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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

ImageAs I wrote Just Beneath the Surface, I remember wanting to convey several things: the importance of communication, the importance of listening to our instincts, and dispelling the myths about domestic violence.

At the time of writing this book, I noticed that many people empathized with women who were being abused, but I also noticed that many people were harsh. I noticed that many people were judging the woman who chose not to leave, assuming that she was weak, or saying that she deserved to suffer, if she was not ‘smart’ enough to leave. In my opinion, through everything that happens in life, we have to remember to relate to one another; that is what inspired my novel, Just Beneath the Surface.

The things being said bothered me, but the fact that those ideas were a misunderstanding, more than anything, inspired me. If I could change just one point of view, I thought to myself. This is when I created the first main character: a strong, confident woman named Kendall, who stumbles into a relationship that literally brings her face to face with death. I wanted to show the gradual transformation from Kendall’s initial confidence, to her frequently questioning herself, second guessing her instincts, then eventually losing her voice, and the essence of who she is.

““Okay, Kendall. I understand,” she said, and she disappeared down the hallway.

She must have known from my expression that I did not want some popcorn eating, hair braiding slumber party. I wanted to be left alone. Spencer was my problem, not hers or anyone else’s. People – strangers – who gawked at us from the outside only made things more difficult. Because of neighbors and police officers, who thought they were helping or knew more than I did about my own safety, Spencer was in jail. But when he got out of jail, I had to go back to him.” – Just Beneath the Surface

I wanted readers to imagine her state of mind. I wanted people to empathize with her, and how distorted her world had become; no one could see her world through her eyes, and no should call her crazy or deserving of what was happening behind closed doors.

I am also deeply moved by teenagers and young adults who find themselves seeking love, attention, and affection, in all the wrong places. Kendall’s daughter, Diamond, is in a very lonely place after her parents’ divorce. Her father is distant, her mother is nurturing a new relationship, and the only person who seems to understand what she ‘needs,’ is a teacher’s aide with a dark side. I wanted to show how easy it is to go from knowing who you are, to losing yourself in loneliness. Young adults do not always appear to ‘need’ their parents, but an open line of communication is a necessity.

My hope and inspiration: to know that at least one person feels a shift in his/her thinking; through empathy and compassion, I hope at least one person finds it easier to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

ImageAbout the Book

Kendall Berkley never understood why women would stay in abusive relationships or allow themselves to be battered and humiliated. It would never happen to her. She had it all: two beautiful, intelligent children and a successful career. She knew she would never let a man abuse her, and if he did she would walk away.

She knew all this until the day she married Spencer. He treated her like a queen…until he’d had a bad day, or the house wasn’t spotless, or she looked at him wrong. No matter how much blood
was shed, or how many bruises had to be hidden, or how many lies she had to tell, she stayed for the sake of her marriage.

Sometimes a woman has to choose between broken vows and broken bones.

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RH Ramsey is a military wife, mother of two and student. Over the course of eight years, RH has diligently researched topics ranging from but not limited to: relationships, addiction, abuse and mental illness.

RH has completed several novels, four novels near completion and five short stories. She has two self-published books: Just Beneath the Surface I, and Into the Atmosphere, with many more to come.

With a passion for people, helping and learning, she hopes to continue in her quest of learning from and inspiring others.

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Website link: http://arirjames.wordpress.com

Character “thoughts” excerpt link: http://arirjames.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/900/

Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Just-Beneath-Surface-I-ebook/dp/B00E6IZV6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375419048&sr=8-1&keywords=just+beneath+the+surface%2C+i

Link to book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kILQjDENfyk

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PND TOUR BannerI am always repeating the story of how I started to write poetry.

Because of the origin of my poems, I feel that were gifts to me.

When I share a poem with readers, it’s like sharing a treasured gift.  I wrote my very first poem on February 14th, 2007.  I woke up out of my sleep with this poem swirling around in my head. I got up and quickly scribbled it down.

The poem was “Our Place”. It was the first of many more poems to come. After that day, the poems just started to flow and flow. Within the span of about six months, I had written well over 200 poems.

Most of the poems in both of my books Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings came from that initial period of writing/inspiration.

It’s funny that I very rarely, ever, sit down to intentionally write a poem. Most of my poems come to me as I am going to sleep, waking up, or ODDLY, when I am alone in my car.

I can safely say that well over 50% of them came to me and were written in my car. It still amazes me when I hear myself say that.

I call my car my ‘personal think tank.  When I am riding alone, with no conversations to distract me, with no music on or inside noise……..the magic happens. I have little scraps of paper, envelopes, bills and all kinds of things with poems scribbled on them.

I feel that my poems came and come to me in that way because they are truly an overflow of the heart. My poems are filled with my love for Mississippi and the southern way of life. It is my hope that, through my poems, I can help others see the many positive things about our state and region. Most of what everyone hears about Mississippi and the south is very negative. But I want to show that there is so much more to the story.

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PND Bio

Where to Purchase Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble Paperback

My Magnolia Memories

Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble Paperback 

Patricia’s Website / Facebook

Add Patricia’s Books to Your Goodreads List:

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

My Magnolia Memories and Musings

 Blog Tour Link:

http://worldwindvirtualbooktours.weebly.com/tour-reflections–magnolia-memories.html

 

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Photo Credit Sharon Drummond

Dealing with a case of writer’s block often feels worse than suffering from the seasonal flu. Fortunately for most of us, we’re able to get through the creative sickness on our own and eventually find our way back over to the creative side of things. Yes, even the greatest writers have trouble finding the right words to say from time to time, but when writer’s block grows into an infectious plague and terrorizes ever word we try to pen, that’s when things get much more serious. How can we work to become successful writers if we can’t find the right words to say?

Authors, journalists, and bloggers often suffer from writer’s block. Writing something new each and every day can feel like a tremendous weight to carry, especially when your career depends upon it. When we’re required to be creative all the time, the pressure and anxiety can build up so much that it becomes impossible to bear. So when writer’s block takes hold, what’s a writer to do? Well, the good news is that there are always ways to work and navigate through a nasty case of writer’s block. Sometimes all it takes is a few resources to help make us well again. Whenever you catch a nasty case of writer’s block, here are four reliable medicines you can utilize.

Favorite books

Turning towards the inspiring works of art that made you want to become a writer in the first place often brings you back to those initial moments of inspiration you felt about writing. If you’re ever unsure of the right words to say, read through your favorite books and stop on the lines that tug at your creative soul and re-read them over and over again. Believe it or not, you’re planting a seed for creativity by doing this. No, you don’t have to read through every book on your bookshelf to make it work, but reading the authors you admire most will sometimes awaken a creative bone in your body you forgot you had.

Short Naps

Whenever we’re uptight and tense, often the best thing to do is walk away from the situation that is causing us stress. No, I’m not saying you should abandon your work entirely, but if you’re absolutely stumped and unsure of the words to say, that’s your brain’s way of signaling to you that you need to give yourself a break. If you aren’t focused on the task at hand, your work is inevitably going to suffer. Taking a short nap is a great way to give your mind a break. For just an hour or so, allow your brain escape, relax, and contemplate the thoughts racing through its pathways. By the time you wake up calm and relaxed, you’ll be able to come up with the right words to say.

Nature Walks

Being cooped up inside in front of a computer all day isn’t good for nurturing a creative mind. Should you find yourself in the middle of a sentence unable to type one more word, stop what you’re doing, put on a pair of walking shoes, and go outside and behold the world around you. Humans are meant to walk around and experience nature, and some of the greatest writers of our time – including Mark Twain and Henry David Thoreau – wrote about the profound inspirations and influences of nature. Indeed, catching some rays of sun will likely warm your creativity right back up to where it’s supposed to be.

Fellow Writers

When I’m absolutely stumped at a creative crossroads, I’ll call upon fellow writer friends and trusted colleagues to help me out. After reading my work, they’ll sometimes suggest a minor change in the structure, phrasing, or organization of my work, and like magic, I’ll be able to get myself right back on track. Having someone else look over your work helps bring a strong sense of clarity and perspective to your writing, which inevitably helps you navigate right out of that writer’s block.

We all feel at a loss for words at some points in our life. As long as it only occurs every once in a while, writer’s block is something we should be able to navigate through with a little time and a lot of patience. Should you find yourself a creative standstill, however, perhaps you should reach for one of these four reliable medicines.

Maria Rainer is a freelancer blogger who believes that online learning is at the cutting edge of higher education. In her mind, the online degree path is an ideal one for students who want an education that fits the needs of a web-centric society. Please write her some comments!

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I’ve always loved to read.

If I’m waiting somewhere and I’ve forgotten a book, I’ve been known to read the back of a match stick booklet, or every single item on the menu. In high school, college and early in my working life, I’d often read a book a day. I was voracious, devouring authors across almost every genre—romance, suspense, mystery, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction—I’d read it all. There was always a book in my hand and two or three in my backpack. When I started to drive they were tucked in the glove box, tossed in the back of the car, or sitting on the passenger seat beside me.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine a time when reading would get lost the shuffle of a busy life. I couldn’t imagine a life without reading.

This obsession with reading is what compelled me to write, to dwell in my own imagination, and bring my own worlds and characters to life. But as I sank deeper and deeper into writing, I stopped reading.
It happened so slowly I didn’t even notice.

I was working full time, with an hour commute each way. Plus, I was writing on the side. Writing brings with it a host of other time consuming activities, like critiquing, and beta reading. So I guess you could say I was reading, sometimes I even enjoyed what I read. But reading a critique partner’s work, chapter by chapter, isn’t the same as getting lost in a book. It doesn’t fill your creative well. Or at least it didn’t fill mine.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, and those hours were spent working, commuting, sleeping, writing and critiquing—reading evaporated. I literally didn’t have time to read.

I didn’t notice the affect at first. I was riding high on the drug of writing my first book and involved in several critique groups both online and local. When I realized it had been months since I’d read a book for pure enjoyment, I shrugged the realization aside. Serious writing, required serious sacrifices, I told myself. I couldn’t afford to cut back on the time I spent writing and critiquing, not if I wanted to get published. The reading, however, wasn’t necessary. I could do without the reading.

I was so naïve.

The months turned into a year. And then two and then three. I went from reading a book a day, to reading maybe a book a year. As that third year without reading bled into a fourth, my creativity dulled. Everything I read from critique partners sounded vacant, and dull. Everything I wrote felt stagnant and boring. All those exciting premises churning through my mind, tarnished. Like wisps of smoke on the wind, they blew away. All the sudden I was left with no interest and no energy for writing. There were no images, no stories, and no characters in my mind. No words demanding their time on the page. My mind felt empty. My creativity gone.

I struggled for months with this strange apathy, forcing myself to write even though the enthusiasm was gone, forcing myself to critique even though everything thing about every story irritated me. Because my critique partners’ work couldn’t pierce this mental fatigue, I didn’t think other fiction could either. Instead I turned to television and dulled my mind even further.

The only reason I started reading again was because I lost electricity one day. With no television, I had no way to occupy myself, so I picked up a book for the first time in years. The book was Vanished by T. J. McGregor and it revitalized me. I got lost in that book—lost in an imaginary world, with imaginary people. And when that ride was over, I reached for another book and took another imaginary ride. And then another. What followed was a reading glut like I hadn’t enjoyed in years. Not since I started writing.

And wonder of wonders my creativity surged. Suddenly new ideas and new characters started spinning through my mind. The words that streamed from my fingers onto the computer screen were vibrant and thrilling. My critique partners’ chapters were brilliant.

My creative well was full again.

Since then I’ve made time for reading—allowing myself a major reading glut every couple of months. And with each reading glut my creativity has soared. It was the Black Dagger Brotherhood that inspired Forged in Fire, my paranormal romantic suspense. Without that reading glut, without that inspiration, I would never have written Forged, which means I wouldn’t have been able to quit my day job in order to write full time.

So it’s fitting that my first resolution this year is to read more. At least a book a week. I have a brand new Nook Tablet and I’m filling it with books: Christy Reece’s Last Chance series, the fourth book in Maya Bank’s KGI series, and the first two books in Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Lara Adrian, Caris Roane, they are all either downloaded into my Nook or about to be downloaded.

What do you have on your Kindle or Nook or sitting on your bedside table?

About the book:

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

Forged In Fire is a smoking hot adventure with an irresistible alpha hero. Danger, action, suspense, and a steamy romance make a story that’s impossible to put down!”
–Patti O’Shea, National Bestselling Author of Through a Crimson Veil

About the author:

Trish McCallan has been writing for as long as she can remember. In grade school she wrote children’s stories, illustrating them with crayons and binding the sheets together with pencil-punched holes and red yarn. She used to sell these masterpieces at her lemonade stand for a nickel a book. Surprisingly, people actually bought them. Like, all of them. Every night she would have to write a new batch for her basket.

As she got older her interest changed to boys and horses. The focus of her literary masterpieces followed this shift. Her first full length novel was written in seventh grade and featured a girl, a horse and a boy. At the end of the book the teenage heroine rode off into the sunset . . . with the horse.

These days she sticks to romantic suspense with hot alpha heroes and roller-coaster plots. Since she is a fan of all things bizarre, paranormal elements always seem to find a way into her fiction. Her current release, Forged in Fire, was the result of a Black Dagger Brotherhood reading binge, a cold, a bottle of NyQuil and a vivid dream.

Visit her Website.

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ImageJulia Cameron and her marvelous book, The Artist’s Way, completely changed the way I approached writing, inspiration and creativity. I can honestly say that this book changed my life. It has also changed the lives of millions of artists and creative people worldwide. If you’re already familiar with Cameron’s work, you know I’m not exaggerating. If you’re new to her work, I urge you to discover it. It’s never too late!

Now, Julia’s 12-week program is available online:

Through interactive tools, you’ll be able to:

  • UNBLOCK yourself with powerful Artist’s Way exercises
  • TRACE your creative process in your own personal Artist’s Way Creativity Notebook
  • RECEIVE Daily Inspirations, Affirmations, and Artist’s Date ideas from Julia

The kit includes a contract, the artist’s date, artist’s date exercises, creativity pages and creativity notes.

For those of you on the go, there’s an app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

You can learn more about this exciting program at My Artist’s Way Toolkit.

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You’ve been working on your novel for months, maybe even years, and lately you feel more discouraged than ever. Perhaps it’s the disappointment of not having finished the book yet. Maybe you don’t know where to go next with your story. Or it’s possible that you’re just physically and emotional drained from all the time and effort you’ve poured into this dream. I’ve been there!

Each time I fall into the writing dumps, I wonder if I’ll ever dig myself out. Fortunately, I always do. You’ve put too much time into this venture. Now is not the time to give up.

Here are my top five tips for re-energizing yourself when you feel like giving up.

Read Inspirational Stories About Writing and Writers

Take a writing break and read about other successful writers who weathered the storm. Here are two excellent books to get you started:

Knit Together: Discovery God’s Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber.

This book was such an inspiration to me. Macomber, a best selling writer with more than 100 million books in print, openly shares her story of writing rejection. Once you read about her writing journey, you’ll close the book anxious to get back to your own novel.

Rotten Reviews & Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. This book shares the rejection letters and stinging reviews received by many successful and prolific writers, from Stephen King to Upton Sinclair to James Joyce and more. You’ll scratch your head at the discouraging rejection letters these wonderful writers received. They didn’t give up, and you shouldn’t either.

Don’t Strive for Perfect Prose

Many new writers think that everything that flows from their computer must be golden. Hence, if they write a few pages which doesn’t sound worthy of a Pulitzer, they’re disappointed. Forget about writing a perfect first draft. The most important part of writing is rewriting. Just concentrate on finishing a first draft. Then revise until you’re pleased with the final product.

Set a Writing Goal

Make a commitment to write a set number of pages per week. Can you commit to writing 10 or 15 pages per week? Or maybe committing to write three hours a day or three days a week works better for you. Whatever goal you set, make sure it’s realistic. Start out small and once you get into the flow of things, increase the goal. And if you fall short one week, don’t beat yourself up. There’s always next week.

Start a Writer’s Group

Put the word out that you’re looking to start a writer’s group. Tell friends, family members and colleagues that you’re looking for three or four serious writers who would like to build a supportive writing environment for themselves and other writers. You’ll probably have a lot of interest in the beginning, but only the serious writers will be around for the long haul. Establish a regular meeting time (at least once a month) and require at least two members to produce work for the group to critique each month.

Think About Your Story

Most people assume that if you’re not putting words on paper, then you’re not “writing.” I don’t feel that way. The next time you’re taking a long walk, standing in a grocery store line, or stuck in traffic, use the time to mull over your story. Think about your characters or your plot. Imagine your protagonist having a conversation. Think about how you might describe a room. Challenge yourself to invent a predicament that creates conflict for your character. If you come up with some great ideas, don’t forget to write them down.

Hang in there!

Pamela Samuels Young is a practicing attorney and author of the legal thrillers, Murder on the Down Low, Every Reasonable Doubt and In Firm Pursuit. You can find Pamela’s articles on writing at BizyMoms.com, where she is a featured fiction writing expert.

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One of the things writers are asked most often is: where do you get your ideas from? I’ve heard all kinds of responses. I’m envious of the writers who know… but I suspect they are few and far between. The truth, for me, is that they fall out of the sky. They are an amalgamation of the life I’ve lived, the people I’ve known, the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve watched, the songs I’ve loved… and often all at oblique angles.

Example: I watch a lot of true crime shows. I watched one recently that was telling the story of this poor woman who’d been kidnapped by a man and his wife and imprisoned for six or seven years. I won’t go into all the horrible details, but suffice to say that it sparked something. What I ended up writing had little, if nothing, to do with the original story – but it started the ball rolling. Another time, I was writing about a relationship between two characters, and I remembered when a woman in my life had asked me to sing her to sleep because she loved the sound of my voice. My voice is nothing special, in my opinion, but her love of it was so honest and genuine, I couldn’t refuse. This found it’s way into the book, even though the character I ascribed it to was nothing like the real life woman I’d sung to.

I suppose people (self included) look for formulas for things. An ‘if you do A and B, then C will occur’. Writing is no different. In the end, I guess there aren’t any easy answers, or, if you really want to get down to it – there are too many. ‘Write what you know’ is true sometimes. ‘Less is more’ is true sometimes. But ‘rules are made to be broken’ can be true in the right moment as well. It’s all about a feeling in the gut, for me. ‘This goes there.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because it does.’

A last, too-cutesy little mention. If you want to get all butterfly effect and zen-ish. I once sat down and wrote out an idea for a story. It was a good idea, and, I thought, an original one. A few days later, I was watching one of those true crime shows, and there my idea was – in real life. Something that had happened years ago. I’d never heard the real life story, but the parallels were downright spooky. I’d come up with an idea for a story. A real life killer had executed this idea years before. Did we both get our inspiration from the same place?

Maybe, sometimes, ideas come from a dark little man in a dark little room who sings and claps his hands and laughs while we dance to his tune.

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Cody McFadyen is the author of the international bestsellers Shadow Man and The Face of Death. A third book, The Darker Side, is coming out this October.

Read an interview with Cody at The Dark Phantom.

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