I don’t know about all of you, but this past year was full of surprises that crossed different avenues for me. I RETIRED!!! Never thought I’d give up my Silver Sneakers(R) Exercise Group, but after eight years, needed to let go and give the group some new instructors and new choices. They are still in full force and have added new members. Sometimes, it is the right thing to do and help the members grow and learn new moves/exercises.
Thought, this would give me an opportunity to dig further into my writing, which I have done, just not as much as I wanted to accomplish. The ideas are there and my fingers try to hit the ‘write’ keys. Some days are better than others.
Been hitting our little library a lot and going back over some of the old books again. Got interested in reading the classics and older books. Jeffery Archer had a new book out, “This Was A Man,” and I could not just get this without going back over his other novels. It was the seventh book in a series and I needed the background information. Still working my way through the series.
We had our annual meeting and good attendance. Found out our CMA, Office Manager, is being transferred to a new property and we have a new CMA coming in to keep our place in order. Will not know for a while, as he starts this coming week. New opportunities, I hope.
I find myself at ends, but not for long. It takes a while to wind down after working all your life and at times two jobs. Still, I find new avenues to travel and include my writing. I am thinking of doing some volunteer work with The Atlanta Humane Society. Since we have a “NO PET” rule at our Condo, figured this would give me something new to volunteer and give myself a pet for a while. I’d been there to an open house months ago, but couldn’t work and do this type of volunteering. I’ll let you know how this goes.
I had a quiet New Year Eve celebration and watch all the crowds gather at Underground Atlanta for the annual Peach Drop. It was cold, windy, and a little of the sprinkles falling down. NO, not the white kind that stick, only the wet, uncomfortable drizzle. Then learned this would be the last Peach Drop at Underground. Guess it has been sold, so have no idea where or what will happen–upset a lot of attendees.
My wish for you this new 2017 is to be happy and share your happy thoughts with friends, neighbors, and yes, even strangers. Be Inquisitive. Be Inspired. Be Kind.
I’ll see you in a week or so. Until then, keep yourselves busy and have fun.
This is the most fun-time of the year. Family members snooping in closets, under beds, and anywhere they can remember, from last year, where presents were hid. And yes, the trips to stores to drop gifts, unwrapped, off at the places for families who need gifts. This is the important part of the holiday season…sharing. Giving rather than receiving.
I remember years ago, my parents driving me and a backseat full of gifts to parts of town I did not know existed. When we stopped in front of homes, some of them did not have lights, but candles. I thought this was neat, until my mom told me the truth about their candles. Even today, I have problems with lighting candles, except at church.
Still we all know there are discrepancies in the lives of people we know and people we do not know. It becomes our cheer to give to those whose lives are not as fortunate
One family we encountered had two little boys….all I could think of was balls, toys, warm clothes, until the oldest kept looking around and shaking his head. When I asked if he was okay, he nodded and turned to go still looking around. “Did you loose something?” I asked. The answer came back in a whisper…”No, guess Santa never heard me.”
“What did you want from Santa?”
“A new coat for my mom, and a puppy for my brother.”
My heart dropped down to my knees. He wanted for his mom and his brother but nothing for him. “Maybe, Santa had his sleigh full and couldn’t get these inside. If he doesn’t come back tonight, we will search for him tomorrow.”
“Really, you’d help me?”
My dad turned his head around and surprised me….”Of course, but you need to keep this a secret.”
The little boy’s eyes widened as he shook his head up and down.
“If we can find Santa tonight, we’ll be back; but if we have to wait until Christmas Day, we may be a little late.”
No other response. This little boy believed both of us.
“Dad, what are we going to do?”
“Everything except the puppy. They can’t feed their own family, and certainly not a dog. But, you, my daughter, will take him to the Animal Shelter and let him play with all the dogs he and his brother can handle. AND…This will be once a month for the next year.”
I noticed the change in my Dad’s voice and I knew what he meant. A promise is your word to another person and it cannot be broken.
The next day, we drove by their house. The candles were all lit, singing came through the cracks in the doors and windows. It was a happy sound, and next to me was a huge hairy dog. We opened up car doors and started toward the house. The singing stopped, and the family members met us on the rickety front porch.
“We found Santa,” my dad hollered, but he only had a few things left. “A new coat for mom, a new flannel shirt for dad, clothes for both of you boys, and a new part-time pet. Meet, “Big Boy.” We will bring him by every so often and my daughter will take you with her to help at the animal shelter. Santa smiled as he got his sleigh off toward the North Pole.
“Merry Christmas to all who believe.”
This 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.
HAPPY HOLIDAY IMAGINATION.
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.
HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY YOU. HAPPY OCTOBER. (AND THIS IS NOT A TRICK FOR HALLOWEEN….JUST A TREAT FOR ALL OF YOU.)
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.
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.