Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
Posted on January 27, 2012 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Face it, negativity surrounds us whether we want it to or not. It’s part of life.
Years ago, I took great measures to cut out as much negativity from my life as I could – which basically means I don’t do drama, I avoid it all costs and rather than seeing that proverbial glass as half empty, I will always find it half full, even when there is only a sip remaining. Obviously – negativity still surrounds me, there is no way to completely avoid negative things from happening.
In fact, the past couple of weeks have been challenging. While filled with some super positive things, it feels as if for every single positive thing that comes my way, at least 5 negatives drop in to say hi around the same time.
They say bad things come in three’s. I don’t agree. I used to, but not anymore.
With all of the negative things that have happened, I have had to spend a great deal of time focused on thinking positive. Finding good things even in those bad things. Thinking good thoughts can do a lot to change your attitude.
The problem is really in that people don’t really know how to see the positive. I wake up every morning and remind myself I’m alive. That might seem silly to some of you, but it IS a positive. And each time I tell myself something positive, I feel better.
I also try to surround myself with positive people. If you’re negative most of the time, chances are I won’t spend much time with you. That’s not to say that I don’t recognize that everyone has a bad day now and then, and I would never turn my back on someone in need. Ever. I’m not talking about those people or those situations. I’m talking about the ones that just tend to be very bitter and everything seems like a catastrophe.
It’s time to stop thinking that way. It brings to mind the overused metaphor “find the silver lining”. But really, do it. It just feels better looking for the good things in life. So maybe you spilled coffee on yourself this morning, and you didn’t have time to change and so now you feel like your day is ruined, but it isn’t. There are so many other things in your world that are beautiful and wonderful.
Do you have children? That’s a beautiful, precious gift. Even when they are acting nutty, crazy, crabby or any other fun adjective you’d like to use.
Do you have enough to eat? With our economy the way it is, that is a blessing. Don’t look past what it is.
Do you have a roof over your head? Again, there are many who do not. It is another gift, don’t forget to remember it.
The point is just, that for every negative thing that comes your way, if you look hard enough, there is a positive that is lurking. You just have to learn how to look through new eyes and find the happy, beautiful, perfect moments and cherish them – your new way of thinking will bring on a happier, brighter attitude.
Posted on January 20, 2012 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Now before any of you tell me that I’m so clever and an awesome storyteller (because I am, you know) – I did not write this. I wish I had, but I did not. Maybe I’m not that clever, afterall. I got this forwarded to me, and normally I delete everything but this was so cute I thought I’d share.
Besides, it’s true!
The True Story of the 3 Bears
A far more accurate account of the events of that fateful morning….
Baby bear goes downstairs, sits in his small chair at the table.
He looks into his small bowl. It is empty.
‘Who’s been eating my porridge?’ he squeaks.
Daddy Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl and it is also empty.
‘Who’s been eating my porridge?!?’ he roars.
Mummy Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells,
‘For goodness sake, how many times do I have to go through this with you idiots? It was Mummy Bear who got up first. It was Mummy Bear who woke everyone in the house. It was Mummy Bear who made the coffee. It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away. It was Mummy Bear who swept the floor in the kitchen. It was Mummy Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper and croissants. It was Mummy Bear who set the table.’
‘It was Mummy Bear who walked the dog, cleaned the cat’s litter tray, gave them their food, and refilled their water.’
‘And now that you’ve decided to drag yourselves downstairs and grace Mummy Bear with your grumpy presence, listen carefully, because I’m only going to say this once….’
‘I HAVEN’T MADE THE FREAKIN’ PORRIDGE YET, SO BITE ME!”
Posted on November 17, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
There has always been a camaraderie in networking with other authors and writers. I’ve been around a long time now, and it’s just common knowledge that we can all learn from each other. We’re all in this together, we’re all aiming for the same goal, and there is plenty of room for all of us. Right? That’s what I’ve always thought.
Until recently. Don’t get me wrong, I still think this way. Every day I look forward to networking and chatting with the other writers I’ve met on Twitter and on Triberr. (and quite occasionally on Facebook but I really, really hate FB now.) Networking with my friendly, fellow writers, is still very much a part of my day.
However, I’ve noticed something more recently. I had the unpleasant experience of congregating with a bunch of authors that don’t see it like I do at all. In fact, they come across as arrogant, self promoting, and with an in it for themselves only attitude. This makes me sad. Aren’t we all focused on the same goals and dreams? Aren’t we all looking for exactly the same outcome? Or at least similar outcomes? This post isn’t about this group of angry/self promoting authors though, this post is about how you can pay it forward, and keep helping others if that is what you really want from this too.
1. Retweet other writers. This is such an easy one. It requires a click of a button. Hit that retweet button and show the love. When you see a post that is helpful or just really good, go ahead, retweet it. It takes a second. I’m always surprised when someone I don’t even know RT’s my stuff, but I have made many a friend this way.
2. Shoutout their accomplishments. Don’t keep it to yourself when you are impressed with something. If you admire a writer or author or you are particularly proud of their accomplishment or maybe you just want to say hi, then for goodness sake, shout out to them. “Hey @irishwords, I am so proud of you, 1000 words on your WIP is simply awesome!” If you remember NOT to put their twitter id first, others will see this go through your stream and perhaps maybe that person will gain a new follower out of it. (Sorry Declan if you don’t get any new followers out of it! ha)
3. Talk about them. I swear, with as often as I talk about some of my great twitter friends, you’d think I meet with them several times a week and have coffee. My children know several of my twitter writer friends by name, because I talk about them so often. But I don’t have coffee with them, I have never even met most of them. But I talk about them anyway. Guess what happens when I do that? Friends and family get curious, want to know more, and often times wind up buying their book. Yes, it has happened several times.
4. Refer others. Yes, I know in some ways this is the same as #3, but it’s not. I’m talking about referring strangers. Example: Recently I was in B&N and there was a lady looking for a new book to read. She had just asked the store clerk if she had any recommendations. The store clerk gave her titles to big name books and went on her merry way. I made my way over to her and gave her several suggestions of some fantastic books, and assuring her I had read them and they were good.
She bought two from one author and one from another – based on MY suggestions. (@joannaslan – it’s easy to sell your books, they take place here and us locals like books that are … local. Plus they are just plain good.) (@sarahdessen – she said she’d already read one by you and picked up another, go figure – you’re an amazing author) … So see, I was able to sell three books to a stranger because I took the time to tell her about them. For the record, I talked about several authors, those are just the books she chose to get. I’ve done this on twitter and Facebook too, and definitely in person on many, many occasions. P.S. Results are not typical (I don’t ALWAYS get them to buy the books I suggest, I got super lucky that day)
5. Buy their books. If you are a writer, you have to be a reader. I know I tend to pick up books by my twitter friends, much more frequently than I pick up the newest New York Times Best Seller. I like supporting them. I like reading them. Plus, you can get books for fairly cheap on Amazon a good majority of the time. Support fellow authors, because I bet if you do that, they’ll support you right back.
6. Review them. If you read the book, review it. You can either write a short blurb on Amazon, Goodreads or even write a blog post about it. Or write a blog post about several recent books you read, offering a short review on each of them. But at any rate, write something about them, it gets others curious. Reviews are like gold to an author. Especially one just starting out.
7. Make friends. This seems like such a simple idea. The problem is, there are so many writers out there that are all about self promotion and not interested in making friends and networking. I think that is sad. So make friends, network with them, toss around ideas, learn from them. It’s not difficult. It’s so easy.
What do you do to spread the love and pay it forward?
Posted on November 7, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
I am so honored to have award winning author, Melissa Foster guest posting on my blog today. I’ve admired Melissa for a long time, and I’m so blessed to call her friend. Her newest release Come Back To Me, is so beautifully written and such an amazing story of love, hope, courage and strength. It is a must read. Don’t miss this beautiful book, and be sure to check out her first two books, Chasing Amanda and Megan’s Way. Click here to purchase Come Back To Me from Amazon. Also be sure to check out her raving reviews, yes I posted one!
You would think that creating a character would be like designing the perfect person. You, the writer, have full control of everything from the looks, personality, and style of this new person to when you will allow them to speak and what you will allow them to say. Given the nature of control that you have over your characters, you would think that liking or hating them would come easily. As an author, I don’t necessarily think that is true.
There are many times when I’m developing a character with one personality in mind, and something happens—the character speaks to me and tells me I’m wrong, and they’re allowed to create themselves, so to speak. This happened with the creation of Alice in COME BACK TO ME. When the story began, Alice was set to be a stoic, conniving woman with no ability to bond with others. I expected her to remain that way throughout the book. She had other ideas.
What happens next in these situations always takes me by surprise. I end up bonding with the characters I thought I would not. They take over more of the story, weaseling their way into the hearts of the author (yeah, that’s me), and when the writing process is over, I find myself thinking about them and their pasts, what made them the way they were.
It would be interesting to create a whole book one each character’s backstory. Yeah, I get a little too bonded to my characters. They never seem to go to sleep!
As a reader, do you put characters away easily or do you bond with them?
|My Review of Come Back to Me By Melissa FosterHaving read her previous two books, I was excited to sit down with this one, hoping Come Back to Me would draw me in the way that they did.
In no time at all, I was hooked and had a difficult time doing anything else, besides reading.
Come Back to Me is a story full of love, loss and a determination that is unbeatable, a faith unwavering and a beautiful ending that you didn’t really see coming.There were definitely some tears that fell during several parts of the story as Ms. Foster brought her characters to life. It was easy to feel the emotions and see the struggles and challenges that they endured. I connected to this book in a way I haven’t connected to a book in some time.
The story is a story of the unending love shared between Tess and Beau. There was never a question in how much these two loved each other. It was right there in black and white through the entire story.When Beau heads off to Iraq for a short photography job, Tess tries to talk him out of it, but Beau assures her, he will be safe and this is just the thing that will launch the career he has always wanted. She relents and supports him. During his trip she discovers she is pregnant and cant’t wait to share the news with Beau who is miles away via a video chat so she can see his face.
Tragedy strikes, as you suspected it would and Tess keeps her undying faith that Beau will come back to her. There are plenty of interesting twists and turns along the way that will keep you wondering if Tess will remain faithful in her knowing that Beau will return. So does he? Let’s just say the story doesn’t go the way you thought it would, but that isn’t bad, not at all. It was beautifully written and you will need to read the book to find out more. Definitely a fantastic book!
The thing I love most about Melissa Foster is her writing style, the way she weaves the words together to create an emotional connection immediately with the characters, the setting, the story. Not only was this book amazing the first time, but I actually read it a second time because I was planning to write this review. I loved it even more the second time, and I didn’t think that was possible. Please be sure to check out her other books, Megan’s Way and Chasing Amanda. You will not be disappointed.
Posted on October 24, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Every year around this time, I start noticing a trend in tweets and facebook status’ and blog posts, with people wondering what all the hype is about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and whether they should participate or not. Well, to figure out the hype, go here to learn more about what it is.
In a nutshell, it is writing a 50,000 word novel in a single month. The month of November. Every year since 1999.
Can it be done? Yes, this will be my 8th year participating and if all goes well, it will be my 7th year winning. Yes, I did let one year go by where I just couldn’t make those 50,000 words and I refuse to “pad” so it just wasn’t going to happen.
Everyone wants to write a book. Many never will, some will attempt it and still fewer will finish and publish.
There are plenty of reasons why people choose not to participate in NaNoWriMo. Some just don’t get it. That’s okay. Some people are afraid they don’t have the time to devote to it. Some are afraid that they won’t be able to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Some people even have both issues, as well as other things that cause their mind to doubt their ability to be a NaNoWriMo winner at the end of November. Thankfully I will be providing tips for all of those excuses, so that you are left with none. Yes, I really want YOU to NaNo with me this year.
I will be the first to tell you that without time, you probably won’t be able to do it. But there are ways to find time, and I will help you with that this week. Even if you can devote a whole day here and there though, you can still finish. That was me two years ago. And last year I really needed to have it finished up before Thanksgiving. I was close. I was able to pull a single all nighter just after the holiday to finish before the end of the month. I also did it backwards last year… 1 word on day 30 (though that wasn’t completely accurate since I had to finish before then) – for me there was no 1667 word goal each day. I’ll explain how to do that too, because I’m pretty sure I’m doing it again.
It can happen and it will if you believe it will. Believe in yourself. Don’t allow discouragement to wreck what you can do. Quiet your inner editor, quiet your doubtful mind and just let the word flow as they will. Also, consider planning a little. That helps too.
As far as not being sure if you can come up with 50,000 words in a single month – you can. If you write blog posts, you can. If you write anything, you can. Just think of it as a super long fictional blog post. There you go, that’s the key to winning right there. (kidding, of course)
When you get stuck, don’t just stop (unless you actually need a break) – try freewriting what comes to mind. For instance, if you are stuck in a plot hole, write through it. Just write the problems you are facing with it, write ideas of where you want it to go. You can always fix that part later and if you write some of the scene, even if it is distorted or doesn’t flow, it’s still part of your word count (unless you are simply rambling to ramble, and then that’s called cheating). Also, don’t feel like the book has to be written from cover to cover, because nobody says it does.
If you’re stuck on a certain part, hop ahead a little and write another scene or even a whole chapter or even the whole rest of the book. You can always come back. Always. Sometimes, just getting out of that little hole you created, can make the whole thing more clear about what should or should not happen there. Bounce back and forth, I did it all the time. Just don’t edit. Never edit. You need all those words. The book will be edited later – December, January, some other time in the future because you find yourself really sick of the whole thing – okay, so yes that happens too.
I’ve been doing this a long time. I wouldn’t say I am an expert, but writing is my full time job. Yes. I know I’m lucky, but I worked hard to get here. With that said though, while I have finished NaNo every single year but the first, I have six manuscripts that are in various forms of rewrites. Not a single one is finished. Actually I lied, I have 5 manuscripts that are in various forms of rewrites. That other one, we won’t talk about that one. It’s bad. It’s REALLY bad. It’s…. I really had a hard time coming up with a plot and I just wrote this weird series of events that connects via characters and makes very little sense at all, bad. Yep, that’s how bad it is. So we’ve scrapped that one. We pretend it doesn’t exist. Moving on.
So are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what year are you on? If not, why not?c
What are your thoughts and feelings on NaNoWriMo and if you’ve done this before, what tips can you share?