More and more people are becoming aware of the healing powers of creativity. Human nature makes people want to strive to feel good, and keep their bodies free from illness and dysfunction. Two goals most people hope for are to be creative and to improve/maintain health. Taking our cue from physics, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is changed from one form into another. Expressing your creative energy means the energy within you is given an outlet; it is redirected into a more positive energy. Everyone is inheritably born with the potential for creativity. Drawing, painting, writing, acting, sculpting, knitting, dancing, cooking and playing an instrument are all creative activities that can ignite that creative spark. Many people already embrace their creativity while others are in the realm of “I am just not creative”. The key to being creative is taking action!
“Another word for creativity is courage” ~ George Prince
“Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession, but about securing a portal.” – Laura Miller
You’re at an estate sale when you are drawn to an old journal and the price is too good to pass up. When you get home you decide to go on the internet and do a little research on the author. What you discover frightens yet intrigues you at the same time. The writer of your masterpiece is known to have dabbled in the occult until they went missing over a decade ago. It is rumoured that by reading the journal you can open a portal to another dimension.
Write about your adventure with this journal. Are you brave enough to read it? What do you find inside? Does this portal exist and if it does where does it lead? Is it a dream come true or your worst nightmare?
Get creative, write and have fun! :)
I had a blast writing THE EXPATRIATES. It’s the first in a series that follows teenager, Jim Wales, who can communicate telepathically with animals. He discovers his family has been hiding him because they know he’s a scholar—one who can manipulate energy using magic—and someone is hunting all scholars.
I love to read books on craft. I have many of them, and continue to marvel at the ways these books weave advice about writing in so many ways and yet all hope to get a writer to the same place. One of my very favorites is The Plot Whisperer, by Martha Alderson.
The book opens with an introduction which begins, Something urges you to pick up this book. And from there she begins to write not just about writing craft, but about our humanity and who we are in the world. Alderson describes how the stories we write, and things we put our characters through, speak about who we are as human beings.
I teach the Universal Story to writers through plot. Though difficult to accomplish successfully, plot is critical to stories. As I continue to teach and write and consult, I gain new insights into plot… and into writers’ lives.
She goes further to speak about the things that we struggle with as writers and the things that block us and how we should dig deep when these pop up in our writing because some baggage in our real world there needs to be unpacked and dealt with.
This is not to say that a murderous villain’s actions are speaking to the author’s experience. She’s talking about the deeper stuff. The conflicts, the motivations, the juicy meat that makes a story universally relatable.
Alderson talks about energy, and the Universal Story that we all strive to come into contact with. And how our ability to tell a story that speaks to everyone will be dependent on how we approach the world as a left- or right-brained person, or both. AND THEN… she tells you how to do it. *yay*
Look what happened when I finished the one of the exercises:
That’s my book there on my wall, all laid out in blue post-it notes. When I took this picture, I had been having issues with that first little downhill jaunt up there. Post-it note number 3 and 4 after the crisis peak were causing all kinds of havoc on everything that came after.
Posting it out like this, as the exercise advised, I was able to move through and solve the problem and became completely jazzed in the process. Being jazzed about your book is important.
I got so excited I grabbed my husband and made him come in to see the fabulous plot poster, but insisted that he didn’t actually READ any of the notes because he had not read the final draft yet and some of the juicy bits had now changed. So he admired my blue story structure plan and congratulated me and then left the room with me grinning like a starry-eyed maniac.
When I started writing this book, I did so without a plan. I had it in my head where I needed to go and I went. Once the first draft was finished, it was okay. I was enamored of the process and realized my story went in a few directions I hadn’t intended. Many drafts later, I was still paying for that lack of planning as I reworked some stuck spots and solved the larger issues of plot. Above all things, I have realized that I require a plot plan.
If you look closely, you’ll see a little pink post-it in the lower left corner. That was the start of another line of my story about to be explored and added to the six foot paper mural. I added green and orange tags as well. The exercises in this book are done in such a way as to help you see your story to its fullest completion. My plot poster was a kaleidoscopic adventure of bullet points when I was done.
If you’re looking for some help with your story plot, I highly recommend The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson.
Due to a very busy week ahead I will be taking a short break from blogging until
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
~Joseph Campbell ~
Wherever you may be in your day/eve, I hope you’re living with passion & purpose!
Live,laugh & love! xo
Wishing all a wonderful week! :)
Expected release date: November 12th, 2014
Meet New Protagonist and Mystery
By Jillian Hillcrest, Character
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to Brynn Bancroft, a new protagonist in Joyce T. Strand’s most recent mystery, HILLTOP SUNSET.
I’m Jillian Hillcrest. I solved the murders in Strand’s first three mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE. In those books, Brynn Bancroft served as Chief Financial Officer of my company and also as my boss.
Strand’s newest book, HILLTOP SUNSET, features Brynn Bancroft as the star. Oh, I’m still around, but Brynn dominates. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, Brynn had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do.
In the meantime, her husband of 14 years, Liam grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce, even though He understood that Brynn grew up in an abusive household. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif.
Much like me in the previous Strand books, Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.
Like all Joyce T Strand books, HILLTOP SUNSET is drawn from an actual California case.
HILLTOP SUNSET: A BRYNN BANCROFT MYSTERY
A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim. Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to enjoy supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events.
About Joyce T. Strand
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.
Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.
Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.
Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.
She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
HILLTOP SUNSET is available November 12, 2014 on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. For a peek, check out an excerpt at: http://joycestrand.com
Barnes and Noble Nook Author Link – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/joyce-t-strand?store=allproducts&keyword=joyce+t+strand
Web page – http://joycestrand.com
“It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” ~Erin Morgenstern
With Halloween around the corner, many of us partake in reading ghost and horror stories. Imagine you close the book only to find its creepy creatures, ghouls and goblins have come to life. Write about your ghoulish adventures.
Get creative, write and have fun!
Recently I had a chance to interview author S.G. Lee about the release of her new book “Dreams Can Kill” and get some insight on her thoughts on writing. Welcome!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
My interest in writing began as a child when I read my first book and I wanted to tell my own stories. My first taste with fame I won a speech contest in grade six, a story about my mother’s talking pet crow.
Congrats on your new release! Tell us a little bit about your new book Dreams Can Kill.
“Sharron Alexander has awoken with no memory. Sharron vaguely recalls the shooting in dreams and knows someone shot her and left her for dead. Sharron must remember or she will learn Dreams can Kill!”
Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/373190 (Smashwords)
Although both are important, what is the most important thing for you when writing your novels~ the characters or the plot?
I can’t choose; I focus on both. I want the character to be revealed layer by layer so the reader will grow to like the character and care about that character and the situations they might find themselves in. In order to create believable characters, the author must live in their minds, experience their emotions, and in essence be the character. The plot is also important because you really can’t have a story without it. You need to carefully nurture it and make it all make sense.
Do you outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea leads you? Has your process changed from when you first started?
I outline the main premise and then let the story take it from there. The muse often decides the story should go another way. My process has changed in that I edit more as I go along.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
Yes of course, I think every writer does. I do something else whether going for a walk or watching something enjoyable, or reading a book in another genre to distract me.
What genre are your books and what draws you to this particular genre?
My books are in mystery and paranormal. I love mystery because it presents a puzzle the reader has to solve. Paranormal just appeals to me because it presents the reader with different scenarios and situations that make you think.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
When I was a child I read ’What Katy Did’ and I greatly admired Katy and how she overcame a physical disability and how she learned patience. This helped me when I had my own medical challenge at age eighteen.
If you could spend a vacation with one of your characters which one would you choose?
Sharron~ I identified with the main character. I lived with that character in my mind as I wrote about her life. She became like a sister or close relative to me.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you?
I have recently written and e-pubbed short story anthologies for Christmas and Hallowe’en. Available only at Amazon.
I am also working on three other projects:
I am also working on a murder, mystery, paranormal book tentatively called “Third Eye”:
“Mary Katherine Kendall survived a horrific sinking of the ferry the Victoria on May twenty fourth, 1881 in London, Ontario only to fight back for her health and to find she now sees ghosts. Katherine must now accept the changes in her life. Katherine meets a handsome policeman as ghosts seek her help to solve their problems and murders, and she seeks to hide her abilities from all lest she be judged insane.”
This book expected out 2016.
I am working hard on an idea for a follow up to A Diller a Dollar A Really Dead Scholar which I am outlining called “Betty Blue Lost her Holiday Shoe” . This book isexpected out in 2015 .
Lastly, I started working on a book loosely based on my grandmother’s life, but due to unknown facts about parts of her secretive life, that I am unable to obtain; I have decided to fictionalize the story changing names and situations to protect people and advance the story. This book is called “As the Blackbird Sang”. This book is expected out in late 2016.
Where can we find you online?
You can find me at:
http://sheilaghlee.blogspot.com/ (writing blog)
http://poeticyearnings.blogspot.com/ (my poetry blog)
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SGLee/833668436645335
I understand you wish to give one lucky reader you’re e-book Dreams can Kill
That’s correct. If the reader likes or leaves a comment below they will be entered to win. The contest will end next week.
Thanks so much for taking time out to speak with me! Sounds like you are one busy lady!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
~C. S. Lewis
Do you dream about pursuing your creative goals only to push them to the wayside because you feel it’s too late? Every now and then, does that nagging question “what if?” rear it’s ugly head? Now really think about it, what is stopping you? Do you feel you lack skill? Lack time? Lack resources?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a letter of encouragement to a dear friend who wants to become a “insert your dream here” (writer, artist, musician,sculptor etc.). What would you say to encourage them? What would you tell them if they kept making excuses? Brainstorm and help give them ideas of how to accomplish their goals. Would you take your advice? Reflect and write! :)
I started my writing journey on 8 September 2008. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I sat down at my computer with nothing more than an idea. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort. I hope you will benefit from my experience.
At the time, I didn’t know the best way to write a beginning, middle, or an ending. I didn’t know what “beats” were, or what “foreshadowing” was–and it didn’t occur to me that I was foolish not to ask for, or look for help.
I think when it comes to creative things, people have some idea that needing help somehow implies that they aren’t actually talented. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, without any more delay, I will list the books that I have found most helpful.
100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein–This was the first book I bought, and I referred to it a lot. Great starter book.
Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress--Before writing line one, buy this book. It’s fantastic and will save you a lot of revisions. I’ve written three books and am working on number four–this book is sitting on my desk right now, opened. I always have trouble writing the middle of the novel, this book helps me get through that difficult transition.
First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke–Hate to, but will repeat myself–before writing line one, buy this book. But especially before sending to agents.
Last but not least, How Not to Write A Novel by Howald Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. See if you’ve committed the sins they list, and fix them before sending your book to agents.
I’ve used/referred to other books, but these are my favorites.
MaryAnn Kempher writes mystery novels with a dash of humor.
She is the author of three books: Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder; a romantic mystery set in Reno NV. Forever Doomed, a mystery set aboard a cruise ship, and Sweet Mystery—another “I did not see that ending coming.” mystery. All three will make you giggle, and keep you guessing until the very end.
Her influencers include Janet Evanovich and Agatha Christie.
If you’d like to connect with MaryAnn Kempher, that will be easy: