It's that time of the year. Thanksgiving. The day when we're called upon to share what we're thankful for this year. The question gets asked on social media throughout the month, and usually, we can all offer three or more things that we're particularly grateful for. We say we're thankful for the sunshine, but we assume it's going to be there. We're thankful for our jobs, figuring we'll have them until we decide to retire. Usually, we offer our thanks for our family and friends, for love, for our pets, and so much more, but you rarely see one of us post that we're grateful for the money troubles, the flat tires, the days that go from bad to worse.
I think we already know the answer to this question. Isn't it difficult to be thankful for the hardships? Even if we've overcome obstacles, we don't appreciate the obstacles themselves. And if we're still in the middle of a battle, we're certainly not thankful for that. But we should be. Because overcoming obstacles makes us stronger and better people.
Annabella Hagen, a licensed mental health therapist, in an article for Psych Central wrote: Studies regarding oxytocin tell us that this hormone helps us crave for physical contact with our family and friends. It enhances our empathy and helps us support those we care about. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, says that oxytocin also is released when we experience difficulties and stress. She reminds us that oxytocin prompts us to connect with others.
All of us struggle at some point in our lives, but would we really want easy lives where everything went according to plan? Where would the challenge be in that? And if we're not challenged, wouldn't life become boring? Stale? Ken Wert, who runs the website Meant to Be Happy, wrote a wonderful article about being grateful for life's challenges, and in it he said that challenges inspire compassion. Makes sense. If we go through trouble, we'll be better able to understand and sympathize with those who go through something similar.
As a Trekkie, one of my favorite episodes of the original series is when an alien entity wants to provide everything for those on her planet, leaving them nothing to do. Captain Kirk's response, provided by the incredibly talented writer Gene Coon, is perfect.
As the obstacles shape us, give us something to overcome, and provide a sense of accomplishment when we do, why shouldn't we be thankful for them? It's certainly not easy to appreciate hardship, but once we see its necessity, it becomes a little more palatable.
I devour books like they're my favorite ice cream cones. And I don't just read the type of books I write. I explore when I read, whether it's an autobiography, a book of wit and wisdom, a middle grade novel, or science fiction. If a book looks good to me, I'll give it a shot. I think it's important to read, not just the new books that are being released, but the ones from years past that I've managed to overlook. That's where I usually find the gems.
This month, I'm reading a young adult fantasy series, a non-fiction book about a favorite television show, and a non-fiction book about marketing. And you read that correctly. I'm usually reading two or three books at one time, although, I have been known to get so wrapped up in one book that I have to finish it before I move on to the next. Usually, though, I will read on one book one night and another the next.
When I read I'm being entertained, and I'm learning, and science has proven that an active brain is a healthier brain. So what are you reading today?
I'm honored that an article of mine has been accepted by Rooted in Rights which is part of Disability Rights Washington, an organization dedicated to making positive changes in the disabled community.
Disability is something with which I'm more familiar than I want to be as I was disabled in a car accident many years ago. And though I don't talk often about it, it limits my ability to do many things I could do before the accident, things that I took for granted.
So this article that Rooted in Rights accepted is on a topic that is very close to my heart. I'll admit that I had no idea the difficulties the disabled community experienced until I came face to face with them myself. I'm glad that I'm able to share a little of what I've learned and, hopefully, to help educate able-bodied people.
My article won't be available until December, but I'll share a link here when it is. This is the writing I do that stays with me long after I type the final word on the page.
I won't lie. I get in the Christmas spirit early because it's my favorite holiday inside my favorite season. Give me winter and Christmas tunes, and I'm in heaven! While some people say it's too early to be talking about Christmas, I say it's never too early! I start shopping at the beginning of October, decorate my house on November 1st, and begin watching Christmas movies as soon as Hallmark starts showing them!
Today, I went shopping for new decorations as some of mine have gotten a bit old. These aren't the best pictures, but I've never claimed to be a photographer! I think my favorite is the Jingle ladies towel!
If you follow any of my social media accounts, you already know how much of Downton Abbey fan I am. I've seen all six seasons a lot more than once, and so when the details of the movie were released, I could not have been more excited.
The movie opened on September 20th, and I bought advance tickets for the same day. And for two, what seemed like incredibly short hours, I immersed myself in the 1920s again with the familiar characters I've grown to love. And I don't regret a moment of it. In fact, I'll probably see the movie again before it leaves the theaters.
I've written a full review of Downton Abbey that you can read, but I wanted to share with you all here that this is, by far, the best return Julian Fellowes (the creator of Downton Abbey) could have given us. If you're a fan of the show, you don't want to miss the chance to see this on the big screen.
Originally posted in Funds for Writers by C. Hope Clark
This happens at every appearance I make. Someone hears me speak or hold a conversation, then they buy my book, saying, "I don't normally read fiction, but after hearing you talk, I believe I'd like to try one of your books." We then talk about which one to start with, and a sale is made. Hopefully a fan is made as well.
I already know you don't want to appear in public. Most writers don't. Frankly, I'd rather be home in my cutoff sweats and t-shirt with no makeup typing away on a new chapter. I'd rather not put my dogs in a kennel to drive a state away or pack up boxes of books. . . pondering on whether to bring 30 or 130 copies.
But once I am there, I own it. I love someone coming up and saying, "I love your books." or "I've followed you for years." But it doesn't stop there. I ask if they write, or what they read, or where they are from, or what they do for a living. How often do they come to Edisto Beach (I do a lot of signings down there) or come to South Carolina.
Because asking about your readers makes them love you more. Why? Because it shows that you care more about the reader than simply making a sale. People love for others to care about them.
You should care about your readers. These people have offered up to you hours of their finite life, which is a phenomenal gift. A certain number of heartbeats and breaths they'll never get back, all because you were chosen to be a permanent part of their life. . . of their memories.
Y'all, that's what you ought to be thinking when someone picks up your book. So, when they say they've chosen your book, especially if it's a genre they don't normally read, then feel honored and thank them from the bottom of your heart in return.
Outliving Her Past is a book that is near and dear to my heart. I've wrestled with how I wanted to make this book available, and ultimately, I've decided to indie-publish it on February 15, 2020. I previously shared the first chapter with you, and it's up at Wattpad as well.
Though a romance is included, Outliving Her Past is mostly women's fiction. It deals with serious issues like racism, hate crimes, murder, and small-town prejudice. Because of how important it is to me, I want to release it sooner rather than later.
Kate Marks has spent her entire life trying to outlive her past, but her father's illness drags her back to the hometown she never wanted to see again. Back to the judgments and the hate that seems normal to the family living here.
An attorney in Charleston, SC, Kate moved as far away from her family as she could, enduring their disapproval, but that disapproval segued to unfettered fury when she fell in love with a man her family will never accept. She's determined to live her life her way, but her father's ultimatum sends her reeling, and when her brother is arrested for a hate crime, she's forced to confront the prejudices that bind her family together.
Her normal life in Charleston awaits her, but has she been tainted by the evil that darkens her past?
We've spent the last few days in hurricane mode as Hurricane Dorian targeted the east coast. It's now Thursday evening, and the storm has finally pulled away from our area and is headed toward North Carolina. Someone asked me why I would continue to live here when hurricane season is something I have to face every year. My answer was simple. Because this is where I live. This is my home.
The eastern seaboard is a target for hurricanes every season, and more often than not, we're watching the tropics every season. And, yes, there is a chance that our homes could be destroyed, our city demolished, but, in reality, those scenarios can happen anywhere, whether it's by an earthquake, a tornado, or any other natural disaster. There are no guarantees that we will always be safe.
I grew up in Charleston, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. Some day, I might want to own a mountain home, but I'll always have a home here. Preparing for and watching a hurricane does disrupt the normal flow of my life, but it's a disruption I'm familiar with.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo devastated our area. I was in college then and could only watch the damage being done to my home from afar. I would have evacuated had I been in the city at that time just as I evacuate for anything over a Category 3. I don't take unnecessary risks, and I heed the warnings of the experts. But I wouldn't leave Charleston forever because hurricanes threaten us every year. It's just something I accept about living in a coastal community. I prepare and pray. And I'm ever aware that the next hurricane could be catastrophic.
I am a sucker for movies based on true stories. I actually didn't know that this one was based on Eric LeMarque's story when I pulled it up in my queue on Hulu. Eric LeMarque is a former hockey player who got involved in drugs and spiraled out of control. He had to lose his way to find it again. His story is heart wrenching, fascinating, and inspiring.
The movie stars Josh Hartnett and Mira Sorvino who plays Eric's heartbroken, faith-driven mother who only wants to see her son have hope again. Josh Hartnett as Eric is convincing as a drug addict who only cares about the adrenaline rush which is why he's addicted to snowboarding as well as meth.
LeMarque gets trapped on a mountain in the Sierras for eight days after getting lost in a whiteout while snowboarding. That's where the main scope of this story starts, and while I really liked Hartnett's portrayal, the mountain scenes went on a bit longer than necessary, in my opinion. There were long minutes of watching him crawl through snow, and I would rather have seen more of his mother. When she came into the picture, determined to find her missing son, the story really picked up.
Much of LeMarque's childhood is told in flashbacks, and it's his determination not to fail, brought on by his father's constant demands, that pushes him to survive while his body is dying. Hartnett's acting is spot-on as a man who is alone on the mountain in frigid weather with no one to talk to. He manages to overcome fear and loneliness and detox from a powerful drug while drawing on strength reserves he probably didn't even know he had.
There are few secondary characters in the movie which is a shame. I would have loved to have seen more of LeMarque's story before his time on the mountain, and his interaction with others would have given the story more to work with.
In a lot of ways, 6 Below reminded me of Castaway with snow. There are a lot of scenes that lag, but they didn't lead me to turn off the movie early. I watched through to the end and was able to see the real Eric LeMarque's new life after nearly dying on the mountain. He's making the most of his life now, and for that reason, I do recommend this movie if you enjoy inspirational journeys of overcoming addiction and survival in the darkest of circumstances.
In this week's news....actually, some of it is last week's news as well!
Many news things are in store for my site so keep checking back! I think you'll like the changes!
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!