you want it to be freakin’ awesome. You work and slave to bring it life and then sit on it for ten or so years before picking it up again to find out you have a really good story, but ten year younger you really didn’t have the writing skills you do now. It’ll get published, don’t worry. 🙂

Discover Your Businesses/Work?

As above you’ll discover what you were meant to do, but what about what you were meant to do as a source of income? How will you contribute to the household in a financial way? Now some of you may say, “Kelly, I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t have a job.”

Well, my response would be, “You absolutely have a job. You don’t contribute financially, but you do contribute in other ways.” I would imagine you as a stay at home mom (like myself) take care of the house, take care of the kids, homeschool them perhaps, run the errands, take care of the bills, laundry, and more. You contribute in so many other ways that benefit your household that having a normal job makes no sense.

Now if you aren’t a stay at home mom and you are looking for that perfect position, it’s much like that of your purpose. What interests you? What makes you the happiest? Is it working with children? Working with animals? Working with machines? Making music? Singing? Or are you content in the thought that no matter what you do you are contributing to the human race in some way?

computer-2563737_640

My Experience~

I met and fell in love with such a man. We decided after our son was born that it didn’t make sense to pay someone to watch, care, and teach our children. We were missing out on so much of our daughter’s life already that we didn’t want to miss more of either. What was the point? To help another succeed when we were miserable? That’s when it clicked. Though I haven’t made as much as I would like on my writing, brutal honesty here. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband works knowing that what he’s doing is helping others with the products he makes and that’s enough to keep him satisfied until things get better. Are there hard times? Of course. Does that way of thinking falter? Yes, but when you really sit down to think about it. What do you do on a daily basis, that makes you happy you’re doing it?

I get to bring you content that, I hope, is useful, insightful and inspiring while writing stories that invoke the same feelings while being able to raise and teach our children. My husband creates a product that makes building easier and until we are able to fulfill his dreams, he makes the most of what he has.

Think of the questions above and work out what you believe would make you wake each morning ready to tackle the day with the biggest smile because you know that what you do is making a difference in not only your life, but those you interact with or bring benefit to on a daily basis.

Discover New Processes?

What better way to discover something new, than to learn. They say you learn something new everyday. Though that’s sometimes hard to believe, I bet if you looked back on the day you would be able to find something you did learn that you didn’t know before.

When I first started writing full time, I had to discover processes on how to do the things and organize them in a way that I felt I could achieve the goals I set out to do. Now last year I hit every goal I had. I didn’t have many, but I did hit them.

This year, I overloaded myself and let things get in the way of my writing so my goal list is slowly being pushed off to next year, but that doesn’t get me down because I’ve learned and discovered that writing itself, is all about discovery.

You discover what works for you in planning your novels, plotting your novels, writing them, editing them, revising them, and then publishing them. If you are anything like me, you have not only a ton of notebooks on novel notes, but tons more on learning everything you can on the art of writing and I’m still learning.

editing-1756958_640

My Experience~

I tell my daughter all the time that you will never stop learning. She is the type who feels everything should be easy, that if you want to do something you should be able to do it without having to practice every day to learn to do it. Now she has an exceptional talent for acting. (I am her mother, I can say that, but it’s true.) She doesn’t like the fact that she will have to practice hard to make it as an actress. Imagine her disgust and disappointment when she discovered that you have to continually follow directions and practice your lines until you know them by heart, among other things. Good thing I’ve added Theatre to her curriculum this year.

Anyway, enough about my family; I may not know everything about writing, but you bet your butt I’m still learning and will continue to learn. There is no stoping when you are doing something you love to do. You do what you need to in order to keep going.

Discover New Items/Tech/Utensils?

Ah, here is something I am a complete sucker for. I love new things. Though I find not all of it pertains to me, but I love new things for writing even if I may not use them. I’m always looking for new sites, apps, items that will make writing fun, more organized and the process easier. See, I’m a sucker.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 5.09.45 PM

Let me rant for a moment here… I love antiques so imagine my excitement when a new keyboard came out that has the feel and look of a typewriter that’s compatible with tablets, iPads, and desktops! The company is called Qwerkywriter and it is freakin’ awesome… looking. Unfortunately, I haven’t the money to get one… yet. I will though!

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 7.43.12 AM

Above is a screenshot of my actual profile from a week ago.

There is also the site 4thewords.com where you can write while going on your own adventure, fighting monster, collecting items and traveling to distant lands. Now who wouldn’t love that? It got me out of a writing slump and I couldn’t be happier!

Now what new tech/apps/etc do you have? Or would suggest? I’d love to hear about it! 😉

Personal:

Discovery into your personal life and yourself can also be a difficult and painful process, but sometimes you really need to look deep within yourself to find out who you really are.

You as a Person?

This is where discovery could get hard. You may know yourself pretty well and have everything figured out or you may be wondering what on earth you are here for. What are you alive for?

adult-beautiful-blur-935756

You as a person must look deep within to find… you. Everyone says you should be happy with who you are on the inside as well as the outside. Now, do get me wrong. There are definitely some things on the outside I would absolutely love to change, but I love every part of me. I may not like it, but I do love it.

Heck, I created to beautiful children (with some help from my husband) with this body. I have a mind overflowing with the creation of worlds, characters, events, and more. My life is that of a happy family of four over run by four legged critters. If I look deep down. I love my life and I love me. Do you love you?

Look inside to discover who you are and what you want to be know for, for you.

Your Relationships?

 

Another thing to think about are your relationships with others. This means your family, friends, even the people you meet for a few seconds as you go about your day. What can you discover about those relationships that you might improve on?

Do you smile and greet those you walk by, or are you to busy worrying about other things to take the time to send a smile to someone? It takes two seconds to smile and make eye contact with someone and I believe wholeheartedly that, that one action can brighten someones day.

Knowing that someone took even that tiny amount of time to show a greeting makes me happy to be out and about.

fruits-3137112_640

Family and friends are there for you when you need them, to lean on and take encouragement from. That may not always be the case, but I urge you to work on it. My relationships with some of my sisters were not the best and I realized that I wasn’t putting the effort in to voice my thoughts. I mean, how can they take you seriously if you don’t open your mouth, right?

Since then things have gotten better. Not the best, but definitely better. What can you do to improve the relationships you have? Discover who you are and how you can enrich others with just that… you.

So what are you ready to discover about yourself, your writing, career, anything? Comment below, I’d love to read about it!!

 

 

SaveSave

September’s Writing Theme: Favorite Character, Power, Creature, Etc.

Most of us have favorites: Our favorite food, our favorite drink, favorite candy, movie, song, etc. This month’s theme is to write about your favorite. Your favorite character, your favorite power they have, your favorite creature, or anything of that nature. Read my example below and comment!!
Favorite fantasy items

 

Example: This one is actually really hard for me because I don’t have favorites. If you ever asked me my favorite thing, I would tell you I don’t have one. My daughter asks me that all the time. “Mom, what’s your favorite movie.” I’ll say ‘Dragons’ just so she’ll have something. My kids know I LOVE “How to Train Your Dragon”, but then I think about it and I also love LOTR, The Hobbit, Big Hero 6 and I just couldn’t choose one. 

I love the fantasy from LOTR and The Hobbit, the characters and what they bring to the group as a whole, the fight to keep going when all seems lost. It’s inspiring. Big Hero 6… I was so emotional during this one and the fact that Hero comes out to find a way to keep his brother’s memory alive while not only catching the man responsible, but also saving a life in the process is a fantastic story. Dragons, I absolutely love the diversity of the characters personalities. Not to mention that there’s dragons!! 

So, what is your favorite character, power, creature, etc and why?  I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

SaveSave

Ways to Plot a Novel

There are plenty of ways to plot a novel and the way each author plots is completely up to them. Every author is different with different thoughts and ways of organizing them.

The way I plot could be, and probably is completely different from the way others plot their novels.

Plotting your novel is unique and special process each author must discover for themselves. This is where one process doesn’t fit all. When deciding how to plot your novel, there are many processes to choose from.

Plot Structures:

Character – Driven

woman-1771895_640

  • Your characters are the main reason the story moves along. Their motivation and drive to complete their mission, journey or quest is what keeps the story going until the very end.
  • Your characters through decisions, actions, and the journey itself, face their deepest fears and change as a result.

Snowflake Method

ice-crystal-2871068_640

  • This one is a bit more dynamic. You begin with a statement, just one statement
  • Then split that statement into two
  • Then into four statements and so on
    • It’s best to begin with a deep theme/premise
    • Then expand it to 2-3 sentences
    • Then expand that to 4-6 sentences and so on until you get a full plan of action for your book.

The Hero’s Journey

vintage-1722329_640

  • The hero’s journey is a complex set of points along which the hero travels to complete his/her journey
    • They are (but not limited to) as follows
      • The Call to Action (They begin in their know world and receive call for adventure)
      • The Denial of the Quest (They ignore the request for some reason or another)
      • Acceptance After Debate (After inner turmoil and possible debate with mentor, they agree to journey)
      • Enemies and Allies, Who’s who (Journey leads them to many types of trouble as well as friends along the way)
      • Journey to the Beast
      • Facing Demons (hero defeats bad guy but not without consequences that change the character on a deeper level)
      • Reward/Success
      • The Return Journey (They strive to atone for past mistakes)
      • Conclusion
      • Life Continues/Next Journey (Return to live out days/Continue to the next journey of life)

 

The Fichtean Curve

graphic-1714230_640

  • This type of story begins immediately with rising action
  • Framework for the story is scatter throughout the first half of the story with multiple crisis following.
  • Each crisis is followed swiftly by its own mini falling and rising action.
  • At last, the story reaches its climax conflict around two-thirds of the way.
  • Leaving the remaining pages for falling action, loose ends are tied up, and a new normality is established for characters.

In Media Res (thrillers, mysteries, horror)

man-3338109_640

  • This type of novel begins in the middle of the story, usually at the 2nd-3rd crisis, though sometimes in-between the action
  • The plot still contains an upward trajectory with storyline sprinkled throughout (The beginning of the story is often told through flashbacks or in character conversations)
  • Several more crises occur to move the story along
  • The protagonist faces the climax
  • Followed by falling action
  • Resolution.

Combinations

You can combine any or all of the above to create your own plot structure that suits your needs. It’s really up to you, how your mind works, and what would be best for you as a person and author.

Snowflake with 3 Arc Structure

  • Snowflake with structure that points to important events while connecting those events to create an amazing story

Emphasis on Inner Plot

  • This contain a list of events containing a variation of the hero’s journey
  • Emphasis is held within the inner and outer plot, relating most outer story points to acts 1&3 leaving 2 as inner plot points

Major Midpoint Change

  • This is a form of the Hero’s Journey where there is a major change at the midpoint of the story. The character faces a shift in viewpoints or active goal.

Writing in Scenes

  • Plan your novel in Scenes, but be sure to include all the major plot points necessary to create a great story with emotion, action, adventure, and more.

Visual Mapping

  • Visual graphing/outlining of plot points, events, characters, emotion, and more. A picture of your character/story’s journey throughout the tale may be exactly what you need.

Things to Keep in Mind

woman-1172718_640

  • Does the beginning set up the end? Do all parts match up?
  • Think deeper, create a story that if the reader were involved it would feel real no matter the setting or events.
  • Write your ideas down, create an outline even if you don’t follow it completely. This will help you flesh out your plot points, events, crises and more.
  • Keep the reader in mind. Catch them on an emotional level – make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel hurt when a certain event happens. Make them FEEL.

Final Words…

The way you plot your novel is completely up to you as an author. One of these ways may work for you and then again none of them may work. You must travel your own journey to discover what works best for you. 

Me, I’m still on that journey. I’ve combined some of these to suit my creative mind, but there are still tweaks that need to be made. This is my plotting journey. What’s yours?

SaveSave

SaveSave

Planning the Rest of the Year

Half of the year has gone… And it’s time to revisit, adjust, and plan the rest of the year.

With all that’s happened this year, my goals and plans have changed drastically. Things in life highjack the scene where you tumble down a rabbit hole so big you feel there is no end. But I’m determined to salvage what’s left of this year!

arm-1284248_640

I sat down a few days ago and looked at my plans realizing I’m months behind schedule for which I am eternally apologetic. We as authors never intend for life to throw curve balls, tornados, tsunamis, or earthquakes that swallow you whole to where if you decide to climb out your emerge bloody, sore, and exhausted, but victorious.

Writing/Editing/Revising/Publishing…

editing-1756958_640

After revamping the rest of my year I realized if I work hard, I can still publish the books I planned if I can keep focused and push through the difficult life of being a mother, wife, animal parent, and author at the same time. 😉  Writing, editing and revising are my top priorities as far as writing goes, right now. Don’t worry, my regular posts and newsletter are the few things I’ve been able to stay on top of.

4thewords.com

logo-4tw

I cannot recommend this site enough. Since I love fantasy, quests, and stories this site has done wonders to keep me going the last few weeks. I know I’ve mentioned it before and I’m mentioning it again, cause it’s freakin’ worth mentioning. If you haven’t checked it out, you must do so now!!

Climbing from the hole and emerging from the train wreck that’s been my life the last few months.

I’ve now created a schedule and so far I’m on track to do as my plans are laid out. I’m very happy with my progress these last few weeks and will continue to strive for my goals as I provide quality content and fantastic stories for you, my readers.

mistake-876597_640

Since I’ve been traversing this long tunnel, trying to find the light at the end. I’ve been a bit slow at posting, but my goal is to keep trudging through the sludge that has taken over my brain. It’s time to forge ahead, find a better way and keep going.

So if all goes according to plan; I’ll have another book out with updates to previous and a surprise at the end of the year. We shall see, so keep an eye open for that. 🙂

In the mean time, enjoy the Conquer the Darkness Series; join my newsletter to get bi-weekly updates, writing fun, and more.

Book Lineup

What about you? What have you been up to?

Reply and tell me how your writing has been going. Has it been a total train wreck like mine where even wizards and giants need help putting it back in line or are you cruising smoothly along enjoying the scenery and cocktails? In which case, I’m completely jealous and perhaps you can stop to pick me up on your way?!

 

SaveSave

What is a Story?

As I sit here typing this, I originally had a different topic to provide, but while reading a few nights ago, this came to mind and stuck so there has been a little change in topic for this post. Let’s get to it.

What Is a Story~

A story is a depiction of a character’s journey as they pursue an object, person, act of revenge, etc. while battling obstacles and challenges along the way.

Stories are here to entertain, educate, inspire and intrigue the masses with their tales of wonder, adventure, creative learning, and more. No matter what type of story created, there is someone out there ready to read it and many more endeavoring to write them.

Where They Come From~

They have been an intricate part of life, of history, and of dreams since we learned how to communicate long ago. It’s how we learned vital information that’s been passed on throughout the ages.

Stories grow from the every day. They are created to make a point, to imagine a possible future, to remind us of our past, the actions we’ve taken (successes or failures) as well as to comfort and entertain. They also have a tendency to blossom from daily lessons, random objects, experiences, and pain/emotions of the creator. Stories grow from everything around us.

vintage-1722329_640

How They Are Created~

Ideas and thoughts are taken from events, activities, actions, objects of things we experience everyday. Stories are told from family member to family member on traditions, proper behavior, cultural history, moral values and more.

They can be told around a campfire to exhilarate, frighten, or enchant the young and the old of legends long past.

Stories spoken of ever day actions of every day folks, whether it be good deeds or bad, an adventure or overcoming of obstacle. Things others can relate to on a physical, emotional, or psychological level.

Others are created from memories of times past. Family vacations, celebrations, tradition, and more. One that goes around our family has to do with a fruitcake from 1998. Yep, that sucker is still being passed around! I’ll be posting on my Patreon page about that each year. Check it out!

Imagination is another source of stories. There are so many stories out there created solely on the writers imagination, their thoughts of how the characters are, how they react to different situations and obstacles they throw them into. It’s amazing what the imagination can create when you really sit down to put it together. While the inspiration can come from those who came before or the things around us. A story can be created from literally anything.

What Makes a Good Story~

Really, this is the opinion of the writer and of the reader. But looking at stories, the all have things that are in common to create fantastic stories.

  • Well-crafted characters
  • Experiences
  • Trials, obstacles, and challenges
  • Goals and motivation
  • Effective narrative
  • Pivotal turning points
  • Resolution
  • Resonating with readers

If you think of tales and stories today, think of what the author created to make the story one you come back to time and time again. Those aspects that make you want to revisit the characters, setting, and to journey once again along the path they choose to reach their destination. That’s what makes not only a good story, but a great one.

There are many types of stories told within fiction, non-fiction, through pictures, movies as well as art. Everything around us tells a story, you just have to look closely enough to find it within the chaos of life.

What is your favorite story and why? What is the best part of it? 

SaveSave

SaveSave

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:

Seattle skyline in watercolor

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

penned-con-banner

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

BVW17-Banner

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:

RT-18-Reno-Banner-V3

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

BookExpo-logo

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:

btcgcrhw

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!

SaveSave

SaveSave