Posted in Guest Author, Writing

Please Welcome Linda Ransom!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I’ve invited a guest to stop by and share her story with us. Her name is Linda Ransom and her book looks wonderful. Give Linda a big hand! Take it away Linda!!

 

REINVENTING  THE FLYNNS

A few years back, I decided to participate in NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NANOWRIMO, for all of its many participants, is to complete 50,000 words by the end of November, the chosen month for the writing competition. I decided to write a story I’d been making notes for, called Smoke City Heroes. It centered on the Flynn family, a group of six siblings who lived with their eccentric Uncle Baron after both of their parents had passed away. The kids decide to become super heroes after witnessing the many crimes and gangs overtaking Smoke City, where they live.

I absolutely loved the idea. Two notebooks were filled with characters pictures and information, and information on the city itself. November came and I started writing, eager to see the siblings develop into crime-fighting heroes.

Long story short, as they say: the story tanked around 200 pages, and I didn’t hit my 50,000 word count. I liked what I had written, but the story wasn’t flowing like it should, and my main characters, the Flynn family, didn’t seem to be enjoying it, either. Being a writer who doesn’t outline her stories (at least, not more than a few sentences), I count on my characters and the story itself to direct where it’s going. When that doesn’t happen, everything hits a brick wall.

Giving up on the Flynns, I moved on to an epic fantasy story that I completed and sent to a publisher. That story was rejected – it’s being rewritten and will be my next series after the completion of The Flying Ponies trilogy – and I needed something new to work on. In August of 2016, I was browsing my Pinterest home page, and came across a picture of an antique carousel horse that hadn’t been restored (as of the picture’s date). I started thinking about that old horse, and what would happen if he was endowed with ancient magic.

From that idea, the Flying Ponies Grand Carousel was born. Built in the early teen years of the 1900’s, the horses on the carousel were given magic by their owner and placed on Coney Island. After the carousel was removed, it ended up in the Michigan woods. With the story set in our modern time, I needed characters to help the story develop. Remembering how much I had enjoyed writing the Flynn family, I got out my old Smoke City Heroes notebook and looked at their character sketches again. Deciding to take them out of their old story setting and place them in this new one was the best thing I could’ve done, for them and for me.

That idea about magical flying carousel horses turned into Lift, first in The Flying Ponies trilogy. It released in April 2018 from Wicked Whale Publishing. Book two in the trilogy, Tilt, was emailed to my editor earlier this week, on December 10th.

The Flynn family (and Smoke City itself) helped make Lift the book it is. If I had drawn up other characters I don’t know as the story would’ve evolved in the same way. Charlotte, the main character in the trilogy, bonded with the carousel horses and became a stronger character than she could’ve been in Smoke City Heroes. The same is true for the rest of the Flynns; they all grew and became better as a result. For a writer who is concerned with story and character over plot and its many devices, watching characters get up and walk around and become real people is mesmerizing, and that’s what happened after placing the Flynns within the structure of Lift.

If you have characters you love but their stories didn’t pan out the way you wanted, or they hit a brick wall like my initial story with the Flynns did, try placing them in a new story, a new situation. Characters are funny creatures; we as the writers create them, but once they have a space of their own, they become real and want to run the show themselves. While that might seem scary if that’s not how you usually write, it’s an amazing thing, and it can make your writing leap off the page and take twists and turns you never see coming.

           

 

Lift is available as both a soft cover and an e-book on Amazon here: (click the link below)

Available on Amazon

Author bio:

  1. M. Ransom lives in West Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. She also shares her home with two crazy Dachsunds, and her heart with two naughty ponies. L.M. is a librarian by trade, and an author by passion. She draws from her lifelong love and obsession with all things equine to spin tales about nefarious carousel horses.
    A self-professed geek girl, L.M.’s fandoms span the galaxy from Tatooine to Gallifrey, and back down to the seedy streets of Gotham City. As a Christian, she feels a calling to tell clean, intriguing stories for readers to escape into. You can find L. M. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and lmransom.com.

 

 

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Posted in Health

The Ripple Effect

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy holiday. It was a Happy Thanksgiving for the Orchards and I hope it was for you as well. Now, the Christmas season has officially begun, and I’m excited. It’s my favorite time of year because I love shopping for Christmas and finding gifts for everyone and the lights! All those awesome Christmas lights!

 

 

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But enough about that. Today I want to talk about the way women view their bodies. We’ve been conditioned by society to believe we need to fix our imperfections and the only way we can do this is by buying what “they’re” selling, whether it’s clothes, makeup, or exercise equipment.

Instead of focusing on our supposed imperfections let’s focus on how our body feels. Does it feel healthy? Does it feel strong? Can I do all the activities I want?

If we focus on how we feel instead of how we look, we’ll be happier. For example, when I run, I feel awesome afterward. I have a lot of energy and the endorphins are bursting through my body. I feel good for hours afterward and I feel healthy and strong.

 

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When I’m taking care of my body in this way, I’m not worried about how I look because I feel so good. I accomplish more, my mind’s clearer, and I feel great.

I don’t pick at my imperfections because I’m focused on what I want to accomplish and my relationships. Which is where my focus should be. Then my relationships grow stronger and I’m happier. All because I’m taking care of myself.

Taking care of myself causes a ripple effect. It affects my relationships with my hubby and my kids. Because I’m healthier, I’m less reactive. I’m more proactive and focused on my goals. I accomplish more and that makes me feel better about myself, too. It’s good for my self-esteem when I set goals and accomplish them. This all stems from the fact that I started taking care of myself.

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I should add, that another part of taking care of myself is eating a healthy diet. I don’t feel I need to go into a lot of detail about that because you all know what a healthy diet is. 😉

So, if you don’t have a self-care routine, develop one and see what kind of ripple effect it could have on your life.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are some of the ways you take care of yourself? Do you see a ripple effect happening in your life because of it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts, Personal

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back on this wonderful holiday to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! There’s so much I’m thankful for this year and one of the things I’m thankful for is my loyal blog followers who stop by and show me some love when I post.

I know I don’t express it often enough, but I feel that many of you are friends even though we’ve never met in real life. Thanks for being you and taking the time to read my posts and comment. It means a lot to me.

I also want to express thanks to my family and friends who are always there for me and who support me on this wild writing journey I’m on. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Even the painful editing moments when I’ve got to rewrite a scene more than once. Sob.

I’m also thankful for my new job and the people I’ve met. They’re a good group of people and I’m enjoying working with them.

I’m feeling inspired these last few weeks and I’m making progress on my stories. I’m hoping that I’ll finish both of them in 2019 and I’ll be ready to start querying. Cross your fingers for me!

This post is short because it’s a holiday and I want to spend time with my family eating awesome food, and I know you do, too. I hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Safe Travels my Friends!

 

Posted in Family, Health, Personal

Be Kinder to Yourself, You Deserve It

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work, writing, and fighting a cold. Yes. I have a horrible cold and a horrible cough that’s just starting to loosen up. Hopefully, by the end of the week my seal bark will be gone, and I’ll be able to breathe easy again, but enough about that.

Today I’d like to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart. This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  She was complaining about her weight one day. You see, she has been trying to lose weight and she had been doing well until she hit a plateau. She stalled. She upped her exercise program, and nothing changed. She was frustrated, and she spouted off to me.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

“I’m never going to reach my goal.” She threw up her hands and dropped them on her thighs.

“Mary, (I’ve changed the name to protect the innocent) stop focusing on your weight.”

“I can’t help it. I just have ten more pounds to go. I feel like such a failure. I can’t drop these last pounds for the life of me.”

I told Mary to stop focusing on the one negative thing in her life. Her weight. There are so many other more positive things to focus on, like the fact she has an incredible sense of humor. That she’s kind. That she’s brave. That she’s empathetic. I mean the list literally goes on and on.

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I told her you have all these other positive, wonderful qualities and your weight is a tiny fraction of who you are. It’s not the only thing that makes you, you. Sometimes we’re so busy hyper-focusing on the one aspect we want to change, we forget about all the other amazing aspects that make up our personality and physical body.

When I look at Mary, I don’t see her weight. I see how kind she is to people who need a helping hand. I see how funny she is and how she makes me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants. I see her warmth. I see how she can brighten someone’s day with one of her radiant smiles.

When you add all that up, her weight isn’t a glaring negative. It’s just something she has to work on, and she is. She’s moving in the right direction, and that’s all she can expect of herself.

So, the next time you’re hyper-critical of yourself, take a second and take a broader look and include all the positives you see. I guarantee you, the positives outweigh the negatives. We need to make this a regular practice and we’ll be happier in our lives. Wouldn’t you agree?

Be kinder to yourself. You deserve it.

 

Photo credit: infomatique on VisualhuntCC BY-SA

How about you? Do you see yourself falling into this trap? Do you have any other suggestions on how to avoid it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Writing

Dealing with Self-Doubt

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a long week of studying for an exam. I passed! Yay! But enough about that.

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Unbeknownst to me, November 1st was National Author’s Day. I’m bummed that I missed it, but I was still trying to recover from studying for my exam, so I have a legitimate excuse.

Because I missed a Day that is near and dear to my heart, I thought I’d write about dealing with the self-doubt all writers deal with when they’re creating their stories. It can be crippling.

Photo on Visual hunt

So crippling that many writers don’t finish their work. They linger between rewriting and editing what they’ve already written and stopping their writing all together because they’re paralyzed with fear.

Part of this fear is that tiny negative voice in our heads that tells us we’re not worthy of our dreams and goals. It’s hard to block this voice out, but you must to continue your work.

So how do you drown out that voice that stops you in your tracks when you’re writing? That voice that makes you feel like every word you’re writing is drivel.

Well, the first thing I do is go for a walk. That’s right, I walk away from my manuscript and get out into nature. I’ve always found a hike through the forest is good for my soul as well as my body. Did you know that walking through the woods is good for your health? So, not only are you solving your plot holes, you’re also taking care of yourself.

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Another way, I deal with the self-doubt that leads to writer’s block is exercise. I go for a run or do some yoga. This physical activity releases those wonderful endorphins that make every situation easier to deal with and it really does dull that incessant voice in your head.

Photo on Visualhunt

The third thing I do is get together with friends and put my writing aside because staring at a blank page or rewriting the same chapter over and over again isn’t productive.

There’s an underlying theme here and that is self-care. Taking the time to step away from your manuscript and taking care of yourself is a sure-fire way to dull that nagging voice in your head. So, do what works for you. Take a bubble bath, cook an awesome meal, or binge watch something on Netflix. Whatever, your go to activity is do it when you’re feeling low and uncreative. You’ll reawaken that creative muse and you’ll be on your way. So, how do you deal with the self-doubt that plagues us all at times? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!