I am an award-winning author. I love creative writing and I love music. I've published four books that are true stories written in fiction format. They are entertaining like fiction, but everything did actually happen. I've also published a book of poetry and art, nine fiction short stories, and a paranormal romance series (The White Rune Series). I enjoy promoting other authors and Texas music artists!
Good morning. It’s another Monday and the beginning of a brand new week. The thought expressed in this image struck me as profound and I hope you enjoy it as well.
For our Monday Meditation, I’ve chosen something a little different. This meditation is a few minutes longer than what I’ve been posting, but still under 15 minutes. It is filled with affirmations guaranteed to uplift you!
And now for our Tarot Reading to set the tone for the week ahead.
The Six of Swords is indicative of some sort of a transition. But the thing to note here is that the woman and child in the boat are receiving assistance with the passage. It can indicate leaving behind what is familiar and moving toward the unknown. But again, not alone. The Chariot is often looked at as the card of travel, but it is multi-dimensional in that it shows great willpower, determination and strength. It can be taken as a sign of encouragement, and in this reading following the Six of Swords, shows strength to leave behind the familiar and move toward the unknown with confidence and strength. But, without any doubt, it is an action card. It is not a time to be passive, but to move forward with purpose. The Knight of Cups is a beautiful outcome card indicating love and compassion pouring through you. It can also indicate the opening of creative expression, as well as possible new relationships coming into your life. So, in conclusion, the cards are telling us to leave behind the familiar with strength and confidence and look forward to new relationships or creativity. I don’t know about you, but I love this and am excited to see what’s ahead over the next few days!
Make it a great week and thank you for joining in!
I woke up this morning with my heart in a vice. How, after twelve years, can the pain still be so severe? Exactly twelve years ago today, I brought Rick home from the hospital after signing the hospice papers to end his life. They put him into a drug-induced coma – or so we thought.
With our living room converted into a makeshift hospital room, the only difference from the many prior weeks was that after all the healthcare folks and friends left, I was alone totally responsible for his care. No problem. I’d been doing that for a long time.
But that night was different. He was restless. I understood he’d left a plethora of things undone and I also understood that he knew he was home. He kept trying to get off the bed to go tend to whatever was nagging at him. Thank goodness he was so weak, he couldn’t really accomplish getting up, but I spent that entire night trying to soothe him.
I’m sure the hospice people gave me instructions, but all I remember was I was to put a certain number of morphine pills under his tongue every four hours. And despite doing that, still he wasn’t completely under.
Finally, as the sun started to rise, weary, I called the hospice number and asked for some help. Little did I know I could have called them hours earlier.
They came an hour or so later and gave him stronger drugs that put him completely under. But even all these years later, I can recall every agonizing minute spent that night. Never had I felt so helpless. Besides dealing with the reality that he was leaving, I had to manage the guilt of letting him suffer so long before asking for help.
Well, truth be told, I still deal with a lot of guilt. If only I had known then what I know now about oils and gemstones, I could have made his crossing easier.
But one thing I know for sure – you can never go back in life. You have this moment. And for me, it is imperative that I do the best I can with my current knowledge to live the best life possible in the now.
If you are still lucky enough to have your loved one with you, lean over and hug them, kiss them and tell them how much you love them. Don’t put it off.
I will be reliving those days that followed as this week unfolds, but most of it became a blur. Friends and family gathered. Someone forced food down me. I slept only snippets at a time. I’m not going to relive every part of the memory with you, but I will share a couple of significant events that all ended around 4 am on May 1st.
Never forgotten. Ever missed.
This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them.
I am super excited to share this new children’s book from Miriam Hurdle on my blog today!
Hi Jan, I’m delighted to be on the beautiful blog of a fellow musician. Thank you so much for your generosity to host my Book Release Tour and allow me to share my process from pen to publication with your readers.
The Making of Tina Lost in a Crowd, Part 5
Finding an Illustrator
I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). On one blog post, it featured an illustrator and her work. I liked the style of her artworks, so I contacted her and got an idea of how much she would charge for the number of pages in my book and how long it would take to complete the job.
Some blogging friends recommended some websites with illustration services, and I checked them out. The illustrators charged by hours. They didn’t have a portfolio with sample artworks, so I couldn’t tell if I liked their style.
After much search and consideration, my decision was to search for an illustrator on fiverr.com. I could see the services they provide and their sample work. Some would provide limited, and some unlimited revisions.
I do watercolor painting and wish to illustrate my book, but I don’t do portrait painting. There are thousands of gigs out there, and it would take forever to scroll through all the pages to find one. I narrowed it down to watercolor, and children’s illustration, and got 660 services. It took me six months to find one I liked. I paid for one sample page and when I ordered the rest, it became part of my entire book.
After I accepted the sample page, I sent the story summary and the description of each page to her. She then sent me a few sketches at a time. I gave her my feedback and suggestions. She revised them and sent them to me. Sometimes I respected her creativity and approved them. But if they didn’t correspond with the story, I asked for further revisions until they were done to my satisfaction. It was a pleasant experience working with Victoria Skakandi.
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.
This children’s story portrays a real-life situation and a lesson. It is a book that parents and children alike will enjoy reading and you never know, it could save a child’s life. Tina is making plans with her mother for summer activities, as school will soon be out. When her mother informs Tina they will be going to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, she asks to bring her best friend along. Not long after arriving at the huge stadium, the girls need to go to the restroom. On the way, they get disoriented and can’t find the restrooms or their parents. What happens next is such a great lesson for parents and children. I won’t spoil the story by giving it away, but I will say that I highly recommend the book for anyone with young children, or for grandparents to share with children. The illustrations are outstanding and the book is well-written.
Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.
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Welcome to another segment of the study of The Elder Futhark Runes!
Today’s Runic Symbol is Nauthiz (Now-theez).
The keywords associated with this rune are: Need, necessity, scarcity, absence, restriction and have patience.
Nauthiz signifies hardship in the form of one’s needs not being met. This could indicate poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of good health or lack of emotional support.
The rune stave represents the “need-fire” ritual fire lit from two large beams of wood that ancient Northern Europeans would light in times of extreme hardship or disaster, such as a famine or outbreak of fatal disease.
When this rune shows up in a reading, it can indicate that you may be experiencing a hardship that limits your ability to move forward or live comfortably, or a strong desire that appears impossible to fulfill. It could be that the possibilities are restricted due to your lack of resources and you are likely chafing at the constraints and/or becoming disheartened
The advice of this rune is to treat the situation as a period of learning. and an opportunity to strengthen your resilience. No one enjoys a hardship while it’s happening but when we look back on the experiences that made us who we are, generally at least a few of them were unpleasant.
Never allow bitterness, worry or despair to get the best of you, but rather use your gifts and talents to find ways to get your needs met. Remember that needs and limitations are necessary for growth, as we would never learn or accomplish anything significant if we always had everything we needed or wanted all the time.
Nauthiz may also be a warning not to get too greedy or obsessed with an unhealthy desire, which can lead to destructive behaviors and negative consequences. If you have been focusing too heavily on the material world, this is a sign to go within and tend to your spiritual development.
This rune can serve as a protection symbol. It can also help you maintain equanimity in difficult circumstances or activate magical workings focused on attraction or increase.
Again, this rune can be viewed in a positive light in that it can serve as a warning and offer protection.
The birthdates associated with this rune are November 13th to November 28th.
Welcome to another start to a new work week. It is my hope that you find some inspiration to lift you as you begin. I loved these words of wisdom from Sue Vincent. They struck a chord with me.
Our meditation this week is all about the practice of gratitude. Enjoy!
And now for our message from the Tarot cards for the upcoming week.
The King of Swords is a powerfully energetic card, as are the three cards which follow him. The suit of Swords represents the intellect. Being the highest card in the suit, the King is a symbol of intellectual power and authority and has the courage and acumen to achieve all that he desires. He indicates the opportunity for clarity and an objective point of view. He can also represent a person of authority that you might call on for expert advice.
The Wands are representative of our spirituality, intuition and creativity. The Ace is always some new beginning, new idea, new inspiration or new project. Just look at the force with which the hand is protruding through the cloud to bring an enlightened vision or idea. The Eight of Wands is all about movement. There is no standing still! It is a dynamic high-energy card pushing you forward with the idea the Ace brings. You can expect to be very busy. 🙂 Determine what you want to manifest and then align all of your resources and energy to focus on that singular goal. Remove all distractions and devote yourself to the task with total concentration, determination and will. This experience can be highly productive, allowing you to accomplish a lot in a short time.
There you go! Make this week productive, positive and filled with clarity!
Hello, authors! Do you ever find yourself writing a scene where your characters are having a steaming cup of coffee and suddenly have a craving for one yourself? Or, what if your characters are sharing a luscious ice cream sundae? Doesn’t that make you want one?
Why is that?
Because Words Have Power!
It is our job as writers to use those words in the best way possible not only to communicate an idea, but emotions and scenes.
The use of gestures and body language predates spoken language. Many researchers believe this form of communicating began at least four million years ago. When we speak today, we still use gestures and body language to supplement our communication. Often, we unconsciously use body language for at least 55% of all communication. I have always said, if you tied my hands, I wouldn’t be able to speak. 🙂
So what does all of that have to do with writing? Simple. By implementing the use of body language along with strong words in writing our stories (especially dialogue) we can tell our readers tons of information about the person speaking. For instance, if someone crosses their arms across their chest, it shows an act of defiance, or taking a defensive stance. Clenched fists, can portray anger. Picking at an imaginary thread on clothing shows restlessness or anxiety. You get the idea.
But I want to talk more about the words themselves. The language we use today still has words that were formulated sixty-five thousand years ago to describe the feelings and emotions that were emerging from the middle brain’s polarity thinking. If we consciously change our language, we can change the course of an entire story or life.
High-energy words accompany high-energy thoughts and vice-versa. So, in choosing words through which to tell our stories, we can set a tone from the get-go. If we are writing a scene where one of the characters is vile, we would want to use power words to get that point across. Maybe he has a permanent sneer on his face or a long scar running down one cheek. Words like deadly, poison, deceiving, death, dark or toxic might convey his demeanor. Of course, to show someone happy, and light-hearted would require opposite words.
And that leads me into the next transition. Words have power so why not choose power words when we are writing?
Power words are are persuasive, descriptive words that trigger a positive or negative emotional response. They can make us feel scared, encouraged, aroused, angry, greedy, safe, or curious. Make sense?
Here are a few examples:
Notice that all of these words are action verbs. Verbs determine when something happens, in the past, present or in the future. They set the tense of your story.
So, the next time you sit down at the keyboard, pay attention to the words you are typing. Are they weak words like felt, thought, saw, walked, etc? Or, are you using power words that pack a punch and get to the heart of the emotion?
I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about using power words in your writing?
Welcome to another segment of our journey through the Elder Futhark Script runes!
Today we take a detailed look into the rune, Hagalaz ((hah-gah-laz).
The runes are actually divided into three sections, with our symbol from last week completing the Freya Aett.
Our symbol this week begins the Hagal’s Aett and basically speaks to unavoidable experiences.
The keywords associated with this rune are: Destruction, chaos, interference, misfortune, or transformation.
While none of that sounds good, I can see a positive aspect from the perspectiive of transformation.
It is said that before change comes great chaos, and is that not true? So, while we don’t always like it, the end result is most always for the better. Think of the Butterfly. 🙂
This rune indicates that we cannot always control our circumstances. Even with all the technology we possess in modern times, Nature can step in at any moment with destructive forces that flatten cities and even countries.
The translation of this symbol is “Hail.” Hailstorms may be brief and localized compared to larger natural disasters, but the balls of ice that pelt the ground can often leave behind destruction, injuring people and animals and destroying entire crops. This certainly would have spelled disaster for any ancient community living off of the land.
Hagalaz signifies these forces of chaos that cannot be controlled. You simply cannot fix this interference. While this may be a frustrating time, know that your course is being corrected for reasons beyond your understanding. (Wow! How I love this. The most recent disaster we’ve all dealt with is COVID. So, we can hope that the course is being corrected and soon!)
If the reading surrounding this rune is generally positive, then the chaos may be on the lower of the spectrum – a temporary interruption. While if the runes close to Hagalaz are negative, then the trouble may be more severe or have longer lasting implications.
Please keep in mind this is NOT a reading. I will get into Rune readings once we finish examining each rune separately.
The birthdates associated with this rune are October 28th – November 13th.
Welcome to another Monday post to help get your week started off on a positive note. I took these words from the meditation I’m sharing with you today. They resonated deeply with me. We owe it to ourselves to live the best life possible, in this body, in this moment.
And now, Part Three of the Self-Love Series. This meditation is SO powerful. It is one I will return to often. Enjoy!
The Tarot Reading for this week is filled with more positive energy! I love all of these cards!
We have two Wands cards this week, and you may remember from our Tarot card series, that wands represent spirituality, inspiration, determination, creativity, ambition and expansion, original thought and the seeds through which life springs forth. I associate the Wands with Springtime. The Page of Wands symbolizes inspiration, discovery or a new idea. He indicates limitless potential. And I believe we ALL have limitless potential if we can learn to access it and trust the process. The King of Wands represents pure fire energy in its masculine form. It is a sign you are stepping into the role of a visionary leader, ready to direct your people towards a common goal (And this could be in a story you are writing). You have a clear vision of where you want to go, and now you are manifesting that vision with the support of those around you. Also, the King of Wands reminds you to lead your life with intent, vision and a long-term view (finish that book!). The final card in this week’s reading brings it all into a perfect balance. The Empress signifies a strong connection with our femininity, which translates in many ways – elegance, sensuality, fertility, creative expression, nurturing – and is necessary for creating balance in both men and women. The Empress calls on you to connect with your feminine energy. Create beauty in your life. Connect with your senses through taste, touch, sound, smell and sight. Draw on these senses to experience pleasure and deep fulfilment. Isn’t that exactly what we, as authors, attempt to do in our writing? A great week ahead with new inspirations, the masculine fire energy to manifest and the feminine energy to balance and soften.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead and invite your comments!
The worlds of Jag Peters and Rena Jett collide when he nearly crashes into her motorcycle in Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes. When Jag tracks down Rena’s candy apple red Harley at a corner pub so he can apologize to her, he is instantly attracted to the spitfire, dark-hair beauty. They are nothing alike. A computer programmer, Jag avoids risks while Rena is a brash waitress who appears fearless. Nonetheless, it is as though “the Universe had strange ways of bringing two souls together.” After meeting Rena, Jag strangely glimpses a ghostly figure in camouflage military attire at various times. As his relationship develops with Rena, he discovers that beneath her hard facade is a lonely girl with a troubled past and that her brother, Sam, had recently died in combat in Afghanistan. Jag wonders if the ghost is…