Holiday Imagination Gone Wild

images_074This begins the time of the year for holidays, shopping, family get-together, and the rush of trying to get everything done on schedule. NO… this is the time you need to let your imagination off the leash and go wild with your thoughts. The calendars, advertisements, the push to get everything just so, and the list can go on and on, but what would happen if?????

Start looking at ‘FALL’ as a holiday time. remember when you picked up leaves for a project and then noticed how different they all looked? Go for it again and create your new Fall Holiday. Put leaves in baskets, in vases, or scattered across the dining room table, or any table, while your disc player oozes “Autumn Leaves.”

What about Thanksgiving? Scout odd places and look for turkeys. Forget the lives ones for now, rather pictures of all sizes of these birds.  You can attach them to cardboard and place them in your home. Not just the entry way, but in different rooms. Now, the fun begins. What a sight for visitors when they come over. You can even find the bigger plastic eggs (turkey eggs) and add them to the scenes.

Take a walk outside in a park or wooded area and find your own Holiday Center Piece. You will bring so many goodies home and then the fun starts. Your creative side is excited and you can design each room with a different look. A great way for the whole family to get involved, and you’ll never know what each member can find or do to make part of this their own.

Holiday Cards need to get addressed, with a note or two, and mailed. Your imagination starts working on the wild side and you find cards from different places. How about “Save the Elephants, or Pet Rescue Organizations, and you can find many more while your thoughts are in high gear. Not only will you be helping with donations, but you might spark the incentive to adopt a pet. Instead of writing a note, put a paw print on the card for your signature, or maybe one for each of the family.

A big balloon Santa in your hallway, a tree hung from the ceiling (yes, upside down) and decorated with the gifts piled under, will be a big surprise. Then include a “Thankful” box and have pen and paper ready for each visitor or family member to write their own note of thanks.

Let this Holiday Season become alive and have fun. Share your imagination and you’ll have the best of the best.

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HAPPY WRITING.

HAPPY YOU.

HAPPY HOLIDAY IMAGINATION.

Creativity Unleashed

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During our current M&M Writers Conference for 2016, I was fortunate to meet so many new writer friends. We all have one thing in common…creativity. One writer, Mary Buckham, who was our featured Craft Speaker on Sunday, October 2, 2016, kept all of us in the active setting with neat body language skills for all of our characters. Even ones we had going strong, there were ways to make them memorable, not in what they said, but how they moved and gave off body language to the readers.

She gave us the opportunity to keep in touch via her newsletters. There were so many handouts for future study and looking toward new avenues of writing. Here it is almost the end of October 2016, and I am getting around to reading all of the fantastic information from all of our Guest Speakers. After such a conference, it takes a while to deflate and then go back through everything with a fresh look on how to include these wonderful ideas.

As writers, we all need creative people around us. We need to bounce ideas back and forth and see which ones work for OUR CHARACTERS. As in real life, we need to give our characters the opportunity to expand and see different sides of themselves. Sounds like they are real people, and aren’t they? Each word, paragraph, page we write, makes our characters come alive and real, not only to our readers, but to us as writers. They have been created by the writer and we know them intimately, Except…there are times when the character and the writer do not click. Guess who takes over?

We create the second we walk out into the real world and notice all the opportunities for new stories. We also need encouragement from our fellow writers, and focus on the story we are building with our characters.

Thank you, Mary Buckham, for letting me use some of your quotes to share with a lot of readers and writers. The first one is from Mary:  “Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten, including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it…”

And from Chris Buillbeau…”You must drop the need to be liked if you want an extraordinary life.”

Michael Crichton give this out…”If you never begin, you’ll never know what could have happened if you tried.”

Thanks Mary, for sharing your writing and ideas with all of us. Now, you can begin a new chapter with creative characters, moving characters, and characters full of life. You can catch Mary at http://www.MaryBuckham.com.

From Patriciapictures-mm-2016

HAPPY WRITING.  HAPPY YOU.  HAPPY OCTOBER. (AND THIS IS NOT A TRICK FOR HALLOWEEN….JUST A TREAT FOR ALL OF YOU.)

Do You Believe in Luck?

What a question to throw at readers? Does this include superstitions or just how we look at luck. Just how you look at luck. Superstitions have been handed down by our family members for many years. True, it is important to look at them and get a sense of your past history and family, but they are not your own.
Luck on the other side of the coin, so to speak, is YOUR thoughts about your life and what can make it better for you. This has nothing to do with what you know of past history, but it is how you make YOUR history work for you.
One of the first things I expect all of you to look at is….people feel lucky when they expect the best things out of life and themselves.  In other words, if you believe in yourself, you are more motivated to keep pushing forward to reach your goal.  Sure, you may have your own lucky charm and there is nothing wrong with this. It is a symbol that represents your possibilities to ‘jump over the rainbow’. And if this makes you feel better, hey go for it. For some, it is wearing the big “R” color (red), or something outlandish from their normal ho-hum styles. For guys, it might be the ‘power’ suit, or the outlandish tie that makes a statement for them.
It does not matter as long as it makes you feel active about your expectations. You’ve gotta go out there and make your own statement. Hard? Pardon me, but it can be damn hard.
Your luck comes from YOU, and you need to let people know who you are. Some days, and I’m speaking both male and female, you want to come out of your norm and shock people. For females, this might mean a new style you’ve never tried like short skirts, tank tops, and jeans, tight jeans. For males, it might be just a step away from suits, ties, stuffy outfits, and into cutoffs, jeans with small (very small) holes and no shined loafers. These examples are not for the faint of heart, but it gives you an explanation for some of the boundaries we have gotten ourselves hooked on. We are not carbon copies of each other and what works for one, may not work for another, and the list goes on and on and on.
This has to be something for you to try to make yourselves stand out in a crowd. Lucky people are not afraid to start conversations with strangers. This is called ‘networking.” Get outside your comfort zone and experience new avenues. It is not always easy to talk to strangers, but you just may find your special needle in that haystack. What you need is to stretch out of your comfort zone, check out other avenues, and trust your gut.
When the day is done and you relax, think of the new world you have entered. Hey, you’ve still got tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow to check things out. Uncertainty is a situation is what we writers strive to achieve. Because with uncertainty, we can change the whole outlook on life, love, and chapters.

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 Patricia says, Happy Writing, Happy Journeys, and Happy Happenings to all of you.

MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS

On Fire

This is what it feels at the conference and makes you want to keep the fire burning until the next conference. Yep, the Georgia Romance Writers  and their great Committee for 2016, held the M&M Conference, INSPIRED…WRITING YOUR LIFE CHANGING NOVEL… from 9/29 – 10/02 2016, and inspired we were.

We celebrated the Maggie Award of Excellence Finalists, in both published and unpublished writers. Roxanne ST Claire, published and well-known author, was our Keynote Speaker. Jennifer McQuiston , GRW Featured Speaker, who now lives in Atlanta, and we received great information, not only on veterinarian, but always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks.  Mary Buckham, gave us our last big Craft Workshop. She has her characters set in Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fantasy, and really where they want to go. Then, we had the opportunity to make pitches to agents and editors. Our Conference offered us opportunities to pitch to Laura Bradfore, Nicole Resciniti, Cat Clyne, Patience Bloom, Elizabeth Poteet, and Stehanie Doig. These are not listed in any particular order, only to let you know the wide variety we were given the chance to offer our pitches.

Registration and Trivia started on the first night, and the opportunities to learn new writing procedures, make old writing procedures new with thoughts and techniques.

We had a huge celebration on Saturday night with a Book Signing, cocktail hour, and the Maggie Awards for Excellence.

On Sunday morning, after a Continental Breakfast, Mary Buckham gave us three hours of Active Setting and Body Language. It was one of those learning processes that makes me stare at people and their positions.

Writers from all over came to our conference. I met writers from New York, Chicago, ST. Louis, Miami and these are just a few. Our Conference has grown in size, opportunities with the great staff that puts all this together.

I came home saturated with thoughts, ideas, and most of all, the renewal of writing. It is when you hand write, or put your fingers on the computer keys and see words form into thoughts, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and more chapters that you are fulfilled and keep those words filling the page.

To all of you who put this big conference together, to all of you who attended, and to all who came as a first time attendee, mark your calendar for 2017. May you be INSPIRED to continue your writing journey and who knows, this may be your ‘LIFE CHANGING NOVEL.’

HAPPY WRITING.  HAPPY YOU.  HAPPY CHANGES.  HAPPY LIFE.

You Are It!!!

images_068You hear your name called and cannot believe, ‘YOU ARE IT’, the next month’s speaker at your writing club. Your throat tightens, sweat pours down your neck, and you look around for something to use, just in case you can’t swallow.
Instead, you smile and wave your hand. You do not trust your voice at this point. After the current meeting, many people walk up to your table and congratulate you. You hear, “So glad it’s you. I couldn’t talk much less make sense. Others come by with more remarks: I didn’t know you gave talks, you are always so quiet,” and another mentioned “My knees would be shaking so hard I couldn’t stand up.” She just doesn’t know my knees are knocking against each other under the table as she speaks.  The Program Chair announces your topic is on writing, and we need to hear more about your new book.
This helps some, you do know your book from the beginning to the ending, cut speaking you’ve never done. You take a deep breath and smile. AT least you have a month to work things out, like your talk, your voice, and your fear.
In one month, you can put all of this together, starting now. You practice with a tape recorder and listen to yourself. You talk too fast and the words run together. No one could understand a thing you are saying. When on replay, your voice never changes pith and the words fall out dull and sometimes slurred.
In the second week, you slow down, and since it is your book and you know the characters, your voice takes n their attitudes and their voice. Soon you find yourself having fun with your characters and the audience will enjoy them too. Do not forget body language and move with your characters. So, you screw up, laugh at yourself and the audience will laugh with you.
Look at your audience. People want to think that you are looking at them and not everyone in the room. Give them the best you can with a sincere attitude, honesty, and smiles.
Have fun and your audience will have fun. Now you know you can write and have turned a new page in your book–speaking. The best part, you are still standing behind the podium with the mike in your hand. Do not wait for the audience to applaud, turn the tables and applaud your audience.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY SPEAKING. HAPPY FANS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISTENING

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This is a skill a lot of us still have to study. How many times do you hear one thing and reply before the speaker is finished? It goes back to learning the basics of being a good conversationalist. Listen. Listen. Listen.
As writers, we will sometimes be asked to read and talk about different writer’s article, manuscript, short story, or poem. This is what we do when we critique. You must be fair, clear, concise, and think before you speak. These words came from the heart and though we might not agree, a gentle answer will help more than the writer. It will also help you, as another writer and reader. Be friendly and look for the good things the writer has to say.
Friends have all kinds of problems. We have friends, who are bubbly all the time, and then those who can only talk about negative feelings. We are not all alike and we have to keep an open mind. Be authentic when talking with different people. We all have problems, but we do not need to share them with everyone. Sometimes, negative feelings and talk bring our spirits down. This is when listening can benefit the person and where you need to stop and think before you speak. Try to be affirmative and not criticize.
Be respectful of another person’s point of view and keep an open mind. It is the various friends who enter our lives that make everything interesting. If you are listening, face to face, look at the person and not around the room. This signals full attention on the other person and lets them see your compassion. If you are on the phone, keep your voice soft and gentle. This shows you are listening.
During our lives, we will run into many different types of communication. All we can do is listen, show respect for the other person, and keep our minds open. I remember a statement from eons ago…We have only one mouth to talk, but we do have two ears to hear.  LISTEN…LISTEN…LISTEN…THEN SPEAK.

LAUGH A LOT

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 Laughter cures. Problems are more manageable when you have a smile on your face. This makes things look smaller and when problems shrink, life looks a little better. A smile on your face also makes others wonder what you have been doing, or what you are planning. Stop for a few seconds and look around you. This could be at your friends, co-workers, family members or strangers. How many of these people you see are smiling? Everyone has so much stress in their lives, they have forgotten how to smile. No, not the little attempt, but a big lip-smackin smile that covers all of the face, eyes included.
Then you have to be able to laugh at yourself. When this happens, other people will either join in or shake their heads at your behavior. Laughter has a way of helping other people see a different side of life. Even babies enjoy watching laughter and soon are able to do this on their own. They learn their own voice, the wave of their hands, and the happy face of their mother, father, brother, sister, and even the dog. Soon, the baby learns of the noise that comes from their mouths and the fun begins. Giggles are another sound that a baby learns and practices quite often.
As we grow older, we forget about a lot of the practice we’ve had and all of a sudden — no laughter. We become dull, uninterested in a lot of life, and wonder what has happened.  WE FORGOT TO LAUGH. What’s wrong with laughing at every thing we can. It is a healthy attitude that gives us a full life and we are lucky .
Have you ever noticed a pet respond to laughter? They do, just as other people respond to our positive attitudes. You have a new pet and it listens to your speech and mannerisms. Oh, yes they do. When you are happy and smiling, your pet feels the warmth and gives back in their own way. They are attentive and become attached to the routine you established with them. They are some of our best friends.
Still, there is another area of life that needs smiles, laughter and hugs. How about our grandparents, aunts, uncles, or the older generation of our families or friends. Loneliness becomes the better part of their lives and  we can brighten their days with a smile and laughter about ‘the old times.’ When there is laughter, there is no age limit and one size fits all. Do yourselves a big favor and Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. It’s free, non-fattening, great stomach exercise, increases the lung capacity and makes everyone feel better.
Happy You. Happy Laughing. Happy Times.