MIA

Hello, fellow bloggers and followers. I apologize that I have not visited your beautiful blog sites this week, but I had a terrible accident last Sunday night. I fell here in my apartment and fractured ribs. I had to be taken to the ER by ambulance and I am pretty much out of commission. Today is better and hopefully tomorrow will be even better. But, I am missing your stories and your musings.

I will get caught back up eventually, but this is going to be slow healing, especially at 68. I spent my birthday in pain, but still I count my blessings. At least this is a temporary setback and I’ll be good as new within six to eight weeks.

I just felt compelled to tell you that I haven’t forsaken you.

I value you! And I’ll be back! I promise!

For now, I’ve turned off comments as I can’t respond timely, but thank you for your continued support!

#TarotTuesday – 5 of Swords

Welcome back to another TAROT TUESDAY card reading!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will being a message to someone in need.

The card I pulled for today’s post was not one I welcomed. It comes with somewhat of a negative connotation, so for me, I look for the positive side of it.

Today’s card is the Five of Swords.

First, I want to refresh your memory about what Swords represent in the Tarot deck. Swords deal with the mental level of consciousness that is centered around the mind and the intellect. Swords mirror the quality of mind present in your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

If you take a look at the card, you’ll see a man with what could be interpreted as a smirk on his face, holding three swords. He glances over his shoulder at two men who are walking away with their shoulders slouched, conveying a sense of sadness and loss. Two more swords are strewn across the grass, suggesting a battle has been fought and lost. The sky is cloudy and tumultuous, a sign that not all is well even though the fighting has stopped.

The Five of Swords turns up when you have had a falling out, disagreement or conflict, and you are walking away with a sense of sadness and loss. You may be upset and resentful over the heated words you said and now wish you could take back.

The advice of the Five of Swords is to pick your battles. You may be tempted to fight every conflict to ensure you get your way, to prove that you are right, or defend yourself when you are feeling challenged or threatened. However, most experts agree, choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than engaging in every disagreement. Not only will it lead to a more peaceful existence, but your interpersonal relationships are likely to come out stronger.

The Five of Swords can often indicate that you are competing with others on the path to success. You see them as threats to your own happiness, and so you seek to win at any cost. It could even indicate you standing up for yourself and remember this is all about the intellect, so it’s not an emotion card.

If you have been engaged in a conflict and can see it taking its toll, the Five of Swords is an invitation to apologize. The longer you brood, or the more you try to prove you were right, the more challenging the relationship will become. Be ready to say you were wrong and make amends. Look for common ground with those you have been fighting with, or seek forgiveness so you can put this behind you.

I don’t know how each of you will view this card, but for me personally, I haven’t been involved in any recent conflicts, so I see it as a warning to pick my battles wisely. How does it apply to you in your life?

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

How do your value yourself as a writer?

I saw something the other day about how we perceive ourselves in our everyday worlds and it got me thinking about how we see ourselves as writers. How much value do you place on yourself as a writer?

And what does that even mean? It may mean something different to each one of us because we are unique individuals. But, there are some aspects of writing that are the same for all. In this world of self-publishing where anyone can upload a book to Amazon, we have all experienced running across books that are sub-par in every aspect from grammar and punctuation to dialogue and unbelievable characters. What kind of impression does that leave with you about the writer?

I do not want to be known as a writer who produces work riddled with errors. Of course, we make mistakes. We are human. But, to gain credibility in this over-crowded industry, we must strive to make every aspect of our written communication as perfect as possible.

That doesn’t mean just our books. That means our blogs, our tweets, our facebook posts and our emails as well. It all reflects on us as self-claimed professionals.

But, in order to value our writing, we must first value ourselves!

I never thought about my self-image reflecting in my writing, especially with writing fiction. After all, it’s a made-up world with made-up people. But, the part that reflects is the pride we take in our writing. For me it all starts with a clean uncluttered writing space (again, I know we are all different). If my work space is clear, my mind is more at ease and I can get into a creative flow.

Expressing the scene we see in our minds is not always the easiest thing to do. When we start to put it into words, if we don’t choose the best descriptive words possible, the scene starts to get fuzzy around the edges and can fade. I use tools. Next to my computer, I have three reference books I grab often. “Emotional Beats” by Nicholas Rossis (who is a member of RRBC) is a fantastic tool to find a more descriptive way to show an emotion, as is “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. Those gals know how to put it all together as does Nicholas! The third book I reach for is “Strong Verbs Strong Voice” by Ann Everett.

The saying comes to mind about doing things right the first time. Any extra effort is reflected in our work. So, even though it might take a few more minutes to reach for one of these tools, it’s worth it in the end product. And, our work is a product.

Another aspect of valuing ourselves comes from valuing others. I know that may sound strange, but it is true. Don’t compare yourself to other writers because there are always going to be writers better than you. And even if your best friend, who has been only writing since last spring, did get published, you can’t wallow in self-doubt that you’re not good enough. Take this negative comparing energy and move it towards positive creating energy. Your time will come. Get back into your chair and create! Oh, and create some good karma and congratulate your friend with love and sincerity.

When I was accepted as a member into the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, I knew I had to “up” my game. It is advertised and promoted as the place where the best writers within RRBC reside. And, it has been a great motivator for me. I now proof every email, tweet, FB post and blog post before I hit the publish button. Why? Because I don’t want bad writing to reflect on the organization that so kindly accepted me as a member. AND, I don’t want to be that writer who is criticized for constant grammatical errors. I do value myself as a writer!

If you want others to value you as a writer, it all starts with YOU. Take pride in your work and value what you do. I have read some of the best books in my life written by indie authors! Slowly but surely, we are breaking the misconception that all indie writers are writing slobs. And it all goes back to valuing yourself as an author!

I loved this when I ran across it. Don’t mark your price tag down. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you see yourself as a professional in an industry that is over-saturated with sloppy work. We can continue to change that one great story at a time!

A Heartwarming Texas Love Story with a Bonus: It’s True!

Many thanks to Marcha Fox for this amazing review of ‘Til Death Do Us Part!

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

jansikes

There is only one thing better than a good love story and that’s a love story that’s true, which is the case with this endearing tale. Clearly, the title alone is a spoiler alert, and while it is definitely a tear-jerker at the end, what leads up to it is an inspiring, heart-warming chronicle of the love and devotion between two very special people.

If you’re a music fan, more specifically a country music fan, you’ll enjoy it even more as it recounts the journey of someone who’d been a star in the past making a comeback and bringing his wife and daughters along for the ride, their talents developing and blossoming as well.

The story is pure Texas, which I particularly enjoyed because I live there as well. So much of the culture of the Lone Star State is captured, including parties were anyone who shows up is welcome…

View original post 259 more words

#TarotTuesday – Nine of Wands

Welcome back to another TAROT TUESDAY card reading!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will being a message to someone in need.

We’ve had a lot of Wands popping up lately. So, I wanted to take another look at what the Wands represent in the Tarot deck.

Wands are associated with primal energy, spirituality, inspiration, determination, strength, intuition, creativity, ambition and expansion, original thought and the seeds through which life springs forth.

The Suit of Wands is associated with the element of Fire. Fire is hot, wild, unpredictable, and energetic (how appropriate for the month of August in the fire sign of Leo). It can be creative in helping us to cook food or build tools, or it can be destructive, like a devastating bush fire or house fire.

Fire is symbolic of passion, energy, enthusiasm, and sexuality. It is a masculine element and reflects the drive and willpower of the masculine energy.

Today we have the NINE OF WANDS!

That’s a lot of energy with the number nine. This card represents resilience, courage, persistence, test of faith, and boundaries.

The Nine of Wands shows an injured man, clutching one wand, while he looks over his shoulder towards the eight wands that loom over him. He appears weary and worn, as though he has already been through a battle and now must face additional challenges with the presence of these eight wands. As a Nine, though, this is his final challenge before reaching his goal; he must endure this last test of his strength and character before reaching the finish line. (Good news, right?)

 Even in the face of adversity, you stand tall and strong. You may be on the edge of exhaustion, but you are resilient, persistent, and ready to do what it takes to get to the finish line.

This card may also come when you feel battered and bruised, having endured significant challenges and struggles along your path. Just when you think you are making progress, you suffer another setback. The Nine of Wands asks you to trust that this is merely a test of your ‘grit’ and resilience, and know that you have the inner resources necessary to overcome any difficulty you encounter, even though it may seem impossible at the time. See this Nine as an assurance that you will eventually prosper if you maintain your position. And, if you do not succeed at first, then try again. Keep pushing – you are so close to the finish line.

You have people who support you. The Nine of Wands invites you to find your cheerleaders and personal bodyguards, those who will protect you from the ongoing challenges and cheer you on to the finish line.

Finally, the advice of the Nine of Wands is to establish your boundaries and fiercely protect those lines. If you allowed others to stand in your way or deplete your energy, it is likely that you have not asserted yourself effectively with those people to protect yourself. Get clear on what you need in this situation to be successful and reach your goals, and then communicate those needs to others. 

WOW!! I don’t know about you, but all of that resonates with me! Thoughts?

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

A Writing Exercise

When I attend workshops, I always have a notebook with me to jot down things I may not otherwise remember.

So, at a recent conference, I was thumbing through the notebook I had packed and ran across this.

It was part of a writing challenge in some other workshop several years ago. It was called impromptu writing with no theme given. The instructor told us to write about a place we could go in our minds and describe it. I went to the ocean. I thought I’d share. I hope you enjoy!

The warm healing rays of the sun caress and dance across my skin. As far as the eye can see, waves roll and crash, one behind the other, only to recede and begin again.

I stand at the water’s edge and my toes sink deeper into the sand with each repeat. Overhead, seagulls screech as they search for nibbles of muscles, clams and fish. Sprigs of graying green seaweed poke their heads through the bleached sand.

All the muscles in my body relax with each refreshing spray that hits my face. I lick the salt from my lips and join as one with the ebb and flow of the tide. Completely still in constant movement.

That was it. For those of you in the midst of winter, I hope this little trip to the beach brought warmth!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #ShortStory – Jewel by Jan Sikes

A hugs “THANK YOU” to Sally Cronin for featuring “Jewel” on her blog today and thanks to Diana Peach for the awesome review!! I am honored!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to showcase the new book by award winning author Jan Sikes released at the end of June..A short story Jewel.

About Jewel

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?

Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

A recent review for the book

This short story reminded me of the movie “Pretty Woman” though the setting, circumstances, and characters are quite different. Jewel…

View original post 468 more words

#TarotTuesday – Page of Wands

Welcome back to another TAROT TUESDAY card reading!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents.

Today we have the Page of Wands.

What a FUN card!

With the Page of Wands, you are inclined to give anything and everything a go. You embrace the opportunity to start out on a new journey or project and see where it takes you.

You have a gift for dreaming up new creative ideas unfettered by the burdens of everyday life. Nothing will get in the way of your dreams!

And while the appearance of the Page of Wands indicates that you are experiencing creative restlessness, notice that the Page is standing still and his staff is firmly planted on the ground – he is not going anywhere just yet. You still need to take your creative spark and ground it down into reality so that it is ready to be implemented in the physical realm.

You may need to map out your strategy, or you may need to test your ideas or create a few experiments before committing. It could be helpful to run your thoughts through a filter so that you only act on those most aligned with your broader goals.

The Page of Wands can appear when a spiritual path or journey may be calling you. You have a curious mind and are intrigued to see where this call might lead. While you are very much the novice when it comes to this spiritual endeavor, you are open to the experience and keen to discover new levels of consciousness. You may benefit from working with a wise mentor, someone who has walked your path before and can now lead you forward.

All good news!

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

Traveling – Nashville

For as many years as I’ve been involved in the world of music, I have never been to Nashville, Tennessee.

So while you are reading this, I am winding up my stay. Comments are disabled as I will be on the road and can’t respond.

My itinerary:

Arrive in Nashville on Friday, August 2nd.

Friday night, a trolley tour scheduled called the “Soul of Music City Night Tour!”

Then Saturday we will tour the Johnny Cash Museum and the old Ryman Auditorium, with a destination of the Grand Ole Opry for a backstage tour at 3:30.

Then back to the Grand Ole Opry at 7 pm for a very special show for all of us Texas music fans.

Gary P. Nunn will be 74 years old in December and his music career has spanned over four decades, but his show at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, August 3rd is his debut at the historic venue!

There are over 800 people traveling from Texas to Tennessee to see him perform there. Isn’t that amazing? There will be a fun after-party at the Opryland Hotel and I will be there for sure!

Then on Sunday, I will tour the Country Music Hall of Fame specifically to see their exhibit, “Outlaws and Armadillos,” featuring Texas music artists, and including photos taken by my awesome editor, Ronald McKeown of Buddy Magazine!

Me and Ron McKeown

I will be covering this journey for Buddy Magazine! And, I already have a working title for the piece: “Taking Texas to Tennessee!”

I am so grateful to have the opportunity for this adventure!

FALLOUT #NewRelease – Harmony Kent

I am happy to bring a new book release from a fantastic author, Harmony Kent!

Fallout Blurb:

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?

Excerpt

After that excitement, the remainder of the walk passed in a blur. At long last, they reached zone 8. The place looked deserted. But then appearances could be deceiving.

Cautiously, they picked their way through empty streets, inhabited only by litter and signs of old violence. The low, mournful howls of wind around corners and through abandoned, open buildings made for their sole companion.

Where had everyone gone? Not that he wanted anyone to find them, particularly. A crack of thunder preceded the sky opening and pouring rain down upon them in sheets. The visibility dropped by about eighty percent. He and Priya huddled deeper into their collars and hurried on.

Soaked through and chilled to the bone, they rounded one final corner and came to a stop. Just like in zone 9, the area around zone 8’s army portal stood derelict and deserted. It gave Kaleb all he needed to suspect that all was not as it should be.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into Harmony’s new book. Now here’s a little bit about the author!

Author Bio

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Links

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/

Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

FALLOUT Pre-order Link: mybook.to/FALLOUT