Tag Archives: Environment

Sometimes Creativity Takes a Break


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I often find my creativity taking a leave of absence when I’m in the middle of a writing project. I typically binge watch a TV series or spend some time at my local library looking for a good book or series, then curl up on the couch at home and read. Or, I choose a handful of books from Kindle Unlimited, filling up my Kindle. It isn’t long before my creative juices start flowing again.

For the past month, I had been working hard on three of my five works-in-progress. You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, you’re working on that many writing projects at the same time?” Well, yes, it’s pretty common among us writers to do that. I have ADD, so my brain can’t just focus on one thing as it’s all over the place. And being creative, I have so, so many ideas running rampant inside my head…

Anywho. I tend to get quite a bit of writing done this way. When the opportunity presents itself, why not take up on it?

Our minds need a break, just like our bodies. When we have a hard time focusing on something, it’s probably a sign that we need to take a break and let our batteries re-charge.

I often find myself stepping away from my writing. It gives me time to focus on other things. After a few days, or sometimes a week passes by, my creativity returns and I’m back to pounding out the words on the keyboard.

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My Favorite Scene in Chaos


 

Authors often feel very passionate for their work. They have favorite characters or less favorite ones. They have favorite scenes or less favorites ones.

I do have a favorite scene in my novel, Chaos, that I would like to share with you all. It’s an important scene that takes place part of the way into Chapter 4:

 

 

As soon as her uncle got out of the car and walked toward the men, Noelle had a dream. Not just a normal daydream, but one where she felt as if she were a part of the dream. She was running through the woods, the smell of pine stronger than ever before. The ground below her felt awkward, as if she were barefoot, yet the feeling in her feet was somehow different. She glanced down; she was running on all fours.

What the … I have paws! She stopped running to ogle at herself. Paws, fur. She turned her head to examine herself further. A bushy tail? Hey, wait a second … Suddenly a different smell tickled her nose. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Oddly, she knew the smell. Opening her eyes and staring straight ahead, she watched two doe run past her. It was as if she recognized their scent and something deep inside told her she was hungry for them. She could feel the predator instinct trigger the desire to catch and kill her prey. Her mouth salivated as she let out a deep growl.

Her heart pumped faster with adrenaline as her legs moved faster with speed. She was giving it her all trying to catch up to the deer when she felt a sharp pain go through her. She surveyed her surroundings, and noticed three men in the distance … and heard repeat gunfire. Suddenly, she was not chasing the deer anymore; she was running for her life. Her heart raced in panic as she began to feel weak. Peering down, she saw blood pouring from a wound in her side. Fear set in as she realized someone shot her. The less she moved, the less she would bleed out, but she had to get away from them. Things went out of focus and then grew dim, as if the sun was setting or time was fast forwarding, turning day into night. Her lungs ached and it pained her to breathe. Her heart, which was pumping quickly moments before, had trouble keeping a steady rhythm. That could only mean one thing: she was dying.

I don’t want to die! If I die in this dream, will I die in real life? Is this really a dream? I don’t understand what’s going on. I can’t die. I won’t.

Feeling weaker with each step she took, she fought for the will to keep moving. When she felt another pain rip through her, she collapsed to the ground, blacking out, her last breath leaving her.

Noelle opened her eyes and breathed as if she was drowning. Gasping and coughing, she reached her hand up and grasped her chest. Her heart raced as if she had just run a marathon. She closed her eyes, trying to figure out what had just happened. She’d had similar dreams before, but never this vivid.

“That was wild. I’m not sure I want to do that again,” she whispered to herself.

Opening her eyes, she saw that she was all alone, and sitting inside her uncle’s patrol car. She had a strong feeling that was where she had been the entire time. Her heart slowed to a normal pace as she slowly took in the scene around her. She could see her uncle walking toward his deputy as if he had just left the car.

Did time stop? What the hell was that? So many questions ran through her mind.

She shook uncontrollably from the adrenaline pumping through her. She quickly assessed herself. No blood, no bullet holes. Thank God! I don’t know what that was, but I’m still alive! Clearly, a weird dream. She wiped a tear from her cheek and closed her eyes, drawing in deep breaths, trying to focus on what she had seen. She wanted to get out of the car and get some fresh air, but she remembered she made a promise not to leave the car. Noelle decided it was best to crack the window instead, and try her best to erase the images that flooded her mind.  

Hope you enjoyed!

Chaos is about two sisters who find themselves in a magical world of supernatural creatures and a book that just might send them on a path to find their destiny.

If you would like to read the rest of the story, it is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble:

Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2ranhTv
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2J2uvzG

Please note that Chaos is listed as FREE under the Kindle Unlimited program.

Chaos Cover EBOOK

 

 

 

Are Authors Introverts?


What is an introvert? An introvert is someone who prefers a quiet atmosphere, who spends a lot of time alone, avoiding social interactions. Almost sounds like a recluse, doesn’t it? Well, those are two separate entities.

Authors spend quite a bit of time slumped over a computer, eagerly typing away on our current work-in-progress (WIP). The desperate need to meet a deadline, or the need to pound out everything our creative muse is giving us before they decidedly take a break, because, they do that sometimes. We tend to ignore the outside world, quite busy in our own little world(s). So, you can see why it is that we would be introverts.

Most of us require a certain space to write in. I know I do. I often need it to be quiet to think if I get stuck somewhere in a story. Sometimes, I have to change it up a bit to get my creative juices flowing. Often times, I will change up my writing locations; watch a certain TV series; read a book series in the genre I am currently writing in, all just to get me on the right track. Once the creativity gets going, it flows and I keep typing away, or I jot everything down as it comes to me.

I am a huge note taker when I cannot find the time to sit behind a computer. I have a shelf full of notebooks with a plethora of ideas, character profiles, scenes, plots, storylines, etc and so on. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, including having one on my nightstand. Most nights, I’m too tired to sit at the computer and write, but once I lay down I’m often hit with ideas on my current work-in-progress and would start to scribble them down into my notebook.

I’m often asked how I find the time to write? Being a single mom and having a special needs kiddo, as well as a job, it’s hard, but I find the time; I wait till she goes to bed, I write during my lunch breaks, I write while waiting in the school line, I write on my days off when she’s at school. I don’t need to explain my day-to-day, but finding the time to write can be done.

No, I’m not the kind of author that can type up 50,000 words in a month. I mean, that would be nice, but those are the kind of people who don’t have a job to head out to or kids to take care of, or if they did have kids, they have someone else to help them out. Me, I can type up around 500 – 1200 words in a day. One day, I typed up over 2500 words, but that was on my day off from work and I didn’t have any errands to run or chores to do. Those are rare days, too!

Every author is different. We all have our own styles or methods in doing what we do, to achieve getting our book written. There are those who can publish 10 or more titles a year, but that also goes along with what I just mentioned. Or, some of those titles aren’t full-length novels, to which I can see publishing that many short stories a year. I’ve published three titles this year; two were short stories and one was a novel, but I had been working on my novel for almost eight years.

I’ve grown accustomed to staying home on my days off my day job to work – as an author. My author business is a second job. There’s a lot that goes into it other than writing that next book. Marketing would be a big factor that goes into being a published author. Emails to answer or to send out, a webpage or blog to maintain, book orders to mail, events to prepare for. Those are just a few things I’ve mentioned. There is a whole lot that goes with being an author, especially if you’re an indie author. Even when I was traditionally published, I still had a lot of marketing to do on my end. It’s my work and I had to get the word out there on it or else I wouldn’t be making a cent. You can’t sell your books if no one knows it’s out there.

I tend to take breaks from social media. These days, you have to. I find myself getting lost on Pinterest. So many good recipes I need to try, or cute crafts my kiddo would enjoy, lol! If I need to focus on meeting my deadlines, it’s a must to take a break from the internet.

Introverts can be great listeners. Not all introverts are socially awkward or rude. Some introverts enjoy not being in the spotlight, or would rather refrain from speaking to a large crowd of people. Some introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking. Not everyone is great at public speaking or has a way with words when it comes to a conversation. Authors tend to use their way with words in their work and like an introvert, it may take many revisions to get out what it is we’re trying to say.

 

 

Essential Oil Diffuser For Those with Sinusitis


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Due to allergies toward dust and mold, I suffer from chronic sinusitis. It can be annoying when working around important people all day in a state office; having to dash off to the restroom to blow my nose or use my prescription nose spray every half hour or so. I needed to find something else that would help clear this up. Allergy meds and nose spray wasn’t working that well.

After consulting with a few friends who work in the medical field, they had each recommended I try essential oils. I had never thought to even try them until I was in an IEP meeting at school and one of my daughter’s therapists had one in her office. She currently had been overcoming bronchitis and was using her essential oil diffuser. After twenty minutes of sitting there, I could tell that it was actually working for me.

My local store only had a few of the small diffusers, so I checked online to see what I could find. Amazon had some for the same price my local store had, except Amazon’s was much bigger and seemed to do a lot more.

I purchased one of them, as well as a few essential oils that was recommended to me. One of those essential oils is called Breathe Easy and it’s for those with nasal congestion. I also purchased the lavender as I love the smell.

After using my essential oil diffuser at home for a few days, I can tell a big difference. Only wished that I could take it to work with me, lol!

Homemade Avocado Hummus


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A few years ago, I had worked a booth with the Anthropology Club at the farmers market at Bernice Gardens in Little Rock. Some farmer’s markets are quite a venue to visit; some are big, some are small, nevertheless, Bernice Gardens is quite the atmosphere mixed with farmers, artisans, artists, and a few food trucks.

While I was there I walked around visiting each booth, trying homemade pastries, freshly brewed coffee that was locally grown and roasted, homemade goat cheese, and homemade hummus. I purchased fresh produce from some of the farmers, some pastries, and some hummus. Now and then I have gone back, mostly for an Anthropology class, but to also support the local farmers and artisans. Plus, I had lived close enough, until now as I had moved further away.

The other day, my boss brought in a container of hummus that she had made herself. I asked her what all she put in there and it seemed an easy recipe that I didn’t know why I hadn’t made it myself before. She told me a variety of recipes she uses and I decided to try one for myself. However, if you don’t have a food processor like me, you can still make this using a mixer or a blender.

2 Avocadoes, peeled and seeded

1 can of cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of paprika or pepper

1/4 tsp of curry (optional)

1 lemon, squeezed into the ingredients

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

If you are using a mixer, you may have to blend for a few mins until ingredients are well blended. Blender or food processor would work better.

A Coffee that I Love, Plus it Gives to Charity


I am a huge coffee drinker. I have at least a travel-sized mug every morning to help me get through my work day. On occasion, I tend to walk across the street to a certain coffee chain and get myself a mocha frappe, if not a house blend coffee. I am also a fan of giving to charity, especially when it comes to children.

A few months ago, I was shopping with my dad when I spotted a new coffee that we had not seen before called, Laughing Man. I thought it had an interesting title and read the side panels around the box when I spotted actor Hugh Jackman’s picture on it. Always willing to try new things, I picked up a box of the medium roast called, Dukale’s Blend, and a box of the dark roast called, Columbia Huila, as well as one of each of the sampler boxes that they had.

When I got home, I googled Laughing Man coffee and their website came up and I was happy to see that proceeds made from my purchase goes toward a charity called, Laughing Man Foundation. It was like a bonus for me. Not to mention, the coffee tastes even better than the off-brand coffee that I had been buying.

So far, I’ve been favoring the darker roast, Columbia Huila. It has a hint of dark chocolate added to it. I mean, that’s another bonus for me … chocolate! There was only one problem. I have to drive thirty-five minutes to a store that carries this brand of coffee, as the small store just down the street doesn’t. Thing about living in a small town. The store doesn’t carry that much due to it’s small size. Good thing for Amazon, as I have been purchasing my coffee in bulk, if not, I have to wait until I can find the time to go for a drive to the store that carries it.

A Book is a Perfect Fit for an Easter Basket


Easter is April 1st this year. Dana’s First Fish is the prefect size for any Easter basket.
I only have a few copies left, so get yours today before they’re all gone.
Dana's First Fish

Love your authors? Leave them a review on Amazon and or Goodreads.

Cold and Flu Season is Still Here


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The joys of surviving the cold and flu season. Will I get sick? Do I need the flu shot? When is the best time for the flu shot? What are the flu symptoms again? Wait, my co-worker sounds like they might have the flu!

This year, the flu bug has been around, if not some sort of nasty virus or two. Luckily, we’ve dodged the flu bug, three times this season. Unluckily, my daughter has caught two viruses.

A while back I had posted about  Alka Seltzer vs Nyquil. I have only had the flu once and wouldn’t want to wish it on anyone. Maybe is was also due to having strep throat on top of the flu. Yes, I tested positive for both nastiness.

Ever since then, I have been trying to maintain a health lifestyle by eating healthier, exercising more. Being a single mom, and an autism mom at that, I tend to stay quite busy. My healthy eating habits are a hit and miss; depends on how full my schedule is. But, I do tend to meet my daily step quota, if not I overachieve it.

At times, it gets hard to keep up with everything when keeping a very busy schedule. Some things I’ve learned when it’s this time of year is to up my Vitamin-C intake, especially if I have to be surrounded by people who seemed to have a cold, and you pray it isn’t the flu and drink plenty of water … not too much.

I take Airborne if I know the flu bug is in the office or if I start to feel a bit sluggish, as if I am coming down with something myself, I take Emergen-C. They both come in different flavors.

Alka Selzer Cold still helps out, much better than Nyquil, lol! And I’ve learned to stock up on all of this stuff, as a just in case scenario, especially this year as bad as the flu has been.

Stock up on the Lysol and hand sanitizer and Kleenex, too!

DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

Water Is Precious


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It is interesting to hear in Sociology class how clean water is a part of our daily needs. Water is a precious commodity, but not everyone has access to water. And those that do have access can only find unsafe water to drink.

According to Water.org, there are over 780 million people without access to clean water. Each year, 3.4 million of those people die from the diseases they get from drinking dirty water. Only ten percent of waste water gets treated globally. That water is then let back into our lakes, rivers, and streams, where most people go to fetch their drinking water.

It is also stated that over eighty eight percent of those people get severe diarrhea from drinking dirty water. Ninety percent of those are children and are under the age of five. Sadly those children cannot survive from the diarrhea that get and there is minimal medical help.

In forty five countries, women and children spend majority of the day collecting water from the closest water source they can find. Sadly this water source is not safe to drink. It can be from a nearby river where it is polluted with trash and or sanitation. Also, not everyone knows to boil their water to make it safe for drinking, yet in some cases, boiling their water may not rid all of the deadly bacteria swimming around in their water.

Though I am not a wealthy person, I feel very privileged just living where I do. I have the access to drink from a sustainable source, where I know the water is safe to drink. If I am not sure of its safety, I can go to the store to buy water in bottled form, or buy a tap filter to use at home. I am saddened that there are others out there that lack water as a resource, let alone safe water to drink. There are companies that a person can donate to ensure people have a safe source of water, but those countries who are too poor to help clean up their sanitation problems, to help build wells for clean water, to help their people obtain the resources they need are almost heartbreaking.