Posted in Family, Personal

The Importance of Family Traditions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, working, and throwing a bridal shower for my niece to be.

It was a hectic week to say the least and I didn’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It was nice to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in a long time, and it was nice to welcome my niece to be into the family.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of family traditions. I was able to take a few moments, in between making sure everything ran smoothly and making sure everyone’s glass was full, where I was able to sit down with my cousins and talk about the changes between our generation and the current one.

When my cousins and I were growing up, we played outside as much as we possibly could. I remember going over to my grandparents and as soon as all of us cousins arrived, we’d go over to the empty field across the street and play kickball. I loved going over to my grandparents so I could play with my cousins. I didn’t know it then, but we were making memories and learning how to negotiate and get along with other people. Our parents took photos of us during those kickball games to put into photo albums, so we’d be able to look back and reminisce.

I remember holidays together where we’d all sit around the table and eat turkey and stuffing. It didn’t matter if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, we always had turkey. Both my parents came from big families, six siblings on both sides, so there were aunts and uncles galore.

I remember lots of love and laughter.

It’s important to keep those family traditions going. We’re going to lose something if we don’t. I see it in my own family. Now, that my aunts and uncles are getting older, it’s harder for them to host the big family holidays. I know as soon as my mom gives up hosting Christmas, I’ll take care of it, but it’ll be with my siblings and their families. I’m going to miss the extended family celebrations we’ve had in the past where all my aunts and uncles get together. I’m trying to figure out a way we can still do it. It has become too much work for my mom to host them.

Family traditions are so important. It gives us something to look forward to in the daily grind of life. It’s a way to stay connected. To tell family stories and learn about our ancestors. I’ve learned things I never knew about my grandparents and their parents just sitting around the table chatting.

With so many people staying connected via social media, I predict some of these big family get-togethers are going by the wayside. I hope not. We will lose something in the process.

I don’t want our family history to be lost to Face book posts. It’s such a great way to connect when you actually get together in person and chat face to face. I think about all the family stories that’ll be lost if we don’t get together. Maybe it’s time I wrote a story about our family and put our history on paper.  

That’s one way to keep our history alive. How about you, what family traditions do you have that you don’t want to lose? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Just saw this on Face book and thought it was appropriate for this blog post! LOL! My sick sense of humor rearing its ugly head!

Posted in inspiration, Personal

Where do you find your Inspiration?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and polishing up my manuscript. I also went to an art fund raiser and bought some amazing pieces. It was a fund raiser for Ukraine, and my good friend and artist organized it.

It was an amazing event. Of course, she is part of my creative community. She’s an inspiration to myself and many others. I have a group of friends that are my creative community and I love them dearly. They are artists, photographers, and writers. They inspire me and help me grow in my craft and I’m grateful to have them in my life. Today, I’m talking about inspiration. Where do you get yours from?

My kids inspire me. The thought of leaving something behind for them keeps me writing. When they were younger, they loved the Super Spies stories, and it did my heart good to talk about those stories with them.

There are other things that inspire me, like walking alone in the woods. There’s nothing like a hike to clear your head and allow story ideas to come to the surface.

Other stories inspire me. When I read a story that touches my soul it inspires me to improve my writing. I try to learn new skills and improve my voice. I try to take on grittier stories that will touch other people.

I also get inspiration from the past. Sometimes, it’s something I went through that inspires a story and sometimes it’s an historical event. Our past is important. I’ve got a rich past I can pull from as I’m sure every other writer does.

Movies also inspire me. When I see a good movie or a good Netflix series, like “Breaking Bad,” or “Better Call Saul,” or the “Ozarks.” It inspires me to write more interesting characters with strong backstories.

How about you, where do you find your inspiration? Leave a comment, I love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Synchronicity and Intuition

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. We had a warm day today, and I made my first attempt at running outside. I’m hoping my pinched nerve doesn’t come back. So far so good. I’m hanging up the treadmill, running on that soft surface isn’t good for my spine.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about synchronicity and intuition. First, what is synchronicity? It is:

The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

I look for signs from the universe all the time because we can’t predict the future, and sometimes not knowing the outcome can be scary. Some of the signs I’ve seen are in my work life. The city or the lake where my story takes place appears in my daily life. It makes me pause and think about my story. I feel it’s the universe telling me I’m on the right path. Other times, my main character’s name will appear in odd places. I’m hoping this is a sign telling me to stick with my story. All we can do is wait and see. (Fingers crossed)

Another example is when I’m travelling to a friend’s art gallery. Her gallery is about an hour away, so I enjoy the drive because I can turn up the tunes and relax. Every single time I go, one of my favorite songs comes on the radio. Now, the first few times it happened, I just enjoyed the music, but since it has been consistently happening, I’m thinking this is a moment of synchronicity. So, what is the universe trying to tell me?

I’m not sure on that one, but I do know when I visit my friend and her gallery I leave in a great frame of mind. She’s an inspiration and I admire her greatly. Maybe it’s the universe telling me to stay connected with her. I’m not sure, but I do know it’s a sign of something.

Synchronicity and intuition go hand in hand. I trust my intuition. That gut feeling that tells me something is off. The rare times I’ve ignored my gut I’ve regretted it, and the times I followed it, even though I didn’t understand the why, I’ve learned it was the right decision.

Intuition is the the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. You just know something isn’t right usually without any evidence. I’ve learned the hard way to trust my gut.

How about you? Do you trust your gut, or do you make decisions on cold, hard facts? Do you see synchronicity in your every-day life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Personal, reviews

My Thoughts on “Killing Eve”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of working and writing. I’m editing my second story while I query my first one. I did receive rejection from an agent who said my premise was terrific but didn’t love the first pages enough to take the project on. She encouraged me to continue seeking publication because she knows my story will be successful. So, I’m looking at my first pages again to see if I can make them better.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about some of the best written shows I’ve been binge-watching this winter, especially when I had that pinched nerve in my neck. It is much better by the way and I’m so thankful to my chiropractor for taking care of me.

One of the shows I’m talking about is “Killing Eve.” The writing is phenomenal, right up there with “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” Two of my faves, by the way, and the season finale of “Better Call Saul” begins April eighteenth.

“Killing Eve” is the story of Villanelle (Jodie Comer) an assassin for hire and Eve (Sandra Oh) the agent assigned to find her and bring her in. The writing is amazing. In one of the first episodes, Eve and Villanelle meet, but neither one knows the other at the time. When Eve realizes who Villanelle is, the chase is on. While Eve is pursuing her, Villanelle develops a crush on Eve and sends her gifts. The story goes on from there where Eve and Villanelle chase each other even finding each other again. The show illustrates how Villanelle destroys Eve’s marriage and kills people she’s close to because they’re close to catching her.

This is a great show. One that I would recommend if you like thrillers. I love the character development. There are some wild characters in the show. Constantine is one of them, he’s Villanelle’s handler, but there are others, and the show is worth checking out.

The reason I’m bringing it up is because that’s the kind of writing agents are looking for. Those cutting-edge characters that really grab you. I have those kinds of characters in my story. (At least, I think I do ;)) So, all I must do is get those first pages down. 😉

While I’m doing that, check out “Killing Eve.” It’s a great show with great writing and excellent characters. You’ll become addicted. I guarantee it.

What are some shows you’ve binge-watched over the winter? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Writing Life…

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work and writing. My neck is feeling much better and I’m thinking about getting back into my exercise routine, but I won’t be running on the treadmill. There won’t be another treadmill season in the Orchard house. In my opinion, I need to run on harder surfaces if I’m going to run. So, I’m going to have to find another form of exercise during the winter months.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the writing life. I haven’t spoken about this in a while, so I felt that I should address it today.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. We writers create by ourselves and work with editors and beta readers to produce a viable product. It’s time consuming and takes us away from our families and friends.

Sometimes, it can be discouraging. The waiting for an acceptance or rejection of a manuscript can take a long time. It can get downright lonely.

So, it’s important to have a creative community who supports you. They don’t all have to be writers. They can be artists, or sculptors, or photographers. These people will understand your struggle. They will support you in ways your family can’t because they don’t understand.  I have an artist friend who I get together maybe once or twice a month and paint with her. I’m no artist, but it’s always good to take a break and do something different. I support her art, and she supports my writing.

Another way to combat the anxiety of waiting is to start another project. Work on something else. If you do get an acceptance, you’ll be a step ahead of the game because you have another project to offer.

Still another way, is to take a break from writing all together. Spend time with your family. Go on a trip and enjoy some down time. Maybe even read. 😉

Exercise is another great way to deal with the stress of writing. Get out of the chair and move your body. Get those endorphins moving, it’ll help with the creative process. Trust me.

So, there you have it. Some ways to combat the loneliness and stress of writing. How about you, how do you deal with it? Leave a comment! I love to hear from you!

Posted in celebrities, Personal

Gone Too Soon

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my WIP and working at the day job this week. I’m just plugging along and hoping I hear some good news soon. 😊

My neck and back are so much better. The pain is gone although I can still feel it when I move just right. Since the pain’s gone, my attitude is better, and I may even begin to workout again. Slowly but surely. I don’t want to go through that again. It’s been two months, and it has been a long two months.

I had another post planned for today, but I found out about Taylor Hawkins passing away from the band The Foo Fighters. I became acquainted with him when I watched a documentary about one of my favorite bands, Rush. He oozed positive energy when he talked about the members of Rush, and I liked the relationship he had with the band. You could tell they were great friends.

I was sad to hear of his passing because he was so young and full of energy and talent. Maybe because he’s younger than me, it made me think of my own mortality. I feel like I have so much more I want to do with my life and when a younger person passes away, it reminds me that the clock is ticking.

I recently just learned he had a variety of drugs in his system when he passed. We don’t know yet if that contributed to his death, but I have a feeling it did. He just did too many. What a senseless loss.

It feels like we’re losing too many people to drugs and suicide, and I’m in no way saying Taylor’s death was a suicide. However, one of the drugs in his system was an anti-depressant. I’m not sure why he was taking it, but it does make me wonder what if he was depressed. It’s hard to believe, he was a successful musician, and loved by many, but then I think about Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams. Depression can be organic, meaning a chemical imbalance in the brain. We are losing too many amazing people to this disease.

But I wonder if drugs are the answer to this mental health issue. In my humble opinion, shouldn’t we make sure we’re getting a balanced diet, enough sleep, and enough exercise before we resort to drugs? (This is not a criticism of Taylor in any way shape or form by the way.)

If we did that though, we’d have less time to devote to our passions. Exercising takes up a lot of time. But if our passions aren’t healthy, are they really our passions?

These are the questions I ask myself when something like this happens. I want to be there for my family. It’s the most important thing to me and I know that many people feel that way. To do that, we must take care of our bodies.

I know Rock and Roll is a demanding career, and you probably don’t need to exercise on the days you’re doing a show, but in my humble opinion, you can have a healthy diet and get enough sleep while you’re touring. You just have to set up your schedule that way.  After all, you’re a precious commodity. As fans, we should allow our idols down time to regroup and take care of themselves. Just some random thoughts while feeling sad over the loss of Taylor. RIP Taylor Hawkins. You will be missed.

What are some of the ways our entertainers can take care of themselves while on tour? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work and writing. My pinched nerve is slowly but surely getting better. But enough about that. Today, I want to share what I’ve been reading because I’ve been reading more because of my injury to my neck.

The last book I read was Laine Moriarty’s “Apple’s Never Fall.”

The blurb and cover are below.

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

The Delaney family love one another dearlyit’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.

My Thoughts:

This was a great story about a family, and the sacrifices and the mistakes parents make with their children. It wove a tale of a family-owned tennis school run by the Delaneys. They are now in their twilight years and have sold the school. They’re struggling with the transition into retirement and dealing with their kids. Then one evening a young girl named Savannah knocks on the door and turns their world upside down.

When Joy disappears and Savannah is nowhere to be found all eyes turn to Stan. This is a great story that weaves a tale of supposition and coincidences that make Stan look guilty. I’ll let you read the story to find out what happens, but in true Laine Moriarty form this is a page turner that has you guessing until the very end.