Nothing could ever take the place of writing for me, but there are days when I'm lucky to write one or two lines. Those are the days when I know it's time to move on to another creative outlet. I write every day, but I also seek creativity elsewhere every day because balance is important.
As much as I enjoy writing, at times, my muse needs a break. But the need to be creative is still there. Fortunately, that urge is easily satisfied with painting (usually wooden signs like the one above and clay pots), putting together jigsaw puzzles, spray-painting furniture, creating videos, creating graphics, and digital photography. And I'm always on the lookout for other outlets that might interest me.
Just as exercise is important to our bodies, allowing creativity to flow is a necessity. As children, we spent most of our time doing creative things like drawing, painting, coloring, and building sand castles. We needed to express our creative side because we weren't meant to be all about work. As Picasso said, "Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."
Are you still creative? What do you do to satisfy your urge to create?
I'm a big fan of ongoing education. I'm constantly taking courses to improve my writing and marketing processes as well as reading non-fiction. But I also take classes for topics that interest me that I never learned in college. I don't think we should ever stop learning in life, and with so many places to take free or low-cost courses online, we don't have to.
Currently, I'm enrolled in a Complete Digital Marketing Course from StackSkills that was originally $199, but because I happened to be paying attention, I ended up getting the course for $19. I've only tackled one of the topics included in the course, but it's already made a change in how I approach working with Instagram.
Below are a list of some of the other places I've used to take classes:
Udemy—These aren't free, but a lot of times they have specials like $12.99 for classes. They have language, design, personal development, business, and so much more!
Coursera—These classes are free. I took a screenwriting class through here, and because of that, I wrote my first screen play!
Open 2 Study—This site has both paid and free classes like Astronomy and Financial Planning.
Alison—Free classes are available there, too, although, if you want the certificate for finishing the course, you do have to pay for it.
And if none of these strike your fancy, there are plenty of additional options online. And this doesn't just have to be about personal growth or learning more about your career.
These classes are perfect to use for research for your next book or article. If you want one of your characters to be interested in a topic, you can learn about the topic so you know how to write about it.
But if you are looking for a career change, these online classes are the perfect place to start. Classes like beginner digital photography, introduction to carpentry, introduction to plumbing, and visual and graphic design can put you on the path to a better future!
I am a huge fan of the Die Hard movies and have seen them more times than I can count. I love any type of action movie really so when the previews for Skyscraper started, I knew I'd go see it, especially since it starred Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
This movie was fast-paced, intense, edge-of-your-seat action with a soft side. Johnson plays a former FBI agent who runs a private security company. He's married with twins (around 7 or 8) and has a good life after having survived a horrific explosion ten years previously. When he gets the bid to test the security measures for the world's tallest building, he's naturally excited. What he doesn't know, though, is it's a set-up. From that point on, the action is intense.
There's fire, shootings, fights, rappelling off the side of a building, do-it-yourself surgery, and much, much more. You won't be bored. Though Johnson is used to the physically active roles, this one is unique in that he comes in with what he thinks is a disadvantage. Turns out, the disadvantage is something he could not have survived without.
This movie does have some strong language but not a whole lot of it. It does, on the other hand, have a boatload of violence. , Something to think about if you're planning on taking the kids. I'd definitely give it an A-, though. The minus is only because I wish there'd been a little more of a wrap-up at the end of the movie.
I saw this topic on a blog challenge, and it resonated with me because I've been watching a lot of television from the eighties and nineties. As I lived through that time period, I didn't think there was anything I'd miss about it. Surprisingly, I do. I say surprisingly because I'm a big fan of technology and the advancements that have been made in the 38 years since 1980 which is why I'd never go back to the way things were. However, I do miss the importance of phone calls.
Nowadays, we have our phones glued to our fingertips so we don't miss a call. It's easy to get in touch with someone, and if you can't talk to them, you can always send them a text. But back in the late eighties and early nineties, phone calls were something you had to invest time in, especially if it was to a relative or friend who lived out of state. You scheduled a time to call, poured yourself a glass of iced tea, and settled in for a long evening conversation on your corded phone. And when you got a phone call in the evening, you didn't have caller ID to check, and it didn't matter because you wanted to know who was calling you. Generally, a telephone call was something you looked forward to, not a nuisance.
There were payphones on every corner along with telephone booths, and a call had to be pretty important for you to stop. But it was that waiting to talk to someone that made it a little more special. Communication wasn't right at our fingertips, and it made telephone conversations special. It built anticipation as you waited for that call from someone you loved.
Honestly, though, while I get nostalgic about the past at times, there's no way I'd willingly give up my cell phone. I might miss a call!
One of the best ways I've found to motivate myself is to write a letter to myself to read in the future. A website, www.futureme.org, allows you to write letters to yourself and schedule them for thirty days or longer. I set goals for myself, and the letters help to remind me thirty days down the road that the goal is coming up.
But Future Me can be used for so much more than that. You can write a letter to yourself about all the things you're worried about today. When it arrives in your inbox thirty days later, you'll see that the things you worried about weren't worth worrying about at all.
If you're having a problem in your life, write a letter of encouragement to yourself. Remind yourself that the future will be brighter, and when the letter comes, it'll bring a smile to your face.
So go ahead and give it a try! I'm off to write another letter to myself!
I'm redecorating my house, and it's been an ongoing challenge! I love, love, love the 1920s, and I wanted a way to incorporate it into my house without it being too overbearing. I didn't want my living room to look like a speakeasy or anything like that. So I decided to dedicate one room of my house to the theme.
Below is the first puzzle I've finished that will be matted and framed. (I prefer using my own creations for my walls and decorations.) Another one is underway, and I'll be setting up the painters shortly. I can't wait to share the results with you!
I also have a vintage office. I shared previous photos with you back in 2014. I have since then changed some of the furniture, and since that's been four years, I decided it was time for a little sprucing up. So here is yet another puzzle I've finished! I'll still keep with the vintage theme, and I'm excited about looking for antique items that will complement the puzzles!
What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
How many more times was Mrs. Sanderson going to tell us to make sure we were inside before dawn? I think all of us in the class had figured out by now that sunlight and vampires didn’t go together…at all.
My friend, Jenny, passed a folded-up piece of paper to me. I kept my hand below the desk to open it and grinned at the caricature of our instructor. A cross between an old schoolmarm and a drill sergeant, Mrs. Sanderson had been teaching fledging vampires for probably centuries. And she looked like she was a few stiff winds away from dust.
The classroom door opened, and every eye in the room focused on the intruder, a tall muscular guy with blue-black hair and chiseled jaws. My gaze paid particular attention to the relaxed jeans and the tight gray t-shirt which clung to his six-pack abs. I sat up straighter in my seat, resisting the urge to smooth my hands down my hair.
I sniffed the air but didn’t catch a scent of newness. So what was he doing here? The only vampires in this class had been turned within the past month. Whatever the reason for his presence, I welcomed it. Anything to keep me from listening to Mrs. Sanderson’s never-ending lecture.
He walked over to the instructor’s desk and handed her a note which she examined like it was the solution to the national debt before nodding in the direction of the seat right in front of me.
“You may sit there, and you should not make a habit of being late to my class.”
The new student’s lip turned up in a cross between a sneer and a smile. “Yes, Ma’am.” He didn’t sound bothered by the chastisement.
Mrs. Sanderson tapped her desk with a ruler. “Class, this is Kaden.”
We were never given last names. Once you’ve been turned, they don’t really matter. The person we used to be ceased to exist. It wasn’t like I could go back to my parents and say “Hi, I know you buried me, but here I am again.” No, we were taught to disappear. And here at the Undead University, as we’d nicknamed it, the instructors and guidance counselors, who were the only ones allowed to still have surnames, were supposed to make the transition easier.
Not that this life really was. I mean, can you imagine living forever, especially when you were only seventeen? I know I couldn’t, but that didn’t make a difference to the overeager vampire who drained all my blood about three weeks ago. Oh, he was kind enough to give me some of his own, but where did that leave me?
Stuck in a rigorous training program designed to teach new vamps the rules for the undead. You’d think with all of our strength and abilities, we wouldn’t really have restrictions, but Chancellor Farnsworth felt differently.
The president of this great establishment had been a vampire for over 1,000 years…at least that was the legend. I wasn’t so sure I believed it since I’d never actually set eyes on the guy. Someone that old had to look the part so I’d believe it when I saw it.
Anyway, I remembered my first day here so I felt kind of bad for the new kid. He didn’t look much older than my own seventeen years and had probably just discovered he wasn’t going to age not even a minute much less and hour.
I guess I wouldn’t mind living forever if it had happened a bit later in life. But here I was old enough to drive but too young to drink. Which sucked, pardon the pun.
I tapped on the seat in front of me to capture the new guy’s attention. He looked over his shoulder, and those blue, blue eyes took me aback for a second. I’d certainly never seen a pair of eyes like that and definitely not in my small hometown. I blinked several seconds, and he must have gotten bored because he started to turn back around. So I touched him, just a hand to his shoulder, but he flinched.
“Sorry.” I withdrew my hand. “I was just going to offer to show you around after class.”
He faced straight ahead again. “No, thanks.”
I liked his voice. His attitude, not so much, but I’d never been one to give up so easily. “My name’s Samantha, but most people call me Sam or Sammie.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
He didn’t sound any friendlier so I gave a shrug behind his back and subsided into silence. I had to admit the new guy intrigued me, and even though that curiosity had put me in this position, it wasn’t something I could give up. One didn’t change personalities because they joined the ranks of the undead.
“He’s hot,” Jenny whispered.
I gave her a murderous look. She hadn’t caught on that vamps had super-hearing, though how she hadn’t learned by now, I’d never know. I could hear the conversations in passing cars. Sometimes it was helpful, but most of the time, it was an irritant.
“Samantha, suppose you tell us what you would do were you to see a member of your family.” Mrs. Sanderson’s glasses slipped to the tip of her nose.
I never thought I’d see the day I’d miss studying for English Lit while listening to my father stumble in drunk from a hard day at the bar. Had it really only been twenty-one days ago that I was living what I considered a normal life for me? Safe in a cocoon of ignorance when it came to tales of the supernatural.
Now, I lived it. Stuck in a dimension I never thought existed with at least four-inch incisors that popped out when I was hungry, pale skin, and all the speed and strength of a super-hero but none of the fame and glory.
“I’d appreciate an answer today.” Her strident tone sounded like nails on a chalkboard.
“I’d make sure they didn’t see me,” I offered with a bright smile that earned me the thumbs-up from Jenny.
“And suppose you couldn’t guarantee that?” The teacher pushed, arms folded in a challenging stance.
I wasn’t quite sure what she wanted me to say. The last two people I expected to run into would be my parents. Back where I was from, all I had to do was stay away from the local bar and hotel. My dad always occupied one, and my mother kept the other in business.
“Mrs. Sanderson, the chances of my running into my parents are really slim. I know their haunts.”
The old lady’s eyes narrowed to little slits. “Are you telling me it’s an absolute impossibility?”
“No, but I’m saying I do know how to avoid them.”
“And if you can’t avoid them. Then what?”
“Why is this so important?” Kaden chose that moment to introduce himself to the class. “We all know family is off limits. They can’t know about us so if we see them, we run the other way, make them think they’ve seen a ghost. We got it.”
Mrs. Sanderson’s mouth dropped open. She wasn’t used to students speaking out of turn nor using that tone of voice with her. “Well, young man, since you’ve decided to join the lesson, suppose you tell us what you would do?”
“I already did it.” Kaden slumped low in the desk chair.
“What do you mean?”
“I killed them.”
My second 1920s historical romance is now available! Trusting the Law released a little early even though I thought I was running behind! For now, it's only available on Kindle because I want to be able to take advantage of some marketing deals only offered by Amazon. But it's only $0.99, way less than a cup of coffee or even a donut!
If you do read it, I'd appreciate a quick review, good, bad, or indifferent! Your opinion matters!
I stumbled across Veronica Blade's Shapes of Autumn series earlier this month, and I'm already on the fourth book. There is one more book in the series, and I'm going to be disappointed when it ends. Folks, these books aren't like anything I've read before. It combines werewolves, shapeshifters, and vampires in a world that opens the door to so many unique possibilities. It makes you think and root for the two main characters, Zack and Autumn, two 18-year-olds who shouldn't be in love because it's technically illegal.
To see how much I love them, check out my reviews on Goodreads:
My Wolf's Bane
Wolves at the Door
Dead Wolf Walking
The Dark Wolf (Coming Soon as I'm still reading)
You cannot go wrong picking up this series, and the first book is free on Amazon!
On Sunday, May 13th, something besides Mother's Day happens for me. I turn 50. Half a century. It's hard to imagine, yet, I look back at my life, and I do remember the decades as they sped by. I remember all too well what I learned in each one, not counting my teen years.
In my twenties, I met two ladies who would become lifelong friends, learned how to be a friend, got engaged twice, broke off my wedding two months before the date, learned how a broken heart as an adult feels, how to pick up the pieces after being betrayed, and when it's time to move on from a job and a relationship. I also began a career that would last me to this day.
In my thirties, I began to recover from my childhood, realized my dream of being published, had a life-changing moment when involved in a devastating accident, faced the beginning of a series of health issues that would continue to plague me, started a publishing company with my best friends, lost a job that meant everything to me, endured life-altering surgeries, and fell in love.
In my forties, I ventured into indie-publishing, bought my first house, traveled to Europe, lost a friend who was far too young to die, and lost a woman who was like a mother to me. I published my 50th novel and got my heart broken yet again. I realized who my true friends were, endured more surgeries that took their toll, traveled many times, bought a cat that I can't imagine my life without, started writing for an television/movie entertainment site, taught classes, and made some decisions that will affect the rest of my life.
Now, as I'm starting my fifties, I'm gearing up to pay off my mortgage, publish even more books, volunteer more, travel more, and love more. Hopefully, I'll look back in ten years and see that I've grabbed life by the reins and have held on for dear life. I'll continue to practice what matters most of all—kindness. I'll love more, share more, and be more.
I'm looking forward to starting another decade! Thanks for coming along for the last one!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!