Tag Archives: life

Luck for All & All for Luck

Luck (from Dictionary.com): good fortune, advantage or success, considered as the result of chance.

Luck is something people wish each other all the time. The problem is, traditional notions of luck may lead to negativity due to the element of chance. In March of 2018, Scientific American published this interesting article by Scott Barry Kaufman about how luck may be a bigger factor in life than we often realize. Kaufman lists findings related to the achievement of success, like country of residence or how a name looks or sounds.

While these elements may be part of the equation, I believe redefining luck may also lead to success in life…and in the art of writing.

L = Love

Everyone experiences love. We may not all feel the emotion the same way. Yet each of us loves someone: a parent, friend, significant other, our even ourselves. We may love our work, a hobby, the earth, or life in general.  As the song goes: It’s written on the wind, it’s everywhere I go. (from Love is All Around).

Some writers love what they do so much they don’t care if their work is popular; the act of creation is reward enough. Others love the idea of achieving best seller status without putting in the work necessary to make the dream a reality and become disillusioned when they don’t achieve their greatest desire. The former writer will most often be happier than the latter because of the element of love.

U = Understanding

Galileo said: All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Understanding comes with familiarity. We can all learn a lesson by watching how children often repeat an experience over and over until they’ve mastered the task. People who are serious about learning something are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve a comfortable level of understanding. Even in maturity, adults can continue to learn and grow.

Understanding how to write well is difficult. As mentioned above, many wanna-be writers don’t have the drive to put in the time necessary to master the art. Loving what they do enough to achieve understanding is an important factor in achieving success.

C = Compassion

Most of us feel sympathy toward someone who’s facing a situation we’ve experienced for ourselves. While we can’t always ease pain, we may try to do something for them because someone helped, or didn’t help, us in our time of need. To quote the Dalai Lama, If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. 

While we don’t all experience life in the same way, I believe creating characters to whom readers can show compassion helps to enhance the reading experience. This is a great way to expand horizons in the hope that those readers may show more compassion to people they’re dealing with out in the world.

K = Kindness

A simple smile, a compliment, or even holding open a door can be a kindness. Being nice to someone doesn’t have to take much time or effort. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted (Aesop).

While equating writing with kindness may be a stretch, think about how often reading a book can make a bad day more bearable for a reader. Entertaining and inspiring authors provide a kindness. Popular authors like JK Rowling are often kind to their fans in more personal ways, too.

Looking at luck in this new way can be transformational.

Thinking of luck as a way of being loving, understanding, compassionate, and kind instead of just as an indicator of random chance can improve life in unimaginable ways. We all need more of this in our lives. Learning more about the ‘other’ who we may distrust is a good way of finding common ground and understanding. Showing kindness during disagreements helps diffuse tension. Being compassionate to someone else can ease our own pain.

And the world can never have too much love.

For those of us who write, following these principles will add depth to our work. Having our characters show some or all of these traits helps our readers relate to them. And using the components of ‘luck’ may just inspire us to write that best-seller.

Luck for all and all for luck!

Romantic Living Or How to Inspire Romance

Romantic Living

Creating the romantic life can be easy. For example, I enjoy spending quiet time with my husband. Sharing a candlelit meal at home is special, too. Even handwriting a note to say “I love you, have a good day,” can inspire romance.

Romantic Dinner.

I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about the subject because I’ve always loved reading romances. Now, I’ve also started writing them. So I did a little research into the meaning of the word romantic to get a better background for my work in progress and here’s what I found. This not only benefits my writing, of course, but also how I’m living my life. The little things I’ve started doing are ones that inspire romance for me. You’ll need to figure out what touches do that for you. Personalization is key.

The Romantic Adjective

A variety of meanings for the adjective form of the word can be found on Dictionary.com. These include: a desire for adventure, a preoccupation with love, displaying or expressing love or strong affection, ardent, passionate, fervent.

Enduring Thoughts of Romance

To prove this is a topic I’ve thought about for awhile, you can look back at my earlier post Romance in Real LifeI still feel the same way about the subject that I did when I wrote that post, but I’ve also refined my thoughts a bit. The little things are just as important now as they were then. I’ve just added to them.

For example, I now make breakfast each weekday morning. To create a romantic atmosphere, I serve our morning juice in wine or champagne glasses. Seasonal decor brightens our eat-in kitchen table and a wax-melt light wafts a light scent over us as we eat. These are little, inexpensive touches that make the idea of facing the outside world a little more bearable. This is just one of the many ways I’ve chosen to live the romantic life. Hopefully, this might inspire you to try out a few ideas of your own.

And remember…

Romantic decor.

 

Inspiration: A Global Search

Inspiration Around the World

Inspiration at Blarney Castle

Inspiration for my current writing project came in the form of second trip to the Emerald Isle where lush greenery abounds beneath often leaden skies. Castles and cathedrals dot the misty landscapes. History and romance go hand-in-hand wherever you turn.

The project mentioned above is the third piece of a travel romance series where the main novels follow the journey of self-discovery of Lilibet Travance. The offshoot books branch off into tales of others who relate to her in some way. Writing travel romances leads, of course, to more travel! A win/win for both me and my readers.

However, not all the future books may be based on recent trips. Another source of global background could be mined from my memories of living in Japan. My family’s experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun provide fascinating fodder for romance.

Inspiration Around the Block

Inspiration in Northern Nevada

While not as green as Ireland, northern Nevada also inspires creativity. The trail shown above is just a few miles from my house. Here the scent of sage and snow hang heavy on the air. Birds of prey circle overhead. Wind whistles through barren branches and pushes clouds across the endless sky.

These views define the bulk of the first portion of an epic series. Lil’s experiences in the Wild West and beyond underscore the changes she faces after leaving her home and family in the Midwest. Landscapes both at home and abroad serve not only as background, but as a means of self-exploration. In the end, physical travel serves as a metaphor for her emotional journey.

For more regular posts about my works-in-progress and inspiring landscapes, check out my social media. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Life in the New Year – Looking Back to Look Forward

Looking Back

The author in 1979

About three years after this photo, I graduated high school, married, and moved off to start a new life. The young couple soon became a family of five. At the ripe old age of twenty-five, and a stay-at-home mom to three kids, I found myself in desperate need of some intellectual stimulation at an adult level. I started writing romantic stories with an eye to a career as an author.

The image above from about forty years ago now, during my junior year of high school, reminds me just how much I miss creating music. I’ve still got the violin and the memories of how to play. The feeling of the bow, the smell of rosin, and the sound of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik are as familiar now as they were then. My love of music hasn’t diminished over the long years since. The young girl in the picture remains deep inside. She just matured into someone who didn’t make time to pursue a once-favored activity

Romances morphed into TV tie-ins (glorified fan-fic!) for my favorite show. This attempt at publication attracted the attention of a well-respected editor at a well-known publishing company. Despite a face-to-face meeting with the aforementioned editor, the book didn’t quite make the top of the publishing pile and TV show (and novelizations) ended. My writing attempts continued unabated until the need for a second income led me to take a day job. Between work and kids, I didn’t write as often, but still managed a few words here and there for quite some time.

Here and Now

The kids are now grown and out of the house so I’ve plenty of time to write after work, yet I haven’t done so on a regular basis. Camp Nano and Nanowrimo aside, my attempts to finish a manuscript haven’t gone far, despite the little voice in my head telling me I’m still the same person who once attracted the attention of that editor. This is a change I plan to make in the new year.

Looking Forward

Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring?

The road in the photo above looks like it either dead-ends or fades into the dirt path. Does the asphalt continue? The driver will not know until they go on. This picture is a lot like life in that no one knows what tomorrow will bring. We can only follow the road until we find the way to our destination.

With this in mind, my plan of action for the new year is to take each day as it comes. I’ll follow the road until I find whether this path will head the way I hope to go. If not, I’ll find another route, like the unmarked trail with the potential for adventure. If I have to turn around, I will. The one thing I won’t do is stop at side of the road – and certainly not in the middle – to wait for guidance. The resulting boredom and inactivity are not pleasant.

Musician me will seek out my old violin and practice again whenever I get the chance. Whether or not that someday leads me to audition for the local community orchestra is on the other side of the hill.

Writer me has once again started my vehicle to make the slow drive toward those hills. Creating this blog post has moved me the first few feet forward. The road ahead looks quiet. Of course, potholes aren’t often visible until too late, but that’s something to worry about when the time comes. My current view is smooth enough for me to get at least as far as the point where the road vanishes. I’ll handle whatever I find once I get there.

Travel as Inspiration

A couple weeks ago, my middle child and I took a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure where we spent several magical days enjoying special experiences, great food, and each other’s company. Having my youngest child and her husband and two kids with us for part of the time only enhanced the experience. The photo below, taken from Mickey’s Fun Wheel, looks out over Disneyland to the east and the mountains beyond and gives you some idea of just how gorgeous a winter day in southern California can be.

Southern California in January 2015.

One of the best parts about getting away from normal day-to-day life is being able to see the world in a new light – and that’s always good for the writing process. The drive down and back, while somewhat familiar from previous trips, changes each time we travel that way and that often spurs interesting story ideas. The way the sky looks and the air feels is different than at home and which is refreshing to the sensory memory. Coming across people we’ve never seen before (and probably will never see again) can inspire character creation. Plus, visiting an amusement park often brings out extreme feelings from terror to exhaustion that can be mined for future stories. Not to mention the fact that actual writing can be done during the enforced confinement of the long car trip.

The return home to my own small community after spending time in the big city gave me a chance to look at the familiar in a somewhat different light, too. The sky is a paler shade of blue at our higher elevation than the warm golden tones I associate to the LA basin. The mountains are much closer to us here than they are in the valley down there. The air is thinner and colder than the heavy humid air to the south and our smaller population means we have less smog. We also don’t have as much light pollution so the stars are brighter and clearer in my home town than what’s visible beyond the endless lights of the metropolis. Most of the trees up here in the north look skeletal now, devoid of their summer greenery, and we have a lot less vegetation overall due to our high desert climate, while sunny southern California is ripe with flowers, fruit and palm trees, and thick green grasses. While I enjoyed my time away from home, I’m always happy to come back again.

After a short week back at work I took a second trip out of town, this time for business. Again, I traveled south…to fabulous Las Vegas. A co-worker and I flew down in the morning and returned on an evening flight so the experience was quite a bit different than my day-long drives of the previous week. Again, I saw many unfamiliar people, but this time I also met up with people I know from the work environment. Since we weren’t vacationing, we didn’t get to enjoy the more glamorous aspects of Sin City, but spent our day in a generic conference room taking notes, drinking coffee and eating rich pastries, and discussing some pretty in-depth technical issues. Though my day job is not writing-related, I do get quite a bit of inspiration from the work I do, and this trip was no different on that front. Some of the ideas discussed during our training might someday serve as background detail for one of my romance novels; just a sprinkle of dry material here and there to add texture without causing the plot to thicken too much, so to speak.

Las Vegas is much different from both my home and the Los Angeles area so being in the three locations in such a short span of time is stirring my imagination in new ways. January is often a depressing let-down period for me after the holiday season, but I didn’t feel that way at all this year, and I believe the work I do in the next few months will be richer for the experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks. While I’m more of a homebody than a world traveler, getting away has been just what I needed to help me settle back into my writing routine with fresh eyes and renewed excitement.

Baby Break

My initial plan to publish my WIP at the beginning of November didn’t quite work out when life got in the way. I really don’t mind since the reason the book is still in the last edit stage is that a more important WIP debuted the last week of October: my second grandson.

Two weeks ago today, an ambulance rushed my pregnant youngest daughter to a local hospital in intense pain. She knew something was horribly wrong even if emergency dispatch and the medics kept insisting she must be in labor. They got to the hospital just in time to find out she’d developed abdominal internal bleeding outside the uterus causing a dangerous drop in her blood pressure and a decrease in oxygen to her unborn son. Doctors performed an emergency C-section and delivered my grandson within ten minutes, saving both him and my daughter. They both seem to be recovering well, but needed more help than they’d expected when she got home from the hospital.

The experience just reinforced the one reason I’ve had so much trouble finishing my writing projects. For me, family comes before anything else. My daughter, her husband, and their kids needed me so I took time off my day job and moved in with them for ten days to keep my four-year-old grandson amused while his mommy rested and healed and his new baby brother settled in to his new home life. The experience also reinforced that my daughter is truly superwoman; she’s been self publishing for several years now to great success – and managed to release a new novella with a new baby in the house just a week after her near-death experience.

My daughter also puts her family first, yet in her case this means dedicating herself to her writing career while my son-in-law serves as the primary caregiver to their children. She has the talent and drive to earn enough from her writing so they live quite comfortably and take regular trips. No matter where she is or what she’s doing, she’s always writing and/or editing something. She’s published at least one book while sitting at a restaurant in Disneyland. I’d love to be more like her.

Now that I’ve returned home, I’m settling back in to my own project with a renewed sense of purpose. My daughter doesn’t use life and family as an excuse not to pursue her dreams so why should I?