Tuesday, November 25, 2014

4 Things To Help Make A Happy Thanksgiving

Four things to remember as you hustle to get their work finished and travel to family and friends.

#1 Once you're out the door - forget about it! 

Enjoy your time off, and appreciate the time away from work. Not everyone gets the holiday time off to spend with their families. I'm not just talking about the stores gearing up to make money - I mean the police departments, nurses, emergency crews and many more public servants - they all work holidays, too. I thank them all for their dedication. So if you have the time off be thankful.

#2 Travel safely and be courteous.

The anxiety is high as people swarm to the airports, trains or pile onto the highway. Traffic is congested more so during this holiday than any other in the USA - so take care, especially if the weather interferes with the road conditions. It only takes a minute to smile at another person and that can make a better day for everyone around you.

#3 Keep the past in the past - Open the door to a new memory.

Being with family can be a nice time, sharing happy memories - but it can also be filled with anxiety. When the door opens and we step into old familiar grounds, sometimes the past comes to life again. 

Remember who you are now and don't relive any past bad episodes. Forget about it! Let yourself be happy and remind yourself that everyone grows - and most of us become better people. Drudging up the past bad memories does no one any favors.

#4 Since it is Thanksgiving, do the obvious - count your blessings.
cornucopia by George Grimm Howell

Give yourself a break and don't go down the road of I should of - 
you should of .... 

Instead take a look at your life and be happy for what you have going for yourself - not just material stuff here folks. 

For starters, you're alive. If you are reading this post - you can read! Believe it or not, there are still many people in the world who do not, so you are fortunate.

If you have family around, again you have opportunities that many lonely people do not have... 

If you don't have a close family, go out and make one. Find people who you enjoy being with and who you can talk with - because that's what a family is all about - complete acceptance, no matter what.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep reading - Keep writing!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween- Free Haunting short story

It's that time of year -

when we all let ourselves become whoever or whatever we want to be, ghosts, witches any kind of monster...

So have a good time with your friends- join a seance or visit a cemetery today.

Have a fun day and night with your mayhem but don't forget to be safe... accidents happen, just ask the ghost of Ringo Kelly.

Once again I am giving away
a FREE eBook copy of my short story about the Hoosac Tunnel- one of the most haunted places in New England.

Available until November 3rd a FREE short story ...
about a possible reason that the REAL LIFE Ringo Kelly was murdered in the Bloody Pit. Check it out here on Amazon...


A new trailer...

The old trailer...

For more information about the Hoosac Tunnel - check out a previous post here

Lots more details on the history and importance of the Hoosac Tunnel and places to seek out more info on the Bloody Pit!

More thrills and chills for the kids....

Listen for Free - The Graveyard Book written and read by Neil Gaiman (this links to chapter one - others also available on the you tube channel) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOF01vb4Rec

5 Parenting tricks to keep Halloween fun


Friday, July 25, 2014

Push the Box Open - Add Flavor To Your Writing

I just returned from a great vacation - 

rejuvenated and ready to work again...

We visited with great people and explored new places; so surely the past week will influence better writing and character development. 

We traveled to California for a week and enjoyed some remarkable sunshine and fun places.

Here is the point - we don't have to fly to far away lands to add flavor into our writing, we only need to watch and listen to our surroundings, but how great will our writing be when we do push the box open a bit.

Going to any place new will rejuvenate your mind and open up your creativity again. Break the routine.

Take a look and see some of the great places that truly inspired me.

More to come...
Keep reading - Keep writing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Big Secret In Memphis - A hidden treasure at Davies Manor

Anyone who is a Civil War buff will enjoy exploring the Antebellum log home, filled with memories and ghosts.

Davies Manor Plantation circa 1803

Last week I was invited to visit a truly remarkable historical site in Shelby County Tennessee.

The Davies Manor Plantation located in  Bartlett Tennessee has a mission to preserve and enhance the old homestead as a portrayal of early Shelby County farm life for the education and enjoyment of all visitors.

The home is filled with authentic antiques and lends the imagination to meander into a window of the past and see first hand what the original homesteaders dealt with on a daily basis. There are also letters and accounts of the family life back when things were different. I hesitate to say harder, because many may envy the less complicated life back in the early 1800's. 

There are some who say ghosts still linger the old plantation home. I heard some of the stories and will definitely go back for more, but I have not seen evidence yet. 

Still there are many sad tales littering the family history. An interruption of the souls' lofty departure to the heavens is not unreasonable to imagine. The suggested lingering spirits about the place is not difficult to believe.

Here are some pictures I took while visiting.

Kitchen hearth
Lake house moved to Davies Manor

Old time kitchen & 1800's cookbook

I hope that if you ever come to Memphis 
you will take the time to stop at the Davies Manor Plantation as well as Graceland. Truly this exquisite historical home is worth your time - Everyone who visits the Davies Manor Plantation learns something unexpected.

Our past had more purpose, especially in the daily lives, and we can learn from their sacrifices and experiences.

Hope to see you there - until then....

Keep reading - Keep writing!

 Also Visit Memphis Heritage 
National Register of Historic Places 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Write, I Publish & Now I Market (Modern day authors)

I woke up this morning excited –  
my first iPhone was being delivered today.
Actually Fed Ex tried to deliver it yesterday but I didn’t hear the doorbell ring, I was too engrossed in my writing (editing). 

Anyhow, I received the box today, and called the number to get my new phone working. I was not as tech savvy as I thought (cough cough)

When I was verified and the phone worked, I started loading all the apps I needed for social media, iTunes, G+, Gmail, podcasts, Vimeo, Coursera, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Wattpad, Pinint, etc.  You get the drift.

The next thing I knew it was hours later and I was still connecting (& verifying) all my accounts. 

That’s when it hit me.   I realized 'that person' who was glued to their phone – it was going to be me!  Ugh! 

I shuddered – how did it come to this?  Bowing down to social media, marketing all day long, constantly checking multiple accounts, multiple updates.

I must be a real writer! Lost when I write, too engrossed to hear the doorbell, and consistently working my platform the rest of the time. I never thought this day would come – but it is here folks.

I write, I publish and now I market - I am a sales person!   
Sorry day. But if you really want a good book to read check out –  

The sequel will be available later this year (wink wink)

Keep reading – keep writing!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

We All Need Downtime Too

Once in awhile you might find yourself veering away from "The Plan" that you so meticulously crafted out.

 Don't wonder why - it's clear. We all need down time. So, if you forgot to schedule some of the needed rest and play into your routine, it will find you. Often it is worse this way because it can easily become out of hand.

Have you forgotten time for yourself?

All writers who want to get there work 'finished' need a strategy.
We make our list:
  • time for reading
  • time for writing
  • time for editing
  • time for marketing
  • time for social media

Then we set up timelines for ourselves to follow to keep us on the right track.

This is all great stuff - right?

In all these carefully scheduled plans we often forget about making time for ourselves to unwind.

I know about this first hand because I have made this mistake more than once myself. Remember the old saying:
Jack Nicholson - The Shining movie (story by Stephen King)
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (or Jill)"
If you don't want to become a crazed villain like the ones we read about, then schedule yourself some quiet or fun time.

Now that spring is here and summer just around the corner, recognizing this need of yours will help you adjust your schedule so that you can do it all.

Keep reading - Keep writing!


A Video for you to watch - it will help you improve your life!

Robin Sharma explains we need time for 'recovery'



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring, Life Reinventing Itself

Another spring...

This is when we enliven our faith in humanity and look towards a brighter future.

The soul is a precise gift and makes the human experience different, transcending into a higher level from other living creatures.

The atrocities in this world, and the monsters that exist because they reject the moral cry of the soul, are heard about everyday. We are bombarded by the news - bad news, about how one person can hurt another human.

We  need to hear more often about the goodness that resides in human beings - that inner strength of moral character, our salvation - our promise and hope for a brighter future.

On this holiday season of Passover, Easter and spring -

I invite you to think about something good and make it a practice to do this each day. 

Let it become part of you.

We become what we aspire to - we are what we learn.

Our behavior can be improved each day with just the smallest of reminders, the tiniest thought can bloom into a great action of love.

Never underestimate the little things in life.


 Keep reading - Keep writing!



RIP - Thinking of you with a smile - Happy Easter

Dana R Labbee


Lisa Horzazuk

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Writing Process - Author Blog Hop

Today is Blog Tour Day!

This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My friend Fiona Phillips posted last week. You can check out her writing process HERE.  I wish her much success with her newest work in progress Haven Falling.  I read some of her rough draft sentences during a Facebook event with the group Blooming Late Authors and was amazed with her creativity, and looking forward to reading the finished story.

Below I answered the four questions regarding my writing process
Stay tuned to follow next week’s posts, and read about my talented friends’ writing process – they are unique writers. Please check out their web sites.

Four Questions Answered

What am I working on?
Currently I am writing the second book of a family saga I call 
Curses & Secrets.

Exposing Secret Sins is a story that focuses on Michelle, the younger sister. I love this story! It is a supernatural tale and family drama of three siblings who are lost, desperately feeling their way back to normal (if there is such a thing!). The exploration of the new villains and the family dysfunctions is enjoyable.  

My debut novel Breaking Cursed Bonds was released last fall, the first book about this family, and I have been learning a lot about marketing.  Every day I learn something new – and that is an exhilarating experience.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
My stories include paranormal and supernatural elements, but I also like to use real history as a means to bring strange events into the believable realm. In my first book I centered the curse on the Timucua culture and ceremonies, and touched on some History while finding the origin of the curse.
In the second story, my work in progress, an old Blackfeet ceremony is explored as a link between the supernatural and real human monsters. There is less history this time and more action in this story. I learn a lot as I write & research and hope my readers do also. Of course, there is romance too.

Why do I write what I do?
I have always had stories in my head, and for years that’s where they remained. Now that I have time to devote to writing, and well let’s just say a door opened that will never be closed again. I work at making each new piece better, honing my skill. It is refreshing to be able to see progress, to touch a finished project. That was never possible when working in the business world.
  I Jumped! Into Writing… after a loss in our family jarred me into the realization that time is short and it’s not waiting for me. I needed to express myself, and to make sense of the horror and tragedy we have in the world today. Writing does this for me, so now I write. If you want to do something – do it now, before it’s too late.

How does your writing process work?
My process is flexible, but I like to write first thing in the morning when I can. Some days I start and finish at my desk, not even taking a break (I am reviewing my ideas while I make pit stops). Some days my focus is so zeroed in that I lose track of time completely. If I begin a day tapping into social media, the same can happen, so I try to stay away until later on in the day.
  • First when I write a new story I like to make skeleton draft – listing the basic idea (usually in a few sentences), some characters to begin the story, and a few obstacles that come to mind. I read to help develop an idea.
  • Second I write short character sketches, leaving the documents open, so as I write I can add to them and keep track of attributes added.
  • Third I write.  I let the idea develop as I write and try not to block anything.
  • Fourth, once a story draft is finished, I move things around; creating chapters if I think more development is needed, or put to the side anything that seems unrelated to the story that came forward in the writing frenzy. I use the delete key a lot!
·        The last step is never ending – I edit!
I look for character development, check for inaccuracies.  I go through the story looking to gel ideas, correct spelling, punctuation. I look again for passive voice and checking for verb tense. I follow the tension highs and lows.  As I read more about the writing process, I learn about more things to check. I read my words and edit. I write more words and edit.

 I will never be finished editing, and like Walt Whitman, I will end up with revision after revision, unless new stories ideas pop in my head to ward off my internal editor.

That’s my writing experience. Writing, reading, editing – a cycle.  Nothing earth shattering, but definitely a lot of hard work and fun. I received a high reward today from my Alpha reader (my husband) He doesn’t have time to read a lot, but he is brutally honest and not afraid to give critique when he has the time to read. 
This morning he finished my rough draft of Exposing Secret Sins and gave his thumbs up. He said it was a good thriller, he enjoyed the story and to fix the mistakes he highlighted.  
My kind of review!

Thank you for joining our Author Blog Hop!
Please visit my friend’s websites and look for posts next week.


Cindy Vine is a South African author and teacher currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  Besides writing, she loves to travel and experiment in the kitchen.  Her current work in progress will be called Around the World on 80 Plates and combines her love of cooking, traveling and writing.  Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and The Case of Billy B.

Beth Camp, an indie author, writes historical fiction, blogs, and quilts with equal passion. For April, she’s writing a poem a day for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, revising Years of Stone (Book 2: The McDonnell Clan), and holding her breath for Round 2 of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.

Also check out Susan Fleet, trumpeter, author and crime novelist, music historian. Find out more about her HERE     Frank Renzi crime thriller series  Blog

Keep reading – Keep writing!